December 19, 2011

Unreported: Full-Time Employment Barely Up Since Recession Ended

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:49 pm

JobSearchSee-no-evil economic reporting during the Obama years has “somehow” missed a number of developments in the makeup of the American workforce which I believe would not have been missed (or deliberately overlooked, take your pick) if a Republican or conservative were in the White House. One of them relates to full-time employment.

Did you know that seasonally adjusted full-time employment in September 2011 was lower than it was when the recession officially ended in June 2009, and that this was the case for 26 of the first 27 post-recession months? What’s more, the economy had over 8.7 million fewer full-time workers in November 2011 than it did when full-time employment peaked four years earlier in November 2007. Proof from the Bureau of Labor Statistics follows the jump:
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WaPo Story Notes ObamaCare State and Federal Exchange Set-ups Running Behind Schedule

Imagine that — A massive government bureaucracy given almost a head start of more than three years to get up and running appears to be well on its way to not being ready.

Julie Appleby covered the situation at the Washington Post yesterday. Steven Hayward at Powerline accurately called it an item which “ought to be on the front page above the fold,” and wasn’t. It also “just so happens” to be an early vindicator of free-market capitalism as better able than the government to set up and manage complex systems. Here are several paragraphs from Appleby’s report, which will be followed by key points from Hayward (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Concern growing over deadlines for health-care exchanges

With many states unwilling or unable to get insurance exchanges operational by the health-care law’s deadline of Jan. 1, 2014, pressure is growing on the federal government to do the job for them.

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Jeb Bush on ‘The Right to Rise’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:12 pm

Arguably the best governor in America when he was Florida’s chief executive, he repeats a shorthand term apparently first coined by Paul Ryan for the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness identified in the Declaration of Independence in a Wall Street Journal op-ed today:

Capitalism and the Right to Rise
In freedom lies the risk of failure. But in statism lies the certainty of stagnation.

Congressman Paul Ryan recently coined a smart phrase to describe the core concept of economic freedom: “The right to rise.”

Think about it. We talk about the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly. The right to rise doesn’t seem like something we should have to protect.

But we do. We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.

That is what economic freedom looks like.

… In short, we must choose between the straight line promised by the statists and the jagged line of economic freedom. The straight line of gradual and controlled growth is what the statists promise but can never deliver. The jagged line offers no guarantees but has a powerful record of delivering the most prosperity and the most opportunity to the most people. We cannot possibly know in advance what freedom promises for 312 million individuals. But unless we are willing to explore the jagged line of freedom, we will be stuck with the straight line. And the straight line, it turns out, is a flat line.

It’s a flat line if we’re lucky. In the past three years, it’s been on a downward descent.

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (121911)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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Kim Jong Il is dead. A civilized world truly interested in its self-defense would have an overwhelming strike force ready at any moment to take control of rogue countries like North Korea, take advantage of the confusion, and liberate an enslaved population when something like this happens. Too bad the civilized word isn’t sufficiently interested in its self-defense. So, unless something remarkable and out of our control occurs, we get to watch and hope that the new guy isn’t any worse than the old one, and listen to the tired tropes about how oppressive communist countries eventually fall on their own — which they almost never do unless somehow pushed.

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The killing of Osama Bin Laden was the top news story of 2011 — if something more noteworthy doesn’t happen in the next 13 days.
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Vaclav Havel, who led millions of Czechs to freedom from the Soviet Union in 1989, is dead.

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Investor’s Business Daily on the proposed ban on cellphone use while driving:

There’s No Reason To Ban Cellphone Use While Driving

A federal agency is calling for a nationwide ban on all cellphone use while driving. Once again, Washington busybodies are exaggerating a problem because it happens to be a behavior they don’t approve of.

… First, regulating cellphone use is not a federal responsibility, even on federal roads. This is not an issue that Washington has the authority to address.

Second, there’s no compelling reason for it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 3,092 traffic deaths last year involved distracted drivers. But using a cell phone is only one of many driver distractions. Eating and drinking while behind the wheel are two others, and they are far more dangerous than yapping on a phone.

In fact, a 2009 NHTSA study found that 80% of all car wrecks are caused by drivers eating or drinking — not cellphone use — with coffee-guzzling the top offender.

Then there’s this. According to federal data, traffic deaths have fallen from 2.1 per 100 million vehicle miles in 1990, when virtually no one had a cellphone, to 1.1 in 2009, when almost everyone does.

We have no problem with bans on texting while in the driver’s seat. … But it must be done at the state level.

Facts never seem to matter to Ray LaHood.

Positivity: Pope says Christianity trumps secularism in building good societies

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:59 am

From Vatican City:

Vatican City, Dec 18, 2011 / 03:18 pm

Pope Benedict XVI told the bishops of New Zealand and the South Pacific on Dec. 17 that the Christian faith provides the best foundation for society, and that promoting the New Evangelization is the best way to build a Christian culture.

“We know that, ultimately, Christian faith provides a surer basis for life than the secular vision; for it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of humanity truly becomes clear,” he told the bishops, who were gathered in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on the final day of their “ad limina” visit to Rome. The visit lasted from Dec. 12-17.

The Pope noted that throughout their visit the bishops of the South Pacific raised the challenge secularism presents to each of their countries – “a reality that has a significant impact on the understanding and practice of the Catholic faith.”

The progress of secularism is particularly seen in “a weakened appreciation for the sacred nature of Christian marriage and the stability of the family,” he said.

The answer to this onslaught, Pope Benedict said, is to bring the New Evangelization to their shores. He explained that he established the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization last year for precisely this reason.

Pope Benedict and his predecessor have both emphasized the need for the New Evangelization – an effort to re-evangelize countries that were once Christian but have become secularized. …

Go here for the rest of the story.