Some days you can’t win for losing, or lose for winning, or you have to take it on the chin and quit whining, loser … or something like that. Life can just be frustrating on occasion, especially when you’ve got a big mouth and opinions on everything.
So here’s me a few days back, talking to a group of “frenemies” — dyed-in-the-wool Democrats all — and explaining in very simple terms how a 5.9 percent jobless number really doesn’t mean the economy has bounced back for most people, especially when you consider that more than a half million people are dropping out of the labor force virtually every month.
And here comes the landslide of complaints and insults, requisite references to tinfoil hats and wingnuts included, because I’ve dared to question the correctness of The One, the Lord and Savior, Barack Hussein Obama, mmm, mmm, mmm!
What’s more, I’ve defiled the Holy Temple of Progressivism with my prosaic and profane attempts at using math and logic to question the Holy Economic Policies.
What should be obvious to anyone who actually looks at the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs reports over the past six years is that the unemployment rate is falling because of mathematical tricks, not because the economy is growing again.
Each month, around 180,000 to 190,000 jobs need to be added just to keep up with population growth. The most recent report showed more than 240,000 added, so good on that point — except that most of the jobs are low-income, minimum-wage positions, so we’re adding to the legions of the working poor.
Where the big improvement in the overall jobs figure comes from, though, is not from actual job growth but from the huge numbers of people who continue to fall out of the labor force, over 600,000 last month alone. Obviously, if you simply stop counting that many unemployed people each month the jobless rate will look stellar.
As far as Progressives — including my “buddies” — are concerned, that kind of math just doesn’t sink in. Liberals’ brains are just flyover country for all practical purposes.
So imagine my chagrin when I get some backup from none other than Vice President “Jumpin'” Joe Biden, who was doing a campaign talk for a fellow Democrat the other day.
According to CBS, Biden said during a stump speech for Jeff Merkley in Oregon that the middle class isn’t sharing any of the gains as the economy is recovering from the Great Recession. He added that economic gains have primarily benefited the top income earners, which is true. The upper class is doing swimmingly, according to most measures.
It’s everybody else who’s suffering.
Biden being a Democrat, he naturally drew the conclusion that the upper class needs to “pay its fair share” and the poor need a minimum wage hike, but up till that point, his speech was a blurt of honesty.
I don’t know if it was a Freudian slip on Joe’s part or if his staff has been watering down his gin again. Either way, it was both refreshingly honest and disturbing enough to make a conservative question his sanity.
Two things are absolutely certain, however. One, the economy is still terrible for a lot of people who have given up hope of ever holding a job again. And two, I need a better class of “frenemies.”
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