Posts filed under 'Unemployment'

The Post-Work Future

The Atlantic has an interesting article on the “post-work” future, when automation (and probably outsourcing) has eliminated so many jobs that massive unemployment is structurally unavoidable, at least as far as traditional corporate employment goes.  It covers far too much territory for me to attempt to summarize, but I wanted to jot down a few thoughts of my own.

In the section on government “makework,” why no mention of infrastructure renewal except in the past tense?  The American Society of Civil Engineers estimated the total cost of fixing our infrastructure at $3.6 TRILLION – I find it very hard to believe that that would not translate into an enormous amount of construction and engineering jobs, but perhaps the assumption is that most of the construction and engineering tasks would be performed by robots.

The most direct approach would be for the government to raise taxes on corporations and the rich in order to give everyone a “universal basic income,” which both Nixon and Milton Friedman supported back in the 60s.  If there isn’t enough work to go around, this will be absolutely imperative, not just from a humanitarian perspective, but from an economic perspective as well: Corporations still need consumers to be able to afford their products.

There were also sections on the possibility of people becoming independent artisans, or the government helping them start small businesses, which is all well and good, but it will be a lot easier for people to make that leap if they’re not desperately clinging to or searching for a job (or two), or wondering where their next meal – or roof – is coming from.

The bottom line is that until we finally repudiate the conservative Randian belief that the unemployed are worthless, lazy parasites who must be punished economically (in the guise of “tough love,” of course) rather than reduce the winnings of the “job creators,” the post-work future will be about desperation and misery instead of creativity and opportunity.

June 24th, 2015 at 09:48pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Politics,Republicans,Unemployment

How To Fix Unemployment

There’s a lot of charts and technical economic talk, but the gist of it is “create enough jobs to satisfy the preferences for work of those who haven’t any” – who knew?

As an aside, excluding the long-term unemployed from the unemployment rate is a huge scam that was almost certainly designed with the specific goal of obscuring the true scope of the problem.

February 13th, 2013 at 07:49am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Politics,Unemployment

The Romney Plan

As I understand it from last night’s debate, Mitt’s strategy to create jobs is to create jobs, and his strategy to balance the budget is to balance the budget.  It’s brilliant in its simplicity!

Now he just has to turn that genius to winning the election by winning the election.

October 17th, 2012 at 07:04am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Republicans,Romney,Unemployment

Selectively Small Government

Funny how Republicans and conservatives are all about small government when it comes to guns, regulating or taxing rich people and corporations, or helping the poor, the sick, and the elderly, yet they can’t get enough government when it comes to voting and registration requirements, security theater, domestic spying, immigrants, drug laws, prisons, abortion, or anything to do with the military.

Why, it’s almost as if “small government” is just a convenient excuse for letting moneyed interests have whatever they want at the expense of everyone else, rather than a bedrock principle conservatives sincerely believe in.

September 5th, 2012 at 07:39am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Prisoners,Republicans,Taxes,Terrorism,Unemployment,Wankers,War

Obama Administration Identifies And Fixes Key Flaw In Unemployment Insurance

The problem is that all of these people are just sitting around and collecting unemployment checks without doing anything to enhance corporate profitability.  But Obama has the solution!

April 20th, 2012 at 07:30am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Obama,Unemployment,Wankers

Wanker Of The Day

Shorter John Boehner to Catholic Church: It is necessary to destroy the safety net in order to save it.

April 19th, 2012 at 07:04am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Religion,Republicans,Social Security,Unemployment,Wankers

“Job-Killing Regulations” Myth Exploded In One Paragraph

Can’t say it any better than this:

Whenever a firm lays off workers, the Bureau [of Labor Statistics] asks executives the biggest reason for the job cuts.

In 2010, 0.3 percent of the people who lost their jobs in layoffs were let go because of “government regulations/intervention.” By comparison, 25 percent were laid off because of a drop in business demand.

So if Republicans (and Democrats, for that matter) really want to do something about jobs, they should start putting some money in the hands of the people who are most likely to spend it (hint: not the rich).

Sadly, it also suggests that the leading cause of unemployment is… unemployment.

November 14th, 2011 at 05:46pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics,Republicans,Unemployment

Rick Scott Goes Too Far

The latest in Rick Scott’s never-ending parade of bad ideas:

Gov. Rick Scott has sent a list of 17 detailed, audit-like questions to Florida’s 11 university presidents, challenging them to show what they’re doing to prepare graduates for jobs.


