Posts Tagged ‘unemployment’

Let’s take some  inventory.  Per Mr. John Williams, Shadow Stats.com (http://www.shadowstats.com/), we see:

Unemployment is lower since Trump took office, but adding the U3, U6 and those seeking work for more than 15 weeks, but less than 26 weeks, the real Main Street unemployment rate still hovers around 23%.  Note, unemployment never rose above 25% during the Great Depression. (My note.)

Shadow Stats’ calculated unemployment rate coincides reasonably with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) labor participation rate of 62.7%.  Adding those looking for work for more than 26 weeks, but less than one year would bring Shadow Stats’ unemployment rate directly in line with the BLS labor participation rate, which should be inversely proportional.

Real Main Street inflation is near 10%.

Real U.S. GDP is double Obama Administration highs, but still hovering around -2%.  It never rose above -4% to -5% through treasonous Obama’s eight despicable years in office.  Trump has raised GDP since January 2017 by about 2% or 3%.

Additionally:
In 2016 the U.S. had 44 million people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) known as food stamps, up from 26 million in 2007.

65% of college Graduates cannot obtain work in their field of study in 2017.  Many of these young people are saddled with school loans and no way to make good on their debt.  Roughly $8.7 billion in student loan payments goes straight to Obamacare, which was one reason Obama wanted to have our corrupt government take over the student loan program.  In other words, the government school loan program could offer less expensive rates to students, if government wasn’t siphoning off student loan repayment revenue to subsidize Obamacare.  Graduates cannot include school loans in bankruptcy proceedings either, unless extreme hardship can be demonstrated.

The percentage of young people in their thirties living at home with parents is the highest it’s been in U.S. history.

Per the U.S. Census Bureau, average U.S. family incomes have risen slightly since 2009, but adjusted for inflation, spendable family income is down significantly.  Incomes unadjusted for inflation for some previous years are as follows:  1997 – $55,218;  2000 – $58,544;  2009- $55,683;  2016 – $59,039.

When we hold investments in corporate equities in 2017 we are taxed three times.  Corporate tax, dividend tax and capital gains tax.  Trump’s proposed tax plan reduces the corporate tax, eliminates or lowers both the dividend tax and capital gains tax depending what our corrupt Congressional members do.  How is this not a good thing for citizens, particularly retiree’s pension plans and job creation?  Trump’s plan also substantially cuts the double taxation on offshore earnings by U.S. corporations. Only Japan and the United States still double tax offshore earnings.  This short-sighted policy prevents offshore profits of U.S. companies from being repatriated and invested at home in America, which is pretty stupid.  Let’s consider a few more things.

Neglecting institutional investing, given the top 1% of Americans own approximately 38% of stock market equity; the next 9% approximately 43%; and the bottom 90% of population approximately 19%; corporate equity ownership is skewed, but obviously the bottom 50th economic percentile in the United States pay little or no income tax and historically have never had sufficient income to spend on investments of any kind.  Savings rates are tiny or in some cases negative; in all cases less than the inflation rate, so savings plans are a non-productive financial tool for the less fortunate.  On top of this, the Obamacare fines for failure to purchase monopoly health insurance products, the so-called private mandate, falls primarily on low income families who can no longer afford the obscene rates, which have predictably risen dramatically since 2010.  As a personal digression, in my own family, premiums have risen from $350/month per person to $1,400/month for a crappy plan with higher deductibles and less coverage.  I had one primary care Doc for more than twenty years prior to 2010.  Since 2010 and PPACA, I’m on my 6th primary care Doc – all due to insurance plan changes.  We couldn’t make this nonsense up if it weren’t true.

We need to consider pension funds.  Pension funds historically split their investments between fixed-assets like bonds and equities like high cap (blue-chip) dividend stocks, preferred stocks and sometimes commercial real estate.  Many pension funds no longer actively manage their funds, only investing in index funds.  Another asset class becoming popular is municipal infrastructure.

Given that most pension funds model returns on the bond portion of their portfolios around 7.5% and that most bond funds today are returning less than 2.5%; the majority of pension funds are under water by at least 5% relative to the supposedly secure, bond income of their portfolios.  Since infrastructure as an asset investment class is still relatively insignificant, this leaves corporate equity investments as the only significant pension fund earnings producer.  If American corporations remain under attack as they have been for the last three or four decades, this is a grim picture for pensioners as their pension funds will continue going broke.  I’m talking here about real corporations, not criminally insane transnational monopolies, though they are impacted as well.

