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H-1b: US workers being fired AND forced to train foreign replacements

by 1389AD ( 47 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, unemployment at April 12th, 2015 - 9:00 pm

1389 Blog has been following this story since 2007.

Are you an American citizen in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields? Do you ask why nothing happens when you reply to a job advertisement? Check this out:

PERM: Fake Job Ads defraud Americans to secure H-1b green cards for foreigners

Uploaded on Jun 16, 2007 by programmersguild
Immigration attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby explains how they assist employers in running classified ads with the goal of NOT finding any qualified applicants, and the steps they go through to disqualify even the most qualified Americans in order to secure green cards for H-1b workers. See what Bush and Congress really mean by a “shortage of skilled U.S. workers.” Microsoft, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, and thousands of other companies are running fake ads in Sunday newspapers across the country each week.

Fox: Senators seek probe of claims US workers fired, forced to train foreign replacements

(h/t: Weasel Zippers)

A popular visa program allegedly is being misused by U.S. companies to lay off thousands of American workers and replace them with foreign labor.

And, adding insult to injury, many of the laid-off workers allegedly have been forced to train their replacements, in what one anonymous whistleblower called a “humiliating” experience.

The allegations have caught the attention of a bipartisan group of senators — including immigration hawk Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and the No. 2 Senate Democrat, Illinois’ Dick Durbin — who are calling for a federal probe. A letter sent by 10 senators urging an investigation specifically cited reports of the firing and hiring practices at Southern California Edison, California’s second-largest utility. The incidents are concentrated in the IT field, and involve American workers being replaced by H-1B visa holders.

“A number of U.S. employers, including some large, well-known, publicly-traded corporations, have reportedly laid off thousands of American workers and replaced them with H-1B visa holders,” the senators wrote.

In the letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, the senators urged the departments to “investigate the unacceptable replacement of American workers” to see whether laws were broken.

The H-1B program is supposed to be used to bring in, on a temporary basis, skilled workers with highly specialized skills not readily available in the U.S. They are often used in the technology sector to bring in engineers and computer programmers.

Further, U.S. employers can hire foreign workers for up to six years and must pay them the same rate they would pay other workers with similar qualifications, or the prevailing wage for that job and location, whichever is higher. This is done to prevent foreign workers from depressing U.S. wages and from being exploited.

But reports have surfaced that the replacements are happening at an alarming rate. And former Southern California Edison workers have complained to lawmakers that they were replaced by less-skilled workers at lower costs.

Anonymous workers who were displaced by the visa holders also submitted written testimonials to lawmakers detailing their firings. Several claimed they were forced to train their replacements, and threatened with losing their severance if they did not.

“We had no choice in this,” one anonymous worker who claimed to have been one of those let go from Southern California Edison, said in a letter. The worker described how when the two vendors were picked – Infosys and TCS, both major Indian companies – SCE employees were told to “sit with, video chat or do whatever was needed to teach them our systems.”

If they did not cooperate, according to the testimonial, “we would be fired and not receive a severance package.”

Another worker described this process as “humiliating.”

“DHS will respond directly to members of Congress,” an agency spokesperson told FoxNews.com on Saturday. “Still, it is important to note that U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.”

In a statement, Southern California Edison said it abides by the law and will cooperate with any investigation that concerns the issues mentioned in the senators’ letter.

The company explained that it’s reducing its information technology department from 1,400 to 860. Of those left, 97 percent are permanent California residents and 3 percent are on H-1B visas.

Southern California Edison said it’s contracting with IT vendors to fulfill certain contracts and that most of those workers are permanent U.S. residents and aren’t working under H-1B visas.

“By transitioning some IT operations to external vendors, along with SCE eliminating some customized functions it will no longer provide, the company will focus on making significant, strategic changes that can benefit our customers,” Southern California Edison’s emailed statement read.

But the senators, in their letter, raised several questions about how the replacements were being done. They said it appears the workers are often not employees of the U.S. company laying off workers – but are contractors working for foreign-owned IT consultants.

The H-1B program stipulates that applicants must have a valid “employer-employee relationship” – and the senators questioned whether that was the case here.

They also asked whether the companies “engaged in prohibited citizenship status discrimination” (against American citizens); and whether the visa petitions showed “any evidence of misrepresentation or fraud.”

Continue reading…

One of the few good things – albeit far more than a day late and a dollar short – that Dick Durbin has done thus far was to sign on to this investigation. May that good deed account to the salvation of his immortal soul.

I was forced out of IT work when the market dried up in 2008 on account of the economic collapse precipitated by the Democrat takeover of Congress, compounded by outsourcing, offshoring, and the H-1b visa. I retrained myself in newer IT skills, but as a female over 50 years of age without current business experience using those skills, I was unable to find employment in the IT field. I have taken an entirely different career path since then, and would be uninterested in returning to IT even if H-1b were to be repealed tomorrow.

If the Lie is BIG Enough…

by coldwarrior ( 9 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Economy, Special Report, unemployment at January 26th, 2015 - 7:42 pm

I knew that this paper was in the works, it was just a matter of time before it hit.

