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Jobs And The Sequester

Jobs and the sequester. We’re looking at the new dip in job creation.

A crowd of job seekers attends a health care job fair, Thursday, March 14, 2013 in New York. (AP)

A crowd of job seekers attends a health care job fair, Thursday, March 14, 2013 in New York. (AP)

Bad jobs numbers for March on Friday.  Just 88,000 new jobs in a country with 11.7 million looking for work.  And a whole lot more who are just checking out of the job market – a loss to themselves and the country.

Now everyone’s asking why the “spring swoon” – again – in hiring.  The markets are up.  Housing’s on a tear.  What’s the lead weight on jobs?  Some say the sequester.  Others look wider.  It’s a problem we can’t afford – individually or as a country.

This hour, On Point:  American jobs.

Plus we’ll remember the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, who has died at 87.

-Tom Ashbrook


Lisa Rein, covers the federal workforce for the Washington Post. (@reinlwapo)

Heather Boushey, chief economist at the Center for American Progress. (@hboushey)

Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics.

Closing Segment on Margaret Thatcher

Elizabeth Rigby, deputy political editor for the Financial Times.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Washington Post “Every U.S. Park Police officer will be off the job for 14 days — but the national parks they patrol will be staffed. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will shut down for seven days starting in May, after concluding that staggering furloughs for 9,000 employees would create too much paperwork.”

ABC News “The unemployment rate fell to 7.6 percent in March but just 88,000 jobs were added, raising fears that the economy is beginning to cool after several strong months. Ahead of Friday’s jobs report, economists braced themselves for grim numbers. On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that the number of jobless Americans filing unemployment claims increased for the third consecutive time last week.”

CBS News “After the Labor Department on Friday released a disappointing jobs report for the month of March, the White House, House Speaker John Boehner and other politicians cited the sequestration for the slow economic growth — and sparked Democrats and Republicans to revive the debate over whom to blame for the spending cuts.”

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  • Steve__T

    President Obama is preparing to formally propose cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his latest budget.

    And the poor get the shaft, again.

    • Wahoo_wa

      On the bright side (sort of) have any of Obama’s budgets ever passed?

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Anyone who has ever worked with government at the federal or state level knows that they throw money away by the bushel basket.  If Biden can spend $.5 million for one night’s hotel and the Obamas can consume mass quantities of jet fuel flying to Hawaii separately, then shutting down White House tours  because of the sequester is nothing more than a political ploy.  There are hundreds of billions of dollars of savings that can easily be found if we had the political will to find it.  But nobody, regardless of political party, wants their particular pet item cut. So we continue in the current state.  The reason that many companies are reluctant to hire is that they know that they are about to get clobbered with higher health care costs due to Obamacare, which hasn’t done anything to actually reduce the cost of health care, which is the real problem.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Because no private sector fat-cat ever steals or pisses away shareholder money on hookers or travel…

      • http://www.facebook.com/kyle.rose Kyle Rose

        I’m sure they do, but ultimately private sector fat-cats have to answer to the private sector: they can’t raise money by pointing a gun at others and saying “Your money or your life” the way government does. Individuals can stop funding private companies when they grow inefficient; by contrast, individuals who stop funding the government go to prison.

        • Shag_Wevera

          Government is us.  If we don’t like what they do, we all get to vote.  I couldn’t vote against Enron, Bernie Madoff, or Lehman Brothers.

        • glenn keefer-mcgee

          It’s hard not to read this and imagine the author clutching his AR-15 like a string of pearls.  

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      It’s so cute to hear Libertarians slip into right-wing talking points.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      FR – I’ll take one part of your remark: “There are hundreds of billions of dollars of savings that can easily be found if we had the political will to find it”.  

      Agreed! We should start insisting that gov’t workers work harder and more responsibly on our behalf.  I would want them to ask themselves: ‘If I were in private business would I still have my job because of under-performance, or being non-essential” and acting accordingly.  

      But unfortunately, this won’t happen. So it’s up to the rest of us – We the People – to insist we get more bang for our taxpayer buck.  But I say (in reference to the rest of your comment) we need to be smart about it – such as, for example,  criticizing ACA without ever  proposing a more viable alternative. 

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Two easy examples of potential big cost savings.  NYC spends millions of dollars a year paying incompetent teachers their salaries/benefits because teachers’s unions have negotiated deals that make it too hard to fire incompetent teachers. They actually sit in warehouses all day doing nothing. Change the contract to eliminate that nonsense and you cut educational spending that accomplishes nothing, and then you can cut the federal education subsidy to the state.  Another example.  Postal workers who don’t use their sick days can get a lump sum check when they retire.  Sick days should only be if you are  sick.  Cut out that nonsense as well as their other ridiculously generous salaries/benefits and you can again save millions and millions of dollars.  Two simple examples to save billions of dollars with no pain whatsoever other than to those on the wasteful gravy train.

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      Notice the common thread of the two examples cited above, namely unions.

      • glenn keefer-mcgee

        My real problem with Teacher’s Union haters is that they refuse to touch Police and Fire Unions.  Those are somehow sacred and untouchable.  Why is that?  Is it the gun/man thing?  How about if teachers were armed?  Would that make them as cool as Police and Firefighters?

        • Shag_Wevera

          Fiefighters and cops lean conservative, teachers lean liberal.  Right wing loon scott walker wouldn’t touch police and fire unions in wisconsin.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Imagine how much we could save if we sold our Nimitz class carriers to China.  How about declaring neutrality and using the military budget to pay down our debts?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Unions keep people from getting fired because some idiot boss doesn’t like your haircut or the cut of your jib.

      Sometimes things which didn’t happen in Atlas Shrugged do happen in the real world.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Sequester?  Government unemployment rate is 3.6% (ie -full employment) and government employment ticked up in March.

    Sorry, time to look elsewhere.   Are we starting to see the early effects of Obamacare and years of over-regulation and a overly complex tax system?   Oh boy, the best is yet to come.

    Where would we be without the natural gas boom and the rest of the developed world in the economic crapper? Screwed.

    • Gregg Smith

      It is amazing to me that spending $15 billion more than we did last year (sequester) is considered devastating, some call it austerity. People will be making every excuse in the book and we’ve seen it here. One commenter even said the LFPR plummet is a mystery. No it’s not. 

      Did you notice the ABC report above said: “… raising fears that the economy is beginning to cool after several strong months“.

      What are they talking about? 

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        They aren’t referred to as “the lamestream media” for nothing.

        • Shag_Wevera

          Sarah Palin coined that term, right?

      • Shag_Wevera

        Population increases, prices increase, but the budget can just stay the same?  We could pay the debt down fairly quickly if we budgeted for the country for its size and population in 1789.

        • Gregg Smith

          Er.. ugh.. the budget has never stayed the same…do we even have one?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         I missed the ABC report but I believe it.  Sometimes the media elites conflate the stock market with the economy.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      You’ve got a blind spot to government employment during Obama’s administration (less than every Republican prez during a recession during your lifetime).

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        My eyes are wide open, but thanks.

        btw – one government worker can do a lot of damage to the economy. Despite having the cleanest air and water in decades, the Obama administration has added 15,000 EPA workers to the government rolls. The salary costs are just the tip of the iceberg.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          “The cleanest air and water in decades, but more EPA workers????”

          sounds a lot like

          “Crime rates are down, let’s fire cops.”

          Oogedy boogedy.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Maybe it sounds that way to you but there are consequences to over-regulation.

  • Markus6

    The federal government has a tough balancing act. They need to appear as if they’re making responsible cuts while at the same time making those cuts visible and painful to a wide audience. 

    None of this has much to do with providing government services efficiently. I’ve worked a lot with government agencies and a 10% immediate reduction and 30% long term reduction would have no negative effect on services, assuming they wanted to maintain services. 

    What amazes me is that so many people believe the government when they say we have to cut park rangers or air traffic controllers. 

  • Gregg Smith

    R.I.P Margaret Thatcher. Here was her take on the “wealth gap”.


    • 1Brett1

      Perhaps you and your cronies on this forum (the ones who “liked” your comment) might just be ignorant of how infinitely more socialistic she was compared to Obama, on matters of national health care, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, climate change, evolution…on and on. But, then, a British Conservative is much closer to a US Liberal on most issues than your ilk would want.

      Of course you can take some comfort in Thatcher’s other views: Thatcher on feminism: “I hate feminism. It is a poison.” Thatcher on Mandela: “He is a terrorist.” Thatcher on Pinochet: “Welcome.” Thatcher on homosexuality, “it is immoral.” 

