Tag Archives: unemployment

Average age of an American minimum-wage employee? Age 36.

Using honest statistics, the unemployment rate in the US today is 23% … but the government doesn’t want to alarm you by using honest statistics.


NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  This is posted as a follow-up to our post on the same topic from yesterday.


Did you know that 89 percent of all minimum wage workers in the United States are not teens?  At this point, the average age of a minimum wage worker in this country is 36, and 56 percent of them are women.  Millions upon millions of Americans are working as hard as they can (often that means two or three jobs), and yet despite all of their hard work they still find themselves mired in poverty.

One of the big reasons for this is that we have created two classes of workers in the United States.  “Full-time workers” are entitled to an array of benefits and protections by law that “part-time workers” do not get.  And thanks to perverse incentives contained in Obamacare and other ridiculous laws, we have motivated employers to move as many workers from the “full-time” category to the “part-time” category as possible.

It may be hard to believe, but right now only 44 percent of all U.S. adults are employed for 30 or more hours each week.  But to get any kind of a job at all is a real challenge in many parts of the country today.  As you read this article, there are more than 100 million working age Americans that are not employed in any capacity.  And according to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the federal government was actually using honest numbers the unemployment rate would be sitting at 23 percent.  That is not an “employment recovery” – that is a national crisis.

The following infographic comes from the Economic Policy Institute.  I certainly do not agree with a lot of the things that the Economic Policy Institute stands for, but I think that these numbers do accurately reflect what “part-time America” looks like today…

Minimum Wage - Economic Policy Institute

So what is the solution to this problem?

Most Democrats believe that raising the minimum wage would fix this.  But as Zero Hedge has pointed out, it isn’t quite that simple…

Last week, we noted that Democratic lawmakers in the US are pushing for what they call “$12 by ’20” which, as the name implies, is an effort to raise the minimum wage to $12/hour over the course of the next five years. Republicans argue that if Democrats got their wish and the pay floor were increased by nearly 70%, it would do more harm than good for low-income Americans as the number of jobs that would be lost as a result of employers cutting back in the face of dramatically higher labor costs would offset the benefit that accrues to the workers who are lucky enough to keep their jobs.

Yes, raising the minimum wage would make life better for many minimum wage workers in America.  But a large number of them would also lose their jobs completely, and a lot of small businesses would deeply suffer financially.

Ideally, what we would love to see happen is for the U.S. economy to be producing so many good jobs that the only people that are looking for entry-level part-time jobs would be teens, people just starting out in the workforce, etc.  Back when I was a teen, I remember walking into a McDonald’s and getting hired on the spot because they were in dire need of workers.  Sadly, those days are long, long gone.

Over the past several decades, millions of good paying American jobs have been shipped overseas, and millions more have been lost to advancing technology.  And as I wrote about the other day, Barack Obama is deeply betraying American workers by working on a global economic treaty that would destroy millions more good paying jobs.

Thanks to the foolishness of our politicians, there is now intense competition even for minimum wage jobs at this point.

We keep hearing about an “employment recovery”, but it is a giant lie.  Posted below is a chart of the civilian employment to population ratio.  As you can see, the percentage of the working age population that is actually employed is much, much lower than it used to be…

Employment Population Ratio 2015

In recent months, we have seen the employment-population ratio move slightly higher.  But can this be called “an employment recovery”?  Of course not.  We are still way, way below the level that we were at just prior to the last recession, and now the next recession is just about upon us.

Meanwhile, the quality of our jobs continues to decline as more Americans are being pushed into “part-time work” with each passing year.

Since February of 2008, the size of the U.S. population has grown by 16.8 million people.  But during that same time frame, the number of full-time jobs in this country has actually decreased.

And at this point, the majority of American workers simply do not make enough money to support a middle class family.  The following income numbers come directly from the Social Security Administration

-39 percent of American workers make less than $20,000 a year.

-52 percent of American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

-63 percent of American workers make less than $40,000 a year.

-72 percent of American workers make less than $50,000 a year.

Are you starting to see why I am so fired up about all of this?

We have developed a business culture in this country which does not care about workers.  In business schools all over America, future executives are taught that a corporation only has one goal – to maximize wealth for the shareholders.  Taking care of those that are part of your team is treated as an afterthought at best.