Study: 2014’s Employment Boom Almost Entirely Due to the Expiration of Unemployment Benefits Obama Wanted to Renew

Those who’ve listened to President Obama’s speeches over the past couple months have heard him boast that 2014 has seen impressive improvements in the labor market — the best year in job creation since 1999, he points out, and he’s right. But there’s no obvious explanation for why 2014 has been, by a good margin, the best year of a weak jobs recovery. The president has naturally credited his policies (without any justification). But what if 2014’s jobs boom is mostly thanks to the expiration of a program that the Obama administration and Democrats fervently pushed to renew?

That’s the finding of a new NBER working paper from three economists — Marcus Hagedorn, Kurt Mitman, and Iourii Manovskii — who contend that the ending of federally extended unemployment benefits across the country at the end of 2013 explains much of the labor-market boom in 2014.

About 60 percent of the job creation in 2014, 1.8 million jobs, they find, can be attributed to the end of the extended-benefits program. That’s a huge amount, and suggests that long-term unemployment benefits, while there’s a good charitable case for them, could have played a big role in the ongoing lassitude of our labor market. (Indeed, an earlier working paper from a few of the same authors argued that extended benefits raised the unemployment rate during the Great Recession by three percentage points; see a summary of that paper here.)

So what was the program Democrats wanted to renew? States run their own unemployment-insurance programs, which provide around 26 weeks of benefits to people who’ve lost jobs and are looking for new ones. But during the recent recession, as they have in other downturns, Congress repeatedly authorized federal extensions that allowed people to draw benefits for much longer. At the end of 2013, the Senate narrowly passed a renewal of the program, but the House never took it up and the extensions, already much longer than any previous recession had seen, expired.

This created something of a “natural experiment.” States had unemployment-insurance programs of widely varying length — they ranged from 40 weeks up to 73, roughly — but after the end of the federal extensions at the start of 2014, the duration of benefits in almost all states went back to around 26 weeks.

The paper uses that shift to examine how expiring benefits might have affected the labor market, and they find that the expiration of extended benefits produced a big boost to job creation, labor-force participation, and hiring. It’s a dramatically different result than what the White House and Democrats were predicting at the end of 2013: The Obama administration was predicting that the drop-off in stimulative spending from the expiration would cost 240,000 jobs, while the NBER paper finds that it created 1.8 million jobs.

The authors don’t think this happened the way you think it might: It’s not so much that the cut-off drove individuals on benefits back to work, but more that less-generous benefits actually spurred job creation on a macro level, getting employers to hire and drawing into the labor force people who hadn’t been looking for a job. They don’t lay out how that worked, but in their October 2013 paper, argue that extended unemployment benefits artificially boosts wages — when they expire, employers then boost job openings and start hiring people.

Of course, the usual caveats apply: This is not a perfect experiment at all, and the paper, while very rigorous, can’t get past the fact that it’s just crunching numbers about macro trends. And there are some concerns with the authors’ county-level data, though they try to make up for that.

The simplest form of the analysis was just looking at states that had long benefit terms versus short ones. In 2013, job creation was worse in more generous states than the national average; in 2014, after those states dropped their much more generous programs, it was much better than the national average:

There’s a lot more analysis they did, which I won’t get into — but to untangle related effects, they look at neighboring counties in states with different unemployment regimes, etc.

Now, this is just one paper and it involves some fancy econometrics, but it answers an unresolved question — why 2014 saw the labor market perk up (there’s also a possible end-of-austerity explanation, but it’s the labor market, not the economy overall, that’s really improved noticeably).

It should prompt passionate supporters of the extended unemployment-insurance program to consider whether it made as much sense as they thought. Even conservative economists, such as Michael Strain, pushed for the extension of long-term benefits. The length and scale of benefits during the Great Recession was unprecedented, but advocates for the program argued that this was necessary so long as unemployment, and especially long-term unemployment, remained historically elevated. Besides the moral case for supporting the unemployed, the market-friendly case for extending benefits is that one has to be searching for a job to get them. Cut the benefits, and you’ll see the long-term unemployed drop out of the labor force for good, the argument went. (It’s extremely hard to tell what did happen with these people when benefits expired, and the NBER paper here doesn’t comment on that.)

Advocates for extended benefits also argued that it was just an effective form of stimulus for the economy, because recipients spend their benefits immediately. That was always a pretty lame case, since the program’s value to the economy in spending terms — in the Obama White House’s generous estimation, 240,000 jobs in 2014 – would probably be outweighed if either side’s arguments about the labor-market effects proved mostly true. Indeed, if the new NBER paper is right, letting benefits expire produced 7.5 times as many jobs as the White House said it would cost.

The general economic consensus has always been that unemployment insurance slightly boosts the unemployment rate. Even liberal economists accept this, although they lampoon the idea that people might prefer benefits to working (that isn’t the point, Paul — people act at the margin). But we still have unemployment insurance, of course, because we want a safety net for people in the event of job loss. That just has to be balanced against the costs that the program imposes on the labor market. The new NBER paper doesn’t find that those costs in general are much higher than economists generally assume; rather, it suggests that the benefits of reining in long-term programs can be quite substantial.

There was always good reason to think this is the case: One of the many differences between American and European labor markets is that most of the latter have unemployment benefits systems of effectively unlimited duration — and much higher levels of structural unemployment.

