Friday, August 31, 2012

Labor Day Weekend, 2012 Economic Report

Well, here we are once again. Labor Day weekend has rolled around; the time when all the politicians extol the virtues of the working man and woman. But as I pointed out last year, once a year praise by Beltway Village Idiots Politicians and Pundits or the local equivalent of same, does not actually make someone a friend of workers.

Just last night, if you were so inclined, you may have listened to Mitt Rmoney talk about workers:

You deserved it because during these years, you worked harder than ever before. You deserved it because when it cost more to fill up your car, you cut out movie nights and put in longer hours. Or when you lost that job that paid $22.50 an hour with benefits, you took two jobs at 9 bucks an hour and fewer benefits. You did it because your family depended on you. You did it because you're an American and you don't quit. You did it because it was what you had to do.
Emptywheel does a wonderful job of parsing and eviscerating that paragraph of Rmoney's speech here:
The passage is fundamentally important to the logic of the speech–and indeed, Mitt’s entire campaign–both because it pretends Mitt understands the struggles of average people and because it suggests Obama failed to deliver on Hope and Change.


The average self-reported hourly wage of a Staples EasyTech Associate is $8.89. The average self-reported hourly wage of a Staples Sales Associate is $8.54.

Those jobs Mitt talked about as a symbol of America’s failed promise, the ones that don’t pay a living wage? That’s what Mitt’s campaign boasted about last night as his idea of an “engine of prosperity.”

And it was an engine of prosperity, for Mitt, for Stemberg. Mitt’s worth at least $250 million. Stemberg is reportedly worth $202 million. And they got that money by running an engine of prosperity that relies on workers who are Mitt’s own example of the failure of the American dream. “This just wasn’t right,” Mitt said himself. (Not to mention that some of the steel jobs Mitt destroyed probably were $22.50 an hour jobs, with benefits.)
A bit over a year and a half ago, I wrote this post, Let's Play With Some Numbers, where I put together what a single person with a full time job making minimum wage would have to deal with. And of course, few jobs paying minimum wage are actually remotely close to being 'full-time.'

Today's (Friday, August 31, 2012) NY Times had this article headlined with opening paragraph:
Majority of New Jobs Pay Low Wages, Study Finds

While a majority of jobs lost during the downturn were in the middle range of wages, a majority of those added during the recovery have been low paying, according to a new report from the National Employment Law Project.
This particular theme seemed familiar to me, then I realized I had written a post back in April 2011 on the same basic topic, only with a Washington Post article as the starting point. It turns out, the WaPo0 piece was based on a report (pdf) from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and the NYT article is based on an updated report (pdf) from NELP. David Dayen discusses today's NELP report here. Dayen also has this on Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke's speech in Jackson Hole, WY earlier today. Dayen offers this analogy:
Water works well at fighting fires.
Everything is on fire.
We may hook up the hose at some point.
Not promising anything.
As I have written before (here and here though I have touched on it in many more posts), we keep hearing how the Fed is "poised" to act; they just never seem to be willing to take the step of actually doing something. I guess pretending is acting in a way though. Dean Baker talks about the NYT piece here while also touching on Benbernank's speech and the fed.

But hey! Did you see where Honey Boo Boo got higher ratings the other night than the Republican National Convention? We. Are. So. Fecked.

And Because I can:


  1. Thank you. You are right, Romney believes he is paying top dollar to his employees (Staples), who have to work two jobs to survive him.

  2. Did you see where Honey Boo Boo got higher ratings the other night than the Republican National Convention?

    To me, that's perfectly understandable. We all knew how the RNC would end (Kosh said it best, I think). Honey Boo Boo, OTOH, may provide some suspense.