Posts from the ‘Human Rights’ Category

Obama Urging An Immediate Tax Cut For The Middle Class



Obama urges immediate tax cut deal for middle class (via AFP)

US President Barack Obama urged Congress Saturday to immediately extend a tax cut for middle-class Americans, arguing the move will give 98 percent of families and 97 percent of small businesses the certainty that will lead to faster economic growth. "This is something we all agree on," the president…

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Census Bureau clarifies poverty numbers – U.S. News


Census Bureau clarifies poverty numbers – U.S. News.

Officials at the U.S. Census Bureau moved Friday to clarify widely reported figures meant to estimate the number of Americans living in poverty.

Dueling Census reports – one based on official poverty estimates that was released just last week and another based on an experimental calculus used in November – differed from one another by 20 percentage points regarding the number of people viewed as living in poverty. The widely reported figure showed that one out of two Americans are in poverty or are low-income. Other Census figures put the figure closer to one out of three Americans.
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That’s because the experimental measure, a supplement to the official poverty figures meant to take into account such factors as whether a family is receiving food stamps and how much people pay in taxes, uses a poverty level of $24,343 for a family of four instead of the $21,113 used by the official measure.

Read the original story on NBCLosAngeles.com

In expensive states like California and New York, the supplemental measure classified families making as much as $32,869 as impoverished.

However, Kathleen Short, the Census Bureau economist who spearheaded the supplemental report, said it would be wrong to extrapolate from those numbers that Americans are falling into poverty at greater rates.

In fact, she said, the experimental calculation indicated that poverty among children is actually lower than the official poverty rate shows.

On Thursday, reports in multiple news outlets suggested that people making roughly twice the poverty level under the experimental program were “scraping by” and should be considered low-income.

The Census Bureau does not support that interpretation of the data, Short said.

“Below 200 percent of the poverty threshold is the lower end of the distribution,” Short said. “But we would not call it low-income per se.”

A number of news reports on Thursday correctly said that more people fell under the definition of living in poverty under the experimental calculation, but then went on to say that people making twice that would be considered low-income.

However, the practice of using such figures as “150 percent of poverty” or “200 percent of poverty” to determine whether people were of moderate or low income is a practice that grew up around the older, traditional method of identifying poverty, which uses a lower threshold.

More from NBC4 on the Census reports: Assessing poverty

In parts of California under the supplemental approach, a family that owns its own home and earns about $66,000 per year would be earning 200 percent of the poverty level, and not necessarily be considered low-income.
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NBC4, relying on figures and analysis from the Los Angeles office of the Census, reported the newer, official poverty figures on Thursday, and questioned reports that used the supplemental figures.

A widely distributed news story by the Associated Press (and published by msnbc.com) relied on the supplemental report.

“We did not misunderstand the data,” AP spokesman Jack Stokes said in an email. “The AP story was vetted by the Census Bureau in Washington.”

However, Short said that she did not agree with the news service’s conclusion that the report showed one out of two Americans to be low-income or impoverished.

Short stressed that the supplemental measure was a work in progress, and that it should not be considered a replacement for the official poverty rate.

The AP’s calculations were correct, Short said, “but I’m not agreeing with any adjectives that are placed on being in that category.”

“In fact we stressed the Census Bureau does not have a definition for low income.” Short said

In the supplemental report, “we’re not characterizing what it’s like to be below 200 percent of the poverty line,” Short said. “We don’t have any information to characterize what that would be like.”

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Ohio voters face challenges from tea party groups – latimes.com


Ohio voters face challenges from tea party groups – latimes.com.

CINCINNATI — Lori Monroe, a 40-year-old Democrat who lives in central Ohio, was startled a few weeks ago to open a letter that said a stranger was challenging her right to vote in the presidential election.

Monroe, who was recovering from cancer surgery, called the local election board to protest. A local tea party leader was trying to strike Monroe from the voter rolls for a reason that made no sense: Her apartment building in Lancaster was listed as a commercial property.

“I’m like, really? Seriously?” Monroe said. “I’ve lived here seven years, and now I’m getting challenged?”

Monroe’s is one of at least 2,100 names that tea party groups have sought to remove from Ohio’s voter rosters.

The groups and their allies describe it as a citizen movement to prevent ballot fraud, although the Republican secretary of state said in an interview that he knew of no evidence that any more than a handful of illegal votes had been cast in Ohio in the last few presidential elections.