All of that is very nice, except they don’t take this into consideration:

 

As you can see from the graph linked in the above paragraph, Real Unemployment is at almost 24%. Those who no longer have benefits no longer count for the NBER or the White House. Once your benefits are exhausted, you cease to be counted. That is why the real number of unemployed goes up in reality while for the government it goes down. There is a 20% spread between reality and what the government claims to be.

The Myths Of Minimum Wage

by Bunk X ( 42 Comments › )
Filed under Communism, Economy, Fascism, Liberal Fascism, Politics, Progressives, Socialism, unemployment at September 7th, 2014 - 12:29 am

Minimum Wage graph Poverty Level BS

My eyes glazed over when I saw that graphic, because there are no numbers or statistics to back up that arbitrary wiggly line and its specious claim. It’s pure socialist propaganda. Ready for some unadulterated reality?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 1979-2012 minimum wage jobs comprise an average of about 60% of all hourly jobs for any given year, but guess what percentage of workers over the age of 16 make minimum wage or less?

In 2012 a whopping 4.7 per cent of the working population above the age of 16 earned at or below minimum wage nation-wide. In California, only 1.4 per cent.

[Source: www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted 20130325]

Why such a small percentage? Because the majority of those workers are in transition to better jobs, better pay, and the minimum wage jobs have an unsurprisingly high turnover rate. Who wants to scrub pots at Denny’s for the rest of their life, let alone for more than a year?

Which industries employ the majority of minimum wage earners?

Minimum Wage Bar Chart by Industry

[Source: www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130325 ]

Agriculture is relatively insignificant, especially once you combine the Service/Retail percentages, and note that the Federal Government employs very few minimum wage earners.

Now let’s look at the make up of the minimum wage workforce, the nebulous 4.7 percent.

2013 Census Table 7

[Source http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2012tbls.htm#7]

Now let’s examine the age makeup of the 4.7 percent who make minimum wage or less.

Minimum Wage graph 1 ALL

Note that many workers in restaurants and hotels (waiters, waitresses, busboys, bellhops, etc.) often receive less than minimum wage, as they’re expected to make up the rest in tips. Tips account for a large percentage of income and workers typically earn more than minimum wage, sometimes a lot more in upscale venues. Since tips are un-monitored cash transactions, much of that income goes unreported. Let’s break it down a tad further.

The prevailing federal minimum wage in 1979 was $2.90, $3.10 in 1980, and $3.35 in 1981-89. The minimum wage rose to $3.80 on April 1, 1990, to $4.25 on April 1, 1991, to $4.75 on October 1, 1996, to $5.15 on September 1, 1997, to $5.85 on July 24, 2007, to $6.55 on July 24, 2008, and to $7.25 on July 24, 2009. When I checked Minimum Wage Job Numbers and correlated them with Minimum Wage Increases I found none, which suggests that employers covered the increased overhead with higher prices for goods and services in order to stay in business, and the costs were passed down to the consumer. The low income population takes another hit.

Minimum Wage graph 3 PCT Men and Women

Blue is for boys, pink is for girls. Statistics are not sexist.

I’m not an economist, and I’m also not a CPA, but I suspect the IRS gets something out of this scenario because the basic illogic of raising the minimum wage, especially in a sluggish economy, escapes me.

Who else benefits? Union leaders, long-march socialists and politicians whoring for votes.

Aside from the fact that the majority of the poor do not remain poor indefinitely (any more than the majority of the wealthy stay wealthy) raising the minimum wage gives people an incentive not to advance. If a worker finds that minimum wage meets or surpasses his/her current expenses, why not ride with it a few more years? The problem with that scenario is that the worker is not improving his/her resumé for those valuable “few years,” and by the time they realize it, they are years behind those who abandon minimum wage jobs, pick up new valuable skills, and naturally earn more. Those who choose to remain in low-skilled positions deny recent graduates the opportunity to find work, and the ladder to prosperity becomes stagnant.

Another scenario is of a family who needs a secondary income to give them a financial cushion during the expensive child-rearing years; or perhaps an elderly couple may not have saved enough for their retirement because their investments tanked; or simply because they choose not to retire.

Wage and price control is a socialist/fascist concept that has never worked because it creates more problems than it solves, and the problems it attempts to solve are non-existent in the free market. Pay a worker for the value of his/her work, and if there aren’t enough workers for the job, then you’re paying too little. Nobody wants to be a buck an hour pot scrubber for the rest of their life, but we’re still talking about only 4.7 percent of the working population, and most of those workers are moving up the ladder uninhibited.

There is also a macro-scenario that has to do with illegal immigrants and the Cloward-Piven Strategy that aims to overwhelm a stable government with free services provided and paid for by successful corporations, entrepreneurs and the common man, fomenting economic collapse and allowing Socialism/Communism/Fascism to prevail.

This road has always led to mass murder, without exception.

May God help our children and grandchildren if the progressives succeed.

Bunk

Shootout at the Cold Stone Corral: The Arizona Republican Gubernatorial Primary

by The Osprey ( 79 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Business, Corruption, Democratic Party, DOJ, Economy, Election 2014, EPA, Eric Holder, Health Care, immigration, Immigration, IRS, Janet Napolitano, Misery Index, Politics, Regulation, Republican Party, taxation, The Political Right, unemployment at August 24th, 2014 - 6:02 pm

AZnObamaTruck

Damn. The Arizona Republican Primary is Tuesday, and I have still not been able to make up my mind who I am going to vote for to be our contender for Governor in November. There are 6 – count ’em – 6 candidates!

