Unemployment Rate Explained

Conservatives woke up two days after one of our best debates since Bush/Kerry to hear that despite slower job growth than economists were expecting, the unemployment rate had dropped to 7.8%.  This is magically .1% lower than it was when Obama took office.  Most Americans don’t understand the details of the jobs report, but they understand 7.8%.

If you’ve ever played the game “which of these is not like the other”, the 7.8% rate would qualify.  Economists expecting 142,000 new jobs (the actual number was 114,000 according to the Establishment Survey) expected the rate to stay the same or go up to 8.2%.  However, there are two surveys used to measure the rate as I will explain later.

This is pretty wonky stuff and I don’t want to lose you, so let me get to the point then we will discuss the details.  The reason the rate dropped is because the economy added 583,000 part-time jobs.  But the U-6, which measures unemployed and under employed remained unchanged at 14.7%.  In other words, 583,000 people got part-time jobs they didn’t want.  Why?

Now for the background.  In 2012 we saw some major changes to the way unemployment benefits are paid out.  First, for anyone who loses their job after the beginning of the year, states only pay for 26 weeks.  Second, in states with high unemployment the federal government cut back payments from 99 weeks to 73 weeks.  They cut to 63 weeks for low unemployment states.  So here is the question:

What do you do when your unemployment benefits run out and you still can’t get the job you want or need?  Well, in my family’s case when I was a kid, my Mom got two part-time jobs while my Dad kept looking.  We had to eat.

Can Obama take credit for the 7.8% unemployment rate?  Only if he wants to take credit for cutting off the government’s new pseudo-welfare program of never ending unemployment benefit extensions and forcing some of the 47% to get off the government dole, even if it means flipping burgers for the King during the day and the Clown at night.  How does that sound for the narrative of Obama’s soon to be released “I fixed jobs” ad.

Actually, based on many of the revisions up from previous months, government jobs make up the majority of the growth.  How about that, they can work for the King and the Clown at the same time.  But of course this time I’m not referring to fast food chains.

But even the part-time job growth leaves many rightfully scratching their heads.  Did unemployment really just have its biggest one month drop since 1983?  If the economy is really about to come roaring back, why did Bernanke just promise QE-Infinity where he prints $40 billion a month to pump job growth?  Perhaps Bernanke is a terrible economist and should be canned.

Well, there is one more discrepancy to be mentioned in this jobs report.  The 7.8% rate is based on two surveys.  The Establishment Survey asks 390,000+ businesses about their hiring and extrapolates a national figure based on that.  The Household Survey asks 50,000 households if they are employed, searching, or gave up looking.  The Establishment Survey gave us the 114,000 job number.

The Household Survey indicated that 873,000 more people are employed.  That’s a little bit of a variance.  So although the surge in part-time/temporary hires certainly makes sense, the 7.8% figure is still suspect.

Democrats Registering Zombies and Aliens to Vote

Are you ready for the zombie apocalypse?  Well, nevermind that.  Are you ready to combat zombie voters?  I’m not talking about Occupy Wall Street, the video game generation, or the ACLU.  I’m talking about actual registered and very dead voters.  Voter Participation Center in Virginia is sending out hundreds of thousands of pre-filled voter applications to targeted Virginian voters who typically vote Democrat.  According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, those groups include minorities, single mothers, their pets, dead people, and illegal aliens.

The Romney campaign has called for an official investigation, but the state attorney general has deferred to the state board of elections.  In other words, don’t expect too much action before the election.

Meanwhile, Governor Scott in Florida has won a major victory by finally getting the Department of Homeland Security to turn over their records on who may be registered to vote and here illegally.  The administration had fought tooth and nail to stop this information from falling into the right hands.  Scott has already made himself a major enemy of liberalism by pushing several “freedom” destroying concepts such as drug testing welfare recipients and state workers.  Fortunately for Obama, there are judges in place who have struck down these laws and are ensuring that tax payers will continue to fund drug use among welfare recipients and state workers.    Otherwise they might clean up and Obama would have no hope of winning the state.

The amazing thing about the voter applications being distributed in Virginia is that Voter Participation Center has already filled out the forms they are sending out.  Somebody actually put those pet names on the registration forms and mailed them.  Although this detail is missing in the news story, I wonder if they checked the box for Democrat as well?  Pre-filling the forms is Technically illegal.  Then again, so is voting from beyond the grave.

5 Reasons to Vote for President Obama

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Now, I didn’t say they are good reasons, did I? In case you’re wondering, I have been told I can be sarcastic from time to time.

Just think how refreshing a second term will be. President Obama can stop campaigning for re-election, so maybe he will focus on change without the pesky issue of being a one-term president. Maybe he will be able to pay the mortgage and fill the gas tank of the people who voted for change, and found they didn’t even get loose change.

