Four years ago as I had the privilege to travel all across this country and meet Americans from all walks of life.
I decided nobody else should have to endure the heartbreak of a broken health care system. No one in the wealthiest nation on earth should go broke because they get sick.
Nobody should have to tell their daughters or sons the decisions they can and cannot make for themselves are constrained because of some politicians in Washington.
And thanks to you we’ve made a difference in people’s lives. Thanks to you there are folks that I meet today who have gotten care and their cancer’s been caught. And they’ve got treatment. And they are living full lives and it happened because of you.
We’ve come too far to turn back now. We’ve got too much work to do to implement health care. We’ve got too much work to do to create good jobs.
We’ve got too many teachers that we’ve got to hire. We’ve got too many schools that we’ve got to rebuild. We’ve got too many students who still need affordable higher education.
There’s more homegrown energy to generate. There more troops that we’ve got to bring home.
There more doors of opportunity we’ve got to open to anybody who is willing to work hard and walk through those doors.
We’ve got to keep building an economy where no matter what you look like or where you come from, you can make it here if you try.
And you can leave something behind for the next generation, that’s what at stake right now Colorado. That’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.
That’s why I’m asking for your vote. I still believe in you. And if you still believe in me, and if you’re willing to stand with me, and knock on some doors with me, and make some phone calls with me, and talk to your neighbor and friends about what’s at stake—we will win this election. We will finish what we started.
And we’ll remind the world why America is the greatest nation on earth.
God bless you and God bless the United States of America.
Yes, that’s right — Republicans in the Senate have blocked the proposal to extend the payroll tax holiday through next year, proving once again that they’re not really opposed to raising taxes, as long as it’s the poor or the middle class who pay.
NPR asked Republican leaders in the House and Senate to find a millionaire “job creator” for them to interview, to find out whether they support this obstructionism.
The Republicans couldn’t produce a single one. But when NPR sent out their own call on Facebook, several business owners did respond: GOP Objects To ‘Millionaires Surtax’; Millionaires We Found? Not So Much.
We wanted to talk to business owners who would be affected. So, NPR requested help from numerous Republican congressional offices, including House and Senate leadership. They were unable to produce a single millionaire job creator for us to interview.
So we went to the business groups that have been lobbying against the surtax. Again, three days after putting in a request, none of them was able to find someone for us to talk to. A group called the Tax Relief Coalition said the problem was finding someone willing to talk about their personal taxes on national radio.
So next we put a query on Facebook. And several business owners who said they would be affected by the “millionaires surtax” responded.
“It’s not in the top 20 things that we think about when we’re making a business hire,” said Ian Yankwitt, who owns Tortoise Investment Management.
Tortoise is a boutique investment firm in White Plains, N.Y. Yankwitt has 10 employees and in recent years has done a lot of hiring.
As a result, Yankwitt says he’s had many conversations about hiring, “both with respect to specific people, with respect to whether we should hire one junior person or two, whether we should hire a senior person.”
He says his ultimate marginal tax rate “didn’t even make it on the agenda.”
The business owners likely to be affected by the extension of the payroll tax cut aren’t buying the GOP line of nonsense, obviously. So whose agenda are the Republicans really promoting?
Here’s a second thread to discuss the aftermath of Obama’s joint session speech; the transcript is here: ￼Remarks of President Barack Obama in an ￼Address to a Joint Session of Congress (PDF).
Live video from The White House:
(Registration is open if you’d like to jump into the discussion…)
The August jobs report is out and getting lots of headlines, but as is too often the case the headlines don’t really tell the story.
Right off the bat, let me criticize the “no jobs” claims so common in headlines - it’s just wrong. There are always new jobs being created. The accurate claim is that there were almost no new net jobs when private and public employment figures are added together.
Even with the loss of 45,000 Verizon jobs, the net employment in the private sector grew by 17,000 thousand jobs, a small number to be sure. Yet those 45,000 are now back to work.
Employment grew in mining, health care, and professional services.
Manufacturing employment was little changed with a slight loss.
The big loss in jobs? Why, it was government jobs. So, why isn’t the American atavistic right wing, aka the contemporary GOP, bragging about these jobs reports as a kind of victory, if indeed government is the enemy that they claim?
Put simply - government employment is employment and thus the loss of these jobs adds to the unemployed figure. Quoting the BLS report:
Since employment peaked in September 2008, local government has lost 550,000 jobs.
The BLS also revised (as is often the case) down the net jobs gains for July and June.
Anyway, beyond all of that, this jobs report reinforces some long term trends that get ignored by all except the economics wonks but yet the numbers reveal what is truly happening in the US.
For this let me turn to the CalculateRisk blog, which does some of the nicer graphs on these matters. In their take on todays BLS report:
The Labor Force Participation Rate increased to 64.0% in August (blue line). This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force. The participation rate is well below the 66% to 67% rate that was normal over the last 20 years, although some of the decline is due to the aging population.
The Employment-Population ratio increased to 58.2% in August (black line).
CalculatedRisk provides an informative graph overlaying Labor Force Participation Rate with recessions and unemployment. As you can see, the Participation Rate has been falling since 2000.
So, this raises two questions:
1) Is the current high unemployment rate and slow net increase in job count (e.g., the current BLS report) phenomena that are being controlled more by the long term changes than the short term business cycle (i.e. recession)?
2) Is decreasing Participation Rate a bad thing?
Now, I don’t expect these questions to make it into the next GOP Presidential candidate “debate”, but they ought to be there.
It has become far too easy - indeed, it’s a religious mantra - to whine about jobs reports and jump up and down and say that President XYZ has to do something.
My claim - no, Mr. President doesn’t have to do something.
Governments by nature do many things. Yet in a representative democracy like ours the government reflects the larger social makeup (more or less, sometimes less) of the country.
We have gone through many changes since WWII. The most significant IMO is the change in the household makeup. IT USED TO BE NORMAL for a woman to stay home, i.e., not to have a full time job outside of homemaking (though part time sources of additional income were always possible.)
Then that changed.
And the Labor Force Participation Rate increased significantly. It peaked in the year 2000.
These are subjects for a greater discussion, about how American society has changed and is changing. Indeed, human angst over change drives many of our discussions, and I propose that the entire Tea Party revanchist orgy of the past few years is just that - angst over changes in society that are beyond, far beyond, what any political office, even President of the United States, can or should control.
President Obama’s state visit to India may not have cost $200 million a day, but it certainly is expensive for America’s commander in chief to travel abroad.
No matter what it cost, though, I’d hope most honest observers would admit this is very good news: On Day 1 of India visit, Obama showcases trade deals with US firms.
President Obama made a forceful case for free trade on the first day of his state visit to India, showcasing how trade with India can create US jobs.
He brought with him hundreds of US executives who finalized deals on the sidelines of the trip totaling nearly $10 billion in new US exports. The payoff for Mr. Obama’s argument: 50,000 new American jobs.
‘In our interconnected world, increased commerce between the United States and India can be and will be a win-win proposition for both nations,’ he said at a business summit in Mumbai. Noting that the US exports less to India than to the Netherlands – a country with fewer people than Mumbai – he said, “we can do better than that.”
When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It’s the truth.
— Steve Jobs