Nicknames in quotes are mine 😆

I break them down like this:

The Corporates – pushing their experience in the private sector:

Doug Ducey. “The Ice Cream Man” : Current AZ Treasurer. Founder of Cold Stone Creamery, the upscale ice cream chain. Has gotten endorsement of Republican heavy hitters from outside the state – Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, radio talker Hugh Hewitt. On the hand, he has been endorsed by John McCain and there have been questions of impropriety raised around some of his dealings with Cold Stone franchisees. UPDATE: It appears that Doug Ducey has been endorsed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Christine Jones. “Go Daddy’s Girl”: Kind of a dark horse, or should I say, ginger horse. (She’s a red head). Was corporate attorney for Scottsdale based internet hosting company Go Daddy – they of the racy Superbowl ads and Danica Patrick ad campaign. Claims to be for strong border enforcement, but recent revelations of her social media posts from a few years back supporting Obama and other liberal positions, resume embellishments (she claimed to have worked as a prosecuting attorney prior to her Go Daddy days) have made me skeptical of her.

The Politicos – claiming the voice of moderation:

Ken Bennett: “Cool, Calm Ken” Current Arizona Secretary of State. Long term AZ politico seen by many as a balancing force in AZ Republican politics. Presents a “cool calm and collected” image but may be a RINO. Many Arizonans who support Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse investigation of Obama’s document fraud feel Bennett allowed himself to be bamboozled by Democrat officials in the Hawaii State Dept. of Records, and his lack of experience outside government has caused some criticism as well.

Scott Smith: “Mayor McRINO” Current Mayor of Mesa. Presents himself as a moderate Republican. Has a pretty good record as Mayor, but his support of Brewer’s Obamacare associated Medicare expansion which was passed in the dead of night by RINOS and Democrats and his participation in national Mayors conferences heavily influenced by Democrats has left a sour taste in the mouth of small government and balanced budget advocates in AZ. Endorsed by Jan Brewer.

The Lawmen- For border security and state’s rights :

Frank Riggs: “Marshall Dillon” Frank is a California transplant who moved to AZ in 2001. An army veteran and former police officer, he represented a conservative district in California in the Reagan years. This is his first foray back into politics since moving to Arizona. Has the endorsement for former State Senator Russell Pierce, author of SB 1070. A Border hawk. Those who object to him site a congressional voting record that is not quite as conservative as Riggs claims it to be.

Andrew Thomas: “The Boy Scout” Former Maricopa County Attorney. Defended Sheriff Joe’s immigration law enforcement in court, exposed and lead prosecution of various corrupt State representatives and Maricopa county supervisors. This gained him many enemies in the liberal Democrat run AZ Bar Association, who filed a lawsuit against him that while ultimately defeated, nonetheless lead to him being disbarred. He is very well liked in among AZ conservatives, but even many who like him feel that he is “damaged goods” and vulnerable to a Dem lead smear campaign in the General.

My initial thoughts back in February or March favored either Doug Ducey or Christine Jones. Having someone in the Governor’s office with private sector experience could help Arizona divert a lot of those California companies fleeing that state’s regulatory environment to Texas, into Arizona instead.

However, with the Bundy Ranch vs. Fed Gov showdown in April, the ongoing controversy over Sheriff Joe’s investigation into Obama’s document fraud, the “Camp of the Saints”/”Children’s Crusade” on the border, and the threat of ISIS infiltration via the border, has me leaning now towards one of “The Lawmen”. I don’t think the “Corporates” would have enough spine to stand up to Obama and Holder.

Polls are all over the map, there are some in the media who say the race is Ducey’s to lose, but I think there is a strong undercurrent for Andrew Thomas, as an F-YOU! to the Dems locally and nationally.

Curious to hear what other Blogmocers either in AZ or out of state think. We, along with Texas are on the front lines of the border crisis, Obama and Holder have been meddling in our local politics and the economy here has been struggling since 2008.

UPDATE: It appears that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has endorsed Doug Ducey.

Conservative?

by coldwarrior ( 123 Comments › )
Filed under Anarcho-Capitalism, Conservatism, Debt, Economy, government, Immigration, Libertarianism, Open thread, Politics, Regulation, Republican Party, taxation, Tea Parties, unemployment at May 16th, 2014 - 1:12 pm

Then I guess I ain’t one. No mention of deregulation at the federal level. No mention of any fiscally conservative issues like, oh, I don’t know, getting the budget and spending under control to avoid the obvious wall we are going to hit in a few years. No mention of tax reform. No mention of State’s rights. No mention of personal liberty. No mention of limiting the Federal Government’s role in our lives. These should be the ‘Agenda’ for the GOP. These should be Bedrock Issues.

 

But, predictably, No…It’s Abortion, ‘the family’ (not sure why fedgov needs to be involved in that), and illegal immigration. Now, if its up to me, abortion is up to the states where they could really make some headway like is being made on the second amendment. Mexico would be read the riot act and forced to close their side of the border, we would seal our southern border and the northern border. Hiring managers and HR and CEOs would do hard time for hiring illegals. There would be a path to citizenship, but it would be hard, and there would be work permits but they would only seasonal. Easy fix. took me 5 minutes.

