Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Jobs

GM’s IPO: Where’s the Weevil in the Hardtack?

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Steven Rattner, former counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, celebrated in Huffington Post, “In the end, it was a blow out!” With the old General Motors successfully selling shares in its new General Motors at $33 per share, taxpayers will allegedly be getting back part of the $50 billion in bailout money used to rescue the company 17 months ago.

As Rattner exulted:

The mother of all initial public offerings—that of the refreshed, revitalized and revamped General Motors—went off better than almost anyone expected….

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Behind the Numbers: October Employment Report

Spiekermann House Numbers

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Even though 151,000 new real jobs were added in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate stayed at 9.6 percent. This announcement not only successfully masked the fact that fewer people were looking for work, which made the rate look better, but also that more people are staying unemployed longer.

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Study: VAT Will Cost More Jobs, Reduce Living Standards

The VAT cometh

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Time is running out on the Obama administration to pass a value-added tax: The mid-term elections are two weeks away with Democrats anticipating heavy losses, the lame-duck session is due to start on November 15, President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform publishes its report on December 1, and Congress already faces a long list of “must-pass” legislation. A just-released study about the negative impacts of a VAT isn’t going to help.

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The Real Cost of the Wars

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When the book The $3 Trillion War debuted in 2008, it was roundly criticized by such notables as John Lott, Richard Zerbe and Edgar Browning, who held that estimates of the cost of the war in Iraq were overstated. But in a conference call earlier this week, authors Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Prize winner) and Linda Bilmes (Harvard University professor), said they underestimated those costs by at least one third.

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Bank Failures: 127 Down, 800 to Go

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When Zacks Equity Research announced on Monday the failure of two more banks in the current recession, the silence was deafening. The report blamed the usual suspects: “tumbling home prices, soaring loan defaults, and a high unemployment rate continue to take their toll on such institutions.”

But buried in the report was the much more ominous forecast of the “increasing … possibility of more bank failures.” Zacks said that any bank which makes the FDIC’s problem bank list is essentially doomed. “As of now, only 13 percent of banks on [that list] have actually failed.” The number on that list? 829, up from 775 in the last quarter.

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Recession is Over?

A man with empty trouser pockets

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With a straight face, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) announced that the Great Recession ended last June. June of 2009, that is. This made the current recession the longest one since the Great Depression.

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Reid’s Lame Duck Session: Just Mopping Up?

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Last Tuesday, September 7, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he intended to focus the current lame duck session on “mopping up” leftovers from the previous session, these included a national renewable energy policy, a small business jobs bill, and another stimulus bill. Reid said, “We are still going to be in Congress, working, after the election…There are things that we have to do. There is a lot of mopping up to do.” Reid failed to mention one small item that his lame duck session is determined to ignore altogether: the Bush “tax cuts” which are set to expire without Congressional action by the end of the year.

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Meet Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s New Top Economic Adviser

Official portrait of CEA member Austan Goolsbee.

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Few were surprised when President Obama replaced Christina Romer, chair of his Council of Economic Advisers, with another statist economist, Austan Goolsbee. Goolsbee is the architect of Obama’s failed economic policies and programs, having served as the executive director of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board from the beginning.

A bright student at Yale where he enjoyed membership in the exclusive and elitist Skull and Bones secret society, Goolsbee went on to get his PhD from MIT, and then immediately became a professor at the University of Chicago. With stints at the American Bar Association and the National Bureau of Economic Research, he was named to Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers in March, 2009.

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Finally, a Sensible Solution to Unemployment

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When Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote in Bloomberg.com that “the biggest problem with the labor market right now is that wages are too high,” it was the first positive sign of intelligent life in the mainstream media in some time.

Many have written about the damaging effects of minimum wage laws, federal and state unemployment insurance, and other interventions in the labor market that have kept workers out of jobs, including William HoarGary NorthJacob Hornberger, and Walter Williams.

But few have offered free-market solutions to the problem of unemployment in the Great Recession. Until now.

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Why Reich is Wrong

Robert Reich

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When former Labor Secretary Robert Reich offered his solutions for ending the Great Recession in the New York Times, he repeated the same errors expressed in a CNBC debate the week before.

Reich appears to have all the credentials for knowing what he is talking about: degrees from Dartmouth College, Yale Law School, and a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. Having served as a law clerk to the chief judge of the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals and then assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, followed by an appointment by President Jimmy Carter as Director of Policy Planning at the FTC, most would accept his opinions and suggestions for ending the recession as useful and relevant.

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How Relevant Is Ayn Rand Today?

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It was news to many when Scott Powell announced that an obscure novel published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged, “may be second to the Bible as the most influential book read in America.” His statement that BB&T, the 12th largest bank in America, which resisted taking TARP bailout funds, requires reading of that same book as part of its management training program astonished many more.

