January 23, 2014

Initial Unemployment Claims (012314)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:05 am

Note: Due to other commitments, comments on the report to be releasd at 8:30 a.m. won’t get posted until late morning.

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Predictions: None were available late Wednesday night when this post was drafted.

Seasonal adjustment factors:
Week ended Jan. 18, 2014 — 126.1
Week ended Jan. 19, 2013 — 127.3

Raw Claims:
Week ended Jan. 11, 2014 — 534,431 (pending revision)
Week ended Jan. 19, 2013 — 436,955

To meet or beat last week’s 326,000 in seasonally adjusted claims (pending revision), raw claims will have to be 411,000 or lower (411K divided by 1.261 is 326K, rounded).

That would be a 23% drop from the previous week, and would seem at first glance to be a long shot. But … last year’s analogous drop was 21.5%, so it could happen. All of the let-gos from the Christmas season were probably complete last week.

We’ll find out here on Thursday morning at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent link):

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending January 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 326,000, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 325,000. The 4-week moving average was 331,500, a decrease of 3,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 335,250.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 411,678 in the week ending January 18, a decrease of 121,020 from the previous week. There were 436,955 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

Not bad, but it is time for the occasional reminder that — thanks to the weak “recovery,” covered employment, as in those eligible for benefits if they get laid off, is still only 130.9 million (it just went up a bit after 1/1), which is 2.2% off the peak of 133.9 million seen in late 2008. In other words, the current numbers are about 7,000 claims per week lower than they would be if covered employment was back to where is was over fiver very long years ago.

Pro-Romney and Right to Work States Have Outperformed Others in Job Growth and Job Recovery

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:59 am

Other states have lagged.

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In the 12 full months since President Barack Obama’s reelection, payroll growth has been greater in states which supported his Republican challenger and in right-to-work states. Additionally, pro-Obama and non-right to work states have made far less progress in recovering jobs lost during the recession.

Here’s how overall seasonally adjusted payroll growth From November 2012 to November 2013 compared:

ObamaRomneyRTWandNotJobGrowth12Mos1113

During the 12 months involved, according to the Establishment Survey at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 24 states which supported Mitt Romney’s unsuccessful 2012 presidential bid added 1.008 million jobs on top of the roughly 55 million they had at the beginning of the period. That 1.83 percent growth is 44 percent greater than the 1.28 percent payroll growth — 1.015 million jobs added to an already existing 79.5 million — seen in the 26 states and the District of Columbia which supported Obama.

Put another way, if the 27 Obama-supporting governmental entities had generated additional employment at the same rate as those which supported Romney, a far from inconsequential 442,000 more workers in those states would have jobs.

The story is similar when comparing states which have right to work laws to those which don’t.

Including Indiana and Michigan, which passed right to work laws in early 2011 and early 2012, respectively, the 24 right to work states added 1.080 million jobs on top of the 60.0 million they had at the start of the period. That payroll growth of 1.80 percent is about 42 percent greater than the 1.27 percent payroll growth — 943,000 jobs on top of an existing 74.5 million — seen in the Obama-supporting locales. The analogous jobs shortfall in the non-right to work entities is 397,000.

Interestingly, whether a state had a Republican or Democrat as a governor during the period was not as important as whether that state supported Obama or Romney. Payroll growth in GOP-governed states was 1.58 percent, compared to 1.40 percent in states with Democratic chief executives.

Two of the chief reasons this is the case are Ohio and Pennsylvania. Republican Governor John Kasich’s Buckeye State has seen payroll growth in the past 12 reported months of less than 20,000, or 0.30 percent. Tom Corbett’s Keystone State has only seen job growth of 0.58 percent. Less populous Alabama and New Mexico have also been significant GOP-governed laggards.

What is really telling is how well or poorly states in the categories discussed here have regained the jobs they lost during the last decade’s serious downturn:

ObamaRomneyRTWandNotJRecovery1113

For this analysis, I compared each state’s current payroll employment with their individual peak employment levels (except for Michigan, which almost continually bled jobs during the previous decade; I treated November 2007 as the Wolverine State’s “peak”).