Approximately 10,000 people per day are turning 65 years-old in America today.  We are experiencing the largest bond bubble in economic history.  Corporate bonds are probably a better bet than government bonds, particularly given the unsustainable mountains of government debt world-wide, which by the way is growing irresponsibly larger every day of every week.  The European Central Bank (ECB) now holds more than 40% of all Euro-zone debt.  This is nuts.  Historically safe bond investments are looking shakier by the month.  This leaves pension funds in bad shape, which can leave pensioners in bad shape.  Just to pile on, the flattening bond yield-curve by the way, suggests a looming recession.

Anyway, in America, we now have less than three workers paying into the Social Security system per retired beneficiary.  Last I checked, we have 2.9 workers per beneficiary.  This pay as we go Ponzi scheme clearly has a short solvent shelf life sans digital currency creating computers.  Making matters worse for retirees, the Obama Administration callously looted $750 billion dollars from Medicare and gave it to monopoly insurance companies, whose lobbyists wrote the unconstitutional PPACA tripe for their own benefit.  This bit of Congressional corruption left Medicare more broke than it was.  The only way to honor promises made to Medicare patients is again the irresponsible digital money machine.

The cowardly D.C. miscreants we foolishly elect to represent transnational monopolies and their Plutocratic controllers instead of we the people have lied to us; stolen from us; gave away our Constitutionally recognized rights; and now we pay the crooked piper, like it or not.  Either we come up with a workable plan to sustain ourselves or we go the way of Venezuela and other diminutive banana republics.

I deplore both the reprehensibly treasonous Democrat and Republican Parties, don’t belong to either, don’t support the corruption of either and certainly won’t trust either.  Regardless, the only options available today are options put on the malfeasant Washington D.C. table.  Democrats have offered no solutions outside raising taxes, increasing corrupt regulations and continuing our never-ending wars.  The Trump Administration doesn’t offer much, but it does offer a tax plan marginally better than what we have now.  Very bright people like Martin Armstrong are saying adoption of the Trump plan will make America the go-to place for global investment, which is why competing economies around the world are against it.  This could be a welcome game changer as America has not been internationally competitive for decades.  Mr. Armstrong and others believe the Trump plan will give us an internationally competitive leg up.

All this should give pause to any thoughtful American tax payer, leading directly to the question, “what happens to us on Main Street if The Donald’s plan fails and our egregiously corrupt establishment Left and Right win their battle of sedition?  While we think about this understand that the Establishment on both sides of the aisle only differ in meaningless, pandering rhetoric.  They share one common agenda and that is the agenda of the ruling Plutocracy, for the most part invisible to Main Street citizens.  You should also be aware that this inbred Plutocracy ardently believes in slavery and understands that their slave farms are Main Street American cities, actually all cities on earth.  The slave farms are run by order-following elected politicians and unelected bureaucrats – all paid for by Main Street tax payers.  Ain’t that a pile?

I didn’t vote in 2016 for the first time in my adult life because I didn’t know enough about Donald Trump to be comfortable giving him my vote.  I was concerned about how mobbed-up he might be given his casino and other real estate businesses, which on the East Coast are 100% mobbed-up.  This doesn’t mean he’s a wise-guy, but it does mean he at least works with them.  I couldn’t tell if Trump was dirty or not.  This weighed against known career criminal, Hillary Clinton, who with her CIA darling husband and burgeoning criminal daughter, all raised into national prominence by the Bush Crime Family, have used their Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative to treasonously sell influence, rape and plunder the needy around the globe and traffic in arms, drugs, humans and organs.  I couldn’t vote for either, but at least Trump has a plan, whereas Hillary’s only plan was insider trading, looting, war, war and more war.

Remember, the same psychopaths who most fear and hate Donald Trump are the same pedophiles and criminals who own and control nearly all transnational monopolies including mass media and Hollywood.  Before jumping on the media distraction bandwagon and Mueller’s seditious nonsense, which to date has produced zero evidence of anything, consider what a Trump failure might really mean to Main Street citizens because if the Deep State thugs and order-followers win this fight, it doesn’t look like a happy ending from where I’m sitting in south-central Arizona.  Just sayin’.

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I couldn’t bring myself to cast my own uninformed vote in the 2016 election (1st time in my adult life) as I was disgusted by protected psychopath, Hillary and knew little about The Donald other than having read three or four of his books.  I now suspect it no longer matters whether we like or dislike Donald Trump as President of our United States.  He won election in spite of impossible odds arranged by Left and Right Establishment insiders, a sycophant Elite/CIA controlled media and the Clinton War Machine.  He now assumes responsibility for our United States executive office, supposedly on the people’s behalf, including our monstrously bloated, unimaginably corrupt, $4 trillion Federal on-book budget…and we don’t know how large an off-book budget.

