There was no good to be found in today’s job report. It was a blunt reminder that our nation is continuing to drift through an economy unmoored by continued uncertainty and growing unemployment. The ragged appearance of a drop in unemployment is, of course, a lie; while the economy added some 88,000 jobs, the loss of nearly half a million workers who simply abandoned the idea of finding work.
They gave up hope.
In March, 496,000 people took themselves out of the labor force altogether, meaning they stopped searching for work.
When unemployed people quit looking for jobs it can lower the jobless rate. But for all the wrong reasons. Hiring was weak in March. The 88,000 jobs employers added aren’t even enough to keep up with population growth.
So that March drop in the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent likely has more to do with frustrated job seekers giving up than employers buying into the economic recovery.
It is important to note that this is not new. This is not something that simply happened this month or something as a reaction to recent political events: no, this is the continuation of the bleeding. The job participation rate (which you can also see at the linked article) has been falling with regularity for the last decade and most precipitously over the last five years or so.
No, our problems are deeper than any recent political failures and our current leadership has show precisely no capability of conceiving of a plan to solve those problems.Read the original.
Have you heard the news? President Obama has declared April to be National Financial Capability Month with a key goal of teaching young Americans how to budget responsibly.
Together, we can prepare young people to tackle financial challenges — from learning how to budget responsibly to saving for college, starting a business, or opening a retirement account.Financial capability also means helping people avoid scams and demand fair treatment when they take out a mortgage, use a credit card, or apply for a student loan. My Administration continues to encourage responsibility at all levels of our financial system by cracking down on deceptive practices and ensuring that consumers are informed of their rights.
For those who have tended to take a shallow view of the Citizens United case, this is a good opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the legal and philosophical underpinnings of both the majority decision and the dissent, specifically in relation to the concepts of free speech. Published in the Harvard Law Review, I would suggest that it is very even handed in its analysis. Be sure to download and read the linked pdf; the web page is merely introduction.Read the original.
This is an important little piece from Foreign Policy’s Shadow Government blog. It’s compact, but quite important, especially when you understand what the author is critiquing:
If “Setting Priorities” is the most recent attempt to argue for a more coherent internationalist grand strategy — a worthy endeavor — then whatever weaknesses it has might throw into relief some broader problems of U.S. foreign policy.
Why important? Because of this note near the end of the piece:
… the report-like all “national security strategies” published by every administration since Congress mandated the document in 1987-is less a “strategy” document than a list of aspirations and goals.
“Strategic” foreign policy thought, as expressed by our government in the public realm, has long been reduced to talking points, wish lists, and occasional partisan sniping. Now is the time for serious discussion about the proper place of the United States in a changing international landscape of political power. Simply saying that we should show leadership or advocate for some laudable goal isn’t enough. Means, actions, and expected ends along with an honest assessment of what role the US needs to be playing in everything from “democratization” to moderating talks between warring groups.
The United States seems to be suffering a deficit of strong and wise leadership along with a paucity of serious thought in the public realm. While our last presidential election should have revolved around things like our foundering economy and our nebulous foreign policy, it instead seemed to focus on binders full of women, free contraception, and taking gratuitous pot-shots at China. We need better, although I would suggest that our reality-show obsessed culture doesn’t necessarily deserve better. I’ll consider changing that view when we start rewarding serious thought with the same acclaim that we do a bunch of dignity-stripped attention whores and fools on the latest terrifying reality TV series.Read the original.
This little bit of thought from Paul Solman on PBS concerning the proposed minimum wage hike and what effect it might have on welfare. Aside from his answer, he also throws in some statistics about our current employment situation that is like a splash of cold water.
And get this: Social Security disability benefits have become so popular that since June of 2009, when the Great Recession was supposed to have officially ended and economic growth resumed, 4.7 million of us had enrolled in SSDI or SSI programs. By contrast, a mere 2.3 million jobs have been added over that same period.
This is well worth reading.
I’ve heard that the Obama camp is calling for Romney to repudiate the release of the 2007 video of candidate Obama. This is a strange thing for Obama’s folks to be doing since it would be hard to claim that the video is anything other than what it is: candidate Obama working hard to capitalize on racial divisions and suspicions. Why should Romney repudiate the video release?
If Obama feels that his own words were wrong or that he struck the wrong tone, then it is he who should apologize and explain. If he stands by those words, then he should stand by the video, proudly, and welcome the additional sunlight.
Me, I don’t think it tells me anything I didn’t already know about the man and I absolutely hate the focus on race. But this is a recent video and it does change the way people should consider the President’s relationship with Reverend Wright (and, maybe, wonder a bit at just how willing he was to throw the man under the bus when he became a political liability). It’s fair game to release and discuss– certainly more so than the strange focus on Sarah Palin’s kids or Todd Palin’s pre-wedding DUI.
So, in all of this, what is it that Romney has to apologize for or repudiate? Not a thing.
That said, I’m sympathetic with Althouse’s view over on Instapundit. The racialist tones (including those coming from our president in the video– a notable reason that I refuse to support the man) aren’t where I want Republicans to invest their energy. I want to paint a positive, intelligent view for our future.
In politics, though, that’s a pretty rare way to win an election.