As corporations have gotten bigger, they have shown less and less concern for those that work for them.  These days, employees are generally regarded as “expensive liabilities” that are to be discarded the moment that their usefulness has come to an end.  And news of layoffs is often rewarded by Wall Street by a surge in the stock prices of the companies making those layoffs.

In the old days, more businesses in America were family-owned, and employees were often regarded as almost “part of the family”.  Unfortunately, those days have disappeared forever.

Now, employees are treated like scum by many big companies, and if they don’t like how they are being treated they are told that they can leave.  For example, just consider what was going on at a security company down in Florida

Jose Molero worked as a site inspector for the company, which provides security for neighborhoods and companies across the country, for more than a year.

Molero says when he went to the Kensington Golf and Country Club guardhouse, he found wooden paddles on a desk, some with staff names on them and one reading “for staff discipline.”

He says there was also what is called a “Wall of Shame,” where the supervisor points out and posts reports that contain grammatical errors.

When Molero complained about these things to his district manager, he was told that if anyone was offended “maybe they shouldn’t work here”…

Molero contacted his operations manager, who told him to speak with the district manager. He says the district manager sent him an email response that said, “if that hurts their feelings then maybe they shouldn’t work here.”

Do you have a similar horror story to share?

Most of us do.

The U.S. economy is absolutely dominated by cold, heartless corporations that have no interest in listening to the little guy.  If they could find a way to do it, many of them would operate with no low-level employees at all.  And as technology continues to advance, they will replace as many of us as they can with robots, drones, machines and computers.

I’ll be honest with you – the future for workers in America looks really bleak.  The competition for any jobs that can’t be shipped overseas or replaced by technology is going to become even more heated.  This means that the middle class is going to get even smaller, the number of Americans dependent on the government is going to continue to explode, and the disparity between the wealthy and the poor is going to become even greater.


[by Michael Snyder, writing for The Economic Collapse Blog]




As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis








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“Official unemployment rate is one big lie,” says head of Gallup Poll organization…

Government's unemployment rate "one big lie"...

The chairman of the venerable Gallup research and polling firm says the official U.S. unemployment rate is really an underestimation and a “big lie” perpetuated by the White House, Wall Street and the media.

What CEO and Chairman Jim Clifton revealed in his blog Tuesday about how the Labor Department arrives at the monthly unemployment rate is no secret — including that Americans who have quit looking for work after four weeks are not included in the survey.

The department’s current rate of 5.6 percent unemployment is the lowest since June 2008, with President Obama using his State of the Union address and campaign-style stops across the country to tout an economic recovery.

“Our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999,” Obama said in the opening lines of his January 20 address before Congress.“Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis.”

Clifton says the “cheerleading” for the 5.6 number is “deafening.”

“The media loves a comeback story,” he writes. “The White House wants to score political points, and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.”

Since the start of the Great Recession, which economists largely agree began in late 2007, the unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent in October 2009 and finally got under 6 percent in September 2014.

Clifton says Americans out of work for at least four weeks are “as unemployed as one can possibly be” and argues that as many as 30 million of them are now either out of work or severely underemployed.

He points out that an out-of-work engineer, for example, performing a minimum of one hour of work a week, even mowing a lawn for $20, also is not officially counted as unemployed.

In addition, those working part time but wanting full-time work — the so-called “severely underemployed” — also are not counted.

“There’s no other way to say this,” Clifton says. “The official unemployment rate … amounts to a big lie.”

His arguments are similar to those made by Washington Republicans after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the rate each month during the height of the recession. However, Gallup is an 80-year-old, nonpartisan firm.

The government bureau did not return a request for comment.

Clifton suggests the biggest misconception about the official rate is that it doesn’t denote “good” full-time jobs.

“When the media, talking heads, the White House and Wall Street start reporting the truth — the percent of Americans in good jobs; jobs that are full time and real — then we will quit wondering why Americans aren’t ‘feeling’ something that doesn’t remotely reflect the reality in their lives. And we will also quit wondering what hollowed out the middle class,” he said.

[reported by FOX NEWS]


As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis


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How Obama lost the middle class…

A gradually improving economy—and plunging gas prices–have finally brought Mr. Obama a modest boost in his long-depressed job-approval rating. But the voters who are least impressed with Obama are the middle-income Americans every politician needs to succeed—and the very people whose interests Obama claims to be fighting for.