President Trump is not responsible for the vast array of unresolved issues and corruption facing the United States in 2017;  issues developed since WW II;  issues largely ignored, pandered to, propagandized and profited by a few for the last 70 or so years.  The question I find myself asking now is, “WHAT HAPPENS TO US ON MAIN STREET IF DONALD TRUMP FAILS TO MANAGE A SMOOTH ECONOMIC TRANSITION FROM OUR NEARLY INSOLVENT, NON-PRODUCTIVE ECONOMY TO A HEALTHY, PRODUCTIVE ONE”?  Is it still even possible to rebuild responsible adult government – or have we passed the negligently treasonous, economic point of no return?  Maybe we should at least ponder possible answers to this question before jumping on that Trump hating train; the one that looks headed on a downhill track to economic hell?

We’re told by main stream media (MSM) that the U.S. economy is on the right track, but here in Arizona anyway, there sure are a lot of vacant homes, offices, buildings and folks standing on corners with signs; so I did some checking and found U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data showing a different picture than the Press Corpse postulates.  Here’s a couple of stats to consider regarding that right track.

***Median Household Income for 2015 (last year available per U.S. Census) was $56,516 compared to 2007’s median $57,423; 1.6% lower than 2007.  Not impressive given steady, understated inflation at our grocery stores and shopping centers.
***The 2016 labor participation rate per Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was 63%.  This means 37% of working age  Americans are not working.
***The 2016 U-6 unemployment rate for 2016 per BLS is 9.6%.  If we add the 14% (per BLS) still looking for work after 15 to 26 weeks, we get an unemployment rate of 23.6%.  For millennials, Hispanics, African-Americans and women, it’s nearly double that.  The official U-3 rate of 4.9% is D.C.B.S.
***U.S. home ownership is at the lowest level since 1967.  A few more percentage points and U.S. home ownership sinks to an all-time low since U.S. Census record keeping began in 1965.
***United States GDP for 2016 was a meager 1.6%.  If we subtract out the portion of government spending included, GDP is somewhere in the range of -5%.  (This is my rough estimate – I didn’t spend a lot of time on the math, but the ball park is definitely negative.)

In light of the above, consider the 2016 Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Defense Report exposing $6.5 trillion dollars unaccounted for in 2015; an interesting statistic given the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) total 2015 Federal expenditures were $3.7 trillion against $3.2 trillion in revenues.  I don’t know if this $6.5 trillion is in addition to the 2001 Inspector General Report showing $2.3 trillion unaccounted for in that year’s DOD budget or if $2.3 trillion grew to $6.5 trillion?  In any case, it’s not an undisclosed fact that DOD receives and spends more money OFF-BOOK than it does ON-BOOK.  The question we as citizens might ask, because  our Elected Congressional Members responsible for budget oversight won’t, is; “where does this DOD off-book money come from and where does it go”?  Similarly, how large are other Federal Agency unaccounted for dollar amounts?  Ms. Catherine Austin Fitts of the Solari Report estimates black budget totals to now be more than $40 trillion.

Also in light of the above statistics, consider that the 2011 partial Federal Reserve Audit by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) disclosed more than $16 trillion allocated to banks and corporations, much of that dispensed internationally by the FED.  Specifics regarding these allocations remain thin.  Are American citizens legally responsible for this money?  If so, do we deserve a proper Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) analysis?  It’s my understanding that the Fed has its own accounting standards and is not held to GAAP standards.  I’m not certain of this and perhaps it’s appropriate for central banks, but if correct, isn’t it curious?

As we get into 2017 the global economy is drowning in on-book sovereign debt as is the United States.  Main Street citizens paying the bills are not permitted access to vast off-book (unaccounted for) spending and debt numbers, but we understand from Inspector General Reports on various agencies that the amounts are enormous and completely non-transparent.  Budget accountability does not exist in Washington D.C.  Obviously, raising interest rates on this debt mountain is willful economic suicide, yet historic economic cycles suggest our economy will reset to some standard of real value at some point in time, whether convenient or not.  After nearly ten years of quantitative easing do we even remember what real value is?  The current financial bubbles across multiple markets cannot be sustained.  Market corrections are usually crash and burn scenarios, but some economists suggest that handled properly, there still remains a small probability that Donald Trump, a very smart man, may be able to orchestrate a smooth transition from extreme over-spending and non-productivity to an economy at least marginally better for Main Street.  I don’t believe a smooth transition to be possible anymore, BUT…

