Data Zealots

Our attention has been diverted by those folks who manipulate our failing economy, but if we were less complacent and did our homework we would be taking notice of the events that are transpiring in foreign lands. But anyway, our bread and circuses news media has been assuring us that all that stuff can’t happen here, so … not to worry.

Well, it’s time to worry. In recent months, because so little positive news is forthcoming from the maritime industry, we’ve been using these pages to emphasize the dire need to create jobs for Americans. The news media, on the other hand, continually feeds us upbeat spinnage about the nation’s “jobless recovery”, and as always, we buy that rubbish. Will Rogers was right.

The chant we’re hearing from the millions of dissatisfied people overseas is muffled but to the point: “We need jobs. We need food.” The rising cost of living has played a pivotal part in those uprisings, and because joblessness has become more widespread, millions of people have taken to the streets. Compared to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya – and that’s where most of the action is – the overall cost of living in the U.S. is even higher, especially when you consider what we pay for medical expenses, education, housing and transportation. The U.S. poverty level of $ 22,000 per year for a family of four, in fact, is comparable to the poverty rate measure in rebellious Egypt.

You’re not worried yet? Okay, how about this? According to the CIA, the poverty rate among Egypt’s 83 million people is 20% – somewhat more than 16 million. When you consider that the U.S. has more than 43% of its population currently receiving food assistance, that number tells us that this larger proportion of hungry people are quite likely to begin acting like the rebelling populations in the Middle East and Europe. And when you break down the demographics, many large U.S. cities have a poverty rate much higher than the 20% rate in Egypt, and according to fudged government statistics, nine major U.S. cities have a poverty rate above 25%.

You’ve read about the turmoil in those foreign countries, of course, but you’re still not worried? You still think it can’t happen here? Here’s something Business Week gives us to consider: “In Tunisia, the young people who helped bring down a dictator are called hittistes – French-Arabic slang for those who lean against the wall. Their counterparts in Egypt are the shabab atileen, unemployment youths. In Britain, they are NEETS – ‘Not in Education, Employment, or Training.’ In Japan, they are freeters – an amalgam of the English word ‘freelance’ and the German word ‘Arbeiter’, or worker. Spaniards call them mileuristas, meaning they earn no more than 1,000 euros a month. In the U.S., they’re ‘boomerang’ kids who move back home after college because they can’t find work. Even fast-growing China has its ‘ant tribe’ – recent college graduates who crowd together in cheap flats on the fringes of big cities because they can’t find well-paying work.

“In each of these nations, an economy that can’t generate enough jobs to absorb its young people has created a lost generation of the disaffected, unemployed or underemployed – including growing numbers of recent college graduates for whom the post-crash economy has little to offer …” –

Contrary to all the spinnage we’re getting from politicians and the controlled press, the U.S. economy is still shedding jobs at a staggering pace. In a recent report by economist David Rosenberg entitled, “Just How Ugly Is The Truth Of America’s Unemployment?”, he states: “It is laughable that everyone believes the labor market in the U.S. A. is improving … The data from the Household survey are truly insane. The labor force has plunged an epic 764,000 in the past two months. The level of unemployment has collapsed 1.2 million, which never happened before. People not counted in the labor force soared 753,000 in the past two months.

“These numbers are simply off the charts and likely reflect the throngs of unemployed people starting to lose their extended benefits and no longer continuing their job search (for the two-thirds of them not finding a new job). These folks either go on welfare or they rely on their spouse or other family members or friends for support …

“Of all the analysis we saw over the weekend,” Mr. Rosenberg wrote, “the only one that made any sense was the editorial by Bob Herbert:

“‘The policy makers don’t tell us that most of the new jobs being created in such meager numbers are, in fact, poor ones, with lousy pay and few or no benefits. What we hear is what the data zealots pump out week after week, that the market is up, retail sales are strong, Wall Street salaries and bonuses are streaking, as always, to the moon, and what businesses are sitting on mountains of cash. So all must be right with the world.

‘Jobs? Well, the less said the better. What’s really happening, of course, is the same thing that’s been happening in this country for the longest time – the folks at the top are doing fabulously well and they are not interested in the least in spreading the wealth around.

‘The people running the country – the ones with the real clout, whether Democrats or Republicans – are all part of this power elite. Ordinary people may be struggling, but both the Obama administration and the Republican Party leadership are down on their knees, slavishly kissing the rings of the financial corporate kingpins.’-

” … the civilian population rose 1.872 million last year. At the same time, the labor force fell 167,000. Those not in the labor force soared 2.094 million. Just in January, we saw 319,000 people drop out of the work force. These numbers are incredible. This is a highly dysfunctional labor market. People are falling through the cracks at an alarming rate as they come off their extended jobless benefits …

“In the U.S., we have over six million people who have now been unemployed for over six months, the highest total we have ever had. Factoring long-term unemployed and part-time workers looking for full-time work in to the total unemployment count, we now have over 30 million Americans in need of employment.” –

[30 million Americans in need of employment? Well isn’t that at least the number of jobs that the Emergency Shipbuilding Program we’ve been pushing would create? Those 30 million new paychecks every week would guarantee peace and prosperity to the U.S. in these perilous times.]