Tag Archives: bureau of labor statistics

Third Term For Obama Would’ve Been Hillary Instead of This Mess

third term
Hillary’s first term will be Obama’s third term.

Hillary Clinton is the only candidate in the race that supports continuing, extending and building upon President Obama’s agenda. She represents the continuation of the upward trajectory that we’re currently on, also deemed “Obama’s third term.”

Obama’s Third Term

Brooks Jackson details Obama’s record since he entered office through 2015 and how incredibly impressive it has been. I think his latest approval ratings are a sign that people are begrudgingly beginning to appreciate the excellent work he has done as his administration wraps up and Donald Trump has come to dominate the political scene. They long for a third term. Radical change, if not a complete dismantling of what President Obama and the Democratic Party have done and are doing, is woefully misguided. What exactly would we be continuing with Obama’s third term?

Crime

According to the FBI’s annual compilation of crime reports published December 2015, there were 2,216 fewer murders and deaths from nonnegligent manslaughter in the U.S. during 2014 than in 2008; that’s a 13 percent reduction in the number of homicides.

The FBI reported 229,078 fewer violent crimes in the U.S. in 2014 than in 2008, a drop of 16 percent. Because the U.S. population was growing, the violent crime rate dropped even faster than the absolute numbers. In 2014, the homicide rate was 4.5 per 100,000 inhabitants, down from 5.4 in 2008.

In 2015, the number of criminal background checks of potential gun buyers hit more than 14.2 million, as measured by the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s adjusted figures. That was 58 percent higher than in 2008. The number hit a record of nearly 14.8 million in 2013 — which was an increase of 65 percent over 2008.

Hillary Clinton has taken a lot of heat for her husband’s stance on crime; however, she and Sanders are linked in that past, and Bernie’s stance on guns leads me to believe that he would not be the stalwart proponent that Obama has been.

Unemployment

As of December 2015, the number of total nonfarm jobs stands 9,265,000 higher than when Obama first took office.
That compares with the nearly 23 million jobs gained during Bill Clinton’s presidency (another reason I want Hillary), and the fewer than 1.3 million added during President George W. Bush’s eight years.

The unemployment rate is now 2.8 percentage points lower than it was in January 2009, when the president first took office. Historically, the jobless rate is significantly lower than it has been most of the time since 1948. The historical median is 5.6 percent.

Figures from the BLS show there were 5,431,000 jobs open in November 2015, up 97 percent over the month Obama took office. The number of job openings exceeded 5 million for 10 consecutive months, after being below 5 million every month since January 2001.

The labor force participation rate, which is the portion of the civilian population that is either employed or currently looking for work, was 62.6 percent in December 2015, 3.1 percentage points lower than when Obama took office. Contrary to many of Obama’s critics, the decline is due mostly to factors outside the control of any president such as the post-World War II baby boomers reaching retirement age.

Survey data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in December show that those outside the labor force in 2014 said their reasons for not working were retirement (44 percent), illness or disability (19 percent), school attendance (18 percent) or home responsibilities (15 percent). Only 3 percent said they couldn’t find a job, or gave some other reason. The number of longterm unemployed — those who have been looking for work for 27 weeks or longer — dropped to less than 2.1 million in December 2015, which is 614,000 fewer than when the president first took office.

Hillary has pledged to continue many of these same specific policies. An Obama third term combatting unemployment is desired.

Markets

After-tax profits were running at an annual rate of just under $1.8 trillion in the July-October quarter of 2015, 166 percent higher than in the quarter just before Obama entered office. Compared with the best quarter prior to his taking office, which was the third quarter of 2006, after-tax profits are up 27 percent.

The S&P 500 was 139 percent higher at the close on Jan. 11 than it was the day Obama took office. The Dow has also more than doubled, rising 106 percent during Obama’s tenure, and the NASDAQ has tripled, rising 222 percent.

Disdain for markets and investors with a desire to have social control over the means of production does not sound like an Obama third term. Pledging to continue the policies that President Obama supported to create this positive market environment should be the priority.

Prices

Overall inflation in consumer prices have risen by 12.4 percent between January 2009 and November 2015. The average yearly rise under Obama of 1.9 percent is less than half the post-World War II average, according to BLS figures. Between 1946 and 2008, the average yearly rise in the CPI was 4 percent, measured from December to December. In the most recent 12 months, the CPI has gone up only a little more than 0.2 percent.