…We should, as responsible citizens, ask ourselves anyway – WHAT DOES HAPPEN TO US ON MAIN STREET IF PRESIDENT TRUMP’S ADMINISTRATION FAILS TO FIX HIS INHERITED 70-YEAR MESS?  We should ask so we can understand and prepare our families, friends and neighborhoods either way – as either way, success or failure, we the people of Main Street will live with, and pay for the resulting circumstance.  The FED has been bolstering the stock market and other markets sans meaningful oversight by Congress.  The Elite are and have been financially positioning themselves with hoards of gold, silver, other precious metals and non-digital, real assets.  Understand that if the banking system collapses, and it looks like it will; most if not all digital assets held by Main Street citizens will likely vanish.  The Oligarchs, inside traders like Rockefeller, Soros, Buffet and other pawns of privilege will be just fine in the coming decade.  By virtue of election, Trump is framed to take the blame, while those who orchestrated certain economic tragedy since WW II will skate free to do it again.  Will we be OK?  Will our children?  Take a minute and give this some thought.

We know the Federal Reserve’s interest is keeping the banking system and its controlling ownership liquid.  Talk of Main Street stimulus is nonsense outside minimal trickle-down.  Trump wants to spend $1 trillion or so on infrastructure.  As a retired civil engineer, I assure you $1 trillion toward infrastructure is a good and necessary idea, but serious needed infrastructure work falls more in the realm of $5 trillion.  Is something better than nothing?  Trump wants to reduce bloated, corrupt Federal spending and money laundering, but faces an enormous array of employee’s, vendors, contractors and special interests completely vested in the continued tumefaction of largely unsupervised Federal spending and off-book money laundering.  Our future depends on deciding now, if we are for or against President Trump’s success because regardless our own ideological preferences; his success is our success as his failure will be ours to own and pass on to our children.

Many of us know with certainty and the remainder, should Trump fail, may soon learn American government and its Elite handlers work hard for Oligarchs and themselves; no one else.  We on Main Street are pandered to, used, alone, without representation, without meaningful fiscal transparency, basically at the mercy of those to whom we gave the reins of self-governance since the 19th Century.  Is it in our best interest to defend Trump, whom we’re not sure about;  or should we jump on the fear, hatred and corruption Establishment Train we already know doesn’t give a hoot about Main Street useless eaters, other than to control us and harvest the wealth we create?

For a short while anyway – I’ll ride with Trump and pray he’s real; because support him or not; if Donald Trump fails, if the Establishment wins, Main Street America and the world will reap those storm clouds, now rising black, bold and threatening on our Main Street horizon.

Lying by the numbers!!!  When politicians we elect, and pay a great deal of money to for representing the world’s transnational monopolies in D.C.,  instead of we the people, lie to us about how great our economy is; we should at least have some idea how clever the lies are – because for one thing, there’s a lot of ’em.  For another, if you’re not prepared you could get robbed.  If you’re in the House or Senate your insider trading rights are worth a fortune.  We the people at least in our own minds, deserve a good honest lie from you, put together with reasonable care, little disclosure and some attitude.  After all, we the people are paying for it… and paying dearly.  At least provide us a good show.  P.T. Barnum always provided a good show and your D.C. circus tradition should stand tall and proud on the midway.

OFFICIAL UNEMPLOYMENT STATISTICS?
The U-3.  Good statistic or crappy lie?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks six different metrics for unemployment.  When looking at unemployment reports the viewer should be aware of the metric or metrics being included for reporting purposes as these so-called official reports are regularly employed (pun intended) for propaganda purposes rather than information dissemination or put another way; obfuscation, not clarification.

The six BLS unemployment metrics are:

 (See https://www.bls.gov/lau/stalt.htm for 2016 Annual Averages.)

*****
U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force.  2016 U-1: 2.0%

U-2 Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force.  2016 U-2:  2.3%

U-3 Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate).  2016 U-3:  4.9%

U-4 Total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers.  2016 U-4:  5.2%

U-5 Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other persons marginally attached to the labor force, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.  2016 U-5:  5.9%

U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.  2016 U-6:  9.6%
*****

The vigilant receiver of .gov unemployment statistics will carefully consider the specified parameters (identified on the BLS website) of what is or isn’t included within each of the U-1 through U-6 metrics – particularly the popular U-3.