“We’re all about election integrity — making sure everyone who votes is registered and qualified voters,” said Mary Siegel, one of the leaders of the Ohio effort.

Some Democrats see it as a targeted vote-suppression drive. The names selected for purging include hundreds of college students, trailer park residents, homeless people and African Americans in counties President Obama won in 2008.

The battle over who belongs on the voter rolls in Ohio comes as supporters of Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, are making elaborate plans to monitor the polls and mount legal challenges after the Nov. 6 election if necessary.

Obama’s reelection campaign and Romney allies are already fighting in court over Republican efforts to block Ohio voters from casting ballots the weekend before the election. In 2008, Ohio’s final weekend of early voting drew tens of thousands of African Americans to cast ballots, mainly for Obama.

The racial dimension of the 2012 clash over weekend voting burst into the open last month when one of Ohio’s most powerful Republicans, Franklin County GOP Chairman Doug Preisse, told the Columbus Dispatch, “We shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African American — voter-turnout machine.”

Some Democrats see the developments in Ohio as part of a national drive by Obama’s opponents to minimize turnout of his supporters, one that includes efforts elsewhere to impose new voter ID rules.

“Too much of this is going on for this not to be a coordinated effort,” said Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party in the tea party stronghold of southwestern Ohio.

The Rev. Rousseau A. O’Neal, one of a group of black ministers from Cincinnati who provided buses to take African Americans to the polls in 2008 and plan to do so again in November, described the tea party project and the curtailment of weekend voting as “bigotry of the highest order.”

“Who ever thought we’d be fighting for the right to vote in 2012?” he asked.

The tea party groups, scattered around the state, have joined forces under the banner of the Ohio Voter Integrity Project. It is an offshoot of True the Vote, a Texas organization that has recruited volunteers nationwide to challenge voter rosters and work as poll watchers.

True the Vote was founded by Catherine and Bryan Engelbrecht, a couple who run an oil field equipment manufacturing firm in Rosenberg, Texas.

In Ohio, election records show, one of the project’s top priorities has been to remove college students from the voter rolls for failure to specify dorm room numbers. (As a group, college students are strongly in Obama’s camp.)

Voters challenged include 284 students at the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, 110 at Oberlin College, 88 at College of Wooster, 38 at Kent State — and dozens more from the University of Cincinnati, Miami University, Lake Erie College, Walsh University, Hiram College, John Carroll University and Telshe Yeshiva, a rabbinical college near Cleveland.

So far, every county election board that has reviewed the dorm challenges found them invalid.

In some cases, the Ohio tea party researchers have correctly identified voters who have died or moved, speeding up the official updating of registration files. They also found voters registered at a Cincinnati trailer park that no longer exists.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times

A Rare Look at Why The Government Won’t Fight Wall Street | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone


A Rare Look at Why The Government Won't Fight Wall Street | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone.

The great mystery story in American politics these days is why, over the course of two presidential administrations (one from each party), there’s been no serious federal criminal investigation of Wall Street during a period of what appears to be epic corruption. People on the outside have speculated and come up with dozens of possible reasons, some plausible, some tending toward the conspiratorial – but there have been very few who’ve come at the issue from the inside.

We get one of those rare inside accounts in The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins, a new book by Jeff Connaughton, the former aide to Senators Ted Kaufman and Joe Biden. Jeff is well known to reporters like me; during a period when most government officials double-talked or downplayed the Wall Street corruption problem, Jeff was one of the few voices on the Hill who always talked about the subject with appropriate alarm. He shared this quality with his boss Kaufman, the Delaware Senator who took over Biden’s seat and instantly became an irritating (to Wall Street) political force by announcing he wasn’t going to run for re-election. “I later learned from reporters that Wall Street was frustrated that they couldn’t find a way to harness Ted or pull in his reins,” Jeff writes. “There was no obvious way to pressure Ted because he wasn’t running for re-election.”

Kaufman for some time was a go-to guy in the Senate for reform activists and reporters who wanted to find out what was really going on with corruption issues. He was a leader in a number of areas, attempting to push through (often simple) fixes to issues like high-frequency trading (his advocacy here looked prescient after the “flash crash” of 2010), naked short-selling, and, perhaps most importantly, the Too-Big-To-Fail issue. What’s fascinating about Connaughton’s book is that we now get to hear a behind-the-scenes account of who exactly was knocking down simple reform ideas, how they were knocked down, and in some cases we even find out why good ideas were rejected, although some element of mystery certainly remains here.