 

Instead the usual crowd met and they talked about family values and abortion and fags. THE ECONOMY IS WRECKED!!!  WE HAVE 25% REAL UNEMPLOYMENT!!! WE ARE GOING TO RUN OUT OF MONEY IN A FEW YEARS!!! REGULATION IS KILLING US!!! FEDGOV VIEWS THE CITIZENS AS CATTLE!!! But no, let’s beat our chests about abortion and fags.

I have begun to ask myself, why does this  GOP ‘conservative wing’ not want to focus on why America is becoming poorer and losing ground by the minute while stacking up debt by the minute that will enslave our kids and grand-kids? Do they not see or not care about the train wreck that is coming for the economy? Why does this group have a willful disregard for economics and liberty? Having Grover Norquist natter on and subscribing to the economically illiterate idea of a balanced budget amendment does not address the serious fiscal issues that we face. Not even close. If these guys were the board and GOP was a corporation, they would be fired by the shareholders for negligence.

Although many Republicans are optimistic about their chances in this year’s elections, some of Washington’s leading conservatives gathered Thursday to privately vent frustrations about what kind of party they will be left with after November.

The group, alarmed by a resurgence of the GOP establishment in recent primaries and what activists view as a softened message, drafted demands to be shared with senior lawmakers calling on the party to “recommit” to bedrock principles.

Some of those principles laid out in the new document — strict opposition to illegal immigration, same-sex marriage and abortion — represent the hot-button positions that many Republican congressional candidates are trying to avoid as the party attempts to broaden its appeal.

Several attendees said they fear that elected Republicans, even if they succeed in retaining control of the House and winning the Senate majority, would cast aside the core conservative base.

“Conservatives ought not to delude themselves that if Republicans win the Senate majority, it will somehow be a conservative majority,” said L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Research Center, which monitors perceived media bias. “We should have no expectation whatsoever that they will listen. That’s why we’re fighting.”

Others worry that a toned-down campaign message by the party would dim GOP turnout and undercut Republicans in competitive races.

“I’m terrified that Republicans will blow this election if they are not going to stand for something,” said Michael A. Needham, the chief executive of Heritage Action, a conservative group.

Stand for something!?! How about standing for State’s rights, personal liberty and less regulation/federal control as ‘Bedrock Issues’? Why not restrain Fedzilla and get them off of our backs as a Bedrock Issue? They can start with USDA agents with machine guns and bullet proof vests then move to the BLM and ATF and EPA. How about standing for not selling our kids and grand-kids into debt slavery as a Bedrock Issue?

Debt is slavery and regulation is the whip.

Liberty is a gift. Liberty is a real and universal family value.

Debt and Liberty weren’t on the agenda.

 

*SO, this is what drives me mad about these people who call themselves conservative* Where is the liberty? Where is the reduction of enslaving debt?   Makes me crazy…so don’t get all out of whack over this post. It is for illustration purposes only.

 

Oh well…have a great friday and weekend yinz!

Can Accounting Changes Save America?: Reddux

by Flyovercountry ( 137 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, Progressives, unemployment at May 9th, 2014 - 7:00 am

Political Cartoons by Steve Breen

It was in May of 2013 that I first highlighted some accounting changes which had taken place at the United States Department of Commerce. Among other changes, they had begun the practice of adding intellectual property as a product to be included in calculations of or Gross Domestic Product. Laughable as this was, and even given the fact that this particular inventory item can be manipulated to be anything a President with suddenly sinking approval numbers wants or needs it to be, such accounting changes will one day be one year old. In the retail industry, that’s what we called, “around the horn.” Let’s explore that concept in a little more detail.

When you manage a store for a company, there is a weekly report of sales numbers. Those numbers are usually compared with the exact same week from the previous year. If you sales are more than last year, the people who sit in Executive Offices are usually happy. If those sales numbers are lower, they’ll be unhappy. Unhappy executives will seek to understand the source of their frowning state, and will also want to know what you, as the store manager are doing about it, (turning their frown upside down.) Some phone calls will ensue. Executive managers will call regional managers who will call district managers who will call store managers. The first question is invariably, “Why!?” Sometimes, the answer will be, a new store or shopping mall just opened up in my neighborhood. They’ll demand to know exactly how far, where, what roads must be traversed, are there tunnels, bridges, mountains, etc. The date of the opening will be written in a book somewhere, and When that date passes next year, God help you if you’re still down in sales. The boss’ answer will be, you are around the horn, and your excuse is no longer going to be accepted.

The same phenomenon also happens the other way. Somehow, the guys at the top always seem to know when competition closes, a new road opens, or some event has taken place to help you look good. Then the refrain becomes, we’ll see if your numbers are as good when we come around the horn on this thing. So, what do you think, “around the horn,” means for the Obama Administration?

The first quarter’s growth in GDP after the horn was rounded on those previously mentioned accounting changes came in at an eye popping .1%. Not only does this represent an annualized figure, but according to statements made by Fed Chief Janet Yellen today, it also includes an adjustment to core inflation, fudged specifically for the purpose of being able to claim that staggering economic expansion, rather than a contraction. We got this news last week one day prior to a bizarre claim made by the Department of Labor that their reports showed another 277,000 jobs were added to the economy by American businesses. The more astute among you might very well say, as much to yourselves as those listening in, “those two reports from the differing arms of our federal behemoth do not jibe with each other,” and you’d be correct. As it turns out, a fudge factor was used by the Department of Labor, because it was April, and apparently April is national tell-me-a-fairy-story month.

