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Open Thread – Live Blogging The Ryan Biden VP Debate HERE

Official presidential transitional portrait of...

Official presidential transitional portrait of then-Vice President Elect Joe Biden. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok, what political junkie isn’t looking forward to the debate tonight between Vice President Joe Biden and Paul Ryan? Comments welcome during the debate! I’ll be providing commentary and observation as well in the comment section.

Just to whet your whistle a bit regarding some of the expected themes of the debate tonight, focusing on Foreign and Domestic Policy (which doesn’t leave much else to debate, come to think of it), here are some basic facts that will come in handy. (Courtesy of ThePublicNotice.org)

The Trend In Employment Underutilization

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report documented that there were about 12.1 million Americans unemployed,4 that number only provides a glimpse toward understanding conditions in the labor market.

The BLS has a broader measure of total labor underutilization (U-6), often referred to as the rate of “underemployment.” This measure includes the total unemployed, plus those who have given up looking for work, and those who are working a part-time job but want full-time work. The alternative measure essentially looks at the percentage of the civilian labor force that would choose to have a full-time job if economic conditions were more positive. By that definition, today there are 23 million Americans still looking for work.  In January 2009, that figure was 22 million. In that same period, the U-6 rate has jumped from 14.2 to 14.7 percent5.

Additionally, when looking at the number of individuals employed, from January 2009 until today, there are 61,000 fewer individuals employed6.

The Time it Takes to Find a Job

The struggle for unemployed Americans to find jobs has become significantly more difficult for those individuals who are facing long-term unemployment. Out of the 12.1 million individuals looking for work, 3.4 million of them have been out of work for over a year and are still looking7. For all unemployed individuals, the average amount of time spent from time of unemployment until being hired in a new position has nearly doubled since 2009, rising from 19.8 weeks to 39.8 weeks8.

Individuals experiencing 8 to 9 months of foregone income can suffer from severe economic hardships, so it shouldn’t be surprising that a record number of Americans are receiving food stamps. As of the end of August 2012, nearly 47 million Americans were on food stamps. Additionally, it was recently reported that nearly 1 in 6 Americans were living in poverty in 2011, the highest rate in two decades9.

A Closer Look at the September Numbers10

  • Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 114,000.
  • Unemployment rate: 7.8 percent
  • Total unemployed: 12.1 million
  • Total underemployed (unemployed, underemployed, or stopped looking): 14.7 percent
  • Total underemployed: 23.2 million11
  • Total stopped looking (marginally attached): 802,000
  • Long-term unemployed: 4.8 million

=====================

 

===============================

How Federal Surpluses Became Deficits

In the face of ballooning federal budget deficits, people have been wondering how the Clinton surpluses evaporated. Indeed, between 1998 and 2001 and for the first time in decades, the U.S. budget was balanced. Using Congressional Budget Office data, these two charts—modified from the ones made by Charles Blahous in his e21 piece “How Did Federal Surpluses Become Huge Deficits?”—provide some answers to this question.

According to the CBO, three areas have influenced the swing from projected surpluses to actual deficits over the 2002–2011 period: (1) increased spending, (2) a shortfall in tax revenue, and (3) projection inaccuracies.

As we can see on these charts, over the 10-year period, about three-fourths (73 percent) of the $12.7 trillion growth in federal debt was spending and tax legislation, the rest being the product of projection inaccuracies—such as expecting higher growth, increased revenue, or lower spending.

The shortfall in tax revenue—caused by legislation such as 2001/2003 tax cuts, the tax relief implemented as part of the stimulus bill in 2009, and the Tax Act of 2010—accounts for about a quarter (24 percent) of the shift from surplus to deficits. However, spending increases over the 10-year period is the main factor contributing to the current deficits. As you can see, almost half (49 percent) of the change comes from increase in spending. The major areas of increased spending were the defense budget, Medicare, and the stimulus bill of 2009.

For more information, check out Charles Blahous’s e21 piece and my piece on the perils of economic and budget forecasting.

