The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label unemployment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label unemployment. Show all posts

Monday, May 6, 2019

Trump Vs Obama Economy?

Taking a bit of a hiatus on posting on the page of late...simply busy.  

Yet, I can not resist linking to a Forbes piece regarding what some are calling the "booming" Trump economy. I have long posited my rejection of Trump's economic team and policies as the catalyst of the current US economy. Eight years of economic growth preceded Trump's days in the Oval Office. A question comes to mind.

Could the Trump economic team have taken the Bush post-subprime burst and losses of 750,000 per month and turn it around as did the Obama team? I suspect the answer is rhetorical; not with any infusion of GOP or conservative economic ideology and policies. Hardly!

The Forbes piece is linked here.

Since most won't be inclined to follow the link to Forbes, I have posted two charts from the piece as an enticement to educate oneself and understand how the Trump team are flying high on a whiff of self-serving flatulence.

U.S. employment

U.S. unemployment rate

One wrong economic decisions and the Trump economic flatulence could dissipate.


Friday, May 6, 2016

April Jobs Report, Unemployment, OffShore Tax Shelters, President Obama

During the morning April Jobs address, President Obama pivoted away from what some are calling a moderate jobs report to an issue that has escaped my ability to apply time and effort understanding. The president addressed corporations and individuals who are escaping paying US taxes via various forms of financial enterprising in overseas tax shelters.  

After a quick peep at yet another month of jobs growth, I have posted the White House website piece regarding the recent revelations via the "Panama Papers."

Market Watch 

White House dot gov

The Obama administration just took a series of important steps to combat money laundering, corruption, and tax evasion.

Linked five-minute segment of the 26-minute address and Q & A.

In recent weeks,  you may have heard people talking about the “Panama Papers”— millions of reportedly leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm that have shed light into an illicit world of offshore anonymous shell companies. For too long, corrupt officials, tax cheats, and other criminals have used these kinds of shady practices to hide assets, engage in money laundering, or avoid taxes in their home countries
Since taking office, President Obama has been working to address corrupt practices that undermine our international financial system and enhance the transparency needed to ensure that everyone – including the wealthiest few – pay the taxes they owe.

Today, his Administration took another set of important steps to combat money laundering, corruption, and tax evasion. Here are a few answers to some questions Americans may have about this issue:

What did the Panama Papers reveal exactly? 

The Panama Papers appear to show that people around the globe have been using anonymous, offshore shell companies and other entities in order to hide their business and assets from authorities. Some bad actors – like drug cartels, terrorist cells, or some wealthy individuals – have used shell companies and offshore accounts to evade taxes, launder money, or finance terrorist activity.  

What is a shell company and how does it work? 

A shell company is a company with anonymous or hidden ownership.
Establishing companies like this is actually a normal practice around the world. In fact, the regulations for registering a company in most countries enable it. Shell companies are empty fronts that can hold assets, wire money, and open bank accounts like any company without revealing the name of their actual owners who benefit from the shell company’s legal or illegal transactions. For instance, developers can use a shell company for legal reasons, like purchasing real estate to thwart speculative price gouging. And that’s perfectly legal.
However, shell companies can also be used to launder money, evade taxes, facilitate corruption, or finance terrorism.    
The owner of a shell company is known as a “beneficial owner,” and by using shell companies, the beneficial owner can control the shell company’s transactions without revealing his or her identity. That often means that beneficial owners can often conduct illegal activities without financial authorities and law enforcement being able to detect those activities or the people behind them. 

What do today’s actions do to help address this kind of financial abuse? 

Today, the Treasury Department took several steps to increase transparency and disclosure requirements.
First, the Treasury Department finalized its “customer due diligence” rule, which requires financial institutions – such as banks , mutual funds, and other financial institutions – to find out and verify who actually owns and profits from the companies that make use of their services, i.e, the “beneficial owner.” Under this rule, if an entity (like a shell company) opens an account at a financial institution, that institution will be required to identify and verify the real people actually behind that entity. And law enforcement can then seek out that information from those institutions.
By requiring disclosure of beneficial ownership information, we will increase financial transparency and give financial institutions and law enforcement the ability to identify the assets and accounts of criminals and national security threats.
Now, while the beneficial owners of shell companies often exploit weak rules in offshore tax havens, gaps also exist in U.S. tax rules that foreigners can currently exploit to set up and hide their assets or financial activity in an anonymous shell company in the United States.
So the second step Treasury took today is to propose a rule that would plug this gap by requiring certain foreign-owned companies to obtain a tax identification number from the IRS, thereby requiring these entities to report ownership and transaction information to the IRS.
Taken together, these steps go a long way in helping to combat money laundering and tax evasion, but additional tools are needed to promote transparency and strengthen law enforcement. And only Congress can help on that front. 