This low inflation has helped the buying power of weekly paychecks. The BLS measure of average weekly earnings for all workers, adjusted for inflation and seasonal factors, is 3.4 percent higher in November 2015 than when Obama first took office. Bernie has shown he’s not concerned with inflation. Hillary has been clear in her plans to address inflation.

Health Care

During the first six months of 2015, about 28.5 million people of all ages reported being without coverage at the time they were interviewed, the CDC reported. That’s down from 43.8 million during all of 2008, a drop of 15.3 million people since Obama first took office. As a percentage of all U.S. residents, the uninsured have dropped to 9 percent of the population in the first half of last year, from 14.7 percent in 2008.

Like Bernie, Hillary favors universal coverage. I think her plan of a public option on the way to single payer is better than advocating for single payer right now. She would know as Obama beat her in 2008 when she ran on single payer, and had a firsthand view of how difficult the fight for Obamacare was.

Energy

In the fourth quarter of 2015, the U.S. produced 87 percent more crude oil than it did in the three months before Obama began his presidency. Meanwhile, U.S. reliance on imported oil has been cut by more than half. Under Obama, as of the fourth quarter of 2015, net imports were down 62 percent. In the first 11 months of 2015, the U.S. imported only 24.3 percent of the petroleum and refined products that it consumed. That’s the lowest annual level of dependency on imports since before the first Arab oil embargo of 1973.

The U.S. oil boom is due mainly to advances in drilling technology rather than to any change in government policy. The decline in dependency on imports actually began in 2006, after peaking at 60.3 percent the year before. But the trend has continued under Obama.

Electricity generated by large-scale wind and solar power in the 12 months on record ending in October 2015 was 273 percent higher than the total for 2008. The U.S. generated 29 times more electricity from solar power in the most recent 12 months than it did in the year before Obama took office. However, wind and solar still accounted for only 5.1 percent of total large-scale generation in the most recent 12 months, up from 1.4 percent in 2008.

That actually understates the change to some degree. We have used only the EIA’s figures for “utility scale” electric generation. In 2014, EIA also began tracking small-scale (under 1 megawatt) “distributed” solar voltaic generation, such as the power produced by rooftop systems installed by homeowners. Wind and solar now account for 5.9 percent of the combined total of utility-scale power and “distributed” solar power.

I believe in President Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy which Hillary Clinton has endorsed and would build upon in a third term. I feel Bernie Sanders is against oil, which is still better than the Republicans who seem to be disbelieving of green energy.

Trade

According to a 2015 quarterly report of the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. exports of goods and services have gone up 31.2 percent since Obama took office. As a supporter of the TPP, I hope it’s able to pass Congress. Free trade is a key to economic growth in the 21st century. President Obama recognizes that and so would Hillary Clinton in a third term.

Cars

New car miles per gallon was 19 percent higher in December 2015 than it was in the month that Obama took office. Government requirements that cars and light trucks average 54.5 mpg by model year 2025. But falling gasoline prices have given consumers other ideas. Sales of big pickup trucks are up; sales of thriftier vehicles such as the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Cruz are down. Bernie hasn’t shown much knowledge when it comes to cars or the auto industry.

Hillary Is His Third Term And More

I don’t want a fundamental transformation of our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally. What I want is to continue improving where we have been, and address the issues where the Obama Administration is lacking, which includes housing, federal spending, Guantanamo and Afghanistan. When looking at these issues and who has the best plan and is most capable of addressing them, again Hillary Clinton is the obvious choice.

Housing

According to the latest Census Bureau figures, 63.7 percent of households were in ownership of their own homes in the third quarter of 2015. That’s 3.8 percentage points lower than it was when Obama first took office.

John Griffith writes:

Clinton became the first mainstream candidate in the 2016 presidential campaign to include housing as part of his or her policy platform. Specific housing-related proposals in her agenda include:

1) Increase the supply of affordable rental homes by expanding annual allocations of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, also known as the Housing Credit.

2) Reform the Section 8 program to help recipients of rental assistance vouchers access neighborhoods with good schools, jobs, public transit and other resources.

3) Creating incentives for state and local policymakers to enact effective land use rules and other regulations that promote the development of new rental housing.

4) Make comprehensive investments in high-poverty neighborhoods, including resources to clear blight and preserve the supply of affordable homes.

5) Promote sustainable homeownership by helping families save for a down payment, supporting housing counseling and updating federal underwriting tools and other factors that can restrict access to credit.

6) Support job creation in low-income neighborhoods by expanding and making permanent the New Markets Tax Credit and providing additional support to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).

7) Enforce the Community Reinvestment Act to ensure that private investment capital flows to underserved communities.

Bernie Sanders has long been a proponent of affordable housing. Among other examples, in the early 2000s he proposed legislation to establish the National Housing Trust Fund, and as Mayor of Burlington in the 1980s he championed an innovative community land trust model to expand the city’s supply of affordable homes.

While this perhaps gives us an idea of what he might be able to persuade Congress to undertake, he has not included housing policies as a specific part of his platform. Hillary is the choice.

Spending

The U.S. government’s debt owed to the public has more than doubled. It is now more than $13.6 trillion, an increase of 116 percent since Obama first took office. And the debt also has grown dramatically even when measured as a percentage of the growing economy, from 52 percent of gross domestic product at the end of fiscal year 2009 to just under 74 percent at the end of fiscal 2015, according to the most recent estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Federal spending increased as total federal outlays in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 last year totaled just under $3.69 trillion, according to final U.S. Treasury figures. That’s 4.8 percent above the total outlays for fiscal 2009, which was well underway when Obama took office. Total debt, counting money the government owes to itself, currently stands at nearly $18.9 trillion, up nearly 78 percent under Obama.

We have discussed Bernie’s spending plan:

Everyone pays because everyone benefits. The top 1 percent of earners would bear 38 percent of the total tax increase proposed by Sanders, while those in the top fifth of incomes would pay 68 percent of his levies. That top quintile, which includes those earning more than $142,000, would see its taxes go up by an average $44,759. Those at the very bottom of the income ladder would see their taxes go up by $165 while those in the second quintile of incomes — between $23,000 and $45,000 — would pay an additional $1,625. Those in the dead center of the income spectrum will face a $4,700 tax increase.

Kimberly Amadeo has summarized the specifics of Hillary’s plan which focuses on boosting economic growth, creating fair growth, and supporting long term growth.

Hillary’s College Affordability Plan would spend $35 billion a year to refinance student debt and pay states to guarantee tuition. Her National Infrastructure Plan would allocate $27.5 billion annually to improve roads, bridges, public transit, rail, airports, the Internet and water systems. The Expanded Childcare Plan and the Early Education Plan would spend $27.5 billion a year for states to make preschool available to all 4 year olds and expand Early Head Start. Expanded Funding for IDEA would spend $16.6 billion a year to identify and treat children with disabilities. The Energy Plan would pay $9 billion annually to repair oil pipelines, reduce carbon emissions, and fund health and retirements for coal workers.

She’s for raising the U.S. minimum wage to $15 an hour, increasing workers’ benefits, expanding overtime and encouraging businesses to share profits with employees. She also wants to invest in students and teachers, support unions and collective bargaining, strengthen the Affordable Care Act, expand job training, lower college and healthcare costs, and fight wage theft.

To pay for these initiatives, Hillary would impose a fair share surcharge on incomes greater than $5 million a year. The additional 4% tax would raise $15 billion a year, and affect 34,000 households. That’s in addition to other tax increases (see below) that would raise $80 billion a year. That’s still not enough to cover the $120 billion a year in spending she’s proposed.

She covers the rest by impeding quarterly capitalism through raising short-term capital gains taxes for those earning $400,000 or more a year, the top 0.5% of taxpayers. Investments held between one and two years would be taxed at the maximum income-tax rate of 39.6%. Assets held for longer would be taxed on a sliding scale, such as 36% for those held 2-3 years, 32% for those held three to four years and 20% (the current rate) for those held for six years or more.

This represents a third term of Obama where spending is tackled, while government services are not severely reduced.

We’re In A Global Economy Now

While the specifics of the middle class tax cut have yet to be released, it certainly sounds better than a middle class tax increase. The best thing that can be said about the global economy in 2016, which we are now a part of and not separate from or dominant of, is that it could be doing much worse, but can we continue to recover even if growth elsewhere is tepid? I trust Hillary Clinton to be able to deal with the international economy in a third term of the Obama administration.

