That seems to be the order of the day, these days. The White House and the shills for Wall Street are all proclaiming how great the economy is doing, but the data tells a different story. Withe the GDP down to 1.8% – probably lower if you use real math and keep the data that is contrary to ones beliefs.
Even Robert Reich thought so back in April, before the new figures were released.
Four years into a so-called recovery and we’re still below recession levels in every important respect except the stock market. A measly 88,000 jobs were created in March, and total employment remains some 3 million below its pre-recession level. Labor-force participation is its lowest since 1979.
Businesses won’t hire and expand unless they have more customers, but most Americans can’t spend more. Last Friday’s retail sales report showed sales down .4 percent in March. Consumer sentiment has fallen to its lowest level in nine months.
The underlying problem is the vast middle class is running out of money. They can’t borrow more — and shouldn’t, given what happened after the last borrowing binge.
Once burned, twice learned – as the saying is.
Then there is one of the biggest scams of the century, Obama-Care. Talk about optimism. Sold as THE way to save money on health care it only enriches the pockets of the Insurace companies and leaves the health car industry free to charge what ever they damn well please and the patient left to pick up the bulk of these expenditures.
Ida Hellander, MD– The individual mandate compels people to pay a penalty — the greater of up to $695 per individual and $2,085 per family or 2.5 percent of family income — if they don’t have other coverage and fail to purchase an expensive and defective private health insurance product.While the mandate may be “constitutional,” it is terrible health policy. Briefly, the main problems include:The coverage under the ACA is so skimpy, with so much cost-sharing, it won’t prevent medical bankruptcy. It’s really “underinsurance.” The coverage is unaffordable. In Massachusetts, where a mandate plan has been in effect since 2006, the cheapest policy for a 55-year-old is $5,000 and carries a $2,000 deductible. It costs $7,000 before even a penny of coverage kicks in. The burden of the mandate falls on working and middle-income families, who make too much for Medicaid but too little to afford private coverage, even with the tax subsidies. It enriches the private insurance industry with $447 billion in taxpayer subsidies. It maintains the administrative complexity of the current system with over $400 billion squandered on administrative waste The vast majority of the uninsured are in working families. Hence, they are already paying taxes to support Medicare (which pays for medical training and other necessary health infrastructure), Medicaid, and other health programs. It doesn’t lead to anything even close to universal coverage. ACA leaves at least 26 million uninsured. – Sam Smith, Progressive Review.
And yet, for all the talk of good jobs in an increasingly high-tech industry, as manufacturing employment has begun to grow, pay in the industry hasn’t gone up. In real terms, the median hourly wage for production workers in manufacturing—which includes front-line supervisors and programmers of computer-controlled machinery as well as hand assemblers and meatpackers—fell from $15.87 in 2010 to $15.51 in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those numbers are probably a bit high, since they don’t include temps.
On average, factory workers with little education still make a bit more than they might in retail or fast food, but that’s by no means always true. And, unlike service-sector employers, manufacturing plants are almost worshipped by American politicians. It’s hard to find a plant that expands or opens a new location without getting some sort of tax subsidy. Resonetics got a government-supported financing package when it opened its plant in Nashua, and when Atrium moves to its new location, it will be eligible for a New Hampshire state tax incentive.
Those who tout manufacturing jobs as some great savior to the country seem to forget a few things. For one when we did make things here, unions were a lot stronger because there were more jobs than white people to fill them – minorities need not apply in most cases. Most of these jobs had no medical benefits and the pay was still poor. But then most things, especially energy related, were a whole lot less. Gas was around 16 cents a gallon and fuel oil not much more. Medical insurance and medical care was a whole lot less. (remember when Blue Cross was a mutual insurance company ?) If you were white and employed at all, a TV, appliance and even a car could be had for 10% down and the rest in monthly payments from any dealer. Nearly all but the biggest high tech firms were privately owned and there were no OSHA rules to follow, so the pay could be higher.
Local taxes were lower for all but the rich, then there were no emergency paramedics and other services. One could actually work one one’s own car and in some cases even rebuild it, one chose to. Real estate was less expensive and building a house was not out of the question. My own father built two. Of course building codes were a lot more lax then as well.
Yes life was simpler and less expensive but also a whole lot more dangerous too. And medicine could do a lot less. Circulatory problems and cancer generally meant an early demise. If you should survive a heart attack, it was a good bet you would not survive a second one. A stroke meant incapacitation and cancer was a death sentence.
So what we have is this tendency to embellish the past and white wash the present and refuse to look at the realities of either. Which of course keeps us stuck heading nowhere, on a merry-go-round of . . . . wishful thinking.