American Conservative Magazine noted that “a week before the President’s inauguration, more people were buying it than Obama’s Audacity of Hope.

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Fiscal Challenges: A Way Out

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(This article is a follow-up to Conjuring Magic To Cover States’ Debts.)

Economist Niall Ferguson of Harvard wrote an article entitled “Complexity and Collapse” for the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs, a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ferguson uses the visual image of a series of paintings by Thomas ColeThe Course of Empire, which currently hangs at the New York Historical Society, to illustrate his point that every society goes through five stages. He says that Cole “beautifully captured a theory of imperial rise and fall to which most people remain in thrall to this day.”

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Conjuring Magic To Cover States’ Debts

SACRAMENTO, CA - JULY 21:   A sign stands in f...

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The first warning about the possible bankruptcy of the town of Vallejo, California, was reported by the Associated Press on February 28, 2008, when Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes said, “Our financial situation is getting worse every single day. No city or private person wants to declare bankruptcy, but if you’re facing insolvency, you have no choice but to seek protection.”

Marci Fritz, vice president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, blamed the action on promises made earlier by the council to the city’s employees concerning salaries and retirement benefits that the city no longer can afford. According to Fritz, these were promises made during economically flush times, and were due to the city council’s unrealistic expectations that those times would continue indefinitely.

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Behind Friday’s Jobs Report: The Real Numbers

Confusing numbers

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Buried in Friday’s employment report from the Department of Labor Statistics were two key numbers that reflected the slowdown in the economy so long denied by the administration: “private sector employment edged up over the month (+71,000). Thus far this year, [such] employment has increased by 630,000, with about two-thirds of the gain occurring in March and April.” (Emphasis added.) The other appeared in the final paragraph of that report: “The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised from +433,000 to +432,000, and the change for June was revised [downward] from -125,000 to -221,000.” (Emphasis added.)

Taken together, these two numbers reflect the slowing of the economy that has occurred ever since Vice President Joe Biden predicted back in April that “some time in the next couple of months we’re going to be creating between 250,000 and 500,000 jobs a month.”

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Geithner: Welcome to Reality

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Claims that “we are on a path back to growth” by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in an op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Welcome to Recovery” appeared to be based on facts, proof, and hard evidence.

“A review of recent data on the American economy…show that large parts of the private sector continue to strengthen,” he said. “Business investment and consumption…are getting stronger, better than last year and better than last quarter.” According to Geithner, evidence of growth can be seen because

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Temporary Unemployment Benefits—Permanent Welfare?

Horse And Handler Statue,  Department Of Labor

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The White House on July 21 extolled the extension of unemployment insurance by the Senate, claiming it was “not only the decent thing to do but one of the most effective ways to boost our economy.” President Obama signed the extension into law immediately, saying that this was “desperately needed assistance to two and a half million Americans who lost their jobs in the recession…Americans who…will finally get the support they need to get back on their feet during these tough economic times.”

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Great Depression II: Here We Go Again?

The Causes of The Great Depression / FDR Memor...

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The unremitting flow of negative news about the economy has finally caught the attention of the mainstream media, causing an increasing number of economists to make comparisons between today’s recession and the Great Depression.

David Rosenberg, Gluskin Sheff’s chief market economist, commented to his clients that the monster drop in new home sales in June compared to May was not exactly “a one-month wonder” but instead invited comparison of the current recession’s similarities with those of the Great Depression. He said they include:

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Still Waiting for the Recovery

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The economy has gained either 2.5 million jobs or 3.6 million jobs since the Recovery Act was signed into law in January, 2009, depending upon which statistical “model” is used, according to Christina Romer, Chair of the White House‘s Council of Economic Advisers. When compared to the report issued earlier this month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, neither number is even close.

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Fixing State Budgets will be Painful

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Pew Research recently polled Americans about ways to bring state budgets into balance and found that respondents did not like any of the options. In its Congressional Connection poll released June 28, Pew Research asked if a federal bailout of financially troubled states should be considered. Barely one in four said yes. Nearly 60 percent said no, that the states should take care of their problems on their own.

Other options offered by Pew included cutting transportation funding, raising taxes, cutting health services, reducing spending for police and fire departments, and slashing the public school budget. Each of those options was also strongly opposed, often by majorities approaching 70 percent.

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The Millennial Generation, Jobs, and Reality

Generation Y

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In a microcosm, Scott Nicholson, at age 24, represents his Millennial Generation well: He graduated from college two years ago and is still looking for work.

But he’s optimistic nevertheless. He moved back into his parents’ home in an upper-middle-class neighborhood outside of Boston, and spends his mornings searching corporate websites for “suitable” job openings. His parents are feeding and clothing him, as well as paying his cell-phone charges and insurance premiums. But they are beginning to get concerned, especially when Scott was finally offered a position at a nearby casualty insurance firm, as a claims adjuster—and he turned it down.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.