John and Donny continue their exploration of think tanks in #41 of the In The Tank Podcast. This weekly podcast features (as always) interviews, debates, and roundtable discussions that explore the work of think tanks across the country. The show is available for download as part of the Heartland Daily Podcast every Friday. Today’s podcast features work from the Independent Women’s Forum, the Mercatus Center, The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, and Reason.
By now, most people probably know about one of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s biggest campaign gaffes to date: “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” As soon as I heard it, I tweeted: “Imagine a presidential candidate running for office based on putting people out of work?”
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.
Arguably the single most successful endeavor undertaken by Congress in the past 20 years was its effort to enact significant reform of the U.S. welfare system. Even greater success is possible, with simple steps that states can take to help millions of impoverished people transition from government dependency to the freedom and self-sufficiency provided by a high-quality job.
Old fallacies never seem to die, they just fad away to reemerge once again later on. One such fallacy is that if there is significant unemployment and slow economic growth it must be due to not enough consumers’ spending in the economy, what Keynesian economists call a “failure of aggregate demand.”
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.”
Brian Perry is a college-educated law clerk who worked at the Providence, Rhode Island-based Lovett, Scheffrin, and Harnett law firm for more than 25 years before being laid off in 2008. Since then, Perry has relentlessly searched for quality work, but he’s been unable to find anything stable. With minimal income, no solid job leads, and costs beyond what he could manage, Perry was forced to sell his home a few weeks ago.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its January 2015 report on Friday, and the Obama administration is sure to be happy with its findings. According to the report, the U.S. economy added 257,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate moved up slightly to 5.7 percent. The number of full-time workers also increased, along with a slight improvement in wages.
Not only is Social Security in the worst shape it has ever been in, a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report reveals the problem has grown significantly worse under the Obama administration.
For decades, the quality of life of the incoming generation of Americans has built on and improved on that of the previous generation. According to new data released by the United States Census Bureau, however, that is not the case for the current incoming generation, the Millennials. They have government to blame for their rotten economic conditions.
“Government is the great fiction through which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else,” wrote the celebrated French legislator, economist, and political theorist Frederic Bastiat 165 years ago. With recent reports out of the Census Bureau indicating nearly half of all Americans are receiving some form of direct government subsidy – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment benefits, housing assistance, veterans’ benefits, etc. – can there be any doubt he was right?
The United States lost jobs between 2000 and 2010, the first loss between census years that has been recorded in the nation’s history. The decline was attributable to two economic shocks, the contraction following the 9/11 attacks and the Great Recession, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Yet, even in this moribund job market, employment continued to disperse in the nation’s major metropolitan areas.
Thanks mainly to the shale revolution, oil production in the U.S. hit a 28-year high last month while imports were at their lowest levels since 1995. Consequently, prices have fallen 15% since June, and Saudi Arabia has cut production by 400,000 barrels a day — providing further evidence that OPEC no longer has the power to set prices.
Timothy Noah of MSNBC recently informed us, “In theory, raising the minimum wage ought to increase unemployment, but in practice, economists (including a few at the not-exactly-left-leaning Goldman Sachs) have lately struggled to find any real-world evidence of that happening. Job creation is actually faster in the states that have raised the minimum wage.”
Today’s economy is driven by Washington in more than just determining the location of Maserati dealerships. We see the ramifications of current government policies in numerous obvious ways. Make full-time employment more expensive with required benefits, and suddenly there are more part-time jobs; provide ample benefits and low eligibility standards for defining disabled workers, and suddenly there are more long-term unemployed going on SSDI; keep interest rates at zero, and suddenly there are more elderly workers; end unemployment insurance, and suddenly you see people accepting jobs they were reluctant to take; and as we’ve seen at the state and local level, raise the minimum wage, and suddenly teens are struggling to find work.
It’s June, a month famed for marriages, but it is likely to be remembered for the high rate of teen unemployment which has been soaring for a long time. By February, the national unemployment rate for youth, age 16 to 19, had reached 20.7%. By November 2013 it was three times higher than the national average of 6.6% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
President Obama seems committed to forcing the minimum wage up through federal intervention. If he succeeds, it will only damage the economy further, resulting in higher unemployment and less growth. Here are four reasons a minimum wage is a bad idea.