The latest poll numbers from Gallup put Obama’s approval rating at 46%, the highest reading since the summer of 2013. But there are telling disparities among income groups that help explain why Obama’s Democratic party lost control of both houses of Congress during the last two midterm elections, and why Obama may be able to accomplish little during his last two years in office.

One of the emerging ironies of the Obama presidency, in fact, is the sagging fortunes of the American middle class while those on either end — rich and poor alike — have arguably fared better under Obama. The poor have been direct beneficiaries of many Obama programs — most notably, Obamacare—while the rich have benefited from a roaring stock market that has helped restore all the wealth lost during the 2008 financial meltdown, and then some. Middle earners, however, still face soaring costs for healthcare and education, while incomes have stagnated and many are sliding sideways or drifting backward.

It’s no surprise, then, that Obama is most popular with the lowest earners, with an approval rating of 52% among people earning less than $2,000 per month. That’s the highest approval rating of four income brackets. Obama’s lowest marks come not from the wealthy, as conventional wisdom might suggest, but from middle earners with incomes between $5,000 and $7,499 per month, who only give Obama a 44% approval rating.

A breakdown of the numbers since 2009 shows that the president has enjoyed higher support among low earners than among middle earners for all but four weeks of his presidency, as this chart illustrates:

How Obama lost the middle class...

There’s obviously nothing wrong with helping the underprivileged, as Obama has. But since low-income workers are least likely to vote, Obama’s strongest constituency is a group with minimal political power or ability to support the president’s agenda. Many middle earners who do vote, meanwhile, feel (legitimately or not) that Obama has shifted resources from the middle to the lower class, in a zero-sum game with one loser for every winner.

That’s unfair to Obama, who has backed many middle-class priorities, such as better schools, ongoing jobs programs, affordable health care, elaborate consumer protections and cheaper college tuition. Obama will no doubt tout his middle-class agenda during the upcoming State of the Union address. Yet most of his proposals have been mere talking points, with Congressional Republicans blocking many of Obama’s plans. The things Obama has been able to accomplish, meanwhile, tend to benefit lower earners most of all, while those in the middle feel little or no relief. Here are four reasons Obama has lost the confidence of middle-class voters.

Obamacare doesn’t help those in the middle. Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, provides generous subsidies to low earners, but aid levels decline as incomes rise and phase out altogether around income levels of $47,000 for an individual and $95,000 for a four-person family. The law does virtually nothing to lower healthcare costs for people who don’t qualify for subsidies.

Meanwhile, the cost of medical care and prescription drugs has risen about 5% per year under Obama, as wages have grown by less than 2%. The cost of health insurance has risen by less than 2% annually during Obama’s six years, but that’s partly because deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket expenses have soared . Obama pursued a noble goal by seeking to make health care coverage available to more people—but he hasn’t done anything, really, to help families above the Obamacare subsidy levels finance medical care.

College is more expensive than ever. College tuition and fees have risen by 5.2% per year under Obama, making the cost of higher education another huge middle-class expense that’s growing faster than wages. That’s not really Obama’s fault, since the government doesn’t control what colleges charge. Obama is keenly aware of the problem and has tried to address it, by signing legislation boosting federal aid for students and taking other steps that might someday help lower the cost of getting a degree. Yet the amount of student debt outstanding has soared by 58% under Obama, to a staggering $1.3 trillion, according to the latest Federal Reserve numbers. Middle-class families are mortgaging their future to pay for college, with the outcome uncertain, at best.

Obama’s stimulus spending didn’t trickle down far enough, or fast enough. Obama has basically admitted he overpromised on the $840 billion stimulus bill that was the first big piece of legislation he signed in 2009. Jobs returned far more slowly than Obama and many economists predicted, and when they did, many paid less than the jobs lost during the 2007-09 recession. There was — and is — no silver-bullet solution to economic problems that formed long before Obama took office, and would have bedeviled any president, Republican or Democrat. But Obama clearly thought the 2009 stimulus plan would get the job done, which is why he turned to health care and other matters after it passed. Mission unaccomplished, as another top Democrat, Sen. Chuck Schumer, admitted late last year.

Obama’s other priorities don’t help the middle class today. Obama may well establish a lasting legacy as the first modern president to make a difference on global warming and other environmental issues. If so, it will help Americans for generations to come. But it doesn’t put money in anybody’s pocket today, and Americans consistently say environmental concerns are less important than jobs and economic issues.