For those who don’t know, the unemployment top number is not exactly an exact science. It is figured by the Census Bureau sending out and analyzing the answers to two differing questionnaires. One is sent to about 25,000 American Households each month, and the other involves responses from about 160,000 American businesses. The Institutional Survey, sent to the latter, is run past the statisticians and accountants who then figure how many new jobs were added by businesses, and how many jobs were eliminated. So, paying attention to the usage of new jobs, and net new jobs is important as well. Then the Household Survey is run through the same process to guess how many of our Citizens were actually hired to fill those or other positions and how many lost their jobs. In April of this year, our government reported to us that American Businesses added 277,000 jobs and that 838,000 fewer Americans are working to fulfill those net jobs added. This bizarre reporting of statistics is not new, not an anomaly, but has been pretty much standard fare for close to two years now. Just to drive the point home, April’s anomaly represents a disparity of 1.1 Million people involved in a statistical impossibility, and that same statistical impossibility has been happening unbroken since July of 2012. So now my fellow inhabitants of the current worker’s paradise and formerly free nation known as the people’s republic of America, the question is, do you think that there may be some chicanery involved with how these figures are reported to us?

I am not certain which astounds me more, the fact that the current Administration must obviously believe that they can continue this lie for ever, and no one will catch wise, or if it is how completely incurious the alphabet media seems to be that they are still reporting these numbers without circus music playing in the background. O.K., forget the circus music, at least question the validity once in a while, especially when the lie is so gosh darned obvious.

Thank goodness for Fox News, who at least pressed for some sort of explanation, and didn’t just accept the baloney like the trained zombies at other news outlets. They at least got some sort of an explanation from the White House concerning our suddenly near zero GDP growth. That explanation was that it was cold during the winter months, (which apparently according to the White House has never ever happened before in U.S. history.) So, maybe the answer is that we actually need global warming to be real, and we need it to start working now, or we’ll all starve. Don’t worry my fellow future inhabitants of the reeducation camps, November of 2016 is only 30 short months away. I just hope we don’t do something stupid again, like electing Hillary Clinton to be our 45th President.

Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.

The Obama Boom: 1st Quarter QDP grew at 0.1%

by Husky Lover ( 5 Comments › )
Filed under Headlines, unemployment at April 30th, 2014 - 9:25 am

The media has been hyping the US economy as being on all cylinders and in an era of unprecedented prosperity. Reality intrudes on this narrative with the results of the 1st quarter GDP. The alleged great and booming Obama economy grew at only .01% in the first quarter.

The U.S. economy barely grew in the first quarter as exports tumbled and businesses accumulated stocks at the slowest pace in nearly a year, but activity already appears to be bouncing back.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 0.1 percent annual rate, the slowest since the fourth quarter of 2012, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. That was a sharp pullback from the fourth quarter’s 2.6 percent pace.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected growth to slow to a 1.2 percent rate. The slowdown partly reflected an unusually cold and disruptive winter, marked by declines in sectors ranging from business spending to home building.

The narrative is was the cold winter caused a low GDP number. I am sure there were cold winters in the 80’s and 90’s when the economy was growing at 4-5%. The media is still making excuses for Obama’s failures.

How To Refute The Economy Running On All Cylinders Meme In One Graph

by Flyovercountry ( 251 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Economy, Regulation, taxation, unemployment at April 25th, 2014 - 6:00 am

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Let me begin with my penance. All hail the Gods of the Third Party. Hail to thee, hail to thee, hail to thee. Forgive me my transgression of mentioning elections and wining them without touting you as the sole way forward for humanity’s best hope. Now that this is out of the way, on with the reason for the post.

It’s the start of another midterm campaign season, and the stupidity from the left is already in full bloom. It’s bloomed early this year, and the leftist arguments concerning economics are no exception to that. “Barack Obama brought us back from the brink of collapse.” “it would have been worse had McCain or Romney won.” “the economy is just starting to recover and is running on all cylinders,” will be heralded from the roof tops and accepted by a compliant and completely incurious media. Those statements and more are just a taste of what we’re about to hear as we crawl our way towards that first Tuesday in November, that next opportunity to mitigate the damage done by two Barack Obama terms in the Oval Office.

I realize that many in our nation, especially those who claim that America was perched on the brink of the proverbial abyss in January of 2009, will not remember the middle to late 1970’s, most specifically the state of our economy during those halcyon days. Jimmy Carter had managed to disprove the theory that a correlation betwixt unemployment and Inflation existed. Inflation was so high that banks were beginning to flat out refuse to loan even a single thin dime, unless the borrower agreed to an interest rate that made loan sharks scratch their heads and cry WTF. Gas lines were miles long, and rationing had begun. During the winter months, the nightly news dutifully reported how many days of coal for heating were left in stockpiles, and took the extra step of comparing that estimation with the number of days left in the winter season. Those are just some of the reasons why you hear a derisive laughter when stating that the George W. Bush economy was the worst since WWII.

When Ronald Reagan took over from Jimmy Carter in ’81, things were actually worse economically compared to when Obama took over from George W. Bush in ’08.
Consider these three important comparisons of economic indicators, then and now:

– Unemployment was at 10.8% versus 7.7%
– Inflation (Consumer Price Index) was at 13.5% versus 2.7%
– Interest rates (prime rate) was at 21.5% versus 3.25%

Obama v Reagan Net Jobs

What the above graph shows is the net new jobs created in proportion to the population growth. During the upcoming election cycle, be prepared for the baloney. They’ll bandy about some highly suspect and nebulous figure for how many jobs, Barack Obama, created. It’ll be in the millions, and we’re supposed to be amazed by it’s size, never actually comparing it to the size of our population, the size of our population’s growth, let alone how many of those jobs were additions to the tax paying public’s burden for all of this, or how many jobs were lost or disappeared during the same time frame.

I have said this many times before, but it bears saying again. We, meaning those of us who believe in small government limited in scope and authority by the consent of those governed, in free market economic principles, in the rule of law as codified in our Constitution’s original intent, must get our collective crap together and begin winning elections. Our problems run much deeper than Barack Obama or any of his small band of incompetent minions. Our collective pain has been achieved politically, and politically is the only way we will be able to remedy that pain.

You’ve probably all seen this before. I first saw this quote in March of 2009, but that does not change the fact that it is spot on, eloquent, and quite possibly the best description of the state of America today.

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Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.

Republicans and Blacks

by Speranza ( 186 Comments › )
Filed under Democratic Party, Economy, Elections, Mitt Romney, Republican Party, unemployment at March 26th, 2014 - 12:00 pm

Rand Paul – unlike most Republican activists – actually seems interested in expanding the Republican Party. The day we can get 20 -25% of the Black vote is the day that the Democratic Party sinks into irrelevance but the first thing we need to do is actually show ourselves in Black neighborhoods and rebuild our urban arm. Instead of promoting vanity candidates such as the pizza guy, look more to serious thinkers such as Thomas Sowell.

by Thomas Sowell

Recently former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice added her voice to those who have long been urging the Republican Party to reach out to black voters. Not only is that long overdue, what is also long overdue is putting some time — and, above all, some serious thought — into how to go about doing it.

Too many Republicans seem to think that the way to “reach out” is to offer blacks and other minorities what the Democrats are offering them. Some have even suggested that the channels to use are organizations like the NAACP and black “leaders” like Jesse Jackson — that is, people tied irrevocably to the Democrats.

Voters who want what the Democrats offer can get it from the Democrats. Why should they vote for Republicans who act like make-believe Democrats?

Yet there are issues where Republicans have a big advantage over Democrats — if they will use that advantage.  [……]

The issue on which Democrats are most vulnerable, and have the least room to maneuver, is school choice. Democrats are heavily in hock to the teachers’ unions, who see public schools as places to guarantee jobs for teachers, regardless of what that means for the education of students.

There are some charter schools and private schools that have low-income minority youngsters equaling or exceeding national norms, despite the many ghetto public schools where most students are nowhere close to meeting those norms. Because teachers’ unions oppose charter schools, most Democrats oppose them, including black Democrats up to and including President Barack Obama.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent cutback on funding for charter schools, and creating other obstacles for them, showed a calloused disregard for black youngsters, for whom a decent education is their one shot at a better life.

But did you hear any Republican say anything about it?

Minimum wage laws are another government-created disaster for minority young people.

Many people today would be surprised to learn that there were once years when the unemployment rate for black 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds was under 10 percent. But their unemployment rates have not been under 20 percent in more than half a century. In some years, their unemployment rate has been over 40 percent.

Why such great differences between earlier and later times? In the late 1940s, inflation had rendered meaningless the minimum wage set in 1938.  […….]

Young people need job experience, at least as much as they need a paycheck. And no neighborhood needs hordes of idle young men hanging around, getting into mischief, if not into crime.

Republicans have failed to explain why the minimum wage laws that Democrats support are counterproductive for blacks. Worse yet, during the 2012 election campaign Mitt Romney advocated indexing the minimum wage for inflation, which would not only guarantee its bad effects, but would put an end to discussing those bad effects.

Are issues like these going to switch the black vote as a whole over into the Republican column at the next election? Of course not. Nor will embracing the Democrats’ racial agenda.

But, if Republicans can reduce the 90 percent of the black vote that goes to Democrats to 80 percent, that can be enough to swing a couple of close Congressional elections — as a start.

Even to achieve that, however, will require targeting those particular segments of the black population that are not irrevocably committed to the Democrats. Parents who want their children to get a decent education are one obvious example. But if Republicans aim a one-size-fits-all message at all blacks they will fail to connect with the particular people they have some chance of reaching.

First of all, Republicans will need to know what they are talking about. There are books like “Race and Economics” by Walter Williams, which show that many well-meaning government programs have been counterproductive for minorities. And there are people like Shelby Steele and the Thernstroms with valuable insights.

But first Republicans have got to want to learn, and to be willing to do some thinking, in order to get their message across.

Read the rest – Republicans and Blacks

Rodan Addendum: Roger L. Simon from PJ Media discusses the racist nature of the Progressives.

As one of the relatively few people (percentage wise) to have spent more than a decade on both sides of our political divide, and also to have participated personally in the civil rights movement in the South in the sixties, I am going to say something that will be extremely controversial to liberals, indeed make them hate me.  Given all those years I spent on the two sides, I have observed liberals to be vastly more racist than conservatives and libertarians.

 It isn’t even close. During the time I was on the left, I heard  many racially disparaging comments by my associates either offered in confidence or as off-hand remarks.  During my time on the right,  I heard such a comment only one time — and that was by a Frenchman. (Frankly, it didn’t surprise me.  I have spent a certain amount of time in France and heard more racism around the dinner table than I ever have in this country.)  I will add that, though I don’t classify myself as a Tea Party member, in the seven years I was CEO of PJ Media, I met or spoke on the phone with dozens of  Tea Partiers.  Not a single one of them ever said or did anything that approached racism to me.  And I was certainly paying attention. That was my job.

The roots of this divide are not just the obvious Freudian projection — those who accuse you of something evil are usually the ones perpetrating it.  That’s true enough.  But it’s far more than that.  The Democratic Party has been waging a War on Black People since the Great Society of 1964-65 (actually for far longer than that) that has reached horrifying proportions in our time.  That nearly 73 percent of African Americans are currently born out of wedlock, 67 percent living in single parent homes, is nothing short of disastrous with yet more disastrous auguries for the future.

And all this during the administration of our first black president.  The level of hypocrisy is astronomical.

I experienced first hand Progressive racism in the NYC Public Schools in the Pre-Guiliani era. I saw Immigrant students from Eastern Europe put in regular classes. Immigrant students from Latin America were thrown in ESL classes. The implication is that Spanish speakers are biologically inferior to East Europeans. Sadly many in the Republican Party refuse to call out this racism.

(Hat Tip: Iron Fist)

Things Are Looking Up For The Right!

by Flyovercountry ( 134 Comments › )
Filed under Conservatism, Economy, Libertarianism, Regulation, Republican Party, Tea Parties, The Political Right, Uncategorized, unemployment at February 27th, 2014 - 1:00 pm

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

I believe some perspective might be in order, so that the significance of this next item may be fully appreciated in its broader context. Harry Reid it seems went to his fellow minions in the Senate, and as their minion leader, found that little more than half of his sub minion drones were on board with the latest bit of class warfare du jour.

I am referencing of course the proposed federal minimum wage hike to $10.10 per hour, euphemistically referred to as, “giving America a raise.” For purposes of perspective, let’s discuss what these little bits of class warfare truly are, and especially the minimum wage hike. They are the go to plays within the Democrat play book that are pulled out whenever electoral trouble is spotted on the horizon. The minimum wage hike is the Democrat equivalent to the Steelers running their bubble screen each and every time they face a second and long and are down by a touchdown or more. They are the equivalent of Peyton Manning coming to the line of scrimmage and declaring authoritatively, “Comanche,” every single time his offense faces a third and long. The minimum wage hike is the go to play, and before now, it has worked every single time, (in terms of electoral politics anyhow. Economically, it has always resulted in disaster.)

From the Hotair article linked to above:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday delayed action on legislation raising the minimum wage, the centerpiece of the Democrats’ 2014 agenda.

The Nevada Democrat made the surprising move amid escalating Democratic resistance in the wake of a Congressional Budget Office report released last week estimating that hiking the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could cost the equivalent of 500,000 jobs by late 2016.

Reid has not yet unified his caucus on the issue, which is a constant in the Democrats’ election-year playbook. Of the 55 senators who caucus with the Democrats, only 32 have signed on as official co-sponsors of Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) bill.
Let’s get this straight. This is Obama’s highest domestic agenda priority item, and the chamber which his party controls can barely get half of their caucus to sign onto it? That’s some genius work at the White House. Who’s their legislative liaison these days?

The issue, of course, is that the CBO actually scored the proposal before Reid could advance the bill. Their estimate of 500,000 jobs lost in just two years would be a boat anchor on any legislation, but especially in an economy where workforce participation looks like this:

The Democrats who still have jobs in Washington, and are not tenured enough in their careers as professional wielders of power are worried. They have internal polls, and those internal polls are telling them to forget about 2016, but worry instead about 2014. They can read the tea leaves and those tea leaves are telling them that America is not in a mood to elect Democrats to the office of county dog catcher. This is the reason why we are seeing a huge increase in the retirements from the demographic of Democrat Congressional Leaders. These fine folks are not interested in being in Congress and not being afforded the opportunity to wield power to the degree that they feel entitled.

What we’ve just witnessed, to continue the pro football analogy, is the first snap from scrimmage during a playoff game sailing over the head of the quarterback, while the whole stadium anticipated and feared the bubble screen. The Democrats tried to label Obamacare bi-partisan, and that will never work. Then they tried to laud it as a giant success, that won’t work either. Next they tried the whole populist play book, and received a bizarrely luke warm reception from a nation fatigued with previous consequences from earlier forays into populism. After that, the calls to fix rather than scrap Obamacare were sounded to various focus groups. The response of course was this:

“You can’t fix this car Spicoli!”

The tried and true minimum wage hike was supposed to be their go to play. The good news is that as of now, they can’t even sell it to their own. Demonizing political opponents is all they have left now. Expect to see that soon. It may work, and it may not, but one thing is clear, reports of the death of the GOP may have been premature, once again.

Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.