Supplemental Charts (click to enlarge)

 

More interesting links:

And if you’re interested in checking out recent polling numbers, here’s a whole lot of poll love for you (again, courtesy ThePublicNotice.org):

Recent Polls:

Vice Presidential Debate Prep

–          54% of voters say they are very likely to watch the debate @pewresearch http://bit.ly/PXfNrP

–          40% of registered votes think Ryan will do a better job in the debate; 34% say Biden will do a better job @pewresearch http://bit.ly/PnCquQ

VP Candidates’ Favorability

–          44% of registered voters view Ryan favorably; 40% of registered voters view Ryan unfavorably @pewresearch http://bit.ly/PnCquQ

–          43% of registered voters view Ryan favorably; 40% unfavorably @gallupnews http://bit.ly/Oqsr6z

–          39% of registered voters view Biden favorably; 51% of registered voters view Biden unfavorably @pewresearch http://bit.ly/PnCquQ

–          44% of registered voters view Biden favorably; 45% unfavorably @gallupnews http://bit.ly/Oqsr6z

 

Ballot:

–          Gallup Daily: 48% of likely voters support Romney; 48% support Obama @gallupnews http://bit.ly/LFBjoN

–          48% of likely voters support Romney; 49% support Obama @Politico http://politi.co/PiwbbN

–          49% of likely voters support Romney; 45% support Obama @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          49% of swing state voters support Romney; 48% support Obama @RasmussenPoll  http://bit.ly/Nv4o19

 

Direction of the country

–          54% of likely voters think the country is on the wrong track @Politico http://politi.co/PiwbbN

–          47% to 43% registered voters think Romney has better ideas about the role of government in solving problems over Obama @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          49% of likely voters approve of the job Obama is doing as president; 48% disapprove @FoxNews http://fxn.ws/SQXqeL

–          only 38% of likely voters say the country is healing in the right direction @RasmussenPoll  http://bit.ly/K3paH

 

Economy

–          50% to 43% of likely voters trust Romney more than Obama when it comes to handling the economy @RasmussenPoll  http://bit.ly/JsVCV3

–          49% to 47% of likely voters think Romney would better handle the economy over Obama @Politico http://politi.co/PiwbbN

–          53% of LV say the Obama admin has mostly failed on stimulating the economy;40% mostly succeeded @FoxNews http://fxn.ws/SQXqeL

–          53% of likely voters disapprove of the job Obama is doing on the economy; 44% approve @FoxNews http://fxn.ws/SQXqeL

–          53% of likely voters disapprove of the job that Obama is doing on the economy  @Politico http://politi.co/PiwbbN

–          35% of registered voters think Obama’s economic policies have made the economic conditions worse; 33% say better @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          54% of voters think Obama doesn’t know how to turn the economy around @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          54% of swing voters think Obama doesn’t know how to turn the economy around @pewresearch  http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          62% of Americans hear a mix of good and bad on the economy @pewresearch http://bit.ly/TAFVyX

 

Jobs

–          49% to 46% of likely voters think Romney would better create jobs over Obama @Politico http://politi.co/PiwbbN

–          49% to 41% registered voters think Romney would do better on improving the job situation over Obama @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          37% of swing voters think Romney would improve the job situation; 24% say Obama @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          53% of LV say the Obama admin has mostly failed on creating new jobs; 38% say mostly succeeded @FoxNews http://fxn.ws/SQXqeL

–          71% of Americans concerned about the loss of U.S. jobs to China @pewresearch  http://bit.ly/SQBgTF

–          42% of Americans say they hear mostly bad news on the job situation @pewresearch http://bit.ly/TAFVyX

 

Government Spending/Debt/Deficit

–          50% to 44% of likely voters think Romney would better handle the budget and spending @Politico http://politi.co/PiwbbN

–          51% to 36% of registered voters think Romney would do better on reducing the deficit over Obama @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          41% of swing voters think Romney would improve the deficit; 20% say Obama @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          57% disapprove of the job Obama is doing on the budget and spending @Politico http://politi.co/PiwbbN