What role does Congress have to play to combat illegal financial activity? 

The truth is that bad actors will continue to seek new ways to exploit the financial system for illicit purposes – be it financing terrorism, laundering proceeds from illegal activity such as corruption, evading international sanctions, or evading taxes – and the Administration cannot address these actions through executive steps alone. 
That is why President Obama is calling on Congress to take four critical actions to strengthen what the U.S. can do: 
1. Pass legislation to require “beneficial ownership” transparency: On behalf of the Administration, the U.S. Department of the Treasury is sending a new legislative proposal to Congress that would require all companies formed in the U.S. report information about their beneficial owners to the Department of the Treasury. That step would make information about beneficial owners readily available to law enforcement.
2. Pass legislation to give law enforcement better anti-corruption tools: We are also seeking legislation to advance our ability to fight corruption both here in the United States and abroad. The new legislative proposals would enhance the ability of our law enforcement officials to obtain information from domestic and foreign banks so they can investigate and prosecute money laundering. This will also allow the Justice Department to prosecute money laundering linked to a broader set of crimes, including ones that involve corrupt public officials.
3. Approve eight tax treaties:  Eight tax treaties have been awaiting Senate approval for several years. Without those treaties, U.S. officials don’t have a complete set of tools to fully investigate and crack down on tax evasion by Americans with offshore accounts, including secret Swiss bank accounts.
4. Strengthen existing law to improve reciprocal transparency: In 2010, President Obama signed legislation that established the global standard for financial reporting by requiring foreign financial institutions to automatically report to the IRS information about financial accounts held by U.S. persons. But right now, the U.S. doesn’t provide the same information to its partners under this law that they provide to the United States. Congress can strengthen this law by requiring U.S. financial institutions to provide that information to our partners.  

Are these the first steps President Obama has taken to strengthen financial transparency and to address corruption and money laundering around the globe? 

Actually, no. President Obama has been focused on this issue since he took office, and today’s steps build on the progress this Administration has made to combat tax evasion, corruption, and illicit finance. 
From pushing for and passing the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act to cracking down on offshore tax evasion through criminal investigations and prosecutions, the President and his Administration have taken important steps on many fronts that have helped increase transparency in the international financial system and both prevent and punish financial corruption. 
Here’s a look at the results of the Administration’s efforts, by the numbers. 
Under President Obama:  
  • The Department of Justice has charged more than 100 U.S. accountholders that evaded U.S. tax laws using hidden offshore accounts, and nearly 50 individuals who assisted them.
  • Due to aggressive law enforcement actions, 80 Swiss banks have admitted to engaging in criminal conduct and paid more than $1.3 billion in penalties.
  • Under threat of prosecution, more than 54,000 individuals have come forward to disclose their offshore accounts, paying more than $8 billion in tax, penalties, and interest.
  • Under a law the President signed in 2010, more than 150,000 foreign financial institutions have agreed to report information to the U.S., in an effort to ensure that tax cheats cannot hide assets offshore. 
There’s a lot more to digest here, so if you’re looking for a deep dive, see what the Treasury Department and the Department of Justice have to say about today's announcement. And check out what Secretary Jack Lew said to Members of Congress today about next steps.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Economic Growth, Unemployment And The Reality Of It All

Economic growth and its major top of the iceberg indicator: jobs and unemployment. 

The St. Louis Federal Reserve bank recently published a well-crafted brief exposition of US unemployment. The piece struck me as particularly relevant as we watched each and enjoy positive jobs report from the Bureau of Labor statistics with skepticism, from the Right.

It often appears the chatter-box naysayers spew more inane drivel as the unemployment rate drops than spewed as the last administration ended with monthly unemployment numbers in the 400 to 800 thousand range.  Januart 2016 reports.

Yes data and visual representation of data can be misleading and in the hands of some writers it data can actually become a (nefarious) message tool.  It is hard, however, to view the two graphics above without any degree of hope and satisfaction of a world saved from an economic collapse by the current administration. Especially, when we are now seeing data that reflects growing higher wage jobs.  The old message tool of "low paying" jobs has moved to "participation rate." Well, yes but what of the Participation Rate during the last year of the Bush Administration?

The Fed report, Making Sense of Unemployment Data, fills in a few areas of concern while offering a realistic treatise on unemployment.