Scott sent the letter, which bears his signature, on Thursday, at the end of a week during which he was pummeled by the academic community for suggesting universities needed fewer programs in anthropology and more in science and math.


He’s circulated copies of a Texas think-tank report called “Seven Breakthrough Solutions,” which proposes revamping how professors are paid and awarded tenure, emphasizing large classes and evaluations from students, whom it calls “customers.”

And Scott has made the rounds of newspaper editorial board meetings, talking about the importance of programs in what’s known as STEM: science, technology, engineering and math.

The governor began his Thursday letter with a brief discussion of the 900,000 people who are out of work in Florida, saying that many university graduates can’t find jobs and implying that the problem is with their education.

“Many employers are concerned that university graduates are not equipped with the appropriate writing skills, critical thinking skills, and technical expertise needed to succeed,” Scott’s letter says.


Scott’s letter focuses heavily on job training, asking for instance, “Do you have measureable goals to meet employers’ current needs?”

This is just incredibly foolish and short-sighted.  If Scott turns the state’s universities into vocational schools, why, it could do incalculable damage to the for-profit education industry.

October 19th, 2011 at 11:46am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Education,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers

Wanker Of The Day

Herman Cain:

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal posted Wednesday, the up-and-coming GOP 2012 contender and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza summed up his bewilderment about recent demonstrations on Wall Street.

“Don’t blame Wall Street,” Cain said. “Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.”

The conservative radio talk show host described the protests as “planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration, though he admitted he didn’t “have the facts to back this up.”


It is not a person’s fault because they succeeded. It is a person’s fault if they failed. And so this is why I don’t understand these demonstrations and what is it that they’re looking for.”

Cain also has the Quote Of The Day:

“When I was growing up I was blessed to have had parents. That didn’t teach me to be jealous of anybody and didn’t teach me to be jealous of somebody,” Cain explained.


Herman Cain is obviously an al Qaeda infiltrator sent to destroy the United States from within, but I don’t have the facts to back this up.

October 6th, 2011 at 07:00am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Elections,Politics,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers


I should probably refine my translation of “jobs” as used by corporations and Republicans (and almost everyone else) from “profits” to “profits for industries which have powerful lobbyists and throw lots of money at corrupt politicians”.

September 23rd, 2011 at 07:50am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics,Unemployment,Wankers

Approval And Unemployment

David Axelrod whistles past the graveyard:

Despite what you hear in elite commentary, the President’s support among base voters and in key demographic groups has stayed strong. According to the latest NBC-WSJ poll, Democrats approve of his performance by an 81%-14% margin. That’s stronger than President Clinton’s support among Democrats at this point in his term and, according to Gallup, stronger than any Democratic President dating back to Harry Truman through this point in their presidency.

Well, there’s a couple of problems with that.  One is that the 81% are not exactly enthusiastic in their approval:

Only 48% of Democrats on our most recent national survey said they were ‘very excited’ about voting in 2012. On the survey before that the figure was 49%. Those last two polls are the only times all year the ‘very excited’ number has dipped below 50%.

In 13 polls before August the average level of Democrats ‘very excited’ about voting next year had averaged 57%. It had been as high as 65% and only twice had the number even dipped below 55%.

The other is that since Election Day 2008, the breakdown of party affiliation has gone from 28/37/33 Republican/Independent/Democrat to 28/44/26.  Which kinda suggests to me that Obama just managed to drive 7% of the electorate out of the Democratic Party entirely.  If you add those people back in, then Obama’s approval rating is more like 64% among people who were Democrats when Obama was elected.

Granted, that’s probably an oversimplification, but the shrinkage in Democratic affiliation is almost certainly inflating Obama’s approval rating there, in much the same way that ignoring people who have given up looking for work understates the true scope of unemployment.

1 comment September 17th, 2011 at 04:25pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Obama,Politics,Polls,Unemployment,Wankers

Strawman Of The Day

Thomas Sowell courageously attacks those who oppose the creation of wealth.

The thing is, no one that I know of is actually opposed to wealth creation.  But I and most other progressives are opposed to creating wealth solely for the enrichment of the wealthy.  If everyone else had a little more wealth, that just might create a virtuous cycle of consumer demand, increased employment, and yes, more wealth.

