Article 43

 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Screw The Unemployed

class-warfare.jpg

As an economist, I am astonished that the American economics profession has no awareness whatsoever that the U.S. economy has been destroyed by the offshoring of U.S. GDP to overseas countries. U.S. corporations, in pursuit of absolute advantage or lowest labor costs and maximum CEO performance bonuses, have moved the production of goods and services marketed to Americans to China, India, and elsewhere abroad. When I read economists describe offshoring as free trade based on comparative advantage, I realize that there is no intelligence or integrity in the American economics profession.
- Paul Craig Roberts, Truth Has Fallen And Has taken Liberty With It, March 10, 2010

From The President, to Congress, to GOVERNOR SCOTT in my home state - GOVERNMENT IS LEAVING the LONG-TERM unemployed ON THEIR OWN.

Even President Bush sent everyone stimulus checks during the recession on his watch.

This time around - my third layoff from Corporate America in 20 years - I feel like some kind of a SINNER, or outcast of society - thanks in no small part to the POLITICAL and SOCIETAL climates that permeate the aura of today’s world.

Unless I get LUCKY again - by this time next year I’ll be homeless, or DEAD BY CHOICE.

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Eight More States Cut from Unemployment Benefits

By Maggie Clark
Pew Center On The States
May 14, 2012

Over the weekend, more than 200,000 people in eight states saw their federal extended unemployment benefits end, according to an analysis from the National Employment Law Project, which advocates for better employment policies. The cuts to the federal extended benefits program made as of Saturday (May 12) are a result of reductions passed by Congress earlier this year.

The latest to be cut, 236,300 unemployed Americans, got their notices two and a half weeks ago that their benefits were going away. Those cuts bring the total to more than 400,000 people in 27 states that have been cut from the roles so far this year, and thousands more will fall off by the time the program ends for all states on January 2, 2013.

The formula used to calculate which states should get the extended benefits takes a states average unemployment rate for a three-month period, and unless that rate remains 10 percent higher than it was during the same time period in one of the last three years, the benefits are revoked. The goal is to limit benefits in states where the unemployment rate is declining, but Maurice Emsellem, policy co-director at the National Employment Law Project, says the formula is problematic.

“The extended benefits program requires that state unemployment increases over three years,” Emsellem says, “even if the base rate is very high. That feature of this program has a huge impact on high unemployment states.”

For instance, this round of cuts will affect 95,300 unemployed people in California alone, according to the project’s calculations. North Carolina, Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Texas will all have more than 10,000 people affected.

Emsellem says that with federal help running out, state programs like food stamps and job training are the last place for the long-term unemployed to turn. Connecticut’s Governor Dannel P. Malloy recently called on the state’s departments of labor and social services to work together to reach out to people who will be cut from the extended benefits program.

“The silver lining here is that jobs are being created in CONNECTICUT," Malloy said in a statement, “but if you don’t have a job and are now facing the loss of benefits, youre being put in an impossible situation. There are state resources available for both assistance and job training. We need to redouble our efforts to make sure that those resources are going to people who need them most.”

According to a recent Government Accountability Office report on unemployment benefits, 45 states provided information or connections to support programs for people who had run out of unemployment insurance benefits.

SOURCE

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Unemployment Why

By Alan Grayson
May 14, 2012

I recently happened to be at an event where billionaire George Soros was being interviewed. The right wing hates Soros because he is: (a) liberal, (b) rich, and (c) fearless. [I could also make a case that they hate Soros because he is (d) Jewish, but I leave that up to you.]

Soros said a lot of things, but he said two sentences that I wish that everyone could hear. This is what he said:

You can’t cut your way out of a recession. You have to grow your way out of a recession.

The simple truth in those nineteen words seems to have eluded our policymakers, both Democratic and Republican, for the past four years. Here is a chart that proves it:

unemployment-2012.jpg

The chart has been featured regularly at DAILY KOS, but it comes from the CALCULATED RISK BLOG. It graphs job losses during and following each post-WWII recession, month by month, as a percentage of total employment.