There are some damning revelations in this book, and overall it’s not a flattering portrait of key Obama administration officials like SEC enforcement chief Robert Khuzami, Department of Justice honchos Eric Holder (who once worked at the same law firm, Covington and Burling, as Connaughton) and Lanny Breuer, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Most damningly, Connaughton writes about something he calls “The Blob,” a kind of catchall term describing an oozy pile of Hill insiders who are all incestuously interconnected, sometimes by financial or political ties, sometimes by marriage, sometimes by all three. And what Connaughton and Kaufman found is that taking on Wall Street even with the aim of imposing simple, logical fixes often inspired immediate hostile responses from The Blob; you’d never know where it was coming from.

In one amazing example described in the book, Kaufman decided he wanted to try to re-instate the so-called “uptick rule,” which had existed for seventy years before being rescinded by the SEC in 2007. The rule prevents investors from shorting a stock until the stock had ticked up in price. “Forcing short sellers to wait for the price to tick up before they sell more shares gives a breather to a stock in decline and helps prevent bear raids,” Connaughton writes.

The uptick rule is controversial on Wall Street – I’ve had some people literally scream at me that it doesn’t do anything, while others have told me that it does help prevent bear attacks of the sort that appeared to help finally topple already-mortally-wounded companies like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers – but what’s inarguable is that Wall Street hates the rule. Hedge fund types or employees of really any company that engages in short-selling will tend to be most venomous in their opinions of the uptick rule.

Anyway, Connaughton and Kaufman were under the impression that new SEC chief Mary Schapiro would re-instate the uptick rule after taking office. When she didn’t, Kaufman wrote her a letter, asking her to take action. When that didn’t do the trick, he co-sponsored (with Republican Johnny Isakson) a bill that would have required the SEC to take action.

Nothing happened, and months later, Kaufman gave a grumbling interview to Politico about the issue. One June 30, the paper’s headline read: “Ted Kaufman to SEC; Do Your Job.”

The next day, the Blob bit back. Connaughton was in the basement of the Russell building when a Senate staffer whose wife worked for Shapiro shouted at him. From the book:

“Hey, Jeff, you’re in the doghouse.” He meant: with his wife.

“Why?” I asked.

“That Politico piece by your boss.”

I was taken aback but tried to downplay the matter. “We just want the SEC to get its work done.”

“Remember,” he said. “We all wear blue jerseys and play for the Blue Team. I just don’t think that helps.”

When Connaughton told Kaufman over the phone what the staffer said, Kaufman exploded. “You call him back right now and tell him I said to go fuck himself in his ear,” Kaufman said.

Similarly, when Kaufman tried to advocate for rules that would have prevented naked short-selling, Connaughton was warned by a lobbyist that it would be “bad for my career” if he went after the issue and that “Ted and I looked like deranged conspiracy theorists” for asking if naked short-selling had played a role in the final collapse of Lehman Brothers. Naked short-selling is another controversial practice. Essentially, when you short a stock, you’re supposed to locate shares of that stock before you go out and sell it short. But what hedge funds and banks have discovered is that the rules provide “leeway” – you can go out and sell shares in a stock without actually having it, provided you have a “reasonable belief” that you can locate the shares.

This leads to the obvious possibility of companies creating false supply in a stock by selling shares they don’t have. Without getting too much into the weeds here, there is an obvious solution to the problem, which essentially would be forcing companies to actually locate shares before selling them. In their attempt to change the system, Kaufman and Connaughton discovered that the Depository Trust Clearing Corporation, the massive quasi-private organization that clears most all stock trades in America, had come up with just such a fix on their own. Kaufman recruited some other senators to endorse the idea, and as late as 2009, Connaughton and Kaufman were convinced they were going to get the form. “I said to Ted, ‘We’re going to change the way stocks are traded in this country.'”

But before the change could be made, Goldman, Sachs issued “data” showing that there was “no correlation” between naked short selling and price movements. When Connaughton asked an Isakson staffer what the data said, the staffer, intimidated by Goldman, replied, “The data proves we’re full of shit.” Connaughton looked at the data and realized instantly that it was a bunch of irrelevant gobbledygook, even firing off an angry letter to Goldman telling them the tactic was beneath even them.

