by ilene - December 9th, 2013 4:43 am
Courtesy of Mish.
Here’s some new charts from reader Tim Wallace on “Covered Employment” (working in a job eligible for unemployment benefits).
First a few notes ….
Typically, hours worked and wages paid to employees in covered employment are used as a basis in establishing unemployment benefits should an employee becomes unemployed by no fault of their own.
Self-employed people are not covered by unemployment insurance but we still have to pay into the system.
Covered employees are entitled to unemployment benefits if they earn enough wages and meet eligibility requirements of their state.
For example, the State of Washington requires 680 hours of covered employment to be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Covered Employment Notes
- Covered employment hit 128,673,493 in January 2002.
- Since then, the working age population has grown by 30 million.
- Covered employment was 133,902,387 in December 2008.
- Covered employment is 130,396,096 now, a decline of 3,560,291.
Covered Employment vs. Federal Spending
by ilene - December 8th, 2013 10:26 pm
Courtesy of Mish.
According to a top secret 2010 report the Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter is better then the US-made Chinook helicopter built by Boeing in Pennsylvania. Army Secretary John McHugh wrote in a 2011 memo “that the Mi-17 stands apart” when compared with other helicopters.
Another study shows the Chinook built was found to be “the most cost-effective single platform type fleet for the Afghan Air Force over a twenty year” period.
This has the Christian Science Monitor and many others asking Why is US buying Russian helicopters for Afghan military?
Higher Quality Questions
I am not qualified to comment on which helicopter is better. Instead I want to ask a higher quality question:
What the hell are we still doing in Afghanistan?
We should have declared the war won 10 years ago and left. Better yet, we should not have gone there at all in the first place.
Based on that simple logic, we should buy neither the Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters nor the Boeing Chinook for Afghanistan.
Either way, I wonder if the real reason we bought Russian helicopters is fear for what happens to Chinook technology once we leave Afghanistan and the country falls to the Taliban once again.
Regardless of “why” many important high-level questions remain.
by ilene - December 8th, 2013 4:17 pm
Courtesy of John Rubino.
The main difference between well-run and badly-run countries is certainty. In well-run countries, money is worth pretty much the same from one year to the next, the police come when called and protect rather than prey on the caller, and contracts, including pensions and other retirement plans, behave as advertised. In badly-run countries, not so much.
With the contract part of this story, Americans have been living in two different countries, depending on whether they’re in the private or public sectors. Private sector workers discovered years ago that things like pensions and employment contracts are just so much scrap paper. But until recently the public sector had been spared such nasty surprises. Baby boomer teachers, firefighters and college professors have spent lifetimes doing their jobs and watching their pensions accrue. They’ve known for decades that when they retire they’ll get X amount per year for life and have X amount of their health care covered. This certainty makes them perhaps the last segment of US society to retain a belief that the system works.
But that changed earlier this month, when Detroit’s bankruptcy judge declared that pensions can be cut along with everything else:
A federal judge’s ruling clears the way for Detroit to proceed with the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history
For 90 minutes Tuesday, as snow fell on protesters outside, Judge Steven Rhodes laid out his rationale for allowing Detroit to seek the biggest municipal bankruptcy in American history.
“This is indeed a momentous day,” Rhodes told the hushed courtroom. “We have a finding that this proud and once prosperous city cannot pay its debts.”
By the time the soft-spoken federal judge had finished, it was clear that from worker pensions to the city’s art treasures, nothing in Detroit is completely safe in Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
The effect of his ruling is likely to touch all corners of the city and could serve as a legal precedent for other municipalities reckoning with unsustainable debt. Here are three of the most important takeaways:
Pensions Aren’t Sacred. Lawyers for the city’s 48 organized-labor groups argued strenuously that Michigan law protected state employees’ pensions. Rhodes disagreed, noting that the state’s constitution classified pensions as a contractual obligation on cities’ part, not something requiring special treatment.
That means the
Young Voters Would Recall Obama, Congress, If Possible; Only 18% Think Obamacare will Make Things Better
by ilene - December 8th, 2013 3:54 pm
Courtesy of Mish.
The Washington Post reports Majority of youngest voters would recall Obama.
