Category Archives: jobs

My Favorite Color is Blue

Well, this is the way the world works. We often work at cross purposes to each other because we see solutions to problems very differently. For every yin there is a yang.

Stephan Kimantian, a former Republican candidate for Syracuse mayor is a guest columnist for the local paper. Sunday, June 14, 2015 we were treated to an article he wrote entitled Why New York Would Be Better as a Red State. It has long been apparent that this newspaper, The Post Standard, has already moved to the right. Will my state follow?

The article Mr. Kimantian wrote is all about money and economics. It is also obvious that, like me, this writer loves New York State. And it is arguably true that economic dilemmas are the biggest problems NYS faces. We are too expensive. I blame New York City and downstate for this but that is just my perception. Because state and local governments are competing to grab a smaller pot of monies, governments at various levels use cutthroat tactics to undercut and one-up each other. This manages to create a certain air of desperation that may drive businesses and developers away. In fact all the states and localities throughout America are competing with each other for the rather lackluster interest of manufacturers to do business in America when so much cheap labor is available elsewhere.

What red states are doing is cutting budgets by cutting items like education. The theory goes that if government shrugs off all its burdens (which used to be seen as essential parts of the American dream) taxes can be cut to the bone. If we destroy unions and disconnect worker benefits from labor we can drastically cut the cost of labor (lower your pay). If we get rid of regulations to protect citizens then the private sector will take care of us. They will provide schools and jobs. They will take these programs out of the public sector for us so we can become an industrial powerhouse once again. And since red states do not buy into the idea of climate change caused by man we can get rid of expensive environmental protections. Bring on the coal ash, bring on the fracking, bring on the heavy metals. Who needs clean water?

My feeling is that even if we rearrange America into the configurations these Republicans tout we still will not become the industrial engine of the world that we once were. How “cheap” would American labor have to be to compete with developing nations? Do you really want to work for 50 cents an hour? Do you really want America to become one big corporate state? We will be at the mercy of Big Business which, left to its own devices, can be generous to itself and very stingy to its workers.

Mr. Kimantian seems to be looking at red states through rose-colored glasses. Just losing our public schools will be a great loss indeed even if they do have some problems (which are not as ubiquitous as they would seem from coverage in the media),

Rather than move our way back to the 1890’s when there was little regulation of business and no labor unions, isn’t it possible to see this as an era of transition from the industrial age to some new age that is still somewhat industrial but also more inclusive and global? There is no way to stop this from happening, now that it has been set in motion.

We are already feeling the economic pinch of this while we wait for the world to catch up, but as our economy subsides a bit we will eventually meet somewhere in the middle and then business will choose locations based on different criteria (if we don’t destroy the planet first through pollution or war). How uncomfortable will we get? We will try to hang on to as many of our comforts as possible. If Business and Government joined hands who knows what new marvels we could create.

Capitalism describes our economy but Democracy describes our spirit. What good will it do if we lose our spirit in pursuit of a prosperity that may or may not materialize? We should look forward not back. We need to stay blue and embrace a future with balance and compassion. We need to keep a balance between business and government rather than dismantling our government to beg the corporate “gods” to smile on us once again.

http://www.syracuse.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/06/if_new_york_were_a_red_state_wed_be_better_off_stephen_kimatian.html

By Nancy Brisson

Snooping on America

 
 
When I first heard about the Patriot Acts during the Bush administration I was irate. Snooping on Americans was something Americans have always said would be seen as a challenge to our liberty and we have always believed that such invasion of our privacy would signal that the great American freedom experience might be in danger of ending. We let this challenge to our liberty slide, in spite of much protest, because 9/11 made us afraid. Perhaps that is always how freedom is lost, quietly and stealthily out of real or imagined fear for personal safety. I was, for some reason, most shocked when I heard that the government could subpoena my library records. How tame this seems now.

This week, whistleblower/leaker Edward Snowden told us the extent of the intelligence “industry” in America and we were shocked all over again. I will say that we were not as shocked as we should have been, and it is clear that we have learned to accept that our privacy is practically nonexistent all ready. We have cameras in high crime neighborhoods to help apprehend predators and to help keep citizens safe. Anyone who uses the internet and believes that we have any privacy on our computers is delusional or lives in a bubble without TV crime shows or TV News. There are cameras to catch speeders and cameras on stores and cameras on buildings and cameras on ATM’s and most of us even have cameras on our computers. NCIS is one of America’s favorite TV shows and we have seen what Abby can do with a totaled computer and what McGee can do when he tracks cell phones and hacks into bank accounts and even government agencies. We buy something and an ad pops up on our Facebook page, as if we will buy again from the same company on the next business day. We have come to accept all of this and it may help keep many of us on the straight and narrow.