  • Coastghost

    Cue the chorus of violins for the cadres of Federal employees making $70,000+/year who’ll have to sacrifice ever so slightly over the next five-and-a-half months. (Then roll the tape of the resonant solo of Secretary of State John Kerry, who’s donating a whopping $9000 of his stupendous wealth to show solidarity with workers at yacht berthing companies in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.)

    • Shag_Wevera

      My government employee wife makes 23k working full time.  Does she qualify for your hatred and sarcasm as well?

      • Coastghost

        I’d ask that question of NPR hosts and anchors earning six-figure salaries. (Me myself, I’ve never cleared $50K a year, so there are distinct limits to my sarcasm: “hatred” is no motivation I lay claim to.)

        • glenn keefer-mcgee

          Man, Coastghost!  What is this?  Can you address Shag_Wevera’s point?  What about the 23k workers losing that pay?  Why try to shift it to NPR anchors?  Stay on topic.  

          • Coastghost

            Well, why does Shag introduce govt. workers earning $23K/year when I’ve just invoked govt. workers earning $70K+/year? (MY initial post was a response to a figure raised by one of Tom’s guests.)

        • Shag_Wevera

          Good.  No one who knows my wife could hate her!

        • jefe68

          The NPR hosts and anchors are not government employees. 

          The level of your conceit is only upstaged by your level of inanity. 

          • Coastghost

            If they are NOT government employees, jefe, then tell them to begin advocating the utter abolition of the Corp. for Public Broadcasting, Public Radio Intl., Amer. Public Media, and Natl. Public Radio itself: EACH of these entitities is supported by some measure of Federal, state, and local taxes. (Along with additional funding from corporate sponsors [horrors!] and listener contributions.) CPB’s annual Federal take alone amounts to almost $450 million.
            NPR hosts and anchors are every bit as much government employees as postal workers and public school personnel.

          • keltcrusader

            hmmm, compared to how much goes to Oil/Gas and Agri-Farm subsidies to amount allocated for CPB is a mere pittance.

          • Coastghost

            Yeh, what’s almost half a billion dollars, after all? It’s only money.

          • keltcrusader

            do you live with blinders on all the time or do you ever take them off?

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Exactly, roll the tape with instances that make good talking points but have nothing to do with the real issues.

      Civil service is just as necessary and honorable as working for a corporation, and if they can get a decent wage, good for them and good for the economy. You’re falling for the class warfare mind control when your reaction to anyone who survives the attack of the plutocrats is envy.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    How many times do you need to say it? Cutting gvt spending in the aftermath of the worst financial crash since the great depression is insane.  The only reason for it is anti-gvt ideology and the ongoing class war, since these policies that hurt the 99%  strengthen the redistribution flow of wealth to the top.

    We can see how these policies work since the euros are following them. No need for theory. Ugly.

    Our basic R&D infrastructure, built up since ww2 and the key to future growth, is being devastated.

    This is the time to increase gvt spending, but nobody will say it. Our “liberal” (according to the corporate media) president wants to cut SS  abd babbles about the big bad deficit. Can we take our country back from the plutocrats? What will it take?

  • traceywriter

    It infuriates me when people say the sequestration isn’t really affecting the economy. It’s affecting my economy directly, right now. My husband works for the federal government. He has to take off 13 unpaid days of leave between now and September, which equates to a 5% annual pay cut…this on top of a 3-year salary freeze..to no fault of his own. All because politicians couldn’t get their act together. 

  • RRRyanPawlet

    I think a lot of us have started companies or are becoming independant contractors (1099). I started a real estate course with 8 other people. When we get licensed, we’ll all probably be independant contractors for a real estate office. Many people in VT are starting their own companies/farms/food/landscape companies and are not going to work for a W-2

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    “Investing in infrastructure” is code for having 9 guys lean on their shovels (or sleep in the back of the truck) watching one guy work (and two more directing traffic).  The federal government collects enough taxes to pay for infrastructure projects without having to run the currency printing presses.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Your caricature is absurd.

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        Count the number of guys that are just standing around vs. working the next time you drive by a road crew.  9:1 ratio is about right.

        • jefe68

           I guess we should just do nothing about infrastructure and let bridges fail, roads fall apart and the electrical grid system fail as well. While we are at it lets keep all those old gas and oil pipelines going without inspection or upkeep. If one bursts, as it did in Mayflower Arkansas, well that’s the price to pay for energy.  

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Hey, if you weren’t a moocher, you’d have your Ayn Rand jetpack, and you wouldn’t need infrastructure.

            Nothing fell apart in Galt’s Gulch, if I remember correctly.

  • northeaster17

    An example of job opportunities from Tar Sand Oil. Look on the sunny side.  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/07/activists-claim-arkansas-oil-spill-diverted-into-wetland/

  • John-Michael Battaglia

    The method for evaluating the degree of unemployment in America has always been flawed, since the percentage of unemployed is solely based on the number of people who apply for unemployment benefits. There are innumerable unemployed people who are never counted, because they never applied for unemployment benefits, or they are no longer eligible to apply, so they simply drop off the list of those who are counted. At best, the unemployment figures show the minimum percentage of people without jobs: the real number must always be much larger. To get a more accurate figure would require a revision in the data is collected. At present, the evaluating system is flawed.

    • Trond33

      I completely agree, I suspect the US unemployment rate is actually higher than the overall rate in the EU.  Difference is that in the US its swept under the rug, in the EU they try to do an honest accounting. 

  • Trudie

    Husband has been unemployed for 2 years has just stopped looking as there are no jobs in Vermont. His age does not help (63). I am working a full time job and two part time jobs and still trying to make up for $35,000.00 lost income. We have cut everything. No TV, no phone, no smart phones, sold two cars, and no spending on anything. I do not see it getting better.

    • JGC

      Hi Trudie,

      I made a reply to you the other day, in your On Point comment on Friday.  There are some specific jobs in western PA that I mentioned, requiring skills like welding, that may be suitable for your husband. Of course, now I see you yourself are still employed in Vermont, so that would require you to either temporarily split between two states, or for you to leave your jobs if he found something out-of-state, and then you are no further ahead.  If you were to go to western PA, you would definitely need a car, because there is no public transport. This is a very frustrating situation for your family.

      Would he be able to teach welding and metalworking skills, say at a vo-tech school or high school shop class? These are valuable skills to have. It is a shame there is nothing there for him in Vermont, because I understand there is a high demand for this in many small industrial businesses in the U.S. and Canada.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Think we have alot of violence in America?  Cut social security and medicare and see what happens as millions become too old to work and realize they can’t afford medicine or a tolerable standard of living.  300 million guns in America….. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/markhgiese Mark Giese

    Where will people who don’t have the intellectual capacity to do the jobs that are available go?  Are we destined to create a mass of people wasting away on disability (see Planet Money)?

  • bostix1

    To what extent is the slow recovery about shifting technology rather than insufficient aggregate demand?

  • Barbara Fullerton

    What about the responsibility of private companies who have been dumping workers in order to make their bottom lines look better. As long as we all look at our retirement account numbers every day to see how the stock market is doing we all are complicit to some degree in encouraging the wall street pressure on individual companies. The companies are using every new technology that they can to function with fewer workers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=730965729 Mike Shibley Mcgrath

    tom, you did a show on “surplus society” a few years ago.
    it has stayed with me, but haven’t heard it mentioned in this context since then.   what about too few jobs for too many people?   


    • Markus6

      At the risk of taking us off point, think about the 10 million or so illegal immigrants taking jobs. Ok, that’s not going to change. So, think about the tens of millions who will migrate here once they see the second amnesty (remember the Reagan/Kennedy amnesty in the 80′s). 

      All this sympathy for the working people disappears when this issue comes up. 

      • glenn keefer-mcgee

        Let’s think about those 10 million jobs being taken by illegal immigrants.  Who isn’t hiring legal employees?  Who is really causing this problem?  It’s not the illegal immigrants.  It’s “job creators” breaking the law.  How can an illegal immigrant “take” a job?  They take it by working illegally for a criminal employer.

        • Markus6

          No disagreement here. If I were in their position, I’d try to sneak across the border too. However, it’s hard to blame all employers as some have to hire illegals to be competitive. A friend runs a construction company and says his bids would be 20 to 30% over those of others, if he didn’t hire them. He’d be out of business. 

          • keltcrusader

            oh yeah, the “everyone else does the illegal thing, so I have to also” excuse. Where exactly does it ever stop?

  • creaker

    Jobs 101: 1. Jobs are only created when there is an expectation that the profit created from those jobs will exceed the cost of those jobs. 2. Jobs are an expense to be reduced or eliminated whenever possible. 3. Reducing government spending eliminates jobs.

