Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November, 2015, Part 2, By The Numbers: The Ecoomy Stinks and These Federal Reserve Charts Prove It

This is the second post among a few days worth of discussion of “by the numbers.” We do this theme occasionally where we look at the reality of the numbers in the world and not the lies, deceptions, and spin of the American political class. I used to work for a boss whose favorite quote was: “There is nothing more devastating to an opinion than the correct number.”By looking at the statistics, trends, and numbers in our world we can cut through the politicians’ smoke screen to truly understand what is going on and hopefully, remedy the issues of the day.The numbers we will look at this week will often have a common thread running almost through all of them: the views, positions, and opinions of the majority of Americans are often the exact opposite of the views and related actions that our politicians own. Since we are supposed to be living in a representative government system one would hope that the laws, rules, and government functions that our politicians oversee reflect the thinking, hopes, and views of the American citizenry.As the numbers will usually show, that is nowhere close to reality, which I think reflects two underlying negative trends:
  • American politicians vote and act for their own personal interests first, Americans’ interests and well being being of secondary consideration. If a politician’s actions can get them more votes or more campaign cash for their perpetual reelection campaigns, than that is their priority, usually not the priorities of their constituents.
  • Second, I personally believe that today’s American politicians take care of their special interest friends and financiers first and foremost, and the interests of those special interest friends (e.g.unions, corporations, lobbyists, etc.) are usually not in alignment with what the majority of Americans have as their priorities.
Keep these two possibilities in mind as we go “by the numbers” for the next few days and try to show the major disconnect between what Americans want and what politicians are doing:Yesterday, we reviewed the latest monthly economic statistics from the Federal government. Although there were a few glimmers of economic hope, for the most part those glimmers are still being overwhelmed by the overall economic situation:
  • The labor participation rate is still bouncing around at the same low levels not seen for the past four decades. 
  • Almost 14 million Americans are either unemployed or are working at part time jobs even though they would prefer full time jobs. 
  • Minority unemployment rates are still much higher than the total national unemployment rate. 
  • Over 45 million Americans are still receiving Federal food assistance every month.
These are the short term economic results and numbers. They are not good. But the Daily Caller recently published some long term trend data from the Federal Reserve Board and guess what: the long term economic results and numbers are just as bad. Let’s see what they are telling us:1) We have already pointed out that the Obama administration’s mishandling of the Federal government’s budget has already increased the national debt level by about 80% and will likely at least double it by the time Obama leaves office. In other words, Obama will add more to the national debt than ALL previous Presidencies combined.And not only is the total debt increasing, but the debt load as a percentage of annual GDP has also skyrocketed, according to the Federal Reserve. The sad news is that not only did it jump during the recession, but it kept going up once the recession ended (click on the graph for a larger view):2) The Federal Reserve pumped fake, printed money into the economy to try and get the recovery underway. Unfortunately they kept pumping money into the economy even when the recession ended, increasing the money in the economy by ten fold. At some point, that much paper money will come back on an inflation tear:

3) Somehow, and this is probably not easy, the Obama administration’s economic policies have somehow managed to reduce the median weekly earnings of average Americans AFTER the recession ended, dropping so far down that today’s median average wages are about where they were thirteen years ago in 2002.

4) As we discussed yesterday, the Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate is at levels not since the dark economic days of the Carter administration. And even worse, the Obama administration’s economic policies have accelerated the drop in the participation rate AFTER the recession ended.

5) Although workers’ portion of the economy has been slowly declining over time, that trend accelerated during the Bush administration, paused during the recession, and then plunged again during the Obama administration AFTER the recession ended.

That will do it for today. We will finish the remaining Fed trend charts tomorrow. But the results and conclusions from those charts will not reach a different conclusion than this: the Obama administration, the current Congressional members, and Federal bureaucrats have saddled us with tremendous amounts of debt, stagnant wages, and tepid job creation. Seems you could not do a worse job managing the economy if you were trying to scew things up.
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