Whenever you see the monthly official unemployment rates, you have to realize that they are modified rates, not actual rates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes people that are unemployed during the week of the survey and without a job for the four previous weeks. Hence, the latest report says that 8.1% of Americans are currently unemployed.
But that is not a real picture of what is going on in the American job market. The BLS figures do not take into account the millions of Americans that have had to take part time jobs because they have not been able to find full time work, those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and those who are so discouraged that they’ve given up looking for work.
There is a second statistic called the Alternative Unemployment Statistic. The AUS is always higher as it counts all of the employed except for the discouraged workers who have been out of work more than a year. The current AUS figure is 14.6%.
However, there is another even more realistic unemployment statistic that portrays a far more accurate picture of America’s job market. The SGS or Shadow Government Statistics encompass all of the different factors that deal with unemployment. The current SGS unemployment figure is a staggering 23%. That means that nearly 1 of every 4 Americans are either unemployed, underemployed, exhausted unemployment benefits or are so discouraged that they’ve given up looking for work.
Another indicator of the devastating employment picture is the cling rate. In better times, a number of people readily move from one job to another. However, that is not the case today. The number of people clinging to their current jobs is the lowest it’s been in decades. People are afraid to leave their current jobs for a new one for fear of losing the new one if there is any kind of layoff.
With all of these figures painting a very bleak picture of Obama’s America, I still don’t understand why so many people want to re-elect him. The last president to be re-elected with unemployment figures over 8% was Franklin D. Roosevelt, but he didn’t have 44 consecutive months over 8% like Obama. Actually, no president in the history of our nation has come close to Obama’s record.
And yet, he continues to lead Mitt Romney by several points in most of the latest polls.
America can’t survive a second term with Obama. We’ve barely survived the first term let alone consider four more years of gloom and doom. To borrow a line from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, with slight modification:
“You are without doubt the worst president I’ve ever heard of.”
And Obama’s response would probably be the same as Captain Jack Sparrow’s:
“But you have heard of me.”
Jobs and economy are the top topics for most Americans. The Obama administration has had three and half years to address the matters and turn things around, but they haven’t. The only successful thing the Democrats have achieved is pointing the finger of blame at Republicans for their own failures.
When the Democrats have tried to kick start the economy and create jobs, they’ve done so by throwing money into the air and hoping it lands on enough businesses to prompt them to start hiring. First there was the famous Stimulus plan that tossed over $800 billion dollars into the air. Some of it landed on General Motors, some landed on companies like Solyndra, First Solar and Beacon Power, some landed in the pockets of bureaucrats, politicians and friends of Obama and some of the Stimulus money fell on businesses overseas who did create jobs – over there.
When that didn’t work, some Democrats advocated another stimulus. Rep. Maxine Waters, (D-CA) has been pushing for a $1 trillion stimulus for social programs which she says would fix everything. This came about after the U.S. credit rating had already been lowered because we can’t pay our debts.
Now, a number of Democrats have hatched another plan that they claim will help lower and middle class Americans. They want to raise the minimum wage limit by 35% and then tie it to the inflation rate. They also want to increase the minimum wage paid to employees who receive tips by over 200%.
Three different bills have been introduced to accomplish this:
- Rep. George Miller (D-CA) has introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012 which would raise the minimum wage by 35%, from the current $7.25 to $9.80 per hour and then index it to inflation. It would also raise the minimum wage for tip earners by over 200% by increasing it to 70% of the minimum wage.
- Rep. Rosa Delauro (D-CT) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) have introduced the Rebuild America Act which also would raise the minimum wage by 35%, from the current $7.25 to $9.80 per hour and then index it to inflation. It would also raise the minimum wage for tip earners by over 200% by increasing it to 70% of the minimum wage.
- Rep. Jessie Jackson Jr. (D-IL) introduced the Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2012, which would raise the minimum wage by 38% from the current $7.25 to $10 per hour and then index it to inflation. It would also raise the minimum wage for tip earners by over 200% by increasing it to 70% of the minimum wage.
Business sectors that would be most affected by the minimum wage hikes would be retail, restaurants, hotels and entertainment. Many of these businesses are barely surviving in today’s struggling economy. Being forced into a 35% increase in wages would be more than their bottom lines can afford. The results would be more layoffs and more businesses closing their doors, resulting in lost jobs.
According to the Employment Policies Institute, the number of jobs that could be lost by such a huge increase in the minimum wage could run from 256,200 to 768,600. This would hit the younger workforce (25 year old and younger) the hardest since they make up nearly 50% of those earning minimum wage at this time. The unemployment rate for this age group is already at 23.8%.
Michael Saltsman, a researcher with EPI commented on their findings saying:
“The Democratic Party still refuses to acknowledge that wage hikes kill job opportunities.”
“As the election season heats up, the Democratic Party should not lose its focus on finding policies that increase job opportunities instead of reduce them.”
So once again we see a concerted effort on the part of Democrats to only make our employment and economic situation worse. They remind me of a program I watched recently where a doctor back in the late 1800’s offered a cure for a particular ailment. It turned out the cure itself was fatal and patients started dying. I can only wish for a similar outcome as that doctor was charged, tried and found guilty of his crimes. If only history would repeat itself once again.