But Goldman’s tactic worked. A roundtable to discuss the idea was scheduled by the SEC on September 24, 2009. Of the nine invited participants, “all but one” were for the status quo. Connaughton expected the DTCC representatives to unveil their reform idea, but they didn’t:

Afterwards, I went over to [the DTCC representatives] and asked, “What happened?” Sheepishly, and to their credit, they admitted: “We got pulled back.” They meant: by their board, by the Wall Street powers-that-be.

Essentially the same thing happened in Kaufman’s biggest reform attempt, the amendment to the Dodd-Frank bill he co-sponsored with Ohio’s Sherrod Brown, which would have broken up the Too-Big-To-Fail banks. But the Brown-Kaufman amendment, which was really the meatiest thing in the original Dodd-Frank bill, the one reform that really would have made a difference if it had passed, just died in the suffocating mass of the Blob. The key Democrats one after another failed to line up behind it, and in the end it was defeated soundly, with Dick Durbin, the number two man in the Democratic leadership, giving it this epitaph: “a bridge too far.”

Again, those interested in understanding the mindset of the people who should be leading the anti-corruption charge ought to read this book. It’s the weird lack of concern that shines through, like Khuzami’s comment that he’s “not losing sleep” over judges reprimanding his soft-touch settlements with banks, or then Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Ray Lohier’s comment that the thing that most concerned him – this is the period of 2008-2009, the middle of a historic crimewave on Wall Street – was “cyber crime.”

On the outside we can only deduce the mindset from actions and non-actions, but Connaughton’s actually seen it, and with the book you get to see it too. It’s scary and definitely worth a read.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/a-rare-look-at-why-the-government-wont-fight-wall-street-20120918#ixzz26sqMxULA

Rising gas prices crimp Americans’ spending – Yahoo! News – The Fed doesnt have an answer


Rising gas prices crimp Americans' spending – Yahoo! News.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Higher gas prices are crimping consumer spending and slowing the already-weak U.S. economy. And they could get worse in the coming months.

The Federal Reserve this week took steps to boost economic growth. But those stimulus measures are also pushing oil prices up. If gas prices follow, consumers will have less money to spend elsewhere.

The impact of the Fed’s actions “is likely to weigh on the value of the U.S. dollar and lift commodity prices,” said Joseph Carson, U.S. economist at AllianceBernstein. “We would not be surprised if (it) fueled more inflation in coming months, squeezing the real income of U.S. workers.”

Americans are already feeling pinched by high unemployment, slow wage growth and higher gas prices.

Consumers increased their spending at retail businesses by 0.9 percent in August, the Commerce Department reported Friday. But that was largely because they paid more for gas. Excluding the impact of gas prices and a sizeable increase in auto sales, retail sales rose just 0.1 percent.

Perhaps more telling is where Americans spent less. Consumers cut back on clothing, electronics and at general merchandise outlets — discretionary purchases that typically signal confidence in the economy.

Gas prices have risen more than 50 cents per gallon in the past two months. The national average was $3.87 a gallon on Friday. Most of the increase took place in August, which drove the biggest one-month increase in overall consumer prices in three years, the Labor Department said Friday in a separate report.

“Consumers were not willing to spend much at the mall since they are feeling the pump price pinch,” said Chris Christopher, an economist at IHS Global Insight.

Weaker retail sales will likely weigh on growth in the July-September quarter. Economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch slashed their third-quarter growth forecast to an annual rate of only 1.1 percent, down from 1.5 percent. That’s not nearly fast enough to spur more hiring, which has languished since February.

The Fed is hoping to kick-start growth with a series of bold steps announced Thursday that could make borrowing cheaper for years.

It plans to spend $40 billion a month to buy mortgage bonds to make home buying more affordable. It also pledged to keep short-term interest rates near zero through at least mid-2015.

And Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed will continue its efforts — and intensify them if necessary — until the job market improves “substantially.”

The announcement ignited a two-day stock market rally that sent the Dow Jones industrial average to its highest level since December 2007, the first month of the Great Recession.

But the Fed’s actions also helped move oil prices briefly above $100 a barrel Friday for the first time since May. They fell back slightly, but were still up 74 cents to $99.04 a barrel in mid-afternoon trading.

Carson noted that the Fed’s previous rounds of bond-buying pushed up commodity prices and fueled greater inflation. That weakened the ability of U.S. consumers to spend and likely slowed growth, he said.