NOTE: The labor force participation rate rose from 58.1 percent in 1954 to a high of 67.3 percent in 2000 and then started a downward trend. In December 2015 it was 62.6 percent. Gray bars indicate recessions as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

SOURCE: BLS Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate [CIVPART]. Retrieved from FRED®(Federal Reserve Economic Data), Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, January 8, 2016;
Conclusion The standard unemployment rate (U-3) is an important measure of the health of national labor market conditions. Recent unemployment data indicate that the U.S. economy is near full employment. However, many observers doubt that the unemployment rate fully reflects the reality of underemployed and discouraged workers—both of whom are not counted as unemployed. Theyoften refer to the downward trend in the labor market participation rate as an indication of labor market weakness. However, taken in the context of the demographic shift, the current low unemployment rate is likely an indication of a strong labor market.

David F. Ruccio also published noteworthy piece about economic growth in aggregate. I hope economic (should any read this piece) forgive my use of the word aggregate. I have read in econimc cirles aggragte may carry a different meaning.

Why is slow growth a problem?

by David F. Ruccio
There is no doubt that, eight years after the crash of 2008, the world economy continues to stagnate. The problem of slow growth is confirmed by Joseph Stiglitz [ht: ja], who bases his argument on the latest report from the United Nations, World Economic Situation and Prospects 2016 (pdf). Thus, for example, the growth rate of developed economies, which averaged only 0.8 percent over the 2007-2014 period, was projected for 2015 to be 24 percent less than before the crash (and forecast to still be less than in 2007 for at least the next two years). For other groups of countries, the decline is even worse: 54 percent for developing countries and 132 percent for economies in transition.
few days ago, I argued that slow growth was a fundamental problem for capitalism. The question is, why?
To be clear, there's a reasonable argument to be made that we would all be better off with less or no growth. That's certainly true for our natural environment, in terms of issues such as global warming, pollution, and so on. Fewer resources would be extracted; less energy would be needed, thus lowering the level of greenhouse gasses; and, in general, less environmental damage might be caused by our economic activities.
My argument, however, is about the predominant economic system in the world today. It is capitalism that has a slow-growth problem. And that's because growth is both a premise and promise of a particular capitalism way of organizing our economic activities.
It is a premise in the sense that capitalists—the capitalist class as a whole, not individual capitalists—can collect and utilize for their own purposes more surplus-value when capitalism is growing—when productivity is high, when more commodities are being produced, when the economy as a whole is growing. There's more surplus available, even if workers' wages are rising, and individual capitalists can all get their aliquot share of that growing surplus.
Of course, capitalists can get more surplus even when the economy is not growing, or growing only slowly. But that requires additional measures, such as keeping wages low. If, for whatever reason, they're able to keep workers' wages from growing, then the difference between the value those workers produce and what they receive in income can still grow.
employment gap
And, as it turns out, capitalism has a way of keeping workers' wages from rising: unemployment. According to the United Nations, just in the OECD countries, 44 million workers were unemployed in 2015, about 12 million more than in 2007. And one-third of unemployed individuals were out of work for 12 months or more in the last quarter of 2014—a 77.2 percent increase in the number of long-term unemployed since the financial crisis hit.
One of the key premises of capitalism is that it provide sufficient jobs to employ everyone who wants to (and, of course, needs to) work. Clearly it hasn't been able to do that in the years since the crash—and slow growth in the foreseeable future will maintain or even increase the existing "employment gap."
But, of course, the existence of a large number of unemployed workers has had the desired effect: real wages declined from 2008 onward and, even as they began to increase in 2015, they're still far below what they were before the crash.
And while the decline in real wages certainly serves to increase profitability in the short run, it has also undermined the ability of workers to buy back the commodities they produce. That undercut the consumption contribution to growth. In turn, capitalists have been hesitant to continue to invest, which is lowering the investment component of growth.
That means we can expect little economic growth now and in the years to come. And, as I have shown, slow growth undermines both the premise and promise of capitalism.
David F. Ruccio | 10 February 2016

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Trump'd : No More Black Presidents And The Big Lie ("He is like one of us")


Under President Barack Obama, income levels and unemployment numbers "are worse now than just about ever" for African-Americans.

FalseTrump— Donald Trump on Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 in 
an interview on ABC "This Week"
Donald Trump: Black income, unemployment 'worse now than just about ever' 
By Louis Jacobson on Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 at 4:39 p.m.
Donald Trump phoned in several interviews on the Sunday news shows on Aug. 2, 2015. 
Just days before the first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 campaign, billionaire real-estate developer and current polling leader Donald Trump criticized President Barack Obama’s record on ABC’s This Week. 
At one point, Trump zeroed in on Obama’s status as the country’s first black president, arguing that he had failed his black constituents.
Read more

Donald Trump is busy carnival barking like the exhibition orator charged with suckling you in to enter the carnival tent 
to see what you will surely grow to feel: "That was a rip off."

