The missed payment, due on May 1, was just another scene in the slow-motion train wreck that has been termed “Puerto Rico’s economic crisis,” but to call the territory’s status a “crisis” understates the severity of the problem. Over 12 percent of the workforce in Puerto Rico is unemployed, and one out of every four employed Puerto Ricans works for the government, instead of contributing to the territory’s economy.
Beginning in 1983 the government changed its method of calculation to show lower inflation by excluding food and energy, claiming they were too volatile to be reliable indicators. The result is the so-called “core inflation” CPI, which is a favorite of the Federal Reserve. The latest figure for this CPI reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is 0.4% (for August and also July), but if calculated by the method used in 1980 the inflation rate would be 7½ percent, as shown by Shadow Government Statistics (ShadowStats.com).
There is no way to describe current Federal Reserve policy other than as monetary confusion and misdirection. In a nutshell, Janet Yellen and the other members of the Fed’s Board of Governors have no idea what to do. Do they raise certain interest rates over which they have some direct influence? Do they keep them at their current rock bottom levels, as they have for the last six years?
Obama’s use of the unemployment rate as a weapon to inflict political damage on Republicans is nothing new. For most of Obama’s presidency, he’s been touting his economic policies and how successful they have allegedly been at reducing unemployment rates (when in fact all recession recoveries reduce unemployment rates), all the while intentionally misleading people about what the unemployment rate actually represents.
Commenting on the rioting in Baltimore, the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henniger was almost to the end of his April 30 text when he said “On Wednesday morning, the year’s first-quarter GDP growth rate came in—0.02%. Next to nothing. For the length of the Obama presidency, with growth significantly below norm, unemployment for blacks aged 24 and younger has hovered between 30% and 40%. That’s the real powder keg, not the police.”
It is an old adage that there are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics. Nowhere is this truer that in the government’s monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) that tracks the prices for a selected “basket” of goods to determine changes in people’s cost-of-living and, therefore, the degree of price inflation in the American economy.
President Obama and many of his fellow Democrat politicians think they have identified a terrible injustice in the “gender pay gap.” But with almost no effort, anyone who can access the Internet can go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and find information showing a far greater injustice: the pay gap between young people and older workers.
The apparent divergence between Labor Productivity and earnings has been noticed by various progressive think tanks and is now making its way into public discourse. The divergence is easy to explain.
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