The 28 entities which supported President Obama — including North Carolina, which supported Obama in 2008 but Romney in 2012 — are still 1.82 percent, or 1.572 million jobs, below their collective pre-recession employment peak of 86.2 million. Meanwhile, the states which supported Republican candidates in both 2008 and 2012 are only 0.55 percent, or 286,000 jobs, away from their previous combined peak of 52.2 million. If it weren’t for Florida, which is still short of its peak by 437,000 despite adding 183,000 jobs in the past 12 months, the overall result for GOP candidate-supporting states would have been positive.

Commenting on the Obama-Romney results in a phone conversation, Chris Dubay at the Heritage Foundation made a general observation that “States which tax less and regulate less do better economically.” The Romney states fit that description far better than those which supported Obama. Even after removing resource-rich Texas and North Dakota from the mix, the remaining Romney-supporting states saw 12-month job growth of 1.64 percent.

The 22 states which have been right to work since their pre-recession peak employment levels peaked (i.e., not including recent converts Indiana and Michigan) are only 0.78 percent, or 422,000, shy of where they were. The shortfall for the 29 non-right to work entities is still 1.71 percent, or 1.436 million jobs. The right to work number would also be positive if it weren’t for Florida, which under then-Republican, now-Democrat Charlie Crist lost an almost incomprehensible 922,000 jobs, or 11.4 percent of its peak workforce, from March 2007 to December 2009.

In an emailed response to a request for comment, Patrick Semmens of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation asserted that the better results in states with right to work laws “prove that giving workers a free choice when it comes to supporting and paying dues to a union is not just morally right, but also is the correct answer for creating a dynamic economy.”

These results would suggest that citizens and governments of the states which have supported Obama or are resisting the implementation of right to work laws should consider doing things differently if they wish to try to replicate the relative successes seen in the other states.

Don’t Feed Us This Mitt Again

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:59 am

The GOP establishment contemplates political suicide.

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This column went up at PJ Media late Monday evening (PT) and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday.

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Word has it that establishment Republicans are nearly in panic.

They fear that their 2016 presidential fave, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has become so tarnished by Bridgegate that his viability may be vanishing.

What they see in Christie mystified me a year ago. It still does. At a time when the country remains in a fake “recovery” and the nation nears insolvency, the party of non-leftists — though even that’s not clear any more – is poised to pave the way for the guy in charge of the state which in the worst overall financial condition is in the nation. The Garden State’s economy, where the seasonally adjusted labor force has contracted by 108,000 in the past 11 reported months while Household Survey employment has fallen by over 18,000, is moving in reverse.

In any event, the GOP powers that be are so worried that a legitimate conservative might end up winning the party’s presidential nominiation that some reportedly want to bring back Mitt Romney for yet another try.

Yes, I know that Romney has said, “[W]e’re not doing that again,” and that his wife Ann “grabbed his head and gently shook it no” as he answered the interviewer’s question. But I also know that Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and scores of other politicians have made and broken “I won’t run” promises without suffering negative consequences.

Therefore, now is the time, once and for all, to set the historical record on Mitt Romney’s legal and political legacy straight, and to make the definitive case against his return.

Mitt Romney did more harm to conservatism and the constitution-based rule of law during his ten years in public life than any other individual in America who claims to be on our side – and he did it all despite never having held national office.

Romney’s betrayals as a governor and presidential candidate came in five poisonous flavors: healthcare; abortion; same-sex “marriage”; war on religion; and participation in, and encouragement of, authoritarian rule.

In Massachusetts, Commonwealth Care, aka RomneyCare, was the template for ObamaCare, up to and including the despised and patently unconstitutional (regardless of what John Roberts says) individual mandate. Yet Romney at one point in the 2012 campaign insisted that the individual mandate represents “the ultimate conservative plan.” There is no reasonable rebuttal to the contention of MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, “who advised the Romney and Obama administrations on their health insurance programs,” that Romney is ObamaCare’s “intellectual father.” Gruber is now considered one of Obamacare’s key architects.

