Robert Reich: Trump Keeps Telling These 4 Lies About Economy

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Donald Trump is putting out four big whoppers about today’s economy. Here’s what he’s saying, and here’s the truth:
1. “Best job growth ever.” Wrong. Job growth has actually slowed. In the last 19 months of the Obama administration the economy created 3.96 million jobs. In the first 19 months of Trump’s, 3.58 million.
2. “Lowest unemployment rate ever.” Rubbish. The unemployment rate is now down to 3.9 percent. That’s good. But it doesn’t measure how many people are still too discouraged to look for work or are working part time who’d rather be working full time. The labor participation rate (percent of prime working age work who actually have jobs) has been stuck at 88.9 percent for over a year.
And the current 3.9 percent rate is hardly better than ever in history. It was 3.4 percent in 1968 under Johnson, and below 3.9 percent for much of 1951, 1952, and 1953, under Eisenhower.

The practical question is always how low the Fed will allow unemployment to fall before raising rates, for fear of inflation. In 1996, unemployment fell to 4.4 percent, but Fed Chair Alan Greenspan then raised rates. This time around, Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her successor Jerome Powell have been quite accommodating, but Powell is starting to raise rates again.
3. “Fastest economic growth in history.” Wrong again. The economy is now growing at annualized rate of 4.2 percent (that’s for the 2nd quarter). That’s not as good as the 5.1 percent and 4.9 percent achieved in 2 quarters in 2014, or the 4.7 percent in one quarter in 2011. During the Clinton years of 1997-1999, it grew by over 4.5 percent annually. Under Reagan, the recovery averaged 4.4 percent a year. Under Eisenhower, even faster.
4. “Best wages, ever.” Not even close. Today’s hourly wage has less purchasing power than it did over four decades years ago. Adjusted for inflation, the average hourly wage in January 1973 would be $23.68 today. Yet today’s actual average hourly wage is $22.73. And, of course, the lion’s share is going to the top.
Trump is having only one positive impact on the economy: His continuous P.T. Barnum lies about how good it is have improved consumer confidence. Which I suppose is good – until, like the character in the road-runner cartoons, consumers look down and realize there’s nothing under them.

By Robert Reich/truthdig

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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New York becomes first major U.S. city to issue cap on ride-hail vehicles – Chicago Tribune

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Image: Ozy.com

New York City is reining in the growth of Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride services with a temporary cap on new cars picking up fares.

The City Council approved a package of bills Wednesday that included a one-year moratorium on new licenses for for-hire vehicles while the city studies the rapidly changing industry.

The Council also voted to set a minimum driver wage equivalent to the yellow cab wage for app-based drivers.

Backers of the proposals said both the traditional yellow cab industry and drivers for app-based services are suffering as Uber cars flood the city’s streets. They said the growth of ride-hailing apps has also worsened traffic congestion.

More from Chicago Tribune

Posted by Libergirl

Sears To Close Another 72 Stores As Sales Continue To Plunge

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Sears will close another 72 stores as sales plunge and losses grow. The beleaguered retailer said that it has identified about 100 stores that are no longer turning a profit, and the majority of those locations will be shuttered soon. Sears lost $424 million, or $3.93 per share, for the period…

via Sears To Close Another 72 Stores As Sales Continue To Plunge — CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Posted by Libergirl

Seattle Passes Tax on Big Firms to Ease Housing Crisis

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Image: OZY

They’re hitting Amazon close to home. The company, Seattle’s largest employer, had threatened to stop construction on a downtown tower if the city passed a planned $500-per-employee tax. Many point to the rise of huge international companies like Amazon and Starbucks as the cause of Seattle’s rising house prices and increased homelessness. In the end, the city council scaled back: Its new tax costs companies $275 per worker, and the anticipated $48 million a year in funding will go toward building affordable housing and battling homelessness

More@ OZY

Posted by Libergirl

Charles Koch blasts Trump’s steel and aluminum tariff plan

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Billionaire conservative megadonor Charles Koch slammed President Donald Trump’s announced plans to impose fresh tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in a Washington Post op-ed, arguing that such policies would do far more harm than good for the U.S., both economically and culturally.

Image: Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle via AP Photo

“Just as the United States benefits from the ideas and skills that opportunity-seeking immigrants bring with them, free trade has been essential to our society’s prosperity and to people improving their lives,” Koch wrote in his op-ed, published online Wednesday night. “Countries with the freest trade have tended to not only be the wealthiest but also the most tolerant. Conversely, the restriction of trade — whether through tariffs, quotas or other means — has hurt the economy and pitted people against each other.

“Without a doubt, those who can least afford it will be harmed the most. Having just helped consumers keep more of their money by passing tax reform, it makes little sense to take it away via higher costs,” Koch wrote.

More from Politico

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With Few Watching, Republicans Have Put in Place New Poll Tax to Disenfranchise Voters

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Preventing people from voting because they owe legal fees or court fines muzzle low-income Americans at a time in our nation’s history when the rich have more political power than ever.

More from Robert Reich at Common Dreams

Posted by Libergirl

Puerto Rico: Another Victim of the Clintons

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You’ve probably been hearing a lot about Puerto Rico’s crushing debt, here is where it all started…Libergirl

On May 1, 2016 Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank (GDB) defaulted on a $389,000,000 bond payment.

The GDB, which according to recent financial disclosures shows less than $600,000,000 in total assets was subjected recently to capital controls via executive order issued by Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla that have frozen almost all withdrawals, while also suspending lending.

The default immediately closed the island’s access to capital markets and simultaneously halted the issuance of almost 1 billion in tax revenue anticipation notes the Puerto Rican Government was expected to issue through the end of 2016.

The Puerto Rican economy was forecast to be somewhat compromised by provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA) which was agreed upon and ceremoniously signed on December 17, 1992, by Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Mexican President Carlos Salinas, and U.S. President George H.W. Bush.

These provisions, which were officially signed into law by President Bill Clinton on Dec. 8, 1993, would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 taking away a key trade advantage held by the island over many Latin American countries with regard to duty-free imports to the U.S.

Further exacerbating the potential for economic stagnation were the federally mandated minimum wage laws, which gave non-minimum wage countries in the Caribbean a pronounced economic advantage over the commonwealth.

With those factors in play, the Clinton administration made a shortsighted decision to increase revenue intended to reduce the federal deficit by proposing elimination of Section 936 of the Internal Revenue Code, which gave mainland U.S. companies an exemption from federal taxes on income earned in Puerto Rico.

More from NewsMax

Posted by Libergirl

 

 

 

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