    People look at places like Greece and Spain and say that could never happen here. It’s happening here.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      (Your second paragraph is unclear; it can be read a couple ways.)

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Catch 22.
    It’s all just one big Catch 22 with a profit siphon attached to it.
    The more desperate the situation becomes / remains, the more profitable it is for our economic ‘powerhouses’. Uncertainty feeds exploitation.

    And of course labor-participation is through the floor. Why should people work when their job doesn’t pay them enough to obtain food, clothing, shelter, and transportation to and from work?

    Indentured Servitude? No thanks.

    • Gregg Smith

      Why should people work when the safety net has become a safety hammock?

      • Shag_Wevera

        I love how “hammock” brings to mind a comfortable, leisurely existence.  Ever been poor?  IT SUCKS! 

        • Gregg Smith

          When I was poor I stayed in a phone booth. It’s a great motivator. Everything changed when I stopped feeling sorry for myself.

          • Shag_Wevera

            Can everyone who is poor pull themselves successfully up by their bootstraps?  Are some mathematically doomed to fail and remain poor?

          • Gregg Smith

            There are alway mathematical outliers but yes and no. No one is chained to the station in life they were born into. That’s what makes America exceptional.

          • jefe68

            You claim to have stayed in a phone booth. I’m trying to vision how one does this. How many days did you do this for? 

          • Gregg Smith

            Just a couple of snowy nights when I had nowhere else to go. I’d shower in the University Gym. I’d stay with friends when I wasn’t on the road. I’d hitchhike. I was a loser.

          • jefe68

            So there is a difference between what you are describing, and being in longterm poverty.

            Right now 50 million people need to use some kind of assistance just to feed their children. And a lot of these folks are working.

          • Gregg Smith

            I was dirt poor for a few years. My band played 6 nights a week and practiced in the wee hours after the gig in a hotel in Charlotte. We were there 4 months and I made $40/week but I got a room and the bar had free orderves at happy hour. It was what we had to do to establish ourselves and we did. 

          • keltcrusader

            and the difference here is that was your CHOICE!

          • Gregg Smith

            That is the best comment of the day and the weakness in my story. It’s different now,Obama has killed all the  jobs and confidence.

          • 1Brett1

            And the lesson you learned was to come home to your family’s business (horse farm) and find you place there…okay.

          • Gregg Smith

            No, it’s not a family business. I moved out (FL to NC) when I was 17 and never went back. I had no safety net. I met my wife in a bar. I was playing and she was coming home from a horse show and stopped for a drink. She was renting a barn and giving lessons. She was making her mark with excellence. It was tough. She eventually bought property and I built the barn. I bought the 20 acres next door with rock and roll money 5 years later. 7 years after that we bought 25 more. 8 years later, another 16. When we got another boarder we would buy another 100 fence post. We worked our asses off. You have no idea.

            Edit: Where do you get this stuff?

          • 1Brett1

            In the past you’ve referred to the horse stable as a family business…sorry for the presumption. 

            You know, I am also self employed. I have done well, but in 2007 the economy tanked (as we all know) and my landscape business went down to a trickle; my teaching business went from 46 students a month to 8 (people don’t want to install unusual gardens or take music lessons when the economy is tight)…

            Anyway, I got lucky in some ways when I started my businesses (right time, right place, unique skill set). And, being single and having made a lot of money in real estate in the late ’90s and early 2000s I was able to make it through in ’07. If I had been younger (hadn’t made as much money in earlier times) and had had a family, had more of a mortgage to contend with, etc., I wouldn’t have made it through ’07. (I even took an outside job for a couple of years to keep stable even with my already fairly stable situation; that outside job wouldn’t have been nearly enough if I hadn’t already a light cushion to fall back on.) 

            My point is that being in the right time and place helped you as well. Lots of people work hard, gamble a bit (let’s face it, setting out to make and save money playing music is a gamble, meeting one’s future in a bar is luck, etc.). 

            I think government has done a lackluster (and that was cleaned up a bit) job in getting the economy going. However, private employers have gotten used to certain practices, e.g., no R+D, no looking past next week let alone the next quarter, treating employees like cattle with little or no value, etc. So, both sides of the fence get low marks. 

            Ultimately, our future is up to us not the government, not even our employer can give us a future. By the same token none of us makes it on hard work alone; we need to get a little incentive and need to see the fruits of our labors when we put in effort.

          • Gregg Smith

            I have no idea why I would ever have referred to it as a family business but I should say I bear no grudge against anyone who did carry on the family business.

            I get your point but luck is the convergence of preparedness and opportunity and it swings both ways. I’ve had my share of bad luck. I think luck can be a factor as can hard work. The biggest thing however is making good decisions or more to the point, not making bad ones. That cost nothing. 

            Right now I’m working on a project that is full of opportunity and very challenging. I got a toe in the door from connections but I spent 30 years building a reputation, abilities, work ethic and networking. The connections didn’t just happen. When the opportunity came to write music for pilot film project I spent weeks working late into the night to write and record without having the job. When Sean Lennon (the first choice) could not work out the schedule I was sitting in the wings with material as a result of a lot of work that was a pure gamble. I got the gig. The pressure is unrelenting because there is a lot of money involved. 

            Last week I had the producer call from LA to discuss timetables and the director call from NYC to discuss her vision for a suddenly new direction she wants to take the music. I was given 3 days to come up with 1:43 minutes of music for a scene. She wanted something playful and naughty that was a cross between Franz Schubert and The Godfather. Really. I did it. It was a string quartet with a clarinet and piccolo. Now she wants the Cello to be a Tuba. I’m on it. I am absolutely invigorated and love the pressure. So far so good.

            My point is one can make their own luck. you did it, don’t sell yourself short. Unique skill sets don’t just happen. You chose not to have kids before you could afford them. You could have chosen to go to Alaska in the winter to sell ice so even the right place right time thing is more than just luck.

          • JGC

            Those are great  stories, Gregg and 1Brett1.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        I suppose I should have said:

        Why should people work for an employer or within a system that doesn’t pay them enough to obtain food, clothing, shelter, and transportation to and from work?

        My comment had absolutely nothing to do with the ‘welfare moochers’ you’re always on about.

        • Gregg Smith

          It’s an undeniable dynamic with many negative implications. But to answer your question, they shouldn’t stay where they are not compensated fairly which may or may not have anything to do with cost of living. A paper boy may be compensated fairly but still not be able to afford to raise a family.

          However, beyond that the answer is, “because they have to”. But obviously they don’t have to. This is what Obama has given us. It is not compassionate.

  • GuestAug27

    Completely agree, Mike.  We need 24-hour work week, worldwide, now!

  • AC

    did they break down the ‘industries’ w/the lowest demand? if not, can you please do so?

  • mkreich

    Guest Heather Boushey began her explanation of the sequester by stating that it resulted from the inability of  congress to agree on deficit reduction.  A less subjective explanation would have been that congress failed to agree on a budget.

  • AC

    what job type is he looking for?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    I didn’t listen to On Point much during the previous decade.

    When we had a five-year expansion under Bush II (featuring anemic job growth and a decline in median income) were there many hours of this show dedicated to insufficient job growth?

    It then seemed only the Krugmans, DeLongs and such were talking about the number of jobs needed to keep pace with population growth. Now it’s a narrative. Funny, that.

  • GuestAug27

    How long will we have to wait for the “experts” to have the guts to admit that, given the current productivity levels, the only sustainable way of providing jobs is to cut working hours?

    Of course this would have to be done worldwide, but 24-hour work week is long overdue!

    • Shag_Wevera

      I love your idea, even though it won’t happen.

      • GuestAug27

        Shag, there is a hope! It happened in the 1930s when we went from 60 hours per week to 40. It worked wonderfully, and we need to do it again.

        • keltcrusader

          wouldn’t there have to be an additional rise in pay to offset the loss of hours? Otherwise we would have an even larger amount of people barely making it.

          • GuestAug27

            Two things to remember: 1. if you restrict supply of labor, the prices (the wages) are going to go up as employers compete for workers; 2. the prices of the most expensive goods you buy (e.g. housing) would decrease if everybody had less cash to spend.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Or, work-sharing which may be a starting point. 

  • creaker

    Speaker just said it – corporations are doing great. They just don’t need you working there anymore.

  • michael abrams

    I  was outsourced in 2010, I am 70years old but I had several part time positions since then and now I have permanent part time position with a home center. These home centers are hiring older and younger folks to stock shelves for 4 to 5 hours daily. When I was released, I did have to go into a debt management programs which helped greatly.