U-3 is the officially published unemployment percentage regularly given out by the Federal government and echoed across our largely uninformed nation by CIA compromised, fake news bureaus.  U-3 is a real number, but hardly reflects unemployment levels across Main Street America.

To grasp actual Main Street unemployment levels, economist John Williams, of ShadowStats Alternative Unemployment Rate (See http://www.shadowstats.com/) fame suggests the BLS’ highest metric, the U-6 category is still not an accurate indicator of real life unemployment conditions.  U-6 doesn’t consider those individuals unemployed, who have given up looking for work after more than 12 months of searching.  Mr. Williams says to obtain a realistic estimate of Main Street unemployment, add the BLS U-6 figure  (obtain from https://www.bls.gov/lau/stalt.htm) to the long term unemployed (more than one year, (see https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t12.htm) who quit looking for work, but still list themselves as unemployed.

If we take the BLS 2016 Average Annual U-6 rate of 9.6% and add to it the BLS February 2017 percentage of unemployed for 15 weeks to 26 weeks, that is, 14%; we obtain a more realistic Main Street unemployment rate for February 2017 of 23.6%.  This seems about what we see in my Arizona neighborhood.  I hope yours is better.  Note that in the interest of conservatism, I only went so far as 15 to 26 weeks at 14% per BLS.  The over 27 week stat is 23.8%, which corresponds more closely with the 63% labor participation rate published by BLS.

The above 1600 Watch, 23.6% unemployment estimate corresponds fairly well to the February 2017 BLS labor participation rate of 63%, which indicates 37% of American workers are not working.  When more than 90 million working age Americans are not working and the U.S. population is roughly 313 million (not all workers, of course), the unemployment rate is not below 5%.  This official government figure, the current U-3 of 4.9% is pure political obfuscation.

Another doozy is the calculated OFFICIAL RATE OF INFLATION.

OFFICIAL RATE OF INFLATION STATISTICS?
Valid information or just another crappy lie?

A cynical person might suggest our government intentionally MIS-calculates inflation rates as low as possible to avoid adding COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENTS to beneficiaries of programs like Social Security.  How do they do this we may inquire?

Rate of inflation, say over the past year is a simple calculation.  Take last year’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), call it P1; subtract it from this year’s CPI, call it P2; divide the difference by P1 as the basis; and multiply by 100 to obtain a percentage.  It looks like this: ((P2 – P1)/P1) x 100 = Rate of Inflation for the past year.

Example, where: P1 = 104; P2 = 106:  ((106-104)/104) x 100 = 1.92% inflation for the year

Obviously, if we vary the inputs used in each time period, rather than holding them constant as they were originally; the calculated inflation rate for the period in question can easily and predictably be manipulated up or down.  Let politics be the judge.

The CPI is a bit more complicated and that’s where the inflation rate magick happens.  Statistical data are easily altered by varying inputs.  If not careful; garbage in; garbage out as they say.  If interested in an educated tome on this subject of CPI, I suggest perusing the following paper:  http://file.scirp.org/pdf/ME20100200005_38971786.pdf.  Take a look and you’ll quickly  grasp why I’ve not included equations for CPI calc’s.

For the rest of us civilians, let’s just understand that by including or not including certain items or by changing entirely those items included or not included, we can conveniently manipulate the data.  For instance:  using an example recently provided by Mr. Paul Craig Roberts (See http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/), let’s imagine the price variation for an expensive cut of steak to be included in the CPI calculation.  Let’s imagine that price has risen significantly over the past year.  Therefore, including this price change in the data set will contribute to an increase in the calculated CPI.  Ouch!  We don’t want that.  It sounds bad if you’re a politician.  So, let’s revise the way CPI is calculated.  Let’s lie to we the people.  Isn’t that what we politicos and bureaucrats are paid to do by the big important monopolies anyway?  Absolutely, and the voting booth proves it.

Just dump that expensive cut of meat from the index and substitute a less expensive cut having a much less significant price increase – or better, no increase.  Voila!  Problem solved.  Now we’ve taken a time honored, economic benchmark and reduced it to meaningless nonsense.  If I’m not mistaken, this is exactly what BLS has done using what many refer to as Greenspan’s “substitution theory”, now added to by the “Chained CPI” concept – none of which I really care to understand, other than to know we’re being lied to on Main Street.

Magickly, our economy looks great no matter how loud that flushing noise is getting; and we the corrupt thugs can be re-elected by we the people and keep on keepin’ on shillin’ for the world’s greediest transnational monopolies and our lucrative inside trading deals.  Ain’t it great?

Just sayin’.  Citizen beware if you dare!