Young people, who played a major role in putting President Obama in the White House in 2008 and keeping him there after 2012, now say they would vote to recall the president if given the chance.
A new Harvard University Institute of Politics poll shows 52 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 say they would vote to recall Obama. Among young people aged 18 to 29, the number is 47 percent.
I am not sure how the Washington Post calculated the first breakdown unless they had more access to the data. Let’s head straight to the Harvard Survey of Young Americans’ Attitudes toward Politics and Public Service.
Here are some questions I found particularly interesting.
6. For whom did you vote for president in 2012?
Barack Obama ………………………………………… 55%
Mitt Romney ………………………………………….. 33%
Someone else …………………………………………. 4%
Don’t remember ……………………………………… 1%
Decline to answer ……………………………………. 6%
7. If you could re-cast your 2012 vote for president today, for whom would you vote?
Barack Obama ………………………………………… 46%
Mitt Romney ………………………………………….. 35%
Someone else …………………………………………. 13%
Decline to answer ……………………………………. 7%
11. Do you consider yourself to be politically engaged or politically active?
Yes ……………………………………………………. 22%…
by ilene - December 7th, 2013 9:07 pm
Courtesy of Mish.
Here’s an interesting video courtesy of a reader from the Republic of Slovenia who sent the link.
Link if video does not play: State is an Institution of Theft
Transcript – Godfrey Bloom – Member of European Parliament
Mr. President, I am minded to quote the great American philosopher Murray Rothbard here. The state is an institution of theft. Tax is just about a system of politicians and bureaucrats who steal money from their citizens to squander in the most disgraceful manner. This place is no exception.
Fascinatingly, and I really don’t know how you manage to keep a straight face when you are talking about tax evasion. The whole commission and the commission bureaucracy avoid their taxes. You don’t pay taxes like citizens pay taxes. You have all sorts of special deals: tax rates, high tax thresholds, non-contributing pension schemes. You are the biggest tax avoiders in Europe. And here you sit pontificating, well the message is getting home to the people of the European Union.
You are going to find that eurosceptics are coming back in June, in ever greater numbers. And I can tell you worse, as the people get your number, it won’t be long before they storm this chamber and hang you. And they’ll be right.
Who is Murray Rothbard?
Three cheers for a great speech on the hypocrite nannycrats. And as many Mish readers know Murray Rothbard is far beyond a “great American philosopher“.
As Wikipedia explains, Murray Rothbard …
“was an American economist of the Austrian School, a historian, and a political theorist whose writings and personal influence played a seminal role in the development of modern libertarianism. Rothbard was the founder and leading theoretician of anarcho-capitalism, a staunch advocate of historical revisionism, and a central figure in the twentieth-century American libertarian movement. He wrote over twenty books on anarchist theory, history, economics, and other subjects. Rothbard asserted that all services provided by the “monopoly system of the corporate state” could be provided more efficiently by the private sector and wrote that the state is “the organization of robbery systematized and writ large. He called fractional reserve banking a form of fraud and opposed central banking. He categorically opposed all
by ilene - December 7th, 2013 7:45 pm
Courtesy of Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform
I’m baffled by the storyline portrayed by the dying legacy media, sponsored by Wall Street and the CEO executive suites of mega-corps, and supported by the propaganda data agencies of the U.S. government. The BLS, BEA, CBO, CNBC, CNN, and a myriad of other government sponsored letters present supposedly accurate data that is designed to convince the ignorant masses everything is fine and their lives are improving.
For anyone willing to uncover the facts and think critically about the storyline being presented, an entirely different reality is revealed. The simple chart below obliterates the “official” storyline. Do you have the uncomfortable feeling that your financial situation has been declining for the first 13 years of the 21st Century?
Your beloved government puppets and their Wall Street puppeteers have used their control of the mainstream media to fully utilize Edward Bernays’ propaganda techniques to convince you that your household income has actually risen by 28% since 2000. There is a reason the government run public schools don’t teach children about inflation. They might figure out how badly they are getting screwed by their owners.
In reality, even using the heavily manipulated CPI numbers issued by the BLS, REAL median household income in the United States has FALLEN by 7% since 2000. Most households in the U.S. have less annual income than they did 13 years ago.