Other Obama priorities, such as more muscular consumer protection, federal support for high-tech manufacturing and the Dodd-Frank financial reforms, may ultimately help the middle class too, but for now these initiatives are essentially invisible to ordinary Americans. If they truly work, the best evidence may be an absence of problems down the road, something that’s mighty tough to claim credit for.

Obama is likely to get a natural lift during the last two years of his presidency, as the unemployment rate–which was 7.8% when he took office in 2009–declines further from its current 5.6% level. Wage gains ought to kick in and middle-class living standards should finally begin to recover. But he may still leave the middle class struggling, and it may be Obama’s successor who ultimately gets credit for the widespread return of prosperity—if it actually happens.

[by Rick Newman, writing for YAHOO! FINANCE]


As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis



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Irregular or volatile incomes keep millions of Americans behind on bills…

Volatile income can be almost impossible to overcome

The bills arrive as regularly as a heartbeat at the Vories’s cozy bi-level brick house just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. It’s the paychecks that are irregular.

These days, Alex Vories, 37, is delivering pizzas for LaRosa’s, though he has to use his parents’ car since he wrecked his own 1997 Nissan van on a rainy day last month. In the spring and autumn, he had managed to snag several weeks of seasonal work with the Internal Revenue Service, sorting tax returns for $14 an hour. But otherwise the family had to make do with the $350 a week his wife Erica brought home from her job as a mail clerk for the I.R.S.

“We just kind of wing it every month,” said Mr. Vories, whose unemployment benefits ran out at the end of 2013, 10 months after he lost his job answering phones at Fidelity Investments. Ever since, the family’s income has bounced up and down from one week to the next, like the basketball he and his two sons play with in their driveway, next to the Kentucky Wildcats pennant planted in their front yard.

“Get all the bills paid,” he said, “then see where we’re at.”

The financial volatility that the Vories grapple with is a feature of life for millions of workers whose paychecks fluctuate with the season, an hourly schedule or the size of a weekly commission.

Income variability is difficult to quantify, but studies that try to measure it suggest that ups and downs in income, particularly among the poorest 10 percent of American families, started to rise in the 1970s, leveled off in the early 2000s and then increased significantly again when the recession started.

A 2012 study by Daniel Sichel, an economist at Wellesley; Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office; and Karen Dynan, who now heads the Treasury Department’ Office of Economic Policy, found that “household income became noticeably more volatile between the early 1970s and the late 2000s” despite a period of increased stability throughout the economy as a whole.

A more recent national survey by the Federal Reserve, based on 2013 data, suggests the problem has not only persisted as the economy recovers but may even have worsened. More than 30 percent of Americans reported spikes and dips in their incomes. Among that group, 42 percent cited an irregular work schedule; an additional 27 percent blamed a span of joblessness or seasonal work.

The data show “a clear upward trend in income volatility,” according to a report from U.S. Financial Diaries, which is releasing on Wednesday the first results of an in-depth study of low- and moderate-income families.

In the Diaries’ research, nearly all of the 235 households studied experienced a drop in monthly income of at least 25 percent in a single year. The main culprits were reduced work hours, health problems and shifts in household size, like a needy relative coming to stay.

“Low pay is also unsteady as well,” said Jonathan Morduch, who oversees the diaries’ project. “This is a hidden inequality that often gets lost.”

That strain explains why more than three-quarters of those surveyed said financial stability was more important than moving up the income ladder.

“When you have that extra, you tend to spend more,” said Christine Chavez, a 27-year-old single mother who works for a collection agency in Bakersfield, Calif. “And when the next month comes, that extra isn’t there.”

Such insecurity sabotages the most diligent efforts to budget and save for the future and is a pressing issue for many families here in the Kentucky suburbs stretching south from Cincinnati, where corporations like Toyota, Procter & Gamble, General Electric, DHL and Fidelity run a lot of back-office operations. Amazon has seven distribution sites. EBay recently opened a fulfillment center in nearby Walton, and hired about 2,000 seasonal workers at $12 an hour.

Talia Frye, director of Brighton Family Center, a nonprofit agency in Newport, said the availability of full-time work had shrunk sharply since the 2008 financial crisis hit. “They might even be able to get a 12-, 13-, 14-dollar-an-hour job at an Amazon, or an eBay,” she said. “It’s income; it’s just not sustainable income.”