You know those cash tills where they say “take a penny, leave a penny”? The Obama administration is more a “take everything, leave a debt” kind of cash till. But not to worry, there are five reasons why you might want to consider voting for President Obama to stay in the White House for a second term, and here they are:

1. You think America needs to change from a narrow-minded belief in exceptionalism to breaking open a six pack with your good ol’ buddies from Europe and the Middle East to toast a new era of Enlightenment.

2. You think Capitalism is inherently bad and needs government to grow in the public interest, while wealth needs to be redistributed and folks need to be told what they can buy and cannot buy; for instance, do not buy large volumes of soda.

3. You believe progressive causes should determine the future direction of America, because the Constitution does not suit the postmodern paradigm and ideally ought to be scrapped altogether.

4. You want the safety net to be for anyone who feels hard done by, so poverty is defined not by need but by entitlement to other people’s money.

5. You have ignored the evidence of the past three years and you want to see how badly everything can go in the two years Obama will get to do more of what he wants, because he won’t need to be campaigning from day one.

If Obama wins four more years in November, he will spend two years advancing as many of his ideas as possible in the hope of building his legacy, and then for two years will become the lamest of lame duck presidents.

So, go ahead, make your vote count in November!

(I did say I can be sarcastic….)

Just What on Earth is a Conservative?

A New Conservatism is needed to stop America going down the road of Welfarism

Iowa is upon us. 2012 is upon us. How will it all end? It may just all end in tears. Tears because Obama wins, or tears because the GOP did    not offer a viable alternative. Whatever happens, one thing is for sure: this is a time to stand up for conservative principles.

But, just what on earth is a conservative, and can one win the White House this year?

To answer this means agreement on just what a conservative is, and your answer to the second part of my question depends on the answer to the first part.

Simply put, Conservatism is a set of instincts and principles guiding decisions, which are applied according to historical context. Today’s conservative may discuss different situations and policy options then an 18th Century conservative, but then they will adhere to some broad principles as if there had been no intervening centuries. The conservative whom is central to American modern conservatism is Edmund Burke, and he spelled out some core conservative elements of thought:

  1. People are basically religious, and religion is the foundation of civil society. A divine sanction infuses the legitimate, existing, social order.
  2. Society is the natural, organic product of slow historical growth, with institutions drawing on the wisdom of previous generations.
  3. People are creatures of instinct and emotion as well as reason. Prudence, prejudice, experience, and habit are better guides than reason, logic, abstractions, and metaphysics. Truth exists not in universal propositions but in concrete experiences.
  4. The community is superior to the individual. Rights derive from duties. Evil is rooted in human nature, not in any particular social institutions.
  5. Apart from an ultimate moral sense, people are unequal. Social organization is a complex of classes, orders, and groups. Hence, differentiation, hierarchy and leadership are the inevitable characteristics of any civil society.
  6. A presumption exists “in favor of any settled scheme of government against any untried project.  “Man’s hopes are high, but his vision is short.”  Thus, efforts to remedy existing evils usually result in even greater ones.

We find echoes of these elements in the influential 1953 essay “The Conservative Mind”, where Russell Kirk offered what he called “six canons of conservative thought”. Like Burke, the divine plays a foundational role:

  1. Belief that a divine intent rules society as well as conscience
  2. Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of traditional life
  3. Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes
  4. Persuasion that property and freedom are inseparably connected and that economic leveling is not economic progress
  5. Faith in prescription and distrust of “sophisters and calculators”
  6. Recognition that change and reform are not identical

In 2012, how many of these foundational canons of thought are taught in our educational system? Again the answer is simple: none. What does happen is that these foundational principles are undermined and dismantled at every level of education and public life. To be a conservative is to swim against the cultural tide, against the consensus which is taught in schools and parlayed by the chattering media.

Winning a political election means appealing to the consensus, and today’s consensus is not tolerant of principles, or even thought for that matter. In today’s climate, a conservative cannot win the election. You can only look at the GOP field and vote for the consensus candidate, in other words the nearest thing to an electable conservative. This is not a ringing endorsement of Mitt Romney, but he is the only candidate who can compete with Obama.

But then in the grand scheme of things the presidential election is a mere sideshow, because the real battles lie ahead in establishing a new conservative agenda for an America systemically in doubt and unsure. The enlightenment trajectory of Europe down the road to Welfarism, with its self-destructive repudiation of civilized principles, is the trajectory America is now following.

The answer is not to be found in this election, a new conservatism that tackles the causes of decline in enlightenment civilization is needed. A new Burke or Kirk is needed, because conservatives cannot simply look at Obama as the cause of America’s identity crisis, he is a symptom of the decay of the principles these thinkers set out so clearly.

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