But it gets better. Median REAL household income is down 8% since the peak in 2008. Now for the government statistic reality check. According to the government and their media mouthpieces, the economy bottomed in 2009, with 10.3% unemployment and GDP bottoming at $14.34 trillion. Since the “official” end of the recession in 2009, the unemployment rate has plummeted to 7.0% and GDP has surged to $16.9 trillion.
If this government reported data is true, how could REAL median household income still be 4% lower than at the END of the recession in 2009? If all these jobs were created and the economy has truly grown by 18%, REAL median household income must be higher than it was in 2009. But it’s not.
by ilene - December 7th, 2013 6:37 pm
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
With all the excitement about Japan's soaring stock market (if plunging wages), crashing non-digital currency (leading to soaring energy prices), recent passage of an arbitrary secrecy bill ("Designed by Kafka & Inspired By Hitler"), and ongoing territorial spat with China, it is almost as if the Abe administration is desperately doing everything in its power, including some of the most ridiculous decisions taken by a government in recent history, to hide some key development behind the scenes. Such as this one perhaps: NHK reported today that TEPCO said radiation levels are extremely high in an area near a ventilation pipe at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. TEPCO found radiation of 25 sieverts an hour on a duct, which connects reactor buildings and the 120-meter-tall ventilation pipe.
Putting this number in context the estimated radiation level is the highest ever detected outside reactor buildings. People exposed to this level of radiation would die within 20 minutes.
The exhaust pipe in question was used to release radioactive gases following the outbreak of the accident 2 years ago.
TEPCO says radioactive substances could remain inside the pipes. Given TEPCO's safety record, they could also leak outside of the pipes. And given the company's "credibility" the world would be sure to learn about this… anywhere between 2 and 3 years after the fact.
In the meantime, we urge Japan to follow the bouncing, and so pleasantly distracting, Topix and Nikkei 225 balls, while sticking its head in the glow in the dark sand and completely ignore the radioactive monster in the closet.
… Which reminds us: on Thursday the following headline hit the Bloomberg tape:
- FUKUSHIMA RADIATION TO REACH U.S. COAST AT SAFE LEVEL: NRC
We are sure it is nothing, and the NRC is telling the truth.
by ilene - December 7th, 2013 6:11 pm
Courtesy of John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline
I'm not certain how many interviews I've done over the last decade. Hundreds? I know it is a lot. There are some interviewers who can somehow tease out what you really have in you. Tom Keene at Bloomberg, for instance, forces you to bring your A game, at whatever level you play. He brings it out of you. You know that he is smarter than you will ever be and that you should really be asking him the questions. Except that you're not smart enough to ask the questions. I have to confess that every time I walk into the room with Tom I'm a little intimidated. I try never to show it, somewhat like the new kid on the block trying to put on a brave face, but inside I keep looking for the exit doors just in case I throw up all over myself. At the end of the day I'm still a small-town country boy from Bridgeport, Texas, trying to figure out how the big city works.
And then there's Steve Forbes. If I've done hundreds of interviews, then Steve has done many thousands, on the presidential campaign trail with the best of the best, and gods did he learn the craft. I've done multiple interviews with Steve, and every time I sit down with him I feel that I'm with my best friend. Maybe it's because we have a ton of shared values and I have read and admired him for years. I truly think he would've made a great president in the mold of Ronald Reagan, but for whatever reason New Hampshire did not agree. As I think even Steve will admit, while he may have a philosophical mind meld with Reagan, the Gipper had some small genetic extra, call it what you will.
But for whatever reason, Steve seems to bring out the passion in me. When I think about what central bank policies are doing to savers and investors, how we are screwing around with the pension system, circumventing rational market expectations because of an untested economic theory held by a relatively small number of academics, I get a little exercised. And Steve gives me the freedom to do it.
by ilene - December 7th, 2013 6:02 pm
McDonalds did $27 billion in worldwide sales in 2012, finished the year with $15 billion in shareholder’s equity and over $2 billion in cash.
The company had $5.5 billion available to return to shareholders in the form of stock repurchases and dividends last year. But they’d like their US employees to receive financial assistance from taxpayers and the government.
by ilene - December 7th, 2013 5:58 pm
Courtesy of www.econmatters.com.
A Good Enough Level as Any for Exit to Safety