Of the more than 6,800 households that sought emergency help from Brighton last year, 71 percent had worked at some time during the year, Ms. Frye explained on a recent morning. Tables in the lobby were piled high with boxes of pizza donated by Little Caesar’s, and a neat pantry down the hall was stocked with jars of peanut butter, boxes of macaroni and cheese, cans of tuna fish and a freezer full of meat.

“They work hard,” Ms. Frye said, “and they still come up short.”

Across the country, nearly seven million people working part time would prefer full-time jobs but can’t find them. While their numbers are down from the peak a couple of years ago, these involuntary part-timers still account for 4.5 percent of the labor force, compared to an average of 2.7 percent before the recession.

Here in northern Kentucky, the Vories not only turned to the Brighton Center for food, they also applied for federal mortgage assistance, timed payments to grace periods, borrowed from family and relied on their church and friends.

They reluctantly cashed in Mr. Vories’ 401(k) retirement account, absorbing the 10 percent penalty in return for a much-needed $4,500. And they borrowed a total of $2,500 from their bank at a 10 percent interest rate.

“You think, ‘How can you afford that?’ ” Mr. Vories said, “but because it’s getting our bills paid, you do.”

None of that was necessary when Mr. Vories was steadily earning $425 a week. Fidelity matched his weekly 401(k) contributions and offered good health insurance that covered most of the medical bills from 9-year-old Caleb’s severe ADHD and 6-year-old Josh’s mild autism.

They could afford the occasional night out with dinner and a movie. He was a few months away from the seven-year mark and a bump up in pay and vacation days, when he lost his job in February 2013.

Over the next 10 months, Mr. Vories said he applied for 75 jobs. Nothing.

Last December, he received a letter promising a three-month extension of his unemployment insurance, so he and Erica bought Christmas presents for the boys, a little Fender guitar for Caleb, and a drum set for Josh. But then congressional Republicans and Democrats deadlocked and no extended benefits were approved.

The take home pay for Ms. Vories, 34, took a hit because she had to buy health insurance for the family. She signed up for a higher-paying night shift from 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., hoping to make up for the unexpected loss of her husband’s unemployment insurance check. Despite the extra $250 a month, she had to stop after five months.

“You’re basically a zombie,” Ms. Vories said. “I saw the boys basically on Saturday, and you’re just playing catch-up.”

They reduced their church contributions. During the winter, they turned the heat down to 64 degrees. “We had one little space heater, and we would take it to whatever room we were in,” Mr. Vories said.

Still, the bills piled up. “We would get one week behind, then we would get two weeks behind, then three weeks behind,” Mr. Vories said.

Mr. Vories’s job with the I.R.S. during tax season brought home $375 a week, but it lasted only six weeks. Thanks to help from the Hardest Hit Fund, a temporary federal mortgage assistance program, they avoided losing their home.

They kept the house, but didn’t have enough money to fix the central air-conditioning that quit right before the temperature shot past 90 degrees. They closed off the family room downstairs because of the sweltering heat. Parishioners at their church lent them a couple of window units.

A few weeks later, the Vories’s 2002 Toyota Corolla quit on their way back from a church tent revival meeting. With only one car, Ms. Vories had to stop working the early shift, which had allowed her to be home in time to meet the school bus. Mr. Vories’s mother pitched in to babysit.

In September, Mr. Vories stopped by LaRosa’s pizzeria, where he got his first job at 15, washing dishes after school. He was overjoyed to hear they needed a delivery driver.

But then in mid-October, as they we were driving home from visiting family, their Nissan van was totaled in a car accident. It was a heartbreak, because they had just poured in more than $1,000, given by Ms. Vories’s parents, in repairs.

“It just feels like money down the drain,” Mr. Vories said, shaking his head.

Proud of an above-average evaluation at the I.R.S., Mr. Vories said he was hopeful he would be rehired after the new year for seasonal work, which could ultimately turn into a full-time job.

In the meantime, Mr. Vories is delivering pizzas, using his parents’ Mercury Grand Marquis.