RomneyCare formalized the “right” to the state-funded abortions; copays ranged from zero to $50. Two previous state court rulings in favor of this alleged “right” were never turned into law as required — until RomneyCare did it, effectively end-running the U.S. Supreme Court-upheld Hyde Amendment barring the use of federal funds for abortions. Now Obamacare and its regulations “require individuals who purchase certain health insurance plans to pay an additional (invisible $1) monthly surcharge for abortion coverage” to “compel and deceive millions of Americans into directly subsidizing abortions.” Barring reversal in the courts, this guts the Hyde Amendment nationwide.

The damage done by Romney’s response to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s November 2003 Goodridge same-sex “marriage” ruling may never be undone.

The decision itself had and to this day still has no force of law under the separation of powers as prescribed in the Massachusett’s constitution. The Court’s ruling, in telling the legislature that it had 180 days to “take such action as it may deem appropriate in light of this opinion,” admitted as much. The legislature did not pass any enabling legislation within that time frame. There was nothing wrong or illegal about this inaction, because ”By the very terms of the order, the Massachusetts legislature had discretion to do nothing.”

Romney’s constitutional duty was also to do nothing unless presented with legislation, which he could have then vetoed, in all likelihood summarily closing the matter. Instead, and to his eternal shame, when the 180-day mark arrived, he forced the state’s town clerks to begin granting “marriage licenses” to same-sex couples. In doing so, he violated his sworn oath as Governor to uphold the state’s constitution.

It’s hard to imagine, but it gets worse. In late 2007, an act of accidental journalism at the New York Times revealed that Romney reacted to Goodridge as he did because he had promised Log Cabin Republicans in 2002 that if elected governor he would, in the Old Gray Lady’s words, “obey the courts’ ultimate ruling and not champion a fight on either side of the issue.”

Mitt Romney’s same-sex “marriage” betrayal turned an illegitimate decision into a precedent, putting supporters of traditional marriage permanently on the defensive. Now their fight is beginning to look futile.

President Obama knew that his opportunistic switch to supporting same-sex “marriage” during the 2012 campaign would get no pushback from Romney without opening up the entire can of worms just described. Because of Romney’s response to Goodridge, same-sex “marriage” is on the verge of becoming the de facto law of the land despite well over 30 statewide electoral expressions of dissent by the governed. Now it has become a topic which is virtually off-limits to public discourse. The politically correct enforcers assume that anyone who is against same-sex marriage is “anti-gay.” If you have the “wrong” opinion and say it in the “wrong” place, your livelihood will be in jeopardy.

If you’re looking for a proactive “war on religion,” Mitt Romney has been there and done that too.

In 2005, the governor’s legal team concluded that a recently-passed statute required “Catholic hospitals in Massachusetts to dispense Plan B – an ‘emergency contraceptive’ that studies and the (birth control) pill’s manufacturer have suggested can cause early abortions,” violating religious conscience protections. That conclusion stood, even though “most Massachusetts politicians agreed,” even including former Massachusetts Governor and 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, that a 1975 religious exemption should still have applied.

A similar scenario ensued with adoption services which refused to place children with same-sex couples:

(Romney) cited a state regulation that compelled Catholic agencies to comply with the law, contrary to their beliefs. At the time, Michael Dukakis … said, “If it’s a regulation, governors can change regulations if they want to. That’s up to him.”

Enforcing that rule ended 100 years of adoption services by Catholic Charities in Boston.

In these matters, Romney at best took the path of least resistance. At worst, his gubernatorial administration exhibited thinly veiled hostility towards long-respected, natural law-driven beliefs.

Romney’s offenses against the constitution-based rule of law already noted are important on two levels.

The first is that his actions in Massachusetts, and the lack of negative consequences attaching to those actions, have served to encourage the Obama administration’s serial willingness to flout the U.S. Constitution and its separation of powers.

The second relates to how we would expect a President Romney to react to serious and confrontational situations. Would he follow the law and the Consitution, or give in to authoritarian impulses? One clue indicating that the answer would all too often be the latter was his response to Obama’s boardroom coup at General Motors in early 2009 which set the stage for Uncle Sam’s takeover of the company. Instead of expressing outrage, Romney complimented the President for “expressing some backbone.”

So there it is: Statist health care; neutering the Hyde Amendment; personally assisting and enabling the litigation-inspired imposition of same-sex “marriage”; a then-unprecedented assault on religion; and a pervasive undermining of and failure to defend the rule of law.