He expects the same thing to happen again.

The Fed’s moves can push up oil prices in several ways. The Fed creates new money to pay for its mortgage bond purchases. That increases the amount of dollars in circulation and can lower their value. Oil is priced in dollars, so the price tends to rise when the dollar falls. That’s because it costs more for overseas investors to purchase dollars to buy oil.

Lower interest rates also push investors out of safer assets, such as bonds, and into riskier investments, such as oil, in hopes of a greater return. And if the Fed’s moves accelerate growth, that would increase demand for oil and gas and also raise their prices.

Higher gas prices are eating up a bigger share of Americans’ incomes than in previous years. Spending at the pump accounts for 8.2 percent of the typical family’s household income, according to Fred Rozell of the Oil Price Information Service. That’s just below last year’s 8.3 percent.

Those represent the biggest slice of household income spent on gas since 1981. The typical household spends about $342 per month on gasoline. Before gasoline prices began rising in 2004, households spent less than $200 per month, Rozell said, under 5 percent of median income.

Average gas prices are higher this year than last year. But Americans are using less by driving more fuel-efficient cars and driving less.

Meanwhile, average wages, adjusted for inflation, have been flat for the past year, the Labor Department said Friday. That adds to the squeeze on consumers.

One silver lining is that weakness should eventually push prices back down, economists note. That’s because people cut back on oil and gas consumption when prices rise.

“Unless the economic data rapidly improve, the gains in oil … prices are unlikely to be sustained,” Julian Jessop, an analyst Capital Economics, said.

__

AP Energy Writer Jonathan Fahey contributed to this report from New York.

House Republicans seek to block welfare waivers requested by GOP governors | The Raw Story


House Republicans seek to block welfare waivers requested by GOP governors | The Raw Story.

House Republicans have introduced legislation to prevent the Obama administration from allowing some states to waive certain provisions of the welfare reform law enacted in 1996.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in July that it was seeking to provide states with more flexibility to administer the Temporary Assistant for Needy Families (TANF) program. George Sheldon, acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, said the law contained “mind-numbing details about how to run a welfare-to-work program” and offered to waive some of those federal regulations.

The TANF program — which helps poor families with children pay for living expenses such as rent, heat, utilities and personal care items — requires those receiving payments to be employed or looking for work. Nearly four million Americans currently receive TANF payments.

Republicans have falsely claimed that the Obama administration was seeking to roll back the work requirements in the law.

“The president’s waiver scheme will roll back bipartisan welfare reforms that helped end dependency, reduce poverty, and strengthen income security for countless families,” Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said in a statement. “We did not ask for this fight, but we will not stand by while the president runs roughshod over the law and promotes policies that will hurt families and taxpayers.”

The waivers, which have been requested by the Republican governors of Utah and Nevada, would only allow states to test pilot programs designed to improve employment outcomes in the welfare program. Pilot programs that do not increase employment will be terminated.

“This resolution is nothing more than a political stunt,” Rep. George Miller (D-CA) said in a statement. “It is based on a widely circulated lie. Nearly every conceivable independent fact-checker has debunked the Republicans’ claims. This resolution wastes precious legislative time when we should be working together to provide solutions for the real problems confronting American families, not fabricated ones.”

Death is Near (Ca

How Many Jobs Are Needed to Keep Up with Population Growth? | The Economic Populist


How Many Jobs Are Needed to Keep Up with Population Growth? | The Economic Populist.

The press quotes all sorts of figures for the number of monthly job gains needed to keep up with population growth. We see numbers like 80,000, 100,000, 125,000 and 175,000 thrown around like statistical snow as the number of jobs needed each month just to keep up. What’s the right one? How many jobs are needed each month just to keep up with population growth?

The actual monthly amount can be calculated and the Atlanta Fed even did us a huge favor by publishing an interactive monthly jobs calculator so you can go check for yourself. This month shows we need 104,116 payroll jobs to maintain the same unemployment rate of 8.1% with all of the other same terrible conditions the state of employment is in.

That’s the key, the current terrible conditions the state of employment is in today. One of the reasons the number of jobs to keep up with population growth is so low is due to so many having dropped out of the labor force. If we had more people being counted as needing a job, the number of jobs to keep up with population growth would be much higher.