However, lack of privacy on the internet and a government that has the ability to spy on its citizens (whether it uses it or not) are two very different things. Our government has armed support from the Armed Services of the United States. In fact right now a General is the head of the NSA so the military already is involved in this endeavor that could be turned against Americans some day. Not only is data being collected from our phone records and or email but a huge new complex of buildings is being constructed in Utah and thousands of computer-savvy Americans have been hired to facilitate this record collection, to develop algorithms to sort through these records and to look for “suspicious” activities (with foreign connections we are told) that might require a closer look. We didn’t know that new facilities were being built (with our money). We didn’t realize that this operation is so big that this new complex in Utah is not large enough to house the whole operation and that some of this work has been farmed out to independent contractors. Yikes!

What we have here, if you look at it in one way, is a jobs program; even better, a jobs program that will help employ those jobless 21-34 year-olds who have been hit hard by our current economy. That is the positive part of this “industry”. However, this program should not be something that Americans find acceptable and encourage. There are too many possibilities for abuse and too few interventions that keep us safe. We already realize that there is no way that every terrorist act can be ferreted out and prevented. This endeavor is enormous and it is enormously costly and I hope that we will find that it is too ineffective in terms of costs and outcomes to continue with this snooping. We need to pare this back and make if more about pinpoint accuracy and less about trolling through data. It may, in the end, bring us much more powerful computers; but we cannot protect our freedom by giving it away.

Keep the complex in Utah, keep all the idealistic young IT guys and girls, but give them the task of configuring systems which cannot be hacked, systems that will protect our infrastructure. This would be a very useful application for an intelligence operation to come up with. Then they could work out systems for government departments that would be totally secure and could not be hacked by foreign powers or hackers who just want to earn their chops. Let them earn their chops helping America, instead of selling out America. No one should be able to access the design plans for our weapons or our electric grid. Stop spying; start using these excellent new resources  to defend America’s privacy. We must have some geniuses who could give us at least a decade of secrecy in the areas where secrecy will really pay off.

The IRS and the ACA – OMG


 
 

What role will the IRS play in the Affordable Care Act? Apparently the IRS is expected to play a very big role in implementing and governing the Affordable Care Act and apparently the reason so much of this will be done by the IRS is that the Supreme Court decision about Health Care made it so. (Health and Human Services will play a role and so will the Labor Department.)

1.  47 tax provisions will go into effect (including small business health care credit and the medical device tax.

2.  The IRS will determine whether people qualify for a health insurance premium tax credit as part of the minimum coverage requirement.

3.  Americans will have to report their insurance status on their taxes each year – the agency will review that and collect a $95 penalty on those not carrying insurance.

4.  The IRS will set these rules and collect the penalties when businesses aren’t in compliance.

This information is from an article published in the NationalJournal.com

Here’s another interesting part of what they had to say:

Republicans rushed to connect Obama’s health care law to the IRS scandal, especially after the news that Ingram would oversee the health law’s implementation at the IRS. “The recent deplorable actions at the IRS have shattered our trust that they can responsibly handle the people’s sensitive medical information,” said Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota asked: “Does this means that some government plutocrat can look at my personal healthcare data? Could I be denied healthcare? Could it be delayed?” she asked. The law does not require the IRS to collect or view information about individuals’ health.”

I have always thought that we should go with a single payer system similar to England or Canada, but Obama’s plan does manage to cover almost everyone without completely scraping America’s dedication to capitalism. His plan not only allows millions of health care and insurance workers to keep their jobs, it adds jobs, especially in the ranks of the IRS (apparently about 2000 jobs). This gives it the advantage of being both a health care program and a jobs program. Criticisms that call the plan out for its complexity may prove to have some validity, but since we are almost geared up to implement the Affordable Care Act it seems best to go with it and see how it works. Of course, with so many Republican governors determined to sabotage the plan we may not get a true picture of whether the plan would work or not.