Will there continue to be problems with emerging markets, and will they remain concentrated in China or appear elsewhere? No one can predict with any confidence when the next crisis will happen, but it’s easier to predict where. I know Hillary Clinton recognizes the complexities of issues in BRIC economies and emerging markets, and would address those concerns in a third term of Obama.

The most important indicator of the United States’s long-term economic prospects, productivity, remains persistently weak. Over the past five years, productivity growth has averaged just 0.6 percent, in contrast with the postwar average of 2.2 percent. What’s more, the consensus forecast suggests more of the same in the near future. Bernie’s plan will supposedly unleash productivity, but i’m skeptical of his ability to pass the plan in such a divided government, especially given that he has done little to ensure a Congress that will be sympathetic to his initiatives.

The coming year could be an interesting one for Europe. Backed by lower oil prices, a weaker euro and European Central Bank (ECB) quantitative easing (QE), euro-zone growth is expected to reach 1.5 percent with inflation around 1 percent in 2016.

Hillary Clinton is the only candidate on either side of the aisle with the experience, depth of knowledge and capability to prolong and accentuate the Obama presidency as well as improve upon its failings. Her first term is his third term, and that’s what we should all want. Wholesale destruction, rebuilding, nor “revolution” is prudent nor necessary.

Here Are The Facts On Unemployment Benefits

What's the skinny on unemployment benefits?
What’s the skinny on unemployment benefits?

What Are They?

Payments made by the government and other authorized bodies to unemployed people. The benefits themselves are very modest, averaging just $300 a week. However, only about 40% of the long term unemployed collect benefits.
 

How Long Do They Last?

State unemployment benefits are 26 weeks. Extensions have passed Congress 11 times since 2008 and led to a series of eligibility tiers. In the hardest hit states, they were extended to 99 weeks, but eventually cut back to 73 weeks.
 

Who Is Affected?

Since 2008, more than 24 million Americans have relied on long-term unemployment insurance. 1.3 million people will be affected by the extension of unemployment benefits. 1.9 million more will run out of state funded benefits in the first half of 2014 or approximately 72,000 Americans will lose benefits each week during the first half of 2014, based on Department of Labor data. 600,000 people have received long term unemployment benefits in the past 5 years. As the year goes on, the consequences the benefits for 3.6 million Americans will expire.
 

How Much Do They Cost?

The annual cost is approximately 25 billion dollars. The current 3 month extension of unemployment benefits being discussed in Congress now would cost approximately 6 billion dollars. States currently owe the federal treasury 38 billion.
 

How Bad Was It? How Bad Is It Now?

The unemployment rate has dropped from a high of 10% to 6.7%, but unemployment for 2.6% of the entire labor force has been long term (27 weeks or longer) discouraging many would be job seekers. The average time an unemployed worker is jobless is 35 weeks, and 37% of the unemployed have been jobless for 6 months or longer. This has discouraged many workers which has caused the labor force participation rate (the number of people who are either employed or are actively looking for work) to be at its lowest point in over 30 years.
 
Discouraged workers constitute one group of inactive work-seekers. These are persons who, while willing and able to engage in a job, are not seeking work or have ceased to seek work because they believe there are no suitable available jobs. This rate stands at 13.1 percent of the American work force, which is actually down from 14.4 percent a year earlier. Despite the economic progress made since 2008, there are still more than 1 million fewer jobs than there were before the recession began, and more than 4 million Americans have been out of work for six months or longer.
 

How Hard Is It To Get A Job?

A job vacancy is defined as a post, either newly created, unoccupied or about to become vacant, which the employer actively seeks to fill with a suitable candidate from outside the enterprise (including any further necessary steps) immediately or in the near future. An occupied post is a post within an organization to which an employee has been assigned. The job vacancy rate measures the percentage of vacant posts compared with the total number of occupied and unoccupied posts. The job vacancy rate is 2% with three employees per open position. It’s no picnic out there.
 

What Is Likely To Happen

It’s estimated that failing to extend unemployment benefits would cost 240,000 jobs in 2014. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office and JP Morgan estimate that failure to extend benefits would lower GDP by .2 to .4 percentage points. The Federal Reserve announced in December it will begin to draw down its quantitative easing program by $10 billion a month starting in January, citing a stronger job market. Reducing the asset purchase program (currently 85 billion dollars per month) is posited to have an even greater effect than the extension of unemployment benefits.