June 11, 2006

Another Sign of a Good Economy: Tons of Unfilled Jobs

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:03 pm

Jerry Bowyer at National Review had the news, and the graph, last Friday. Both confirm what I have been hearing from employers during the past few months — employers are having a hard time finding workers:

Everybody understands that the government measures the number of people looking for jobs. Very few people know that the government also tracks the number of jobs looking for people.

(“SA” means “seasonally adjusted” — Ed.)


This week the federal government released the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, the document in which that latter number is reported. In it we saw job openings hit the highest level since the recession. Before the president’s tax cut of 2003, there were slightly more than 2.5 million unfilled jobs in the country. Now there are over 5 million. According to Economy.com’s analysis of this new survey, “The high rate of openings combined with declining hiring suggests that employers are unable to find qualified workers for the open positions.”

Commentators have consistently underrated the dynamic effect of marginal and investment tax cuts. This has caused them to miss the fact that since 2003, millions of people have entered the work force. Some are immigrants, some new high school or college grads, and some are people who had given up on finding work and decided to try again. The economy absorbed 4.5 million of these new entrants, and then found room for enough of the existing unemployed to drive the unemployment rate down from 6.1 percent to 4.7 percent.

….. It’s time to change the discussion away from the alleged weaknesses of the labor market to how our educational, welfare, and immigration systems can more efficiently get larger numbers of qualified people into the marketplace to do the jobs that currently are not getting done.

Weekend Question 3: Can Victor Davis Hanson Really Recognize Business Opportunists?

Filed under: Business Moves,Scams,Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 12:03 pm

Welcome Hugh Hewitt readers! June 13: Hewitt readers arriving today or later get a bonus — here is an updated link to a complete collection of posts on what has happened in the original New London Kelo eminent-domain case since the Supreme Court decision. Especially if you haven’t kept up with that story, I encourage you to go there. You will be amazed, but probably not amused.

The noted historian and past Breindel Award winner (this year’s winner was the awe-inspiring Mark Steyn) most certainly can recognize a certain class of them. He does it, mostly in passing, in this Hugh Hewitt interview excerpt posted at Radio Blogger (bold is mine):

Hanson: Remember when Uday and Qusay were killed, and immediately, we were told that the embalming was horrific, that we showed the bodies on camera. Then we caught Saddam, remember we gave him the dental exam. So it’s almost a Pavlovian response that whatever the United States does, there’s going to be a cadre of pretty sophisticated, elite, leisured people who are protected by other types of people who don’t share their beliefs, and they’re always going to be critical, they’re always going to be cynical, because let’s be honest. It fills some deep, psychological need in these people to hate the very system that created them, and makes life good for them.

Hewitt: Now does that…can that be eradicated? Can that be driven out? Not by force, but by argument, or by counter-argument?

Hanson: It’s kind of like rust. You know, it just keeps creeping, and it always has to be dealt with and addressed. I think that’s the only criticism that I have of this administration, and that is that I think they thought that by going into Afghanistan and Iraq, that these were facistic regimes, we were going to try and implement democracy, it was a no-brainer that this was a moral, humane idea. And they did not have to respond to these left wing blogs, New York Times, National Public Radio, New Yorker Magazine, Harper’s. These were all elites that were in a minority now in this country. And they forgot just how influential and pernicious these people can be. And you always have to address them. What you do on your radio show is…it’s like scrubbing rust off iron. It has to be done every day, or they take over the dominant conversation.

They sell books, get paid thousands for speeches and get visibility at the snap of a finger, state as facts things they often know are not true, and often give opinions they can’t possibly believe themselves. That defines a business opportunist, and taken far enough, a scam artist.

UPDATE: Gosh, I can’t believe I forgot about this previous post on liberal hypocrisy, mostly of the financial kind based on this book “Do As I Say Not As I Do” written last year.

Weekend Question 2: When Did the Existence of Christian Themes Become Grounds for a “PG” Rating?

Filed under: Business Moves,Consumer Outrage,Corporate Outrage,TWUQs — Tom @ 9:04 am

I’ll admit that because of time constraints the daily e-mails I get from Don Wildmon’s American Family Association usually get a “yeah, yeah” response from me. He seems all too willing to use the boycott and letter campaign as a weapon, when I think those tactics should be used much more selectively.

