by ilene - September 6th, 2010 4:10 pm
Courtesy of Mish
It’s Labor Day. The markets are closed. Those working for government, banks, schools etc have the day off. All totaled, 17.3 million citizens do not have a job today nor a job they can return to on Tuesday. Another 8.9 million will not work as many hours as they would like, this week, next week, or the week after that.
How NOT to End the Great Recession
In a New York Times Op-Ed, Robert B. Reich, a secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley comes to all the wrong conclusions about where we are, how we got here, and what to do about it. (Robert Reich’s "The Real Lesson of Labor Day" here.)
Please consider How to End the Great Recession
Reich: THIS promises to be the worst Labor Day in the memory of most Americans. Organized labor is down to about 7 percent of the private work force. Members of non-organized labor — most of the rest of us — are unemployed, underemployed or underwater.
Mish Comment: When organized labor is at 0%, both public and private, we will be on our way to prosperity. Organized labor in conjunction with piss poor management bankrupted GM and countless other manufacturing companies. Now, public unions, in cooperation with corrupt politicians have bankrupted countless cities and states.
Reich: The Labor Department reported on Friday that just 67,000 new private-sector jobs were created in August, while at least 125,000 are needed to keep up with the growth of the potential work force.
The national economy isn’t escaping the gravitational pull of the Great Recession. None of the standard booster rockets are working: near-zero short-term interest rates from the Fed, almost record-low borrowing costs in the bond market, a giant stimulus package and tax credits for small businesses that hire the long-term unemployed have all failed to do enough.
That’s because the real problem has to do with the structure of the economy, not the business cycle. No booster rocket can work unless consumers are able, at some point, to keep the economy moving on their own. But consumers no longer have the purchasing power to buy the goods
by ilene - August 3rd, 2010 8:04 am
Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant
Those government jobs just aren’t what they used to be. Furloughs, IOUs and increased scrutiny of the cost of public employees. Now, a growing number of state governments are instituting requirements that new employees work longer before being able to retire with full pensions.
The change comes as foreign governments from France to Morocco have either decided to increase or are contemplating a rise in the age at which private and public workers can receive government pensions.
A federal commission studying long-term U.S. fiscal issues is also entertaining the idea of changing the retirement age as one way to shore up Social Security, said a person familiar with the matter. A report is due to President Obama in December.
Individual states, meanwhile, are moving ahead as they respond to the widening gaps between the obligations made to workers and the money expected to be available to pay them, thanks to investment losses and recessionary budget pressures.
"It’s a very positive change that the age for receiving full benefits is increasing," said Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. "Increasing the retirement age is the single most important thing [states] can do" to tame future pension costs, because it reduces the number of years the state is paying a benefit, she said.
Though lengthening lifespans have been expected to pressure pension systems, the looming fiscal predicament has emboldened lawmakers to demand more years from employees. Also, as many American states cut services, scrutiny has fallen on the compensation of public workers.
In Illinois, where state lawmakers voted in March to increase the retirement age for most new hires to 67 from 60, "it had everything to do with the financial straits the state is in," said Tim Blair, the executive secretary of the State Employees’ Retirement System of Illinois. "The scales have tipped."
Chalk it up as another one of those things that most people never gave much thought to when things were good. Most of all, state workers probably never thought the sweet deal would turn sour. Of course, as always, it could be worse. For some government workers, retirement comes extra early.
by ilene - June 19th, 2010 4:28 pm
Courtesy of Trader Mark at Fund My Mutual Fund
The study I highlighted yesterday on New York
As I’ve written for the past 3 years, I believe eventually (if trend lines continue without any fixes) we’re going to see some social issues arise in the U.S. due to the growing inequity between the public v private sectors. Especially since it appears a massive bailout will eventually be needed to "keep promises" to this select class. Wherever you fall on this debate, any system that pays out MORE in
Much like the deficit stood in shadows for years as some vague ‘issue’ (I still doubt 8 in 10 Americans could tell you the total debt within $2 trillion), I just don’t think most Americans have a clue yet about the growing problem – hence this sort of transparency we saw in the study is going to be an eye opener for those who don’t troll in certain financial blogs.
- In Yonkers, more than 100 retired police officers and firefighters are collecting pensions greater than their pay when they were working. One of the youngest, Hugo Tassone, retired at 44 with
by ilene - June 16th, 2010 5:23 pm
Courtesy of Mish
While nearly everyone seems convinced that the economy is improving and buy-the-dip is the right strategy, the Fed is having increasing concerns about what to do if reflation does not take hold.
The Wall Street Journal discusses "What if?" scenarios in Fed Weighs Growth Risks.
Federal Reserve officials are beginning to debate quietly what steps they might take if the recovery surprisingly falters or if the inflation rate falls much more.
Fed officials, who meet next week to survey the state of the economy, believe a durable recovery is on track and their next move—though a ways off—will be to tighten credit, not ease it further. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has played down the risk of a double-dip recession and signaled guarded confidence in the recovery.
But behind-the-scenes discussions at the meeting could include precautionary talk about what happens if the economy doesn’t perform as well as expected.
"If events in Europe evolve so that they have a more severe and broad impact on financial markets, then the scope of the problems for the U.S. could be magnified," Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, said in a speech last week.
Brian Sack, the head of the New York Fed’s powerful markets group, has talked about "two-sided" risks to the economy—in other words, the risk that growth and inflation could turn out to be lower than expected, as well as higher.
"The European sovereign-debt situation is serious, and there are many unanswered questions about how events will unfold," James Bullard, St. Louis Fed president, said in Tokyo on Monday.
Officials don’t rule out the possibility that markets could settle and the economy could produce a few months of strong job growth and solid consumer spending and business investment.
But there are other scenarios: if the recovery falters, or if inflation slows much further and a threat arises of deflation, a debilitating fall in prices across the economy. In such cases, there would be a few avenues the Fed could take.
One is asset purchases. During the financial crisis, the Fed purchased $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities on top of buying debt issues by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the U.S. Treasury. Mr. Bernanke has said the steps helped to lower long-term interest rates,
by ilene - January 20th, 2010 12:03 pm
Courtesy of Mish
In the most liberal of liberal states, and in a complete repudiation of both backroom deals and Obamacare, Scott Brown pulled off the most stunning senate race upset in history. If you were for Brown, pour a cup of tea and celebrate. If not, cry in your tea.
Brown’s victory was not so much a vote for Brown, but a vote out of anger, anger of backroom deals, anger over jobs, anger over wars, anger over special deals for politicians and unions, anger over banks, and most importantly, anger because "Yes We Can" morphed into "Business As Usual, Only Worse".
Backroom Bargaining Give Unions, Politicians Sweetheart Deal
For a president who promised "no backroom deals" he unmistakably delivered "backroom deals".
Please consider the Wall Street Journal article Labor’s $60 Billion Payoff.
Democrats seem impervious to embarrassment as they buy votes for ObamaCare, but their latest move makes even Nebraska’s Ben Nelson look cheap: The 87% of Americans who don’t belong to a union will now foot the bill for a $60 billion giveaway to those who do.
Emerging from their backrooms [Mish note: Obama invited union leaders to the Whitehouse for a private session], Democrats have agreed to extend a special exemption from the Cadillac tax to any health plan that is part of a collective-bargaining agreement, plus state and local workers, many of whom are unionized. Everyone else with a higher-end plan will start to be taxed in 2013, but union members will get a free pass until 2018.
Ponder that one for a moment. Two workers who are identical in every respect—wages, job, health plan—will be treated differently by the tax system, based solely on union membership.
Politicians Exempt Themselves
Not that the deal not only exempted unions, politicians gave themselves special favors.
Without a doubt, Brown sent a message to Obama specifically and Democrats in general that the public is fed up. Indeed, this special election shows Obama’s message is as out of place as a bullfrog on the lead microphone at an opera.
Nonetheless, rest assured the music will fall on deaf ears unless you act.