I do not like having health care tied to employment and I really don’t like having health care participation tied to the IRS, but single-payer insurance looks highly unlikely to happen since every time someone suggests it others start calling them “socialists”. I wish we could just stop being so contentious about this, since it is happening anyways, and try it on for size to see if it works. Stop the obstructionism in Congress. Elect Democrats in 2014.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

 

 

Reaction – State of the Union Address

I was listening to the State of the Union Address and Rebuttal last night, but I thought I was in the barnyard.

Obama was the cow saying, “Mooo-ve into the 21st century, Mooo-ve into the 21st century!

The Republicans were the chickens saying, “Cut-a, cut, cut, cut, cut-a, cut, cut cut.”

Obama was the successful farmer saying, “We need to spread around some manure, and plant some fresh seeds.”

The Republicans were the scared farmers saying, “We can’t afford any seeds or any manure this year. Let’s let the fields sit fallow for a few years.”

“But,” Obama, the successful farmer said, “fallow fields produce nothing. Properly fertilized and cared for fields will get us out of this slump. If we wait a few years we will be even less able to afford to plant a thriving crop.”

And the Republicans just say, “Cut-a, cut, cut cut.”!

The scared farmers say, “You’re just trying to get us to part with our money. You want to throw it away on the poor farmers. You want to form a collective.”

Obama, the successful farmer, says, “There shouldn’t be so many poor farmers. I don’t want a collective. I am proud of our farms, but a few farmers have become inordinately successful because of changes in the marketplace and because they have passed rules that allow them to hog all the profits. They can hang on to their ill-gotten gains and watch the farms fail or they can work to change the laws and provide a little fertilizer and seed money so that all farmers can succeed in the this new marketplace.”

“It’s every farmer for him/herself,” say the scared farmers, “that’s the way things have always been.”

“Well you can continue in that vein,” says Obama, the successful farmer (who won), “but that may mean the end of America as we know it. You’ll have a few rich people and everyone else will be poor. They don’t want you to come and work their farms, they just want it to be possible to continue farming their own land.”

The Republicans just say, “Cut-a, cut, cut, cut!”

And I say; YOU LOST!, YOU LOST! Y0U LOST! Yes I am shouting, because you are not listening. We, the American people, are asking you to try Obama’s way. Try it now or at least get out of his way. Stop looking like grim, disapproving 19th century robber barons and doom sayers and get on the 21st century train. The entire marketplace has changed. We don’t have great paying jobs for people who want to leave high school and go right to work. We don’t even have great paying jobs for people who graduate from college and are ready to work. If we don’t have a government that helps spread some manure and plant some fresh seeds we will be left behind in the race to have a profitable place in the new global marketplace.

We probably do need to fix Medicare so it can continue to function in the future, but we don’t need to do it this year. The Affordable Care Plan doesn’t even kick in until next year. We may need a fix for Social Security, but we don’t need that this year either. We need you to avert the sequester and we need you to let Obama try his plans to stimulate growth. We need you to stop acting like arrogant know-it-alls and shoulder a bit of the humility that comes with losing an election.

So let’s have more fertilizer and more fresh seed and a lot less cut-a, cut, cut cut.

The Gray Men

Although Paul Ryan has chosen the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand as his guide, which is scary enough, I’m afraid that Mitt Romney is operating from the premises of another novel from adolescence, Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell, which was one of the top ten bestselling books of 1972 according to the NYT’s Bestsellers List and which was made into a TV mini series.
This book was roughly based on the lives of the Kennedys and a few other movers and shakers from that era. We all sort of bought into the author’s description of “the gray men”. These were the behind-the-scenes power brokers and they tried to hide in plain sight by dressing very conservatively and hoping that with their gray hair and gray suits they would be totally nondescript. Wikipedia says that this book suggests that we live a “history as made by a cabal of the rich and powerful”.
I am suggesting that if Mitt Romney believes that he can produce 12 million jobs in four years that it is perhaps only because these “gray men” really exist and that they are working through conservative Republicans currently led by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
I am saying that we “should be afraid, be very afraid” of how Mr. Romney will come up with 12 million jobs that quickly. Oil companies and special interest groups may represent some of the new “gray men” and Romney is possibly in the coat pockets of their gray nondescript suits (of course the uniform these gray men use to remain unnoticed may have changed in 2012, but their identification as the gray men is still a convenient way to speak about them).
Is it possible that groups of very rich we’ll say people, because it is 2012, meet and map out ways to influence world politics and politicians? It seems entirely possible that not all rich folks are content with an endless procession of new toys and jet set vacations or gambling. Some wealthy people obviously do take a great interest in politics. Perhaps you heard about the exclusive group of affluent power brokers, all conservative Republicans, who met in Texas during the Republican “primaries”. It is even possible that politicians may not know when they are being used by a global “cabal” trying to have their way with American and even World political events. Am I just being paranoid? If these guys are as powerful and secretive as the gray men in Taylor Caldwell’s book then we may never know if this is paranoia or fact.