[by Patricia Cohen, writing for The New York Times]


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Food stamps vs. work, and other current stories…

Food stamps, Yes. Work, No. . . . The Great Recession ended more than 1,900 days ago, and the national unemployment rate is 5.9 percent — but many able-bodied adults in 42 states nevertheless continue to collect long-term food-stamp benefits without working, volunteering, or training for a job. Unless a state has extraordinarily high unemployment or a dearth of jobs, able-bodied adults who are younger than 50 and without a dependent must spend 20 hours a week productively if they wish to continue drawing food-stamp benefits longer than three months — or so says a policy enacted as part of the 1996 welfare reforms.

But Congress temporarily suspended this work requirement during the Great Recession, and the number of able-bodied, childless beneficiaries on the welfare rolls ballooned, accounting for more than one in ten of all recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Today, 28 states continue to waive the work requirement altogether, despite an average unemployment rate of 6.72. An additional 13 states have waived the work requirement in some parts of their states, despite an average unemployment rate of just 4.58.
Civil rights leader: Amnesty will hurt blacks . . . A top civil rights advocate is warning President Obama that extending executive amnesty to millions of illegal aliens will deeply harm black workers. Peter Kirsanow, as U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner, says in an Oct. 27 letter to Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ recently revealed preparations for a huge ID “surge” upped his alarm over what the president has planned.
Top reporter: Obama White House “dangerous” . . .  USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page called the current White House not only “more restrictive” but also “more dangerous” to the press than any other in history, a clear reference to the Obama administration’s leak investigations and its naming of Fox News’s James Rosen as a possible “co-conspirator” in a violation of the Espionage Act.
Dems fret debilitating losses . . . The political environment continues to deteriorate for House Democrats ahead of a midterm election that’s certain to diminish their ranks. Obama’s unpopularity hindering their candidates and Republican cash flooding into races across the country, Democrats are increasingly worried that the election will push them deep into the minority and diminish their hopes of winning back the majority in 2016 or beyond.

GOP riding anti-tax wave . . . They call it “crushing the middle class” or “the big squeeze” or just plain “irresponsible.” Regardless of the description they use, Republican candidates for governor in some of the Democratic Party’s most dependable strongholds are finding receptive audiences of voters fed up with too many taxes.


Red votes magically turn blue . . . Voting machines that switch Republican votes to Democrats are being reported in Maryland. “When I first selected my candidate on the electronic machine, it would not put the ‘x’ on the candidate I chose — a Republican — but it would put the ‘x’ on the Democrat candidate above it,” Donna Hamilton said.

NORM ‘n’ AL Note: Remember, if they’re not requiring ID’s, vote twice, just to be sure.


Voter fraud is real . . .  Investigators find that about one-quarter of the non-citizens who participated in a survey were registered to vote. Studying survey responses, investigators judge that non-citizen voters tend to favor Democratic candidates by large margins. In many states, their participation wouldn’t be large enough to make a difference, but in North Carolina in 2008, investigators calculate, non-citizens may well have tipped the state into Obama’s column.


Cop killer was deported – twice . . . A man charged with killing two sheriff’s deputies and wounding two other people in a bloody chase through Northern California was twice deported from the United States but appeared to have been living here quietly for a decade, authorities said.


Republicans vow to fight anti-speech regs . . . Republicans on the Federal Election Commission are vowing to fight regulations on online political advocacy that they say would chill free speech and potentially lead to politicized targeting of Internet writers and video-makers. The commission’s chairman is warning that such regulations would allow the federal government to impose onerous new regulations on websites such as the Drudge Report or White House Dossier.


School handout portrays Founders as racist . . . The mother of an eight-year-old wants to know why a Tennessee school teacher gave her child a handout from the Nation of Islam that portrayed the presidents on Mount Rushmore as being racists. The handout then explains that George Washington hailed from Virginia, a “prime breeder of black people.” Of Theodore Roosevelt, it was alleged he called Africans “ape-like.” There were also disparaging remarks made of Thomas Jefferson (that he enslaved 200 Africans) and Abraham Lincoln.

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  The only way to be sure your tax dollars are being wisely spent by your school district is to be actively involved in your child’s education. Today your child’s teachers can get away with telling kids almost anything. 




As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

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Consumers hoarding cash in wake of ‘Great Recession’…

With wounds from the Great Recession still fresh, chastened Americans are hoarding more cash in their checking accounts than at any time in the last 25 years.

The defensive stance, uncharacteristic of previous periods of low inflation and an improving economy, reflects how debt-burdened Americans have striven to clean up their personal finances since the recession ended five years ago.