Image via Flickr

Trump has literally captured the attention of potential voters who so long to vote conservative they are actually oozing over a barker who started his campaign with outlandish anti-Latino racist rhetoric and asinine assertions about Mexico.

"Oozing?" Yes, as illustrated via a segment with 
Bloomberg's John Heilemann. Talking Points Memo published a condensed version of the Heilemann interview. 


The TPM piece included these comments.

“He's like one of us," Janet, a former dog breeder, explained. "He may be a millionaire (sic), which separates him from everybody else. But besides the money issue, he's still in tune with what everybody is wanting.” 
Many also cited Trump's vast wealth in identifying with him.
"I knew that he was a wealthy, successful man and I remember asking my mother if I could write him a letter to ask him how he made his money so that I could do it too," Jessica, a data analyst, said.
Heilemann further asked the focus group what they believed a Trump presidency would look like. 
“Classy,” Cheryl, a real estate agent, answered confidently.
Talking Points Memo

(Eigth Minute version)

Seriously? Do you recall years when Trump would not affect a handshake based on reports of a personal germ paranoia?

How about these solid middle class Americans who seem to actually feel as if Trump is one of us?" The original segment even includes a panelist who yelps about wanting to be a billionaire and that in his mind makes Trump "OK." Heilemann also asked the panel how they felt about Trumps statements regarding Hispanic immigrants as possibly racist remarks. The panel grew quiet with one pronounced voice saying , "doesn't bother me."

"...doesn't bother me."


Trump last fall.

Donald J. Trump 

Sadly, because president Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won't see another black president for generations! 3:15 AM - 25 Nov 2014

Trump's cognitive constipation and severe oral diarrhea is abhorrent to many Americas, but welcome and cherished by others.    

“He's like one of us," 


"...doesn't bother me."

Sadly, Trump's personal aura is attractive to a majority of conservative poll respondents. An indication of the depths to which American conservatism has devolved.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Jobless Claims Lowest in 15 Years. Why Not News Worthy?

The true news geek may have missed this interesting ans exciting tidbit form the new wires on yesterday. While all major cablemedaiapproapritley expened coverage on the AMTRAK derailment in Philadelphia. It was amazing that not one cable news network even touched into this report.

Jobless claims hit a 15 year low. despite disparaging remarks from the Right about "employment participation rates," it is absolutely gleeful to find fewer Americans filing for unemployment. The following AoL piece also includes positive remarks regarding our economic future. It is a quick read, so no worries about moving away from more "exciting" news chosen for us via electronic media.


Jobless Claims Near 15-Year Low; Producer Prices Fall

Claims below 300,000 for 10 straight weeks

Application for employment and pen

By Lucia Mutikani

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, indicating the jobs market was on solid footing even as the economy struggles to regain momentum after abruptly slowing in the first quarter. 
Other data on Thursday showed that a strong dollar and lower oil prices suppressed producer inflation in April. That together with signs of modest growth early in the second quarter suggest the Federal Reserve will probably not raise interest rates until later in the year. 
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 264,000 for the week ended May 9, the Labor Department said on Thursday, within a whisker of a 15-year low reached two weeks ago. 
They have been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a strengthening labor market, for 10 straight weeks. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 275,000. 
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 7,750 to 271,750 last week. That was the lowest level since April 2000.
Read More

It is critical to remember "entertainment media seeks your viewing not for purpose of socially surviving the populace with news; it is singularly focused on revenue.  Electronic media is also the most visible part of six conglomerates who own all US media.  You are dangerously naive, if you for one second do not recognize the prospect of cronyism and political influence from the nation's uber wealthy.

If you are of an age group that lived as far back as the late 1960s and early 190s, you may long for the day of real news coverage that we could view, trust and fold into our memories as part of a knowledge base. Today, we can only rest assured of that which appeals to the camera, politically influenced dogman (Fox News) and more often than not silly coverage from the likes of CNN.  If you think I am keyboarding with a degree of hyperbole, think about a time when the nation suffered as many as 500,000 job losses in a one month period. Also think about the fact GOP politicians will not mention the US economy. If you are waiting for any of the 20 pus GOP prospects to speak about the unemployment rate or jobless claims, you might as well stand an invite a bolt of lightning across your forehead, it will not forthcoming.

I posit the coverage of lowered Jobless Claims on May 14, 2015, was nonexistent for political reasons. I suggest that attest to the athletic saste of US electronic media.