Increases in Public Dependence on Government

Last week on CNN Jack Cafferty, who asks for viewers to respond to a stimulus statement, said that new data suggested that 100 million (or about 1/3 of the American population) is using some kind of government assistance. He wanted to hear what people had to say about this. First of all, it’s a loaded question designed to elicit negative responses about our dependence on the government (even though it’s our own money) and to call forth those who long for small government or those who think America is going down the long slow hill to financial ruin.
I went on line to see if I could find the study that counts those on assistance at 100 million. According to the census and Breitbart Connect 49% of the U.S. population lives in a household receiving government benefits. It is difficult to compare households and individuals because I don’t know the total number of households. (We do know there are 313+ billion Americans.)
None of the studies I looked at accounted for overlap. Many people on Welfare also receive Medicaid, Food Stamps, and perhaps WIC. Should they be counted once or once for each kind of assistance they receive? The latter way to count would certainly pump up the numbers. Do we count people twice when they receive both Medicare and Social Security or both Unemployment and Food Stamps? This could eventually give us numbers of people receiving government assistance exceeding the number of Americans. Nothing was said about overlap. Studies do show that the numbers have gone up.
These charts were in a document on the website of heritage.org (very conservative). I do not consider Social Security government assistance because I was told that I was saving money for my retirement and the government did take money from my wages. They never told me they did not take enough money until I was already retired. I do not consider Medicare government assistance because I also paid and still pay my health insurance premiums every month. I was recently told that my payment is not sufficient to cover costs. Am I supposed to feel guilty about this, or angry?
The World Socialist Web Site (one would assume, very liberal) says “Half of Americans in household receiving government aid” (Andre Damon, 7 June 2012) which is a repeat of the report from the census bureau as reported by Breitbart (on the right) so we can probably all use these numbers. I still do not know how many households there are in America.
From the economic collapse blog comes an article entitled “16 Statistics Which Show That The Number Of Americans Dependent On The Government Is At An All-Time High”
#1 According to the Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government.  Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.

#2 The amount of money that the federal government gives directly to Americans has increased by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.

#3 The number of Americans receiving Social Security disability benefits has increased by 10 percent since Barack Obama first took office.

#4 Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for 32 percent of all health care spending in America.  Today, that figure is up to 45 percent and it is projected to surpass 50 percent very shortly.

#5 The number of Americans on food stamps recently hit a new all-time high.  It has increased by 3 million since this time last year and by more than 14 million since Barack Obama first entered the White House.

#6 Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.  This is unprecedented in American history.

#7 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.

#8 Back in 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  In 2010, government transfer payments accounted for 18.4% of all income, which was a new all-time high.

#9 By the end of 2011, approximately 55 million Americans received a total of approximately 727 billion dollars in Social Security benefits.  As the retirement crisis becomes much worse, that dollar figure is projected to absolutely skyrocket.

#10 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system paid out more in benefits than it received in payroll taxes in 2010.  That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016.

#11 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.  It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#12 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run out five years faster than previously anticipated.

#13 The total cost of just three federal government programs – the Department of Defense, Social Security and Medicare – exceeded the total amount of taxes brought in during fiscal 2010 by 10 billion dollars.

#14 It is being projected that entitlement spending by the federal government will nearly double by the year 2050.

#15 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP.  Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.

#16 When you total it all up, American households are now receiving more money directly from the federal government than they are paying to the government in taxes.

What I can’t understand is how Obama is to blame for this? (I would blame the recession.) What I can’t understand is why we are so surprised about this? The housing market collapsed – more people needed aid. The job market collapsed – more people needed aid. We had a very bad recession – more people needed aid. We have baby boomers reaching 65 – more people retired and began to rely on the government programs they paid for.