  • GuestAug27

    Just admit that there is a worldwide oversupply of labor. When you have oversupply of anything, the price (in this case the wages) go down.

    Solution: reduce the supply of labor by reducing the working hours.

    • Gregg Smith

      That’s the last thing we need.

      • GuestAug27

        Why? Are you afraid to try something different? What we have now clearly does not work.

        • Gregg Smith

          What we have now is people not working at all. We have Obamacare causing companies to cut back hours to avoid compliance. Revenue coming in is low and it’s not because the rich aren’t taxed enough it’s because there are not enough taxpayers. We’re spoiled, fat and entitled. We need to get back to work and don’t need more time off.

          • GuestAug27

            Well then since the rich are supposed be creating jobs and they have been slacking off lately, maybe they need some motivation.

            How about a tax on wealth that will increase by 1% for every 1% decrease in labor participation?

          • Gregg Smith

            The motivation they need is the ability to profit or they won’t take the risk. Forcing them to hire in a down economy will not work.

  • AC

    all this worry about ‘manufacturing jobs’ going overseas…
    meanwhile – the real problem:

    they’re about to have their own problems with manufacturing……

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Remember when having a job meant you were treated like an adult?

    Well, corporate America doesn’t.

    Just the tip of the iceberg:

    Video cameras and software keep tabs on worker performance, tracking
    their computer keystrokes and the time spent on each customer service

    • glenn keefer-mcgee

      They put these in at the place I worked 2 jobs ago.  The software was named “Freedom”, or something like it.  The Librarian in me died a little that day.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Do you have to watch your dinner diet so you don’t end up taking excessive time in the restroom at work? I love red curry, for example, but it does have some effects on the system.

        Or did your employer simply make wearing adult diapers a condition of your employment?

        (I don’t even know if I’m kidding anymore.)

  • lwngy

    The one speaker Said everything would come back with the housing market , but the thing no one talks about is the looming foreclosure crisis .

  • Gregg Smith

    Why would anybody invest or expand their operations now. Why would anyone start a new business with Obamacare, the threat of new taxes and new regulations out the wazoo?

    • Shag_Wevera


      • Gregg Smith

        Greedy people don’t like to lose money. We need to make it so greedy people can be rewarded handsomely, then they will hire and expand. 

        • DrewInGeorgia

          All people are greedy, some are just more honest with themselves about it than others.

          Springtime+animals=no time.
          Gotta eat, back to work.

          • Gregg Smith

            Great point! I was being a bit provocative, you know how I am. Here’s the thing, looking out for your own self interest in an honest, ethical manner benefits society. As you point out, honesty is key. The word greed has negative connotations but is a positive position when it’s honest. I don’t know of any other word than greed but we need a new happy one.

        • NrthOfTheBorder

          Gregg fine line between greed and theft or exploitation.  How about enlightened self-interest with as many people benefiting as possible? 

          There’s this myth that raising greed to a religion and it’s expression in ruthless capitalism will be self-regulating or self-destructive. Unfortunately it never has been, never will be. Don’t forget “Atlas Shrugged” was fiction and in today’s world a fairy tale.

          • Gregg Smith

            I would never advocate unethical or illegal behavior. 

          • NrthOfTheBorder

            Solve that one Gregg, and we’re on our way to a better future. 

          • Gregg Smith

            I’m just speaking up for the vast majority who want to make as much money as they can legally and ethically. BTW, in the end it’s more profitable than the sleazy way.

          • Fredlinskip

            I’m not sure what you mean by sleazy. Working 3 jobs sleazy?
            Greed can involve much “sleaziness”.

          • Fredlinskip

            Ethical behavior would constitute paying fair wages and salary which is antithetical to your previous comment concerning “rewarding greedy people”.

            Meaning of word “illegal” is subject to change,
            as $ buys political influence so as to eliminate pesky “regulation”.

        • Fredlinskip

          I don’t believe this is a much of a problem in today’s corporate America.

    • AC

      why ignore the real problem?
      you know where i’m going with this….

      • Gregg Smith

        I find you interesting and always read your comments so I’ll take a guess and say you believe the root problem is population. I disagree but have always avoided arguing the point. I think I can make a case and I think I can poke a few holes in your reasoning but I could be wrong. The thing is, we can’t address the problem without very distasteful infringements on morality. I don’t want to go there.

        • AC

          i do consider population to be a variable, but i consider technology to be the most in need of discussion. our populace is not interested in the jobs of the future, which are heavily based on solid math and science skills (& imagination). it really worries me.
          i’ve used the post office crises a lot as a quick reference point. email has replaced quite a bit of their revenue, which is showing…what to do with the employees that they will need to cut back that are older? it takes time and money to learn a new skill – who supports them inbetween? their health care? will they all have to enter the fast food market, if so, what happens to the unskilled labor already there they replace?….lots of questions….

          • Gregg Smith

            I love your parenthetical “imagination”. No one needs to wonder the answer to any question if a smart phone s handy. We are filled with data and don’t know what to do with it. 

            I think there are more opportunities gained from the global marketplace in the communications age than lost. As the post office struggles the delivery industry (FedX, UPS, etc.) is going nuts because people can click up items in their pajamas. The gas light companies had to adapt when electricity came along. And what about those buggy makers? It’s always been this way but I do agree with you about the lack of focus on jobs of the future.

          • AC

            but what about the support and education required to transition people into the new jobs? that will require tax dollars & the atmosphere lately has been very selfish, not w/o cause, but i think in general it’s more stingy/greed by people who want a survival of the fittest society than it is govt mis-handling…..

          • Gregg Smith

            I’m not saying I’m necessarily opposed but I don’t think it has to include tax payer money. I know there are employers who pay for college or other training. Go to ND they will teach you to frack. The big thing is there first has to be jobs. For that to happen someone (or entity) has to put money at risk. To do that they must have confidence in the economy and in the government not to muck it up. They must turn a profit of go under.

          • AC

            have you ever been out on a drill rig in a blizzard?!!! i have, once when i first started – not a fun 2 hours and those guys are out there much, much longer…
            not a job that transfers well to weaker, older or people with illness/conditions etc.
            and i think there was just a show on this & i wondered why private industry doesn’t step up and help out with training, they used to, but now, they’d rather not spend the money (this is an overhead cost to them). instead there are all kinds of regular & alternative training schools screw-over students with high interest rate loans – some even lie about how lucky you’ll be: http://www.wcvb.com/news/local/boston-south/AG-Sullivan-Cogliano-Training-Centers-made-false-misleading-statements-to-students/-/9848842/19575454/-/dvuhqa/-/index.html
            also, if you watch the news at 4 or 5 in the late afternoon, every other commercial is a diff school offering ‘medical assistant training’ & then 1 or 2 on hairdressing/massage. I’m like ‘gee wiz, how many medical assistants do we need in the area?!’. esp since a lot of their tasks are being replaced (doctors soon too):

            anyway, one small sign of hope, baby-boomers getting out of the work world will give us a little boom. we have 4 people in my office alone that are in there 80s and won’t retire because of what happened to their 401s. even the older people that have retired, come in part time or get subcontracts to ”consult’. my boss is in his 70s and says he will retire next year, but he’s said that for awhile now & honestly has more nergy than some of our 30 yr olds, so he’s def not going anywhere. His billable rate alone would cover about 5 to 6 new hires…..

          • AC

            i should’ve mentioned – the other day, i saw my first ‘law office of Blah & Blah’ suing for wrongful robotic surgery ad….HAHAHAHAHAHAAAA, look who’s ready early – ambulance chasers!

          • AC

            i forgot to tell you, one of the old timers was telling me in N Dakota, you have to wear goggles cuz it gets so cold, the liquid in your eyeballs freeze!!!

          • Gregg Smith

            Desperate times call for desperate measures.

        • AC

          here is where i think we’re headed:

          & yes, i’ve often thought someone’s going to have to call in the death squad or determine who gets to have how many kids
           - & i want nothing to do with either of those…..:)

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      I always cringe at why so many Americans detest the prospect of Obama care.  

      Why not run with it? 

      Surely you wouldn’t want to revert to the health-care system as it was before do you?  And as for the constant criticism (akin to pot-shots from the peanut gallery) why don’t you come up with an alternative that’s better than the ACA? 

      Also – and I’d really, really, like to get an answer to this: how many ACA critics are themselves a) choosing to go without insurance or b) somehow directly, or indirectly, recipients of a government sponsored (or mandated) insurance plan?  This means all gov’t contractors, businesses with gov’t contracts, public institutions, gov’t employees, medicare/aid recipients etc etc.  