As you can see, the job losses in America since 2008 are not only the worst in postwar history, but also feature the weakest “recovery.” In every single other recession, employment returned to peak levels in less than four years. (In fact, leaving aside the Bush Recession of 2001, employment returned to peak levels in less than three years.) Yet here we are, four years after the Great Recession started, still almost four percentage points under peak employment.

Which is five million jobs. Five million people who can’t find work. Five million people with no income.

So, as Soros and I might ask on Passover, “why is this recession different from all other recessions?” There is a simple answer: the austerity fetish. The bizarre notion that cutting is healing.

The Wall Street Journal recently CONFESSED that without local government layoffs police officers, firefighters, teachers and others ֖ unemployment would be a full percentage point lower. I think that that’s an underestimate. If those police officers and firefighters and teachers still had jobs, we would be safer, and our children smarter. But beyond that, as those public employees spent their earnings, a lot of carpenters and waiters and real estate agents and cashiers would be able to get back to work.

And we have no one to blame but the cut-cut-cut policymakers, in whichever party. As Nobel Prize-winning economist PAUL KRUGMAN put it THREE WEEKS AGO:

Consider, if you will, the current state of our nation. Despite hints of economic progress, we’re still in the midst of an immense disaster, in which unemployment and underemployment are devastating millions of American lives. And none of this need be happening! There has been no plague of locusts; we have not lost our technological know-how. Americans should be richer, not poorer, than they were five years ago. Yet economic policy across the board has become almost passive, has essentially accepted this disaster instead of trying to end it.

Soros and Krugman are right. Its time to end this man-made economic disaster. It’s time to stop slashing our own economic wrists. IT’S TIME FOR JOBS.

Courage,
Alan Grayson

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Unemployment Rate Without Government Cuts: 7.1%

By Justin Lahart
Wall Street Journal Blogs
May 8, 2012

By Justin Lahart

One reason the unemployment rate may have remained persistently high: The sharp cuts in state and local government spending in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and the layoffs those cuts wrought.

The Labor Departments establishment survey of employers - the jobs count that it bases its payroll figures on - shows that the government has been steadily shedding workers since the crisis struck, with 586,000 fewer jobs than in December 2008. Friday’s employment report showed the cuts continued in April, with 15,000 government jobs lost.

But the survey of households that the unemployment rate is based on suggests the government job cuts have been much, much worse.

In April the household survey showed that that there were 442,000 fewer people working in government than in March. The household survey has a much smaller sample size than the establishment survey, and so is prone to volatility, but the magnitude of the drop is striking: It marks the largest decline on both an absolute and a percentage basis on record going back to 1948. Moreover, the household survey has consistently showed bigger drops in government employment than the establishment survey has.

The unemployment rate would be far lower if it hadnt been for those cuts: If there were as many people working in government as there were in December 2008, the unemployment rate in April would have been 7.1%, not 8.1%.

govcuts.jpg

Ceteris is rarely paribus, of course: If there were more government jobs now, for example, it’s likely that not as many people would have left the labor force, and so the actual unemployment rate would be north of 7.1%.

More important, even after making an adjustment for the volatility of the household survey, the starkly different message that it is offering up on the scope of job government losses is curious.

In the three months ended April, it shows that there were an average 20.3 million people engaged in government work, 1.2 million fewer than the average for the three months ended December 2008. That is more than double the job losses registered by the establishment survey.

One explanation is that the household survey is picking up government job losses that the establishment survey hasn’t - it can, generally speaking, be better at picking up shifts in the makeup of the job market.

Another explanation is that the household survey might be picking up jobs lost by people who worked at private companies that were reliant on government spending. A school bus driver, say, who was polled by the Labor Department for the household survey might say that he works for the government when he actually works for a bus company thats contracted by the local school district. If the school district curtails spending and he loses his job, that would be counted as a government job loss in the household survey, even though it really isn’t.