No one claiming to be center-right has done anywhere near as much accumulated damage as Mitt Romney. No one claiming to be interested in America’s future as a representative republic can credibly support his return to presidential politics.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (012314)

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.

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Zero Hedge“Spot the Labor Force Collapse Culprit.” Hint: It’s not Baby Boomer retirements.

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The prior item certainly makes this result believable:

GallupBetterOffWorseOff2005to2014

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Daniel Doherty at Townhall“Thanks, Obamacare: 1,000 Jobs Lost in West Michigan”

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At the Seattle Times, a seemingly unimportant story which is anything but – “Union representation bid fails at Amazon warehouse in Delaware; Maintenance and repair workers voted overwhelmingly to reject representation by the Machinists union.”

Amazon, in keeping with its posture since inception, fiercely resists any organizing effort anywhere in the world. This particular situation involved only 27 workers; the company beat back this unionizing attempt by a vote of 21 to 6.

Amazon Chairman and Founder Jeff Bezos now individually owns the Washington Post. The Post is unionized virtually from top to bottom. The paper has contracts running out over the next 2-1/2 years or so. During that time, we’ll learn a lot about what happens when an irresistible force hits an immovable object.

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This is totally unimportant, because the press hasn’t covered it at all (/sarc) – “Upset: Republican wins surprise blowout in Arkansas (State) Senate special election”

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I’d be happier if there was no question mark in the headline“Wealthy GOP donors starting to give up on Christie for 2016?”

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What a waste: “According to Forbes (in Feb. 2013), Hollywood’s moguls are receiving around $1.5 billion a year in film tax credits.”

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Senator James Imhofe (R-Okla.):

“On multiple occasions, and most recently on May 30th of last year, President Obama has said, and this is a quote he has used several times, he said that ‘the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even ten years ago’ and that ‘the climate is warming faster than anybody anticipated five or ten years ago.’”

… the president just made that up.

Obama was really saying, “I like my global warming, so I’m going to keep making things up about global warming.”

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Michael Barone: “Population declining in states with relatively high dependence on government.” So are their workforces, in some cases even more quickly.

Positivity: Mother Pregnant With Twins Schedules Abortion, Changes Mind at the Last Minute

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Tempe, Arizona, via The Blaze (HT Life News, whose headline I used)

Jan. 15, 2014 7:11pm

Rebecca Rizzi was five weeks pregnant and desperately looking for a way out — any way out.

Despite her qualms and personal opposition to abortion, she had reluctantly made up her mind: Terminating the pregnancy was for the best.

Rizzi setup an appointment at a Planned Parenthood in Tempe, Ariz., last May and subsequently drove there to learn more about the procedure. As she was en route to the clinic, her mind raced, as she secretly wanted to find a way to escape an act that she believed deep in her heart was morally wrong.

“I felt I had to do it,” the 24-year-old told TheBlaze. “It was a situation where I hadn’t talked to my family in a long time — same with my friends.”

Feeling isolated, Rizzi had convinced herself, despite her inner most inclinations, that abortion was her only option.

When she arrived at Planned Parenthood, she noticed pro-life protesters standing outside. Rizzi said she knew their message about the sanctity of life was true, but entered the clinic anyway.

Once inside, she sat down in a crowded waiting room and waited. And as she waited, doubts reemerged in her mind.

Each time someone opened the door to enter or exit, Rizzi could hear the protesters outside — a convicting sound that stirred something deep within her heart.

Feeling as though she couldn’t go through with the abortion, she walked outside to take a break and that’s when she encountered Sherry Pierce, one of the protesters with the “Refuge in the Desert” ministry.

Rizzi decided to approach her.

“I kind of went over to chat and I think I had it set in my mind really not to be dismissive of what they were trying to do, but I was going to ask if they thought what they were doing would actually make a difference,” she said.

Pierce, who told TheBlaze that she believes God brought Rizzi to her that day, asked the young woman why she felt abortion was the only answer.

“We were calling out and she came over to us,” said Pierce. “Truly God brought her to us … The Lord caused her to come over.”

The conversation made a big impact and inevitably showed Rizzi that there were other avenues she could pursue. …

Go here for the rest of the story.