Monday, April 4, 2011

Discouraged Workers

   I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of hearing the idiots on my TV telling me the economy is improving just because the stock market is doing well. While companies like GE made $14.2 billion in profits last year, most of it was made overseas (only $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States and they made ZERO in taxes to our treasury.)

Our budget deficit would be smaller – and pressure to cut social programs lower – if corporate tax revenues had not declined over time relative to gross domestic product and relative to individual income tax revenues (FULL STORY HERE)

   So while yes, GE's stock went up (and well as most other multi-national companies), our economy didn't improve for that, and for no revenues being paid towards our deficit. Our economy only does well when most people are working and being paid a decent wage...and everybody pays a fair share to fund our government budgets.

   Our economy is NOT doing well, not with a 14% unemployment rate, and without any tax revenues!

   Last month in March 2011 the "participation rate" in the work force was 64.2 percent (35.8 percent didn't participate? Is this the new leaner and meaner "reduced" work force?)  1.5 million jobs were added since February 2010, but most were in temporary help services.

    13.5 million - The U-3 unemployment rate of 8.8% (but in reality, 21.6 million people are ACTUALLY unemployed.)
      2.4 million - Marginally attached* - They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks.
      5.7 million - Exhaustees and "99ers" - They are not counted or acknowledged at all.
    21.6 million - Sub-total from a total of 153,406,000 in workforce = 14.08% REAL unemployment rate (or 19.55% if part-time workers are included - almost 1 in 5 of eligible workers are affected.
   + 8.4 million - Part-time jobs
 = 30.0 million - PREVIOUS TOTAL from a year ago when 4.5 million received State UI benefits and 5.4 million received Federal Tiers.

(* Includes "discourage workers", which are only counted in the U-6 unemployment rate, not what the media reports to the public as the "official" rate.)

Wikipedia - A discouraged worker is not actively seeking employment or who does not find employment after long-term unemployment. This is usually because an individual has given up looking or has had no success in finding a job, hence the term "discouraged". If a person is still looking actively for a job, he or she may have fallen out of the core statistics of unemployment rate after long-term unemployment and is therefore by default classified as "discouraged" (since this person does not appear in the core statistics of unemployment rate).

Bureau of Labor Statistics - Discouraged workers are a subset of persons marginally attached to the labor force. The marginally attached are those persons not in the labor force who want and are available for work, and who have looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months, but were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, discouraged workers were not currently looking for work specifically because they believed no jobs were available for them or there were none for which they would qualify.

   Most people who still have jobs must not give a damn about these numbers and who's unemployed, or more people would be speaking up. Or maybe they're just happy that it's not them, and just move on with their own life...thankful that they can still cling on to what they have and survive. I can't blame them. When I once had a job (and a car) I rarely thought of the unemployed unless a homeless man offered to clean my windshield while I was stopped at a red light on my way to work.

   For over two years 15 million jobless Americans have been called many things by many people, including those in the media. But its been their own government who's been perpetuating the myth, leading the general public (those WITH jobs) to believe that the jobless are lazy and refusing to find work - that they are "discouraged workers who left the job market". (As though they just voluntarily left the party on their own, and weren't rudely shoved out the door and called a party crasher.)

   The reason? To instill consumer confidence in those who still have jobs so that they will continue to spend. That's why the government (and by proxy, our corporate media), is always proclaiming a recovering economy and good job numbers.

   While corporations have been earning record profits, it seems as though they don't take much of the blame for the unemployed, because after all, it's not THEIR fault we have a bad economy and they can't hire more people...right?

   Wrong. It's been BIG BUSINESS and a public relations campaign for them, distracting from the true causes for our high unemployment rate and the huge budgets shortfalls. In short, BIG BUSINESS has been outsourcing jobs and then escaped paying taxes to the IRS. A triple whammy because we have 21.6 million jobless Americans who are no longer paying sales taxes (not buying things), not paying property taxes (homes in foreclosure), and not paying income taxes (no jobs with taxable earnings). And BIG BUSINESS isn't paying taxes either (because of tax loopholes such as GE, Boeing, and Exxon-Mobil enjoyed ); and the rich got their tax cuts extended too (the Bush tax cuts).

   So, with declining revenues, what is the Republican's answer for our budget crisis? Cut food stamps to those who lost jobs and give the corporations more tax breaks...and blame the budget shortfalls on lazy discourage workers who refuse to enter the work force.

   It's so discouraging hearing someone call me a "discouraged worker". It sounds more like an accusation than a description. It's more than just discouraging, it's frustrating as hell!

   The government shouldn't be allowed to have ANY reason at all not to count ANY unemployed person...unless they are dead. Calling them "discouraged workers" and not counting them in the unemployment rate is outrageous. If they've been out of work for a long time and still don't have a job, it's probably because there isn't a job for them...not just because they're "discouraged".

   The government shouldn't be taking monthly household surveys to determine who's working, instead they should be surveying the employers to see who's hiring. If corporations aren't hiring, call them "discouraged employers".

   Instead of saying there are less workers in a smaller labor force, say there are less jobs in a smaller economy. That way, if companies start hiring again, we can say that a company "re-entered" the economy...instead of saying after someone is hired that they just mysteriously "re-entered the work-force."

   When will the government RE-ENTER reality?

   There are no jobs for all those discouraged workers because none of the discouraged employers are hiring. It is THEY (the discouraged employers) who have $2 trillion on the sidelines and aren't expanding, investing, and hiring. With 30 million unemployed or only working part-time jobs, those businesses don't have anyone to sell their stuff too.