The lack of attractive investment alternatives, with savings accounts paying next to nothing and the stock market already at lofty heights, is another factor, financial analysts said.

A recent report released by bank consulting firm Moebs Services Inc. calculated the average balance for U.S. checking accounts at $4,436 at the end of last year — more than double the average of $2,100 over the 25 years of the annual survey.

During good economic times, when unemployment and inflation are low, the average balance in consumer checking accounts is about $1,400, the survey noted.

“When times get difficult, the consumer sits things out and checking balances get larger, normally upward to $3,000 or a bit beyond,” the study said. “Generally there is higher unemployment, lower inflation and falling prices.”

By contrast, free-spending Americans had allowed their checking accounts to drop to an average of just $788 in 2007, the last year before the near-meltdown of the nation’s financial system, according to the study by the Lake Bluff, Ill., firm.

The Moebs report, previously confidential for its clients, is fresh evidence of how the devastating economic downturn worldwide has changed consumer habits, especially on spending and saving.

As people have been cleaning up their financial houses, they have only slowly increased spending, and that has helped to slow the recovery because spending typically represents about two-thirds of economic growth.

The study was based on Federal Reserve reports and proprietary data from 2,800 banks and credit unions, said economist G. Michael Moebs, who heads the firm. Moebs said he released the findings for the first time because he is confident his numbers could be off by no more than 10%.

“If it’s off by 10%, the amount in the accounts is $4,000 instead of $4,400,” Moebs said. “So what? It’s still twice what we’ve seen in the past.”

Moebs said the trend is challenging for financial firms, reducing their income from overdraft fees. He is urging his clients to prepare for a big withdrawal of funds whenever depositors decide the economy is strong enough for them to use the cash to pay down mortgages, take a vacation or buy cars.

UCLA economist Lee Ohanian said the study shows that despite a recent burst in jobs — employers have added more than 200,000 net new jobs in each of the last five months — there remain “some very troublesome issues in the economy.”

Until recently, much of the decline in unemployment was from people dropping out of the job market, he said. “Our employment-to-population ratio is still very low.”

Growth in productivity is running at less than half its usual rate, Ohanian said, and the number of long-term unemployed remains high.

“That weighs on people’s minds,” he said. “They think, ‘If I lose my job will I be out of work for two years?’ It’s scary.”

The result, he said, has been a wave of caution, with Americans paying down old debts, thinking twice about new borrowing and keeping cash on hand as a safeguard.

“A lot of people got badly burned picking up too much debt” in the years leading up to the recession, Ohanian said. “Now they are scared about where to put their money, especially after a huge run-up in the stock market. Savings accounts don’t pay much, and stocks go up and down. You could lose your nest egg.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, agreed that crisis-bred caution factored into the trend, but said rising employment is likely to have contributed to the rise in checking balances as well.

“There is more income,” he said. “I think it’s going to take time for consumers to catch up — to increase their spending to match the improvement in jobs.”

Zandi said he suspected that much of the increase in average checking balances reflects more affluent families allowing cash to pile up for now rather than paying down mortgages carrying rates as low as 3.5% or pouring more money into stocks and bonds.

In Yuba City, however, people of mostly modest means — farmers, retirees, long-distance commuters to Sacramento and San Francisco — also are padding their balances, said John Cassidy, chief executive at Sierra Central Credit Union.

“Consumers should be applauded for cleaning up their credit. They’re smarter now, more aware of charges, and the level of overdrafts has dropped dramatically,” Cassidy said.

“During the bubble periods — this started in the late ’80s, really — people didn’t bat an eye at running up hundreds of dollars in overdrafts. They figured, ‘It’s a part of my lifestyle, I’ll just build it into my budget,'” he said. “That has changed.”

[by E. Scott Reckard, writing for The Los Angeles Times]


As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis


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Erik Rush: Black Americans finally beginning to understand that Obama not only does not care about them, but views them with contempt and plans for their suffering to continue…

Shortly after Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009, quite a few people asked me what I thought he would do for black Americans now that he’d attained the office of president of the United States. To which I invariably answered: “Probably about as much as he did for blacks in Chicago – not a damned thing.”

In November of 2008, the black unemployment rate was 11.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – but blacks, along with unwitting Americans at large, were still riding the high of having elected our first black president. Within a year and a half, however, black unemployment rose to 16.5 percent and hasn’t moved too far in either direction since.