      If YOU fall into any of these categories your argument lacks integrity and deserves to be ignored. 

      • William

         “Why not run with it?”…well..do we know what is actually in it? Or will we just have to wait and see? Any bill passed with the now famous words “We have to pass the bill to find out what is in the bill” just does not give a reasonable person a good feeling about it.

        • NrthOfTheBorder

          Agreed. It’s that ole sausage thing again. One would think with whole-hearted commitment  and an unjaundiced eye to it’s shortcomings it could be improved upon with time.  In fact it seems many of its provisions had just that approach in mind. 

      • Gregg Smith

        I disagree with your entire either/or premise. I’ll say this, the health care system as it was before was head and shoulders above Obamacare. The system as it was before was not a good system. The two statements cozy up nicely without contradiction.

        I can’t answer your other question because it’s impossible to know and irrelevant to boot. For instance, let’s say they are all hypocrites. So what? There can be no recovery with Obamacare in place.

        • NrthOfTheBorder

          Sorry, having trouble deciphering your answer – especially the first part.  Can I assume you’d rather revert back to “system as it was before…” ? And that’s your better solution to the ACA? If so, you’ve been out voted my friend.
          As for the 2nd and “so what” part — ever had your health insurance revoked or rendered useless because of a diagnosis of something? If you have you’re a fool, if you haven’t your not seeing the big picture.

          • Gregg Smith

            What I want would be tort reform, HSA’s and border control but that’s irrelevant. But yes I would much rather have what we had before than what we have now. That doesn’t mean I endorse the old system. Regarding the vote, no one knew the costs, we were told it was revenue neutral and would lower premiums. We were told it wasn’t a tax. We were told we could keep our insurance and doctor. Obama excoriated Hillary’s plan because of the mandate. And I’m sure you remember Pelosi’s infamous words. No one voted for this.

            I don’t get the second part. My point is hypocrisy means nothing. Critics are free to criticize.

          • NrthOfTheBorder

            I know. It wasn’t the plan I felt I voted for either –  a product of the meat-grinder called Congress if there ever was one.  There’s no telling  how much money went to earmarks  to buy votes. All in all though – since the system as it was incapable of reforming itself…not to mention unsustainable, something had to be done.

            I agree on free to criticize – but in my mind arguments, like judgments,   based on a full understanding of both sides of an issue are persuasive – else, it’s just more noise getting in the way of progress. 

          • Gregg Smith

            I hear ya’.

        • hennorama

          Gregg “April Fool” Smith – You continue to prove your lack of knowledge on economic matters.

          You wrote “There can be no recovery with Obamacare in place”.  This claim is rubbish.

          A few facts:

          Obamacare has been in place since signed into law on March 23, 2010.

          Since that time, according to FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data) -
          Real GDP (in constant 2005 dollars) is up by more than 5.5 percent, from $12.9476 T (Q1 2010) to the most recent figure of $13.6654 T (Q4 2012)

          The Civilian Unemployment rate is down by 23.2 percent (2.3 percentage points), from 9.9% (2010-03-01) to the most recent figure of 7.6% (2013-03-01)

          The U6 unemployment rate is down by 18.8 percent (3.2 percentage points), from 17.0% (2010-03-01) to the most recent figure of 13.8% (2013-03-01)

          Nonfarm employment up by more than 4.4 percent, from 129.474 M (2010-03-01) to the most recent figure of 135.195 M (2013-03-01).

          The most recent nonfarm employment figure is 97.9% of the peak non-farm employment total of 138.056 M (2008-01-01), and is 1.1% higher than the 133.631 M figure from the beginning of the Obama administration (2009-01-01).

          Source for all above data:http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/

          In addition, Federal Deficits have declined from 10.1% of GDP in FY 2009, to 9.0 % of GDP in FY 2010, to 8.7 % of GDP in FY 2011, and further to 7.0% of GDP in FY 2012. The decline in the Federal Deficit over the last three years has been the fastest since the US military demobilized following World War II.

          This is known as “a recovery”.

          I’ve called this the “BBQ Recovery” – low and slow. It feels a lot like a recession due to slow growth and stubbornly high unemployment, but IT IS A RECOVERY.



          • Gregg Smith

            With all due respect, you can’t see the forest for the trees. Getting bogged down in semantics (recovery) misses the point. Citing cherry-picked facts in a vacuum serves only to create an illusion as a foundation for your a false premise. That and it may make you feel smart.

            Do you want to talk about GDP without talking about quantitative easing? It’s a roller coaster, there is no trend and right now it’s under 1/2 of 1%. Or deficits shrinking slightly without acknowledging they were first quadrupled? We spent $5T, it’s gone and we have the debt. Do you want to talk about bang for buck? How much did each job cost? How many still exist? How many were part time? How many people took a big cut in pay? Should we talk about the unemployment rate without talking a out the LFPR? Fewer people looking for work in a shrinking universe of jobs translates to a lower unemployment rate. Citing the rate in a vacuum is dishonest, but maybe you actually believe the jobs numbers are good news in which case you shouldn’t talk about my lack of knowledge. And on and on.

            This is not a recovery by any reasonable definition. There is no confidence. There is nothing on the horizon to make it better, only worse. Obamacare hasn’t even completely kicked in yet. People are in for a rude awakening and the economy is in for a long hard slog.

          • hennorama

            Gregg “I never lie” Smith – “Semantics” is your defense for being wrong? How many times are you going to play this joker? And you again use “cherry picking” as an argument.

            Facts are facts. You are wrong. Admit it, then back to your pontification and your echo chamber.

          • Gregg Smith

            Did you even read my comment? I think I made the case for your cherry picking and I didn’t blame semantics for squat. That’s your theme: I don’t know the definition of “recovery”. Why don’t you further miss the point and link the dictionary as the economy crumbles.

            I understand why you don’t want to address the issues I raised. Do you feel smart?

            BTW, I would love nothing more than to be wrong. I wish I was.

          • hennorama

            Gregg “I never lie – April Fool!” Smith – YOU made the statement “There can be no recovery with Obamacare in place”.

            When that was disproved by factual information, you cry “semantics” and “cherry picking”. Now you want to try to redefine “recovery” and change your claim to “This is not a recovery by any reasonable definition.”

            Admit you are wrong, then go back to your echo chamber.

          • Gregg Smith

            You listed facts, true enough but they proved nothing without the cherry picking and semantics. That’s what I meant about the forest and the trees. 

            I stand by my claim. There can be no recovery with Obamacare. This is not a recovery.You are deluding yourself unless you can address the many issues I raised and you left out. All you have is snark.

            Do you call On Point an echo chamber?

          • hennorama

            Gregg “April Fool” Smith – your statement was wrong, but you won’t admit it. Rather than addressing that fact, you cry “snark” and “semantics” and “cherry picking”. I was waiting for you to call me “smartypants” but instead you used the rhetorical ” Do you feel smart?”

            Even more hilarious than your doing calisthenics to avoid the facts that proved you wrong is that YOU cry “semantics” then turn to semantics by writing “This is not a recovery by any reasonable definition” rather than sticking to your original claim, which was ” “There can be no recovery with Obamacare in place”.

            Do you do standup, too, or is your act confined to these sorts of forums?

          • Gregg Smith

            Yadda yadda you haven’t addressed a single issue and certainly haven’t proven squat.
            You are deluding yourself unless you can address the many issues I raised and you left out.

          • hennorama

            Gregg “April Fool” Smith – nice try, but I don’t accept you changing the subject. You are wrong and won’t admit it. It’s as simple as that.

          • Gordon Green

            Don’t bother.  It’s like talking to a brick.

          • hennorama

            Gordon Green – TY for your response. Indeed. In fact, I suggested a new moniker to Mr. Smith recently, involving the words “thick brick skull wall”.

    • marygrav

       If US businesses are too afraid to invest in America, they should get out of the way and let the Chinese take over.  New taxes when you pay no taxes and depend on the US military to defend you wealth has become too much of a burden on the middle class.  There were business stated in the First Great Depression, why not now?

      These same fearful businesses, some banks and so-called job creator sending jobs overseas because they sought slave labor helped get US in this financial mess, while the workers toiled at their labor.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Are you proposing taxes on the 50% that currently pay no income taxes?

        Obamacare didn’t exist during the ’30s.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Ooooh, such big threats.

      You expand your operations to make money, if the demand is there. Having all the customer’s disposable income redistributed to the top is a bigger barrier than the trivia you mention.