1 comment September 8th, 2011 at 07:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Media,Politics,Republicans,Taxes,Unemployment,Wankers

Wankers Of The Day

Rush Limbaugh (on pensions): “I never once in my life have expected to be paid by a place when I no longer worked there.”

Admirable self-reliance coming from a man who is set for life and has never actually needed a pension.

Shorter Mitch McConnell: Why isn’t Obama sending jobs overseas faster?

I guess Mitch still has some doubts about whether he’ll be able to achieve his single most important goal next year.

September 7th, 2011 at 07:14am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Labor,Politics,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers


Very good, long story in this week’s NYT Magazine about the decline of manufacturing in the US.  There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there about lithium-ion batteries and the future of the electric car business, but the biggest takeaway for me is that because “industrial policy” is a dirty word, we now have an economy structured around industries like software and finance that don’t employ nearly as many people as manufacturing, so that even if GDP does start growing, it won’t translate into nearly as many jobs as it should.

It’s kind of like basing a stimulus plan on tax cuts for the rich, in other words.  Or basing an election campaign on appealing to independent voters instead of the base.

1 comment August 29th, 2011 at 07:40am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Unemployment

HAMP For Unemployment

Looking for another way to give desperate people false hope and pretend to solve the problem while actually just benefiting corporations?  I know!  Let’s let people on unemployment work for free and call it “training”!

August 25th, 2011 at 07:52am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Obama,Unemployment,Wankers

Negotiating By Dummies

Here is a truly remarkable Obama quote, via a Jonathan Schwarz post about how Obama took the $1.2 trillion stimulus off the table all by himself with no help from Larry Summers:

MR. HARWOOD: Tomorrow you’re going to give a speech and talk about your economic stimulus package…It looks like it’s going to be at the high end of your range, around $775 billion. If it’s correct that, as your aides have said, the danger is doing too little rather than too much…why stop at $775 billion? Why not go to the 1.2 trillion (dollars) that some economists have recommended?

PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA: …We’ve seen ranges from 800 to 1.3 trillion, and our attitude was that, given the legislative process, if we start towards the low end of that, we’ll see how it develops….

That’s the Obama approach to negotiating in a nutshell right there, and the results have been predictably awful.  Look, if someone says they’re going to open with their minimum position and then work their way towards their maximum position, they are either clueless, lying about which direction their max position is… or a Republican on the other side of the table from Obama.

July 17th, 2011 at 02:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Obama,Politics,Unemployment,Wankers

Question Of The Day

Why is it that inexpensive immigrants taking American jobs is some kind of terrible stealth invasion, but inexpensive convicts taking American jobs is a success story?

1 comment July 7th, 2011 at 07:23pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Immigration,Labor,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers

Question Of The Day

Do Republicans oppose government spending because they think it doesn’t create jobs? Or because they think it does?

1 comment June 23rd, 2011 at 11:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Politics,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers

Conservatives Fail To Understand Concept Of “Examples”

I hate to defend Obama, especially on unemployment where he truly is awful, but this is just silly:

OBAMA [explaining lack of private sector hiring]: Well, I don’t think it’s a matter of me being unable to convince them to hire more people. They’re making decisions based on what they think will be good for their companies.  A couple of things have happened. Look, we went through the worst crisis since the Great Depression…..The other thing that happened, though, and this goes to the point you were just making, is there are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM; you don’t go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport, and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate….

Fox Nation: “Obama Blames ATMs For High Unemployment.” A June 14 Fox Nation post embedded video of Obama’s comments under the headline, “Obama Blames ATMs for High Unemployment.” [Fox Nation, 6/14/11]

CNN’s Erickson: “Barack Obama Thinks An ATM Ate Your Job.” In a June 15 RedState post titled, “Barack Obama Thinks an ATM Ate Your Job,” CNN contributor Erick Erickson wrote:

Yesterday, Barack Obama gave away the game. Without actually using the words, Barack Obama admitted he is completely and utterly ignorant about job creation and economics. In an interview with the Today Show, Barack Obama declared that the unemployment rate remains so high because of ATMS.


Limbaugh: Obama “Cited ATM Machines As A Reason For High Unemployment.” During his June 14 radio program, Rush Limbaugh said:

There’s a new reason for high unemployment as told by Obama. He had that interview with Ann Curry at the Today Show, and basically there’s too much automation out there. He cited ATM machines as a reason for high unemployment. No, no. I kid you not. That’s right! Obama explained to NBC News the reason that companies are not hiring is not because of his policies, it’s because the economy is so automated….

