Some Data on the Obama Economic Recovery

And on Democratic Party Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s policy impact on that recovery from the Panic of 2008, since Clinton has promised, proudly, to continue and extend President Barack Obama’s (D) economic policies.  These data are via Robert Barro’s (Harvard University economics professor and American Enterprise Institute visiting scholar) piece in The Wall Street Journal.  He and a colleague, Tao Jin, looked at

macroeconomic disasters in 42 countries, featuring 185 contractions in GDP per capita of 10% or more. These contractions are dominated by wartime devastation such as World War I (1914-18) and World War II (1939-45) and financial crises such as the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Pay to Play

This spreadsheet, via Grim’s Hall, speaks for itself (right click and Open in New Tab to get access to a larger image).paytoplay

Union Greed

It isn’t enough that unions demand the “right” to raid honest citizens’ pocketbooks for union dues—demanding that non-union members pay up as a condition of being allowed to work.  Unions also are demanding the “right” to raid honest citizens’ pocketbooks for tax money with which to plus up union “pensions.”

See, for instance, the United Mine Workers of America and their pet Democratic Party Senator, Joe Manchin (whom we had thought was more honest than this).

The Miners Protection Act of 2015—sponsored by Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV) and co-sponsored by eight Republicans—would bail out the underfunded pension plan of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).

Employment and Interest Rates

The US economy added 151,000 net new jobs in August, below consensus expectations for 180,000. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate remained stable at 62.8%, as did the jobless rate at 4.9%, though it was expected to tick slightly lower to 4.8% for the month. The closely-watched U6 rate, or “underemployment” rate, which measures unemployed workers and those working part time for economic reasons, remained stuck at 9.7%.

Employment

Employers added 255,000 jobs last month while wages for private-sector workers matched their strongest annual pace of growth in seven years. More Americans joined the labor force, keeping the jobless rate steady at 4.9%.

That’s part of the best two months of hiring all year.  This is all good news, right?

Not so much.

The increase in the labor force participation rate was only a tenth of a point to 62.8%, still the lowest rate in 40-ish years—two generations.

A Court Gets One Right

In a sexual orientation case involving an adjunct professor who claimed she was denied “full time employment and promotions based on sexual orientation,” the 7th Circuit ruled unanimously that her employer can, indeed, do exactly that.  In particular, Title VII, under which the case was brought, does not apply to sexual discrimination in the workplace.

The reason the Court got this one right has little to do with discrimination—and everything to do with it—rather, it’s centered on what the law actually says, and what the judges said about what the law actually says.

The Other Supreme Court That’s in the Election Balance

This one is the National Labor Relations Board, a Democrat/union-dominated entity that is nearly the last word on what employers are allowed and required to do.

It’s the NLRB that threatened Boeing with labor unrest expensive lawsuits for its effrontery in wanting to build an aircraft manufacturing plant in the right-to-work state of South Carolina and forced Boeing to keep primary manufacturing in the union state of Washington.

It’s the NLRB that decided that franchise employees actually are jointly employed by the franchise—a McDonald’s burger joint, for instance—and the franchisor—McDonald’s corporate headquarters, for instance—a complete rewrite of the prior NLRB view of franchise employment.

Labor Costs Up, Prices Up

Starbucks is sharply raising its total compensation for its employees in the Seattle area.  Total compensation from wages and stock options is going up some 5% to 15%.  Carefully buried in the very last paragraph of The Seattle Times piece is this little nugget:

Last July, Starbucks raised its prices 3.5 times as much in Seattle as in the rest of the country.  It raised the price of its typical coffeeshop purchase across the U.S. by 1%, but in Seattle by 3.5%.

Hmm….

Tony Blair Misunderstands

Great Britain’s Ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair has sensed danger from the Brits’ vote to leave the European Union.

Blair said in a Friday column in The Daily Telegraph that the future of the United Kingdom is at stake as the country faces negotiations on the terms of leaving the European Union.

Of course there’s danger—there always is when a change as large as this is embarked on.  But Great Britain didn’t get to be as great as it was and still is by being timid.  This move is a great opportunity for the nation, much more so than it is a risk, however real that risk is.

Another Government Overreach?

Before the government can measure the size of the gig economy—or is it the sharing economy? The digital economy?—the sector needs to be defined.

No, it doesn’t.  It doesn’t even need to measure the size of the gig economy; government has shown it’s not going to do anything useful, or freedom-promoting, with that measurement.

And this misconception, by Commerce Department Acting Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Justin Antonipillai:

In order to have good policy making, you have to have good data[.]

Again, no.  Government doesn’t need to make any policy in this area.  Not at all.  Government just needs to butt out, and let American entrepreneurs make their own way.