How nervous are we supposed to get about this? Are we in imminent danger of running out of money? Apparently we are. Do we think that we, the American people, did anything wrong? Do we think that we, the American people, deserve to be punished? This was certainly not the approach the last time there was a recession. Do we think that austerity and misery are the answers to this? Will we bite the bullet if we have to? I guess we will if our fearless representatives in Washington can actually prove to us that this is the only way. We could, for example, end the Bush tax cuts for all of us. I, for one, am still not convinced that there are not other ways out of this besides kicking those on the bottom. One economist has taken over the dialogue in Washington, Paul Ryan. Almost everyone accepts that he is extreme. They need to stop threatening us, telling us we will turn into Greece. We are not in danger of turning into Greece.

We need JOBS! If we had plentiful, good-paying jobs many of these problems would go away. Fewer people would have to rely on the government. We could return to our key role as master consumers, keeping the American economy healthy. If you want us to shop, find us jobs. If you want more tax revenues, the answer is jobs. If you need to temporarily increase government aid to stimulate jobs, then do it. Stop asking state and local governments to take care of everyone. They are in a worse crisis than you are. They made exorbitant promises to public employees. The federal government did not make exorbitant promises. They have kept the level of assistance at fairly reasonable levels.

If you want to see if the spirit of competition still exists in Americans you can look to the recent Olympics. We did very well. And individually our athletes showed so much heroism and perseverance. One of our athletes continued racing with a broken leg so he would not let down his team mates. We don’t need a stick; we need a carrot. Paul Ryan is a stick man, and that is why I am so bummed out that Romney went there. A lot of Americans seem to feel that they have been bad and need to be punished. I don’t. My litany is: JOBS*JOBS*JOBS!

Here are two links on this subject:

NB  There are 114,235,996 households in America. The data suggests that 55,975,638 receive some form of assistance.

Relying on Magic for Jobs

On Thursday, July 6th it was reported that only 80,000 jobs were added in all of America during June. The newsreaders and commentators acted surprised and disappointed that so few jobs were added. These are educated people who, I guess, have to act dumb in order to appear “fair”.  As usual they speculate that this data will hurt the Obama campaign and help the Romney campaign.
However, I have to wonder about where they thought new jobs were going to come from. We are all living in the same America I assume. I have not seen any active attempts to stimulate job growth either from the public arena or the private sphere. We can all see that we are in a sort of holding pattern, frozen in place, waiting to see what will happen next. Consumers buy, but not with any gusto. Employers hire, but only when absolutely necessary and they are prepared to lay employees off immediately if they think they need to. Our Congress has been stonewalling any effort to help stimulate economic growth or jump start hiring. We are still stuck in a tight money scenario and it is a sort of Catch-22. If we spend our debt will grow, if we don’t spend our debt will still grow, and if we cut, our debt will grow. But spending might lead to a way out of our torpor and, although the debt might increase temporarily, economic strength might eventually help us lower the debt faster.
Our media, by acting so disingenuous, by pretending that they don’t have the slightest idea how we got where we are or why we are still here, is acting like they had expected “magic” to create jobs in June. The one factor I don’t think we can rely on for job creation is “magic”, although it looks like all we’ve got.

Be A Responsible Citizen – Speak Up

Write to all the Republicans in Congress and tell them that you would like to see the Transportation Bill passed, please. (It wouldn’t hurt to write to all the Democrats too.) If there are two versions of this bill we want the one that will provide the most jobs and improvements.  For one thing, it would be wonderful to get one item accomplished before the election; for another, we need the jobs; and third, we actually do need to repair and update our infrastructure.

Here is some of what we have:

Here is some of what ohers have:

How will we compete?
Ask the search engine you prefer to supply you with a list of names and email addresses of Republicans in Congress and email them to let them know that you support the transportation bill and would like to see it passed. Just send to your own congressional representatives and ask them to share your “vote” with everyone. You can use one of these links to get Congressional addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses:
You could use this message in your email or write your own:
Dear Congressperson (or Dear_____________________)
Please pass the transportation bill right now. We need the jobs, our infrastructure is being neglected and we need to be competitive in global business. I don’t care about political parties in this matter, I just want to see something positive happen. Please pass the Federal Transportation Bill (in whichever form provides the most jobs) right now.
Sincerely,
Perhaps our elected representatives in Congress assume by our silence that we are against the transportation bill. Speak up! Let those who are just stonewalling know that we see what is happening, but that this is our country too and need them to take action.