Though of course it would still be a job lost as a result of government-spending cuts.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 05/16/12 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America
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Facebook Privacy Policy Update

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10 Things You Should Know About Facebook’s New Privacy Policy

PC Magazine
By Sara Yin
Additional reporting by Chloe Albanesius.
May 14, 2012

FACEBOOK updated it’s Facebook PRIVACY POLICY last Friday, CLARIFYING what it does with your data, while also blurring the limits of what it can do with your information. Commendably, it posted the ENTIRE DOCUMENT with tracked changes in red. It’s a 14-page document, which I know you all have time to read.

If you haven’t yet, we’ve highlighted the top 10 changes you should know:

1. Some data is always visible: your name, profile picture, Timeline cover photo, network, gender, and username are always visible to all Facebook users. However only “Public” profiles (the default option) are listed in search engines; click into Privacy Settings/Applications and Websites/Edit Your Settings to tweak this.

2. Careful what you write: Your messages are never deleted, not even when you delete your account. This is because they are stored separately from your account, since other people see your messages. They will continue seeing messages that include you even after you’ve deleted your account - standard stuff for any messaging platform, but something to be aware of.

3. Facebook notes your “Likes” and brands mentioned in posts: Facebook trawls your posts for brands, which may lump you into a target category that is sold to advertisers of that category. Facebook gave the following example: if you ‘like’ Pages that are car-related and mention a particular car brand in a post, Facebook might put you in the ‘potential car buyer’ category and let a car brand target to that group, which would include you.

4. Post no evil: Facebook may intervene if your post suggests you are going to harm yourself or harm others. Previously, it only shared information suggesting fraud and other illegal activity, or threats to Facebook itself.

5. Facebook can transfer data to others’ devices: Once you’ve shared anything on Facebook, your contacts can save this information on their mobile devices. Don’t post unless you’re okay with a friend saving it to his or her smartphone.

6. Ads using data: FORBES’‘ Kashmir Hill noted two key changes to how advertisers can use your data. First, Facebook removed the 180-day limit it keeps data sent from advertising partners. Instead, Facebook will retain the data for as long as it needs to serve you ads.

7. Your Facebook data is used for ad targeting outside Facebook: Hill also notes that Facebook has made it clearer that it uses information you share on Facebook to serve you display ads outside Facebook.

8. Apps keep your data even after you delete the app: ARSTECHNICA POINTED OUT that deleting an app doesn’t delete the data from their servers. To do that, you have to contact the app maker directly.

9. California residents: You lucky folks can request what information Facebook is sharing with third parties for direct marketing purposes. Also, Facebook can’t share your information without your explicit permission.

10. More cookies: Facebook added an entire MICROSITE explaining how it’s been using cookies, pixels, and other tracking software. Facebook doesn’t use cookies to create a profile of your browsing behavior outside Facebook, but it does anonymize this data “to improve ads generally.”

Ah, the price of free.

You can also obtain a copy of all the personal information (photos, messages, videos, status updates) you’ve shared on Facebook, plus an expanded archive with your friend requests and IP addresses you’ve logged in from. I REQUESTED my file and within two hours, Facebook sent me a download link for a 72MB file (my previous requests went ignored).

On Monday, Facebook’s chief privacy officer for policy, Erin Egan, answered users’ questions about the privacy update. Nothing new was revealed, according to my co-worker Chloe Albanesius, but Egan gave three reasons why the updates were made: first, to comply with a pledge to the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, which has long been on Facebook’s case over its facial-recognition technology. Second, to include new Facebook products launched since the last policy update in September (Timeline, school groups, etc.). And third, to make everything more transparent to users. For instance, you’ll notice little light bulb icons with tips on how you can better protect your privacy.

SOURCE

FACEBOOK - IT’S ALL ABOUT MONEY

IT’S TIME TO REGULATE FACEBOOK

FACEBOOK AND JOB HUNTING

IS FACEBOOK MAKING US LONEY?

Posted by Elvis on 05/16/12 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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