October 22, 2013

Statists Never Sleep

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:20 pm

Story (HT Instapundit):

Oregon launching new program to tax drivers per mile

Oregon is moving ahead with a controversial plan to tax motorists based on the number of miles they drive as opposed to the amount of fuel they consume, raising myriad concerns about cost and privacy.

The program, springing out of a recently signed bill, is expected to launch in 2015 on a volunteer basis. But it’s charting relatively new territory, and other states aching for additional tax revenue are sure to be watching closely to see whether to imitate the model.

However … privacy concerns could resurface should governments expand the program and use SmartPhone or apps to track movements and reward motorists who avoid congested roads and drive during off-peak hours.

Mark Perry, a University of Michigan scholar, says the GPS or “black box” system is “particularly untenable.”

… The Oregon plan — approved and signed into law this year by the state’s Democrat-run government — would replace the 30-cents-a-gallon state tax with one for 1.5 cents a mile, for those participating.

Of course they won’t want to keep it voluntary. And law enforcement won’t stand by without the ability to track locations for long.

CGI Also Stands For ‘Catastrophic Gun Interface’

Filed under: Health Care,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:16 pm

Breitbart has the story — “OBAMACARE TECH FIRM TRIED, FAILED TO BUILD GUN REGISTRY IN CANADA.”

Here’s more on the Canadian Firearms Registry from Wikipedia:

The net annual operating cost of the program, originally estimated to be $2 million, is reported to be $66.4 million for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

… In 1995, the (Canadian) Department of Justice reported to Parliament that the system would cost $119 million to implement, and that the income generated from licensing fees would be $117 million. This gives a net cost of $2 million. At the time of the 2002 audit, however, the revised estimates from the Department of Justice were that the cost of the program would be more than $1 billion by 2004-05 and that the income from licence fees in the same period would be $140 million.

In February 2004, documents obtained by Zone Libre of Télévision de Radio-Canada suggested that the gun registry has cost around $2 billion so far.

This was just to compile a simple accessible database of gun owners and their guns, i.e., the functional equivalent of a really, really big spreadsheet.

And they burned through $2 billion.

And it failed.

Pending litigation over whether current records can be destroyed (which they should be), the registry has been scrapped.

Can you imagine how much CGI and the Obamacare clowns could burn through on HealthCare.gov before it too (hopefully) gets scrapped?

Just a Local Story to the Bitter End: AP Fails to Give Congressional Aide’s Voter-Fraud Conviction National Coverage

Fox News has coverage today of the guilty plea of Jeffrey Garcia, a former congressional chief of staff who “pled guilty Monday to one felony charge and three misdemeanor charges after admitting he illegally requested hundreds of absentee ballots while he was running the campaign for Rep. Joe Garcia, who he is not related to.”

The Fox story indicates that the Associated Press contributed to its report. That’s odd, because a search on “Garcia absentee” (not in quotes) at the AP’s national site done at 11:30 a.m. ET came up empty. That’s because AP has from all appearances treated treated Garcia’s plea and sentencing as a Florida story unworthy of national notice, despite the fact that the gaming the electoral system and allegations of voter suppression have been a national discussion topic for years. The one unbylined AP story I did find was also ridiculously sympathetic to Jeffrey:

(more…)

September Employment Situation Summary (102213): 148K Job Adds, 7.2% Unemployment Rate (i.e., More Malaise)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:08 am

Prediction: 180,000 seasonally adjusted job additions, with the unemployment rate staying at 7.3%.

Not seasonally adjusted benchmarks: I wasn’t able to pull up the BLS tables before they cut off access for today’s update, so I’ll have to look at those numbers post-release.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent full HTML version): The malaise continues (bolds are mine) –

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 148,000 in September, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in construction, wholesale trade, and transportation and warehousing.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate, at 7.2 percent, changed little in September but has declined by 0.4 percentage point since June. The number of unemployed persons, at 11.3 million, was also little changed over the month; however, unemployment has decreased by 522,000 since June.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.1 percent), adult women (6.2 percent), teenagers (21.4 percent), whites (6.3 percent), blacks (12.9 percent), and Hispanics (9.0 percent) showed little or no change in September. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.3 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.