Wildmon also, along with his “values” compadres James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and the like, also have the worst instincts I’ve ever seen in electoral politics, backing candidates who are either objectively unworthy or at best highly questionable, while ignoring those without baggage who actually agree with them more strongly (him in the 2005 Second District Congressional Primary, and her in 2006′s), and who could accomplish more for their causes.

But I am grateful that Wildmon (and on June 13, Perkins) brought this following item to wider attention. If you don’t think there is a culture war in the US, this will make you think again (bolds are mine):

Narrow focus draws ‘PG’ rating for Baptist-backed film
Scripps Howard News Service
June 7, 2006

The Motion Picture Association of America is crystal clear when it describes why its “PG” rating exists — it’s a warning flag.

“The theme of a PG-rated film may itself call for parental guidance,” states the online explanation of the rating system. “There may be some profanity in these films. There may be some violence or brief nudity. … The PG rating, suggesting parental guidance, is thus an alert for examination of a film by parents before deciding on its viewing by their children. Obviously such a line is difficult to draw.”

Disagreements are a given. The Christian moviemakers behind a low-budget film called “Facing the Giants” were stunned when the MPAA pinned a PG rating on their gentle movie about a burned-out, depressed football coach whose life – on and off the field – takes a miraculous turn for the better.

“What the MPAA said is that the movie contained strong ‘thematic elements’ that might disturb some parents,” said Kris Fuhr, vice president for marketing at Provident Films, which is owned by Sony Pictures. Provident plans to open the film next fall in 380 theaters nationwide with the help of Samuel Goldwyn Films, which has worked with indie movies like “The Squid and the Whale.”

Which “thematic elements” earned this squeaky-clean movie its PG?

“Facing the Giants” is too evangelistic.

The MPAA, noted Fuhr, tends to offer cryptic explanations for its ratings. In this case, she was told that it “decided that the movie was heavily laden with messages from one religion and that this might offend people from other religions. It’s important that they used the word ‘proselytizing’ when they talked about giving this movie a PG. …

“It is kind of interesting that faith has joined that list of deadly sins that the MPAA board wants to warn parents to worry about.”

….. the scene that caught the MPAA’s attention may have been the chat between football coach Grant Taylor – played by Alex Kendrick – and a rich brat named Matt Prader. The coach says that he needs to stop bad-mouthing his bossy father and get right with God.

The boy replies: “You really believe in all that honoring God and following Jesus stuff? … Well, I ain’t trying to be disrespectful, but not everybody believes in that.”

The coach replies: “Matt, nobody’s forcing anything on you. Following Jesus Christ is the decision that you’re going to have to make for yourself. You may not want to accept it, because it’ll change your life. You’ll never be the same.”

Excuse the expression, but “God forbid” that anyone talk about God in a movie.

How did “The Pistol” (the movie about legendary Louisiana basketball player Pete Maravich, which among other things chronicles his becoming a born-again Christian) ever survive with a G rating?

Rather than focus on why “Facing the Giants” got the PG, let’s try to find out from the G description why it doesn’t get a G (bold is mine):

G — General Audiences

This is a film which contains nothing in theme, language, nudity and sex, violence, etc. that would, in the view of the Rating Board, be offensive to parents whose younger children view the film. The G rating is not a certificate of approval nor does it signify a children’s film.

Some snippets of language may go beyond polite conversation but they are common everyday expressions. No stronger words are present in G-rated films. The violence is at a minimum. Nudity and sex scenes are not present, nor is there any drug use content.

The only conceivable disqualifier from a G rating is “theme,” which Wildmon rightly notes in his suggested draft e-mail to the MPAA (it’s your decision as to whether to protest; I’m just providing the link) “place(s) Christianity in the same category as sex, violence and profanity.”

From a business perspective, Hollywood doesn’t seem to “get” why millions of people don’t go to movies, or even view its productions any more at any price. After dropping almost 9% last year (in number of tickets sold), the dollar amount of the box office increase in 2006 through early June is barely more than general inflation, in a year when the roster of potential summer blockbusters looks to me to be very suspect. More bubbleheaded moves like the treatment of “Little Giants” will create even more audience attrition.

UPDATE, June 13: The film’s web site is very well done.

Suddenly Sunday Trackback participant.

Positivity: Two Marines Save North Carolina Man’s Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:55 am

In Jacksonville, NC, two Marines earned medals for saving the life of a car accident victim in January: