Quote of the day

The Guardian reports that:

The White House is stepping up pressure on Congress to approve emergency measures that would reinstate payments to more than 1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans who saw their benefits cut three days after Christmas.

President Barack Obama’s chief internal economics adviser appeared on two Sunday talkshows to warn against failing to reintroduce payments for those who have been out of work for more than six months – while also indicating that the benefits programme could legitimately end when unemployment rates return to “normal”.

But, what if a 7% U-3 rate reflects a new norm? What if an austerity politics combines with long-term stagnation to produce a high-unemployment economy? Will America’s natural aristocrats move to secure the well-being of those Americans less fortunate than they are? Will they reinvigorate America’s welfare state?

I would not recommend holding one’s breath waiting for the aristocrats to move on this matter.

Hoo Boy

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, September’s Official Unemployment Rate (U-3) dropped to an appalling 7.8%. The alternative Unemployment Rate (U-6) now stands at 14.7%. These numbers ought to cause the government to hang its head in shame. But such is the viciousness of America’s economic and political elite that we can read reports like this:

Conspiracy theorists came out in force after the government reported a sudden drop in the U.S. unemployment rate one month before Election Day. Their message: The Obama administration would do anything to ensure a November victory, including manipulating unemployment data.

The vociferous theorists included Jack Welch, a retired General Electric CEO, and Allen West, the Florida Congressman who believes Congressional Democrats are Communists and whom the Army forced into retirement because he tortured an Iraqi prisoner.

Believing the BLS report to be good news is a sign of moral stupidity.