Some quick notes, questions, and random thoughts about the news from the past two weeks.
The March jobs report was released last Friday causing one to wonder how accurate it could be since March ended just 8-1/2 hours before the report was issued. Regardless, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 215,000 jobs were added in March as unemployment ticked up to 5.0% from 4.9%. The administration tried to say the small rise in unemployment is a good thing because it showed people were reentering the workforce. In reality there were 5,870,000 unemployed people in March that the feds refused to count as being in the workforce. They reclassified 158,000 of these people in April and they account for the entirety of the rise in official unemployment.
The real unemployment rate (official unemployed and not counted unemployed divided by the total workforce) is 8.3%, the same as in March. 13,678,000 Americans can’t find a job. BLS data can be found here: http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea03.htm .
The Bernie Sanders campaign recently sent out this meme:
Bernie may think his statement is “clear” but he conveniently ignores some things that turn the statement into BS.
First of all, the Bush tax cuts didn’t go to just billionaires. When Bush took office in 2000, anyone making $12,000/year or less had to pay an income tax rate of 15%. Their rate was cut by a third to 10% in 2002. When you make that little money, keeping an extra $600 is a big deal. Every tax bracket got a rate cut and the lower brackets were expanded so that some people moved from higher to lower rates in addition to getting a cut. Bernie may not like this but I’ve yet to meet a taxpayer who isn’t happy when the feds let ze (look how PC I am!) keep more of zir money.
To his credit Bernie was one of the few Congressmen to vote against invading Iraq but he did vote to invade Afghanistan and has said he thinks we should keep an army there indefinitely. So of the two wars he claims Bush started without paying for, Bernie fully supports one of them. He also voted “yea” on half of all Department of Defense budget authorizations since 2001, thus supporting the continued war mongering.
But the premise that the tax cuts and wars caused today’s astronomical deficits is wrong. After the tax cuts and the two invasions the deficit rose to $412 billion by 2004 but then it fell to $161 billion by 2007, a level first seen in 1983 when we were at peace and had higher tax rates.
Then the economy tanked and Bush and Obama engaged in a Keynesian spending orgy. In 2009 the deficit rocketed to $1,413 billion, nearly nine times higher than it was just two years earlier. We had the same tax rates and the same wars, so what was different? TARP and the Stimulus were enacted. Then Obamacare was added. Bernie was against TARP but he was totally on board with the other two boondoggles. Since these programs began the national debt has doubled. Bernie’s right that the wars, one of which he supported, were stupid and a waste of money (the tax cuts were not). But blaming the country’s debt crisis on them while ignoring the even more expensive big government programs he loves is downright retarded.
As bad as Bernie’s meme is there is a meme put out by Trump backers that points out the stupidity of his supporters. The amount of laziness and ignorance needed to think this meme is true is almost incomprehensible.
Here it is:
The meme purports to show a wall Mexico built along its border with Guatemala to keep illegal aliens out. If you know anything at all about the geography of Central America something should jump out at you immediately – where is the jungle? The wall in the photo is running through a desert, shouldn’t there at least be some trees?
Here’s a photo of the Mexican-Guatemalan border:
Note the complete lack of any wall. If you have a pair of wire cutters from Casa Depot you would be thru the fence in a minute. Most of the border is unguarded, including half of the roads between the two countries. Mexico is NOT building a wall to keep out Guatemalans.
So where is the wall in Trump’s meme? Arizona. The US built it. So in order to make a point about how hypocritical it is for Mexicans to complain about Trump wanting a wall to keep Mexicans out, some Trump propaganda bonehead had to use a photo of a wall the US built to keep Mexicans out, because he couldn’t find one of the non-existent wall the Mexicans built to keep Guatemalans out. Incidentally, the photographer who took the photo used in the meme said he noticed a rope dangling from the top of the wall … a rope that was used to climb over the wall. So much for a wall keeping Mexicans out of the US.
Dear Trump supporters, quit being so damn gullible and fact-check the BS that moron is spewing.
Finally, it has been a week since North Carolina saved its citizens from the terror of sharing bathrooms with transgender folks. I am happy to report that I have used several public toilets in the last week and not once did I encounter a woman dressed as a man lying in wait to rape me. See? The law is working!
As the year progresses I will keep a running tally of the number of unarmed citizens and dogs killed by police. I will also keep tabs on the number of cops killed in the line of duty.
Here’s the count for the first 13 weeks of the year along with links to the most recent killings:
Unarmed Americans killed by police: 14
Dogs killed by police: 14
Police intentionally killed in the line of duty: 15