  • Trond33

    This is the new norm.  The US has lost its “edge” in a number of different ways.  Most importantly, it is not as creative.  There is too much of a pull to do the same, when the situation requires thinking outside the box.  You can blame an educational system based upon memorization and regurgitation for this situation – even the “best” educated are not up to snuff.  I work with SMEs to establish or revamp their international business development.  So many top managers still convince themselves that the US market is going to return full force.  Even after being beaten for over five years, they only play lip service to diversifying their customer base by making a serious commitment to foreign markets.  

    Its a new world out there and until US companies start thinking in terms of the new rules, the country is destined to the doldrums. 

    • TomK_in_Boston

      The problem is our economic system, not our creativity. 33 years of class warfare have redistributed all the wealth to the top. “US” corporations no longer feel a responsibility to create jobs in the US, and then there are fewer workers to create the demand that would support other jobs, a vicious circle.

      • Trond33

        While I agree that the concentration of wealth in the US is a serious detriment to economic development – the US today does look like a Papa Doc “democracy” of the 1980s Latin America – this is a multi faceted issue.  Too many workers across the spectrum strive to be a “clog-in-the-wheel,” with extremely few striving to contribute to the common good.  The greed factor that has fueled the concentration of wealth is alive and well throughout US society.  

        Furthermore, at its base level, it is a problem of creativity, in so much as it takes critical thinking to spur creativity.  True, there are plenty of creative people out there with creative ideas, but without grounding those ideas in critical thinking, they are largely spinning their wheels in terms of spurring economic growth. 

        Ten years ago, the individual entrepreneur was striving to be a mortgage broker.  Today it is to run his/her own lawn business or be a personal shopper.  Its not very creative if these are the pursuits that individuals are rushing to copy from each other.

        • jefe68

          People are scared of losing their jobs for the most part. They are scared to anything that will make them stand out for fear of being fired. I see this where I work.
          Not one person is going to stick their neck out when the management uses fear and intimidation too get people to tow the line.

          It’s not like that everywhere, but unless you are in a union you have very few rights as a worker even in a stat such as Massachusetts.

          • GuestAug27

            A strong union representing most workers, like they have in Germany, would certainly help.

          • TomK_in_Boston


        • TomK_in_Boston

          Trond33, thanks for the thoughtful reply.

          In the big picture, the problem is that corporate profits, productivity and GDP have continued to rise, but they have decoupled from wages.

          There are many causes. One is technology, but to hear the corporate media you might think that is the only cause. Others are Union busting, offshoring, short-term thinking, government refusal to act, and the privileged no longer considering themselves obligated to a social contract….to name a few.

          The DC echo chamber tells us that job and wage and benefit losses come from economic forces that are acts of god, beyond our control. So we don’t consider providing incentives to keep jobs in the USA and penalties for offshoring. We don’t encourage long-term investment and penalize taking out huge bonuses for the elite – in fact our tax code incents in the opposite, wrong way. “Carried interest” for LBO con artists – insane! We hear about how Americans want walmart pricing, as if it’s unrelated to walmart wages and benefits. They tell us the more trade the better, ignoring what happens when you make (once) high-wage workers and low-wage workers in the same pool.

          Also every developed nation has to confront this problem, and all we have to do is look to see that several have one a great job at maintaining middle class wages. I guess, as with health care, we’re forbidden to look.

          Creativity? We’ve invented and developed biotech and the internet with our once-great gvt-private partnership. Robotics is booming. You’ll be hard pressed to see more creativity than the action in Kendall Sq, Cambridge. What is not creative is management, which is more oppressive and financialized by the second. That’s why the best kids are going into startups.

      • Tyranipocrit

         capitalism is the crisis.

  • http://www.CayerComputing.com/ Melissa A. Cayer

    This show could sequester some Human Resources Professionals and ask them some down and dirty questions about how they look for new hires.

  • marygrav

    What is happening in the Third World Marginalization of the American Economy in The servant economy : where America’s elite is sending the middle class / Jeff Faux.  This is accomplished successfully through the US Chamber of Commerce boycott led by the AEI, and a right-wing 


    in Congress held together by racism and classism.  This was made evident in 2012 in the lead up to the election.

    Race is still important to unify the Cabal because in this age group it has become quasi-genetic.  This is not because they are evil.  It is because of writers like Lothrop Stoddard and Maddison Grant who deemed Whiteness as the only American rightness.  Class is a dirty word, but class is how America has always been controlled.  There is a 300% difference in a CEO and the average worker.  Even in my small town they have created a new work: Workforce Housing to replace Affordable Housing.  Classism that has creeped into the language.

    The House of Representatives dominated by the T-Party would rather see the entire economy of the US go down than to summit to any ideas for recovery that that President Obama has to offer.  They are able to maintain their unity due to the fact that there is a “n——” in the White House, and Blacks don’t look right in power.  This is why the Right-wing rally cry is “Take Back Our Country.”  The Sequester is a ideological dream for them.

    What is amusing in a sick way, is that every idea that Obama offers the Republicans was originally a GOP idea.  An example of this is Obamacare.  And when he offers to reduce Medacare and any other entitlement as a trade–or even a bargaining chip, the House will refuse.  Then whip out you history books and study the 1970s as to the “real” Ronald Reagan and his economic plan.

    Like in the Third World the Elites–bankers–corporations–so-called job creators are not allowing Trickle-Down.  They want to drive the American worker to $2 dollars an hour like China and the rest of the Third World.

    What C. Wright Mills calls the Power Elite, in the classic by that name, want to establish an oligarchy in the noble cause of a Mitt Romney, that everyone feared, regardless of party.  The fear of what Romney represented  overrode his Presidential Good Looks.

    If you will notice The Great Depression was until very recently taught as part of Economics in schools at all levels.  And the fact that the entire global economy, especially Europe is in economic turmoil; the BRICS are not even as economically secure as they once were.  We don’t make the association that these are are customers.  We don’t because geography is no longer taught in elementary schools.  And at the UI geography is no longer a major.  All of this is due to the US Wall Street failure which sparked the First Great Depression in 1929.

    Finally, if you want a job see if the safe districts that the T-Party survives on are disbanded or weakened.  Our Congress seems to operate on Fear.  Vote and give them something really to fear because all the Terrorist are not in Asia and the Middle East.  The majority hold safe seats in the US Congress House of Representatives.

    • Tyranipocrit

       I am not a tea bagger in any way–i am green if i must have a label–and yet i have used the phrase “take back the country”–but i use in an entirely different way and i dont use it as a slogan or talking point.  Progressives need to ignore the teabaggers, shut them down–as criminals–that is what they are.  Civilized countries dont allow the lowest dysfunctional undereducated and insane to run their country–but somehow we always do.  The plutocracy is to blame.  its time to banish them and form new government.  reform is BS.  We have to throw out the bath water and draw our water elsewhere.

      why shoud we car eef these compannies are hng–why do yoo want to eslave yourself to a fascst totalitartarna organizatioion hell bent on destroying humanty and the world.  Yess it true.  Look  around you.

      Form your own local businesses and cooperatives.  form your own direct democracies.  form your own banks.  Hold a constitutional convention and dont invite the ursurpers.

  • marygrav

    Margaret Thatcher was an itch with a B!

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Mrs. Thatcher was a woman and a fearless leader.  Your comment comes across as very sexist.

      • Paducah72

        Any leader who cuts the social safety net and increases poverty is a BIATCH male or female.

        • Gregg Smith

          You have not described Maggie but you nailed Obama.

          • Paducah72

            At least Obama pretended to care.

          • Gregg Smith

            Thank you, you summed him up beautifully.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           Mrs. Thatcher did not increase poverty; she saved a nation.  When she arrived in office, unemployment was 13% and when she left it was about 5%.

          • Paducah72

            Actually the poverty rate increased from 13.4% in 1979 to 22.2% in 1990. I’m not sure why the poverty and unemployment stats don’t correlate, but income inequality rose under Thatcher, too. Maybe if she had worked to strengthen the manufacturing sector instead of killing it, Britain would be in better shape today.