In the inner cities, job participation among blacks since the ascendancy of Barack Obama has been even more dismal, with the unemployment rate for black men occasionally exceeding 50 percent over the past several years. High unemployment has exacerbated levels of crime and violence, and several cities with established black populations – now mostly unemployed – are suffering from unprecedented epidemics of violent crime.

Like Chicago, for example, where on July 11, residents from Chicago’s Southside held a protest in front of the Chicago Police Department decrying violence in their communities. The protest was reported by the Rebel Pundit website, which released a video that subsequently went viral. The Southside residents called for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy for their failure to effectively address Chicago’s epidemic of violence.

As anyone who has viewed the video could see, however, the black Chicago residents largely identify President Obama as the name of their pain. “Barack will go down as the worst president ever elected,” one resident declared.

“Despite the strictest gun regulations in the country, Chicago’s murder rate of 15.65 per 100,000 people looks nothing like the nation’s 4.2, the Midwest’s 4.5 or Illinois’ 5.6. Up to 80 percent of Chicago’s murders and shootings are gang related, according to police.” (Investors Business Daily, July 16, 2014 0

The Chicago event was catalyzed by President Obama’s handling of the current border crisis. In light of the White House and congressional Democrats courting illegal immigrants from south of the border and advocating for the swarms of minor migrants descending upon the border, while ignoring Chicago (where 120 people have been shot and at least 26 killed so far this July), this group of Southside residents apparently had seen enough.

These protesters weren’t a pack of urban Epsilons with an entitlement beef, either. These were organized, purposeful residents who had lost children and other loved ones due to the incomprehensible level of violence in Chicago.

It is no secret that blacks in Chicago have been disgusted with the president for some time, as well as Obama crony Emanuel and Chief McCarthy, but such phenomena are not reported in the establishment press, since such coverage would reflect poorly on Obama.

It may be little surprise as well that Chicago is not the only city in which blacks have gotten fed up. Recently, a black Houston-area resident, Bernadette Lancelin, was interviewed by the local Fox affiliate. What resulted was a rant that also went viral on YouTube, when Lancelin expressed her view of a tentative plan to utilize a closed middle school in her area as a detention center for unaccompanied minor illegal aliens.

As reported in WND, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is also in the throes of endemic unemployment and violent crime in black communities. Like Chicago, those suffering most under widespread societal dysfunction are blacks in the inner-city communities. And like Chicago, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and entrenched progressive politicians appear unconcerned. In 2012, the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission (MHRC) reported that 93 percent of the known murder suspects were black, as were their victims.

And why shouldn’t blacks in cities plagued with inordinately high unemployment, poverty and violence be outraged that the White House wants to spend billions of dollars to feed and house thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children who have entered the United States illegally – particularly when it is no secret that the desired outcome will place these immigrants and their extended families in direct competition with blacks for jobs?

It bears mentioning (in a rather big way) that career civil rights activists – Revs. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other prominent melanin pimps – have had nothing whatsoever to say about the profound demoralization and mayhem currently manifesting in black communities. This is for the same reason the establishment press is ignoring these conditions; not only would it convict the administration, but it is, in fact, in keeping with its objectives.

So, what are the real sympathies of the Obama administration and Democratic power players toward their beleaguered black urban constituents? I would imagine it is something in the area of utter contempt. Think about it: Progressive-socialist Democratic politicians have been exploiting blacks for decades; certainly, having managed to bring them from a place of cultural viability to abject thralldom – with their willing participation, I might add – can’t have improved these elites’ opinions of blacks at large. As far as Obama and his cabal are concerned, well, blacks are just useful idiots in the true Leninist sense.

My question is what these suffering inner-city blacks across America would think – and do – if they knew that their suffering was by design. I suppose that ultimately using blacks’ outrage to foment violent urban uprisings may indeed be part of the plan, but this remains to be seen.

Speaking of designs: The bottom line here is that, like so many of the malevolent designs employed by the Obama administration, nothing is going to change until enough people – or enough of the right people – come to the conclusion that everything I’ve discussed here is just part of the process, and resolve to act decisively.

In fact, I can pretty much assure that unless and until this occurs, these and other circumstances will continue to get worse – all by design.

[by Erik Rush, writing for WND.com]

As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis

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