No Ordinary Downturn

Whenever anyone mentions jobs lately they always seem to neglect to mention the Great Jobs Migration as if it is long over and no longer significant. Well it is significant in my community and I bet it is in many others. So many people lost great salaries which they can not duplicate because all of our manufacturing jobs are gone.
My city is littered with empty factories. One employer tore down their factory and replaced it with green space – nice – but do you think we can pass by the space without picturing what used to be there. It looms still in the traffic circle; in that green space we still see the ghost of that factory.
Fortunately my city does not have the neighborhoods full of empty homes that can be found in many cities. Of course we have more empty houses in the central city, but that is true of almost every city in America. Our neighborhoods are not empty only because our banker’s did not jump on the wacky mortgage bandwagon. We didn’t have the housing bubble; so no bubble to burst.
We are replacing our factories with other businesses at a fairly glacial pace and the jobs we are opening cannot usually be filled by the workers who lost their positions because there is a skill mismatch. Training programs have just not offered new skill sets appropriate to new tech jobs and these courses are only free while you are actually on unemployment. Once your unemployment income runs out these programs are prohibitively costly. We have not been able to look to state or local governments or even the federal government for assistance with funds for training or even grants for new businesses because of our current financial and political climate.
I just don’t hear people talking about this unique set of circumstances which are unlike previous periods of low employment. They were true recessions resulting from market factors. As the markets recovered the businesses came back. This time we don’t have businesses that are lying low and waiting to come back. This time we have to create new businesses from scratch. However, those holding the investment dollars have no taste for investment right now because these are not low-risk, proven businesses; they are businesses of innovation, testing new technologies and products which may succeed, but may also fail.
If we think we can just wait for jobs to recover as we have in the past we are fooling ourselves. We are floundering because we are not situated to boom yet. We don’t have a clear vision of what businesses will flourish in the future. This picture could snap into focus at any moment. We have hope and we have expectations and we can fall back on our optimism and our spirit of adventure. Some new opportunities will turn up if we keep pushing and trying.
We just need to stop acting like this is your average everyday downturn. Election reporting is especially guilty of acting like these are ordinary times. They keep marveling at the slow pace of the jobs recovery as if they live in cities without empty factories and empty houses. Perhaps they do since they cluster in places like NYC and Washington which don’t resemble mouths full of places where teeth used to be. Let’s be realistic and talk about jobs we could invent instead to acting like we are just waiting around for jobs to appear through some kind of magical thinking.

Generation Wars II

Are seniors hurting younger workers by staying in the job market longer? Employment as a percentage of population is lower for the 16-54 age group than it is for the 55+ age group. David Frum speaks about both groups this week in The Daily Beast.
On Monday he wrote “Retirement was a Pre-Recession Luxury” in which he says:
“Jed Graham at Investors Business Daily makes a very important observation: even as overall labor force participation plunges, the employment rate for workers over age 55 has reached a 40-year high as baby boomers discover that they cannot afford to retire after all:
·         55+ – employment to population ratio barely dipped even in the depth of the recession
·         20 – 54 ratio remains 4% lower than before the recession started
·         65-69 and 70-74 employed shares up 1.1 percentage points and 1.6 percentage points respectively. (paraphrased)”
Then on Tuesday (today) David Frum writes about the 16-54 age group in his article “Today’s Scariest Job Chart”. Here is that “scariest job chart”.
He says:
“Last week’s job numbers did little to inspire confidence in the economy. Jed Graham of Investors Business Day has done some digging and has found another piece of bad news. It turns out that employment by all people aged 16-54 is at its lowest point since 1981.”
Mr. Graham says: “Much of the decline has little to do with the state of the job market and everything to do with demographics.”
Frum quotes “Harm Bandolz, chief U.S. economist at UniCredit figures that fully half of the decline in the participation rate since the end of 2007 is due to the aging of the population and, thus, should have been anticipated.
The article also gives some other suggestions for the decline in employment to population percentages in the 16-54 age group which suggest that the safety net may be allowing some member of that group to stay out of the job market.
Although Frum and Graham, et al do not come right out and state it in plain terms it is clear that they blame longer life and thus longer job market participation by “boomers” for some of the difficulties other groups have finding jobs. Just the way they split their groups into the age groups that they did implies that these two groups are at odds with each other. Again – a combination of recession and aging pits the 16-54 age group and the 55+ age group against each other in the job market as well as in the arena of social security. Ouch! There you have it – Generation Wars II.