  • Cabanator

    Perhaps my interpretation is too simplistic, but what I see happening is globalization in overdrive. Once technology made it possible to communicate easily and cheaply, manufacturing jobs starting moving overseas. The Great Recession was the final blow–those American manufacturing industries that were teetering on the brink of viability went over the edge. Most of those jobs aren’t coming back. Anything that can be produced cheaper overseas is going to stay there. Until recently we didn’t have to compete with low-paid, poorly treated workers overseas because it was too expensive to run a global business. That is no longer the case. We like to blame “evil” corporations for moving American jobs overseas, but American consumers hold the ultimate responsibility. Corporations can only survive if people buy their products. Every time we choose to buy a cheaper version of a product made overseas, we are sending a tacit message in support of outsourcing. Unless demand for more expensive American-made products increases substantially, or the government starts taxing the heck out of imports, those jobs aren’t coming back. 
    The industries that are still doing well in the US are those that can’t be easily duplicated elsewhere, especially the high-tech industries. People may complain that our educational system as a whole is struggling, but the top tier isn’t. Top American colleges and universities are still considered among the best in the world. In fact, US News and World Report listed 15 US institutions as among the world’s best 25 universities. That concentration of talent means that the U.S. is still one of the best places to start a tech company. Living in Boston, I, and many of my friends, work in high tech. None of us have had much trouble finding a good job. In fact, my company has had difficulty filling openings, and many of my friends have reported the same. 
    Those who are going to thrive in this country are the people with skills that aren’t easy to find at a cheaper price elsewhere. For those stuck in factory towns after the factory shut down, I don’t know what the answer is. Those folks are in a really tough spot.

    • Tyranipocrit

       Americans, as well as people of all nations, need to stop relying on big companies–they are the enemy that divides us all.  People need to form cooperatives and stop using the banking system–withdraw all your money, go local or start a new community savings&loan.  They only have power over us because we let them.  occupy robber baron homes–take it back.  Local business, local food, local banks, local power–with broad federal powers of civil right actions and industrial regulation.

  • Tyranipocrit

    start electing true progressive/green candidates in your local communities–town, city, county, state, and federal.  Additionally, hold a constitutional convention and elect new government–don’t give the false rulers  in Washington any legitimacy–they deserve none–they are usurpers.  Call a convention and declare independence.  Re-institute your stolen civil rights–including earth rights–your right to clean air, water and food.  Police your communities.  There is no reason  why you have to obey laws designed by false rulers (the plutocracy) for themselves at your expense to enslave you and pacify you–YOU are the true rulers of this country.  The plutocracy has no rights.  They are herding you, with the help of the conservative/and faux-liberal media.  And you accept it.   Form local cooperatives and CSAs. Start your banking systems.  Ignore, reject, and banish all false powers of the plutocracy.    Form a direct-democracy with local characteristics. Anyone discriminated against in the south and Tex-Arcana can come north where you will be welcomed as full and equal citizens. Welcome.

  • TomHagan

    More mush from all ends of the political spectrum.
    As though jobs could come back. As though we can “get the banks lending again” when total debt, public and private, has climbed to $600,000 per US family of fouir.

    “Labor market?” When you can buy a robot for $22,000, why hire anyone to what Maxwell the robot can do?

    The only question worth asking is: how bad will it get before people get violent because they can no longer feed their families? What will happen then?

    For more on why we will stay down unless some new thinking happens, see http://whatsnotso.blogs.com. Check out “Jobs? Forget jobs. They’re gone and they’re not coming back.” And “How much crop can a sharcropper share?”

  • Tyranipocrit

    its not just factory jobs.  All jobs are exported and automated.  Even tech jobs.  And why should everyone be a techie?  How much of our economy is base don smart phones?  Its pathetic.  Gimmicks.  a nation of suckers.

    • GuestAug27

      I agree.  We are productive enough.  Time to work less and live more.  Let’s share the jobs we have, and there are plenty of them, by working shorter hours.  Worked great in the 1930′s when we went from 60 to 40 hours per week.

      40 hours was OK when one adult in the family had an outside job.  Now it’s usually two.  That’s 100 hours (including commute) per week per family of outside work.  No wonder one half of Americans are on Prozac and the other half on Viagra.  It’s a madness.

  • glorkohl

    Where is the housing that is giving the economy such a boost happening?  Not in the NYC metro tri-state area where you can currently negotiate a rental price ( unheard of )? Has God made more land to build on? Where?
     As a professional unemployed and without health care for 3+ years, and one of many, we KNOW that this is a pipedream.  The jobs are not there. The JOBS DRIVE THE ECONOMY and nothing else.  Everyone over 50 who is unemployed has to go on disability to survive. Things are improving? Really? How? 
     On second thought- Sequester this.    

    • Steve__T

       Rural farm areas of NC are going cheep, and they are building these ugly suburban communities all over the state. 120k to low 400k.

      • hennorama

        Steve__T – that’s perfect!  Take productive farmland and convert it to housing, far from employment centers.  This seems counter-intuitive in light of higher energy prices.

        No wonder some farmers and their heirs are choosing to quit and cash out, and no wonder farmland prices have attracted investors and speculators into the market.

        According to a recent Bloomberg.com article, in 2011, 22 percent of Iowa farmland sold was purchased by investors.  This is down from 39 percent in 2005, but is still a significant chunk of land going to investors.


        • Steve__T

           TY for your reply. Yes, and when the price of food goes up they will be the first to bitch about it. Or they will wonder why it comes from Venezuela. Then again, maybe not.

          With the trick congress played passing the GMO Monsanto bill, we all will be happy to have anything to eat. Oh god it’s Solilent green.

          • hennorama

            Well Steve, you know what they say … “it’s all about the quality of the people involved.”

            BTW – “Soylent Green” anagrams to “Stolen Energy”. Slap a green label on it, and folks will think it’s healthy.

            Just for giggles, try putting ” * is all about people ” into your favorite search engine. Turns out EVERYTHING is “all about people” – who knew?

            I appreciate and respect your views. Thanks again for your response.

  • Gregg Smith

    I missed the show this evening. I see no mention of Obamacare above. Was it discussed on the show? I am glad the emphasis is on jobs and not raising taxes. The only way to a meaningful recovery is to create more taxpayers, that means jobs. Is there anyone who believes Obamacare is not devastating the job market? Here’s Obama’s economic go to guy, Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi:


    The CBO claimed Obamacare would kill 800K jobs and that was 2 years ago:


    This is not rocket science. I don’t give one iota of credit to the notion that anything is better than what we had. Some things are worse, but leave that aside. Can even the strongest supporter of the need for Obamacare defend or deny the affect on jobs at the worst possible time? 

    • GuestAug27

      Hey Gregg, in what part of the economy is Obamacare killing jobs?  At private, for-profit, health insurers?  I certainly hope so.  Those leaches should have gone extinct long time ago.

      As far as other businesses go, the ones that provide useful products and services, they cannot wait to get out of managing the healthcare for their employess because it will allow them to focus on their core business just like their competitors in the rest of the developed world do.

      • Gregg Smith

        And they are. Many companies are dropping coverage altogether or cutting hours to avoid compliance. It’s a disaster for jobs. You will get your wish, Obamacare is designed to put private insurance out of business.

        • GuestAug27

          Cutting hours is actually a good thing. As I said before, we need to share the jobs we have. Getting employers out of the healtcare business is a step in the right direction. 

          Your employer should pay you for the work you do. Period. They should not buy health and life insurance for you.  Those are things you should get on your own.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Mark Zandi is loosing the thrill up his leg.  I guess the election is over.

      • Gregg Smith

        Is there an economist who says Obamacare will create jobs? Or just that it won’t kill jobs? 

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           Do you count the ‘navigators’ and extra IRS agents  as ‘jobs created’?

          I doubt there is an honest economist (not on the admin payroll) defending Obamacare.

    • hennorama

      Gregg “April Fool” Smith – you not only continue to demonstrate your lack of knowledge, you cite as evidence of your unsupportable claims a source whose YouTube account “has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement” – (http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2011/02/10/surprise_cbo_confirms_obamacare_will_kill_800,000_american_jobs)

      Well done, sir. Your continued use of “reliable sources” clearly demonstrates how you are all for “open and honest debate”.

      Are you arguing that all CBO projections from two years ago, for ten years into the future (the year 2021) should be taken as fact? Because that’s what your precious “evidence” is – a projection for the year 2021, from two years ago! Not only is this not proof of anything, it is also not likely to be accurate, given the long time horizon.

      As to your repeated claim of “job losses from Obamacare”, and that “Obamacare is … devastating the job market” – please demonstrate that these are factual, true and honest claims.

      Show us the facts that back up your claims. Exactly how many employers are involved? Exactly how many jobs have been lost? Exactly how is Obamacare “devastating the job market”? What exactly do you mean by “devastated the job market”?

      Assuming you can find any facts, and are able to define your terms, that is.

      The opinions of a single economist, and a two-year-old ten year projection into the future are not facts, and are not evidence of anything. They are as valuable as the hot air emitted by the words of the economist, and the paper and electrons used to communicate the two-year-old ten year projection into the future.
      BTW – here’s a link to a YouTube account that has NOT “been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement”, showing the video in question:


      • pete18

        An assertion that is much more lacking in supportable claims is the one that states that the stimulus “saved” or “created” jobs.  Care to provide any that matches your criteria for Obama Care?

