I absolutely loved this HuffingtonPost article I found this morning. There is nothing so cheering as seeing right wing ideologues hoisted on their own petard. They should have been listening to all of the commentary which supports the notion that our legislators should have to partake in any health care reform measures they impose on the rest of us. The Democrats evidently have been listening.
CNBC spent a lot of time yesterday talking about the surprisingly good employment data. Allegedly, the economy lost only 11,000 jobs last month. I simply don't believe it. And I am not encouraged since we are still loosing jobs during a season when the new jobs statistics are usually inflated by seasonal hires. It makes me wonder what January will bring. They were also touting the increase in temporary hires. Such an increase, they say, usually comes just before companies begin to increase permanent hiring. Unfortunately for their argument, another commentator undercuts that cheery notion. He argued that companies are trying to find a way to treat labor as they have their supply line--going to a just in time system. They will hire enough temporary workers through a temp service to handle their peak production periods and then cut those workers when the peak has passed. Nice for them but not so nice for the workers. One of my relatives by marriage knows this first hand. He was caught in that cycle and would work a week or two followed by two or three weeks without work. Worse he was listed with employment service not a specifically temp service that sent him out on these stints knowing he wanted full time work. My own experience with such employment agencies reinforces my skepticism. I have been listed with such agencies several times over my working life of some forty years and have never found satisfactory service from them. They work like hell to get you signed up but then fail to follow through. The talking head on CNBC touted the benefits the service offered its employees but failed to note that those who don't get enough hours don't get the benefits and, I suspect, many, if not most, of their 'employees' didn't get those hours.
Continuing on the jobs theme, MSNBC had an article this morning that dissected the employment numbers and found at least one other troubling trend--a bifurcation in the population of the unemployed. The number of unemployed workers out of work for 6 months or more grew while the short term unemployed declined. We used to have a saying in economic downturns 'last hired, first fired.' Now I guess we can add 'last fired, first hired' to that.
Anthony Vitello at Benzinga has a concise and very pointed assessment of Bernanke's testimony in which the Fed Chairman advocated a raid on Social Security and Medicare which would essentially eliminate those programs.
Casey Daily Dispatch has a totally cute take on the week's economic data cast in a Star Trek scenario. I especially love the description of 'bernankeium,' a hallucinogen that leads to mistaken perceptions that the economy is getting better. Take a look. I think you will get a good laugh.