To explain this, we need to go to BLS school and learn some labor concepts. The employment universe comes from the civilian noninstitutional population. These are people in the United States, aged 16 and over, who aren’t in the military, infirmed or locked up somewhere.

blsconcept1

The above pie chart shows how the civilian nonstitutional population is divided up into two classifications, either you’re in the civilian labor force, or you’re not. The employment statistics come from the civilian labor force. Those who are classified as not in the labor force are not counted, and thus not considered as needing a job or mattering when their numbers swell.

blsconcept2

The civilian labor force is then divided up into two categories, either you have a job or you don’t. In the unemployed category, you have to be actively looking to be considered as part of the civilian labor force. The above pie chart shows the breakdown, using the August 2012 statistics.

The civilian noninstitutional population grows every month and for 2011, the average was 0.059% per month. For the last 12 months, the average was 0.128% per month, so the population growth varies, but there is a huge problem. The woe is the Census puts their annual benchmark adjustments in the month of January only. The benchmark adjustments are not annually smoothed or averaged in on a month to month basis. This makes the monthly population percentage growth more difficult to estimate, for we have a fudge factor plopped in between the December and January estimates. We can see the annual benchmarks, or fudge factor, in the below graph showing the monthly change in civilian noninstitutional population.

Civilian population change

What we can do is ignore the months of January and take the average growth rate for the last year, bypassing the benchmark weirdness month. Doing this gives a monthly growth rate of 0.0762% for noninstitutional civilian population and thus we smooth away those benchmarks to get a much more realistic average population growth rate.

If the fact that the benchmark adjustments are not evenly distributed across the monthly change in noninstitutional civilian population isn’t enough to throw a monkey wrench into figuring out how many jobs we need each month just to keep up, we have an additional problem. There are people who really are not in the labor force and these percentages change. The population is getting older, we have more retirees and unfortunately we put people in prison more than any other industrialized nation. Then, other people are not part of the labor force because they have been unemployed so long they are no longer counted. In other words, we cannot say that all of the growth of those not in the labor force is due to people dropping off of the unemployed statistical radar. That said, clearly many are. Where we can see this most is in the labor participation rate. The labor participation rate is the ratio of the civilian labor force to those not in the labor force. The below graph shows we are at record lows in the ratio of those as part of the labor force to those who are not.

If we take the labor participation rate at the start of the great recession, 66%, we get a whole other number of jobs needed each month to keep up with population growth. If we keep the same rate of unemployment, 8.1%, we would need 545,551 jobs per month and it would take an entire year to get to the same August rate of unemployment, 8.1%.

This is because by increasing the labor participation rate 2.5%, we took 6,089,150 people not counted and added them to the labor force statistics and of course, they would enter in as unemployed. The unemployment rate is the ratio of those in the civilian labor force who do not have a job against those who who do.

We can also estimate the number of jobs needed each month, just to maintain, by rough numbers. If we assume a smoothed noninstitutional civilian population growth rate of 0.076% per month, then next month’s population growth would be 185,617 additional people ages 16 and over and not locked up somewhere. If we then assume the labor participation rate of this new growth would be 68.0% and not the actual, artificially low 63.5%, we would get an additional 126,920 jobs needed to keep up with this population growth.

This is much more realistic for new population growth is probably going to enter the labor force looking for a job. The BLS counts illegal immigrants, green card holders and foreign guest workers in their statistics and most of the population growth is due to immigration. These people either already have a job upon entering the country, or are going to want one fast. Bottom line, yes Virginia, increased immigration does affect labor markets, all else being static. I do believe to say our economic growth and thus labor demand is static at the moment is not an understatement.

Check out the Atlanta Federal Reserve jobs calculator. It’s Economic Populist approved, we checked their arithmetic and assumptions.

If this is not enough to convince you, we suggest reading this article, this or this one for more background.

Finally our favorite and never reported BLS statistic amplifies the terrible situation for labor in this country. The BLS surveys people considered not part of the labor force and asks if they want a job right now. Below is a graph of the people who said yes and watch how this figure swells.

For August 2012, those not counted in the labor force but report they actually want and need a job increased by 403,000 in a month. That, folks, should have you horrified. Literally we have desperate and destitute people falling through the statistical crevasse, into the abyss where they can only shout out from the numerical darkness, yes I want a job!
BLS Employment Report Shows 96,000 Jobs and an Unemployment Rate of 8.1% for August 2012 ›

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