        • hennorama

          pete18 – Thanks for your reply. I appreciate and respect your views.

          You wrote “Care to provide any that matches your criteria for Obama Care?”

          Any what, exactly? Your question is exceptionally vague.

          If you have some specific claim that I have made about Obamacare, please ask about it. Rest assured, I will defend my statements and will be able to support them, unlike Mr. “April Fool” Smith.

          BTW, are you now Smith’s designated defender? Do you have to wait a certain number of hours without any response from Smith before you jump in? I ask only due to the fact that you jumped in on another thread a few days ago, after Smith was bravely silent.

          Just curious. Thanks again for your reply.

          • pete18

            Given all that I’ve seen you post, I’m making a reasonable assumption that you believe Obama’s fatuous and purposely intangible claim that the stimulus “saved or created ” jobs. Maybe you don’t. But if you do then I find your demand of additional “evidence” from Greg regarding his far more concrete claims about Obama care to be frivolous at best.

            Greg’s a big boy and doesn’t need my help, I just chime in when I see something that strikes me.

          • hennorama

            pete18 – TY again for your reply. I respect your views.

            As I said, I will defend my statements and will be able to support them, regardless of the topic. If you can find any instance of me making claims resembling those you describe in your most recent post as well as in your earlier post, feel free to ask me about them.

            As you may have discerned, making unsupported assumptions or claims is not part of what I consider to be appropriate in this or any other forum. Making claims without a shred of supporting facts is merely stating one’s opinion. There’s nothing wrong with stating one’s opinion of course, provided one clearly states that IS merely one’s opinion.

            Without such statement, all claims are fair game for challenge. All such unsupported claims deserve to be challenged, and those making such unsupported claims should either answer such a challenge with facts, or be held out for ridicule.

            This is especailly true in Smith’s case, as he repeatedly says he’s for “open and honest debate”, and that he “never lies”.

            I appreciate the time and effort you took to respond, and respect your views. TY again.

          • pete18

             So, do you believe that the stimulus “created or saved” jobs?

          • hennorama

            pete18 – TY for your reply, and your question. As stated, I make and have made no claims on the topic.

            Certainly economic activity as evidenced by changes in GDP increased post-TARP and post-ARRA. I mention both of these programs together as it is difficult to determine their separate effects on the Great Recession. Without TARP, the ARRA would have needed to be MUCH larger and would have needed to go into effect sooner. Without the ARRA, TARP on its own would have resulted in lower overall economic impact.

            We went from the worst of it in Q4 of 2008, when GDP was dropping at a -8.9% rate, followed by GDP declining at a – 5.3% rate in Q1 of 2009. Then the stimulus (ARRA) passed and started to go into effect. By the end of Q4 2009, GDP was growing at a 4.0% clip.

            So the rate changed by almost 13 points in a year, and nearly 9 points in the 9 months following the start of the ARRA. While not all of this can be attributed to the ARRA, since the Fed was proving massive help, it’s undeniable that the stimulus had a major, rapid effect. This was an amazingly large and rapid change in GDP.

            As to the exact impact on employment – it is difficult to quantify; certainly given that there was increased economic activity, it is difficult to argue that the ARRA created or saved NO jobs. There are studies as to the effect of the ARRA on employment, but they all acknowledge the difficulty of quantifying its exact impact. Generally, these studies provide estimates with wide ranges of variability.

            Due to this lack of clear quantifiable evidence, I make no factual claims.

            My opinion however, is that it is obvious that employment would have been lower without TARP and the ARRA.

            TY again for your response.

    • 228929292AABBB

      My work is for small to medium sized businesses and, to Mr. Smith’s point, though my sample size is small relative to the nation at large, there is no question that among my clients no one wants to add jobs because of the significant governmental costs of employment in general and two Obama-administration initiatives in particular; medical insurance and extended unemployment.  I have several clients who have specifically REDUCED their job rolls intentionally to get under 50 in the last couple years.  When businesses have an increase in work it makes more sense to pass the work up than it does to risk paying the bills two years after the bump in work has passed.  I am an Obama voter, fyi, that is just what I see in the actual world of jobs and employers where I work.

  • Anthony Amiewalan
    • Other Chris

      You love self promotion.

    • JGC

      You are in desperate need of a trollectomy.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    DC echo chamber: “We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem”



  • Zack Smith

    Tom – fire your producer. The panel lacks balance yet again, with three establishment hacks. Mark Zandi, cheering the “recovery” of housing sector, reminds me of him in 2007 promoting stocks on CNBC pre-crash. Google “Peter Schiff Was Right” and then bring him on your show to explain what’s really going on with our fake Fed-illusion bubble recovery.

  • 228929292AABBB

    Please remember President Obama debating Mitt Romney, who challenged him on the effect of the sequester on the military.  The sequester “will not happen” he promised.

  • ExcellentNews

    Jobs! Where are the jobs? Where are the jobs?

    Our national stupidity would be comic if it was not so tragic.

    Since 2000, U.S. “job creators” aided by their banker pals, have created – !HOLD YOUR JAW! – 85,000,000 jobs in Asia. Did your jaw just drop on the floor? But that’s the truth. About 15,000,000 high-wage manufacturing jobs left the US during that time. Coincidence? You decide…

    Heck, our corporate “job creators” have created more jobs in NORTH KOREA than in America during 2013 (no kidding, there are about 90,000 slave-labor NK workers in “shared” factories along the border with South Korea). How’s THAT for patriotism by the same folks who wrap themselves in the Stars & Stripes ?

    For that amazing performance, our “job creators” and bankers got a 50% tax cut and a 100% inheritance tax cut. How’s THAT for rewarding good work ?

    No wonder that nearly 20 TRILLION dollars are sitting in the offshore accounts of global oligarchs and financiers, while the middle class is shrinking like the snowpack on the Sierras. Now, THAT is what I call a high robbery. And most of the victims are not even aware of what happened…

    Yeah folks, keep listening to the corporate shills with their Armani suits and dazzling pompadours, and everything will be fine “… companies do not hire because of uncertainty, taxes, and too much regulation…”. No, companies do not hire because they DO NOT NEED YOU. There is plenty of slave labor elsewhere. The name of the game for their owners is now to keep the loot safe.

  • collaboration13

    If you look at all the problems due to the recession and the levels of unemployment, this situation looks dire.  While it’s important to analyze the problems, it’s also imperative to look at the positive change that can come from this situation-which requires individual and community action.

    So, there’s not a surplus of money or jobs (there never has been)!  But what we do have is more time and knowledge.  Before the advent of agriculture, humans lived in self-sustainable horticulture societies with plenty of food and leisure time.  If people start to grow more of their own food (which they have the time to do if not employed), not only will be healthier, but they will have money to spend on other things.  If you don’t know how to garden, there are numerous organizations and community gardens, as well as youtube videos, that will teach you.  If you don’t have the space, you can volunteer at a community garden in exchange for fresh produce.  

    This is one of the most powerful ways to change the world from the individual to the global level-it affects every cell in our body and has the power to influence large corporations and our environment.  If you’re interested in working with nature in the most efficient way, study permaculture techniques.  

    If neighbors/friends/communities start to do this, you can work together and exchange goods.  Maybe someone grows greens and herbs, and someone else grows broccoli, peppers and corn.  You can even learn to can and pickle things for the colder months.  This is how humanity used to survive!!  

    Besides growing and bartering food, I’m sure that every person who is unemployed right now has some sort of skill that they can trade.  If you don’t have the monetary means, form a bartering system in your community.  Take a look at Fourth Corner Exchange which was started in Bellingham, Washington.

    This is a great way to stimulate a local economy while still being a part of the national/world economy.

Sep 17, 2014
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson watches from the sidelines against the Oakland Raiders during the second half of a preseason NFL football game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. (AP/Ann Heisenfelt)

The NFL’s Adrian Peterson and the emotional debate underway about how far is too far to go when it comes to disciplining children.

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Bob Dylan and Victor Maymudes at "The Castle" in LA before the 1965 world tour. Lisa Law/The Archive Agency)

A new take on the life and music of Bob Dylan, from way inside the Dylan story. “Another Side of Bob Dylan.”

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Jasmin Torres helps classmate Brianna Rameles with a worksheet at the Diloreto Magnet School in New Britain, Conn., Wednesday Feb. 22, 2012. (AP/Charles Krupa)

More parents are “red-shirting” their children in kindergarten—holding them back for a year, hoping they’ll have an edge. Does it work? We look.

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