   Yes, the stocks have all doubled over the last two years, but not because of domestic sales. For 30 years American corporations have been enabling people in other countries by giving them jobs and thereby turning them into new consumers as well.

   Take China, which has the fastest growing middle-class, and is poised to overtake the U.S. by 2015. That's quite an accomplishment, considering China has a labor force of 800 million as opposed to our previous 150 million. China's unemployment rate is just above 4%, while our TRUE jobless rate is nearer to 20%. And even before the earthquake, China just overtook Japan as the world's 2nd largest economy in GDP.

   I suppose in North Africa and the Middle East there are lots of discouraged workers. I wonder what the discouragement-rate is in India and China. I'm almost certain there are very few discouraged workers in the Amazon rain forest...they can still hunt and gather.

   And as America's middle-class declines, it becomes discouraging to all of us, not just to the unemployed who aren't being counted by their government. If you don't know we exist, how will you know who needs food stamps? Oh yeah, I remember...the rich don't want to pay for my food stamps with their lower taxes. E.J.Dionne at the Washington Post phrases it as "ideologically driven policies to lower taxes on well-off people and business while reducing government programs."

   If it's not too late already, and if we continue to have more jobs and factories going to China (paying corporate and income tax revenues to the Chinese government), that will be even MORE discouraging for America since they hold most our debt. But because under the Bush tax cuts American corporations and banks have made record profits, bonuses, and CEO salaries, while our budgets show deficits and our cost-of-living has consistently gone up while our standard-of-living has gone down over the past 30 years. That is most definitely very discouraging.

   A little more than 200,000 jobs were created last month when 150,000 people just entered the work force for the very first time, and only 1.2 million jobs were created last year, yet the unemployment rate continues to go down. Discouraged workers (those that exhausted their unemployment benefits) aren't being counted by their government any longer, just to paint a rosier picture of the economy; but someone who knows high school arithmetic can count, and the numbers just don't ring true...and that's what discourages me the most.

   At the rate we're going, by this time next year we could have a government reported 5% unemployment rate, but we will STILL have 21.6 million unemployed Americans...or as the government likes to calls us, 21.6 million "discouraged workers".

   And if you are one of the 8.5 million laid off since 2008, forgetaboutit! Those jobs are lost forever. You'll all end up as "99ers", swept under the carpet, no longer counted, denied food stamps and Medicaid, and live out the rest of your life in impoverished misery. Now THAT'S discouraging!

discouraged - past participle, past tense of dis·cour·age (Verb)
  1. Cause (someone) to lose confidence or enthusiasm.
  2. Prevent or seek to prevent (something) by showing disapproval or creating difficulties.
Once upon a time it was announced that the devil was going out of business and would sell all his equipment to those who were willing to pay the price.

On the big day of the sale, all his tools were attractively displayed. There was Envy, Jealousy, Hatred, Malice, Deceit, Sensuality, Pride, Idolatry, and other implements of evil on display. Each of the tools was marked with its own price tag.

Over in the corner by itself was a harmless-looking, wedge-shaped tool very much worn down, but still it bore a higher price than any of the others. Someone asked the devil what it was, and he answered, "That is Discouragement." The next question came quickly: "And why is it priced so high even though it is plain to see that it is more worn than these others?"

"Because," replied the devil, "it is more useful to me than all these others. I can pry open and get into a man's heart with that when I cannot get near him with any other tool. Once I get inside, I can use him in whatever way suits me best. It is worn well because I use it on everybody I can, and few people even know it belongs to me."

This tool was priced so high that no one could buy it, and to this day it has never been sold. It still belongs to the devil, and he still uses it on mankind.


  1. This all so true, The U.S. government has turned to nothing more then a bunch of power hungry morons. The like idiots in the eyes of other countries,showing they could care less about their own citizens. Most Americans can see through the BS they is being reported on all front's. Soooo who looks like the real idiots? The It's a damn shame that the American dream,which is said still exists,in reality is gone forever,Thanks Washington,you've done a cracker jack job.

  2. One thing you left out. In order for the GOP/Obama to look good they [administration] want to change full employment numbers to 7% from 5%. Doesn't that put lipstick on a pig!

  3. According to the local news today, McDonalds is going to start hiring 50,000 people, including mgmt. Oh yeah! Except here North of Chicago, they dont hire you at my age, 54, and you also have to speak Spanish!!! But the talking heads were so gleeful! Can you put a roof over your head and pay bills on min.wage? I think not! As far as the UE being 8 percent and the economy improving, what a crock!! The American dream is long gone and as you say those jobs arent coming back. I worked in over 5 industries in the last 30 yrs (Admin.Asst, Bookkeeper, Corporate Travel Agent and Bartender. I have an AA degree and many professional training certs.and I am considered obsolete. I am with you, Bud, of course I am discouraged!!! And now were not even counted in the UE numbers!!! And yet, I still cannot receive my SSD or get any assistance from Ill. and I am about to give up. I have no hope left.

  4. Hang in there Susan, I need every reader I can get!

  5. All I know is if anybody who is unemployed does manage to work again, we cannot go back to business as usual. We have to work 24/7 to boycott and otherwise convince everyone to stop buying from these companies that ship jobs to china. (Not that I was ever one of those morons who busts down the doors at Walmart to get my $2.00 big screen TV), but you know what I mean. I will not forget this and I will do everything I can to smash these corporations. I think all the negativity is working as ABC is now highlighting that everything is made in china and how not to buy it. But it needs to continue. I will not rest until I see these people in prison. I also think enough people need to sweep both parties out of office.