Both the civilian labor force participation rate, at 63.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio at 58.6 percent, were unchanged in September. Over the year, the labor force participation rate has declined by 0.4 percentage point, while the employment-population ratio has changed little.

… Establishment Survey

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 148,000 in September, with gains in construction, wholesale trade, and transportation and warehousing. Over the prior 12 months, employment growth averaged 185,000 per month.

… In September, employment in professional and business services continued to expand (+32,000). Over the prior 12 months, employment growth in this industry averaged 52,000 per month. Employment in temporary help services continued to trend up in September (+20,000).

… The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +104,000 to +89,000, and the change for August was revised from +169,000 to +193,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 9,000 more than previously reported.

I have little doubt that a deeper dive will be even more disturbing than what we’ve seen already in yet another report with weak job gains compared to what’s needed and yet another unemployment rate decline which appears to be driven by workforce dropouts.

Updates will be coming shortly.

UPDATE 1: Quick data points, added as I see them (seasonally adjusted unless otherwise indicated) –

  • Only 73,000 people entered the workforce in September after a 312,000-person decline in August. In other words, there was no bounceback. The workforce has only grown by 503,000 in the past 12 months.
  • Seasonally adjusted government employment has grown by 54,000 in the past two months (33K state, 34K local and -13K federal).
  • BLS says Establishment Survey employment is up by 185K per month in the past 12 months (i.e., total of 2.20 million), but Household Survey employment increases have only averaged 111,000 (total of 1.33 million). That’s a difference of almost 900,000.
  • “Not in Labor Force” crept up by another 136,000 to 90.609 million.
  • The unemployment rate for 20-and-over black men has gone from 12.5 percent to 14.0 percent in the past two months, while the rate for 20-and-over black women has dropped from 12.0 percent to 10.0 percent in the past three months.
  • There was a big seasonally adjusted swing to full-time workers in September (+691,000), while part-timers fell by 594,000 — which is really odd, because the raw numbers show 560,000 full-time jobs lost and 702,000 part-time jobs gained. What? (See Update 3.)
  • Temporary help service employment is up by 41,400 in the past two months. August’s increase was revised up from 13,100 to 21,200.

Overall, today’s report nukes any attempt to claim that “things were great before the shutdown.” They weren’t. Not at all.

UPDATE 2: The raw numbers are also weak.

800,000 jobs needed to be added overall for meaningful progress; the actual September result was 612,000, essentially the same as last year’s 621,000 and way down from the 747,000 seen in 2011, which was of course not a banner year.

In the private sector, September is typically a month of big job losses because of the end of seasonal summer employment. The September 2013 job loss was 404,000, worse than last year’s -346K and far worse than the -233K seen in 2011.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the private sector job growth averaged only 129K in the third quarter, down from 190K in the second and 212K in the first.

UPDATE 3: September 2012 and September 2013 saw historically small raw drops in full-time employment (-536K and -560K, respectively, vs. well over 1 million in each of the preceding nine years). Meanwhile, raw part-time job additions in September 2013 were only 702K compared to 1.3 million in 2012. Readers may recall that the September 2012 report generated some controversy over the huge number of overall job adds in the Household Survey, to the point where some were calling the whole thing phony.

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (102213)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

Positivity: Elderly priests, sisters are ‘true shrines of holiness,’ Pope says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 18, 2013 / 09:00 am

During his daily Mass homily Pope Francis reflected on various biblical figures who experienced difficulty in their old age, and encouraged those present not to forget the elderly.

The Pope directed his reflections to those gathered in the Santa Marta guesthouse of the Vatican on Oct. 18 for his daily Mass, centering his thoughts upon the latter lives of Moses, John the Baptist and Saint Paul.

These three figures, he noted, remind him of “the shrines of holiness which are the nursing homes of elderly priests and religious sisters.”

Pope Francis recalled the excitement and enthusiasm displayed by all three men in their youth, and contrasted it to isolation and pain they suffered at the end of their lives, stressing that although none of them were spared suffering in their old age, the Lord never abandoned them.

Noting that the apostle Paul “has a joyful and enthusiastic beginning,” the Pope recalled that he experienced a decline in the latter years of his life, and both Moses and John the Baptist shared a similar experience. …

Go here for the rest of the story.