He actually said this.

So Obama says that employment is down because companies aren’t hiring in a down economy and people are being replaced by machines, such as but not limited to ATMs and ticket kiosks – both of which happen to be true – and the right freaks out that “Obama said ATMs are the sole cause of unemployment.  What a maroon!”

Yet another epic intellectual honesty fail.

June 16th, 2011 at 07:38am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Technology,Unemployment,Wankers

If I Were Cynical…

…I might think that the Republicans don’t really care so much about reducing the debt as making sure the economy and job market don’t recover while a Democrat is in the White House.

The weird part is that Obama is so willing to go along with them.

June 9th, 2011 at 07:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers

Things Fall Apart

Infrastructure is one of those things that no politician seems to want to talk about.  It’s not like it’s a political third-rail like Social Security (“Keep your government hands off my infrastructure!”), but with all the deficit hysteria raging around Washington these days, no one dares say that we need $2 trillion dollars to keep the country from physically falling apart. So it will.

Frugality’s all well and good until your house collapses.

May 18th, 2011 at 11:46am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Economy,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers


As I predicted, Republicans are hailing the death of Osama bin Laden as a great victory forGeorge W. Bush.  Only.  Also.

Because, after all, without Dubya’s decision to use military force against terrorism, we never would have killed bin Laden… with a small strike force in a heavily-fortified compound in a military town in a country we didn’t invade.

And without Dubya’s decision to use torture against detainees, we never would have found him… after torture didn’t work.

So if the right wants to give Dubya credit for killing bin Laden three years after he left office, does this mean that they’re finally ready to give him credit for the deficit and economic slump too?

May 3rd, 2011 at 08:03am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Bush,Economy,Iraq,Obama,Palin,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism,Torture,Unemployment,Wankers,War


Apparently the new definition of “seriousness” is using a genuine unemployment crisis and a ginned-up deficit crisis as excuses to pursue ideological goals that have absolutely nothing to do with fixing them.

Too bad the Progressive Caucus is so unserious, otherwise maybe someone might take their deficit-reduction plan seriously.  Hell, they probably have an employment plan too, one that would actually create jobs instead of destroying them.

April 25th, 2011 at 08:08am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Taxes,Unemployment,Wankers

The Great Decoupling

Very long, very important essay by Harold Meyerson in The American Prospect.  In essence, he argues that our big, powerful corporations no longer need the American economy to be healthy, because their sales and labor bases are now overseas.

So much for trickle-down.  And trickle-up, for that matter.

February 8th, 2011 at 11:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics,Unemployment,Wankers

WIth Dems Like These, Part 832

So Obama’s brilliant “compromise” plan is to use the unemployed as human shields to extend tax cuts for the rich, gut the estate tax, and apply a “temporary” payroll tax cut that can probably never be repealed and will make it easier for Republicans to destroy Social Security once and for all?

Gee, what’s not to like?  I particularly like how Obama gets to re-use the healthcare reform messaging playbook: “How can you oppose these gifts to the rich and corporate?  Why do you hate unemployed people???”

Also, what a bitch says.

December 7th, 2010 at 07:41am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama,Politics,Social Security,Taxes,Unemployment

Weak Or Complicit?

In the end, I guess it doesn’t really matter so much whether Obama is weak, incompetent, or a right-wing tool (his sudden transformation from tepid helplessness to forceful arm-twisting as soon as the public option was off the table certainly suggests the latter) – the result is the same.  And disastrous.

Is it too soon for “Worst President Ever” talk?  Granted, Obama hasn’t been as actively destructive as Bush, but his determined and ongoing attack on his base and on the working and middle class has to count for something.  It’s certainly hard to think of many examples of presidents this terrible back-to-back.  Harding and Coolidge, maybe.

2 comments December 3rd, 2010 at 07:39am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama,Politics,Taxes,Unemployment,Wankers


In a nutshell, the Democrats got crushed because they, behind Obama’s fearless leadership, failed to deliver.  Yes, they passed a lot of bills, but they were compromised and weak at best.  They actually managed to pass a healthcare reform bill that most people hate, they passed a weak financial reform bill, they passed a stimulus bill that was too small and poorly-designed to reduce unemployment (but continued to brag about how the economy’s in recovery), and they appear to be mostly twiddling their thumbs in the face of a massive foreclosure crisis.