–          78% of Americans concerned about size of U.S. debt owed to China @pewresearch  http://bit.ly/SQBgTF

 

Foreign Policy

–          46% of likely voters disapprove of the job Obama is doing on Libya; 37% approve @FoxNews http://fxn.ws/SQXqeL

–          48% of LV say the Obama admin has mostly failed at improving America’s image around the world; 44% say mostly succeeded @FoxNews http://fxn.ws/SQXqeL

–          67% of LV say it’s troubling that the Obama admin initially gave false info in public statements about the September Libya attack @FoxNews http://fxn.ws/SQXqeL

–          37% of LV say the Obama admin gave false info after the September Libya attack to help the campaign; 26% said for diplomatic reasons ; 23% said they just made a mistake @FoxNews http://fxn.ws/SQXqeL

–          50% think Obama would better handle foreign policy, down from last week’s 52%; 44% think Romney would better handle foreign policy, up from last week’s 40% @Politico http://politi.co/PiwbbN

–          47% registered voters think Obama would do better on making wise decisions about foreign policy, down from Sept’s 53%; 43% think Romney would do better, up from Sept’s 38% @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          40% to 26% of swing voters think Obama would do better on making decisions an foreign policy over Romney @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          63% of LV support the US taking military action to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons @FoxNews http://fxn.ws/SQXqeL

 

Taxes

–          47% to 43% registered voters think Romney would do better on dealing with taxes over Obama @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          33% of swing voters think Romney would do better dealing with taxes; 33% say Obama would @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          50% to 44% of likely voters think Obama would better handle the taxes over Romney @Politico http://politi.co/PiwbbN

 

Healthcare/ Medicare

–          51% of likely voters disapprove of the job Obama is doing on health care; 45% approve @FoxNews http://fxn.ws/SQXqeL

–          48% likely voters say the Obama admin has mostly failed in improving health care; 44% say mostly succeeded @FoxNews http://fxn.ws/SQXqeL

–          54% of likely voters favor repealing the health care law @RasmussenPoll http://bit.ly/cunKej

–          51% to 43% of likely voters think Obama would better handle Medicare over Romney @Politico http://politi.co/PiwbbN

–          46% to 43% registered voters think Obama would better do better on Medicare over Romney @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          43% to 26% swing voters think Obama would do better in dealing with Medicare @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          47% to 44% registered voters think Obama would do better on healthcare over Romney @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

–          47% to 26% swing voters think Obama would do better in dealing with health care @pewresearch http://bit.ly/Oj08XD

 

Other domestic issues

–          72% of Americans hear mostly bad news about gas prices @pewresearch http://bit.ly/TAFVyX

–          51% of Americans hear mostly bad news about food, consumer prices @pewresearch http://bit.ly/TAFVyX

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10 Comments

  1. admin's Gravatar admin
    October 11, 2012    

    Trying to ensure that the comments section works …

  2. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    October 11, 2012    

    Fixed! Comment Away!

  3. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    October 11, 2012    

    Martha is a strong mediator. She talks over Biden who is trying to hold court.

  4. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    October 11, 2012    

    I have been following the Senate for three decades, and I can say with certainty and confidence that Joe Biden is the dumbest man to ever occupy a seat in the United States Senate, and that is saying something, because he beat out halfwits like Carole Mosley Braun from Illinois for the honor.

  5. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    October 11, 2012    

    Why does Biden keep interrupting and repeating himself? Is he drunk?

  6. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    October 11, 2012    

    Big Cheers as Paul Ryan calls out Joe Biden’s words for not coming out of his mouth right LOL

  7. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    October 11, 2012    

    Green Pork! AWESOME tag line!

  8. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    October 11, 2012    

    Did Joe Biden just cite Moody’s? Really?

  9. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    October 11, 2012    

    Interesting point about IPAB not requiring medical training. I’m sure it requires actuarial training, but that won’t help in the exam room.

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