Not only that, but the Obama administration has repeatedly belittled and insulted the Democratic base while screwing over core Democratic constituencies like Latinos, unions, women and gays.

And of all the Democrats to survive, why did it have to be Harry Reid?  Ryan Grim kinda-sorta defends him as merely doing his president’s bidding, but that’s not really a ringing endorsement when Obama has been such a destructive tone-deaf fool.  Reid should have been resisting Obama’s efforts to make the Democratic Party toxic, not facilitating them.  The money quote:

Reid… is merely the contemporary Democratic Party distilled to its essence. Over the past decade and a half, the party of FDR, JFK and LBJ drifted away from its foundation and found refuge in a transactional politics that is being forcefully rejected by voters. Presented with the chance to make history, Democrats made deals — with pill makers, with device makers, with hospital executives, with hedge fund managers, with swaps dealers, with auto dealers, with “non-bank financial institutions.” As the tide turned, Democrats found those corporate interests scurrying back to the GOP. When the party turned back to its people, they were nowhere to be found. Compromise in pursuit of a broadly popular, unifying agenda is a forgivable sin. Compromise just to put points on the board leads to a blowout.

Well, I’m sure that will certainly improve now that the Republicans control the House and probably have functional control of the Senate…

1 comment November 3rd, 2010 at 07:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Elections,Obama,Politics,Unemployment,Wankers

David Broder Is Morally Bankrupt And Stupid

He actually believes that war with Iran, or at least the serious threat of it, is the best possible way to stimulate our economy.  As David Swanson points out, he’s completely full of it… as usual.

Swanson also reminds us how very much more Europeans get in return for their supposedly crushing tax burden, and how much we’re being hurt by our politicians’ stubborn refusal to even contemplate cutting our massive defense budget instead of Social Security.

November 1st, 2010 at 07:52am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Economy,Iran,Iraq,Media,Unemployment,Wankers,War

Republican Solution To Poverty & Unemployment REVEALED!

Turns out it’s been staring us right in the face all this time.  I could just kick myself for missing something so obvious:

Yesterday, [Republican West Virginia senatorial candidate John] Raese appeared on the Matt Lewis show, a conservative talk radio program. When Lewis asked Raese about his background and his life experience, Raese offered this straight-faced response:

LEWIS: Tell us a little bit about you and your business experience and how you got here.

RAESE: I made my money the old-fashioned way, I inherited it. I think that’s a great thing to do. I hope more people in this country have that opportunity as soon as we abolish inheritance tax in this country, which is a key part of my program.

See?  All the people who are poor and out of work were just too lazy and unambitious to have rich parents!  Stupid poor people and their lack of gumption.

(On a side note, after all this time thinking that “trickle-down economics” meant that wealth flows down from the rich to everyone else, now it turns out that it’s really about wealth flowing down from the rich to their heirs.)

2 comments September 24th, 2010 at 08:41pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Politics,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers

Won’t Someone Think Of The Hundred-Thousandaires?

I weep:

On Wall Street, becoming a partner at Goldman Sachs is considered the equivalent of winning the lottery.


What few outside Goldman know is that this ticket can also be taken away.

As many as 60 Goldman executives could be stripped of their partnerships this year to make way for new blood, people with firsthand knowledge of the process say. Inside the firm, the process is known as “de-partnering.” Goldman does not disclose who is no longer a partner, and many move on to jobs elsewhere; some stay, telling few of their fate.


“Being partner at Goldman is the pinnacle of Wall Street; if you make it, you are considered set for life,” said Michael Driscoll, a visiting professor at Adelphi University and a senior managing director at Bear Stearns before that firm collapsed in 2008. “To have it taken away would just be devastating to an individual. There is just no other word for it.”

The financial blow can be substantial as well. Executives stripped of partnership would retain their base salary, roughly $200,000, but their bonuses could be diminished, potentially costing them millions of dollars in a good year.

I think their definition of “devastating” might be just a teensy bit different from mine.  I would consider losing your job and healthcare, worrying about how to feed your kids and keep your house, to be a lot more “devastating” than having to downsize from filthy rich to comfortably well off.  I’d take a blow to my ego over the prospect of being out on the street any day.

1 comment September 13th, 2010 at 07:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Media,Unemployment,Wankers

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