Fake Economic Recovery
By Stephen Lendman
Shortly after he took office in 2009, headlines touted recovery. It never began. It doesn't exist. Protracted Main Street Depression conditions affect growing millions.
Things go from bad to worse. Human suffering is real. Pathetically little is done to help. Neoliberal harshness is official policy. Both parties support it.
Obama's agenda is anti-populist. He targets America's most disadvantaged. He's done so throughout his tenure. He deplores social justice.
He's gutting America's New Deal and Great Society. He's waging class war. He's force-feeding pain and suffering.
He's got lots more planned ahead. He wants maximum wealth shifted to corporate America and super-rich elites. He wants it stolen from ordinary people to benefit them. He lies claiming otherwise.
Social safety net protections are disappearing on his watch. It's happening when they're most needed.
Rogue politicians don't care. Bipartisan complicity bears full responsibility. Obama does most of all.
He demands neoliberal harshness. Since taking office, he's cut numerous social programs. He wants Medicare and Social Security privatized en route to eliminating them altogether.
He's beholden solely to monied interests. They own him. They make policy. Whatever they want they get. It comes at the expense of popular interests.
Friday's jobs report reflects dismal conditions for most Americans. One analyst called it "piss poor." Market Ticker.org's Karl Denninger said it "sucks."
December's report makes "lies (about economic recovery) a hell of a lot harder to believe," he added.
Friday's report followed the worst holiday season retail sales since 2009. Blaming it on bad weather doesn't wash.
It was marginally below normal. Super-storm Sandy had little effect. It greatly impacted America's northeast.
It affected millions in 12 states. It hit New York City hard. America's largest metropolis shut down.
Heavily populated areas lacked power, heat and other public services across a wide region. Up to two weeks or longer were required to restore them in some areas.
Storm conditions and aftermath had little effect on jobs creation. Blaming weather this time hides deep-seated problems.
Obama's notion of jobs creation is tax cuts for corporate America and super-rich elites. Nothing lifts millions out of poverty better than living wage-paying jobs. Lots of them.
Washington has no program to create them. Friday's report highlighted what's not addressed. Paul Craig Roberts offers some of the best analysis.
"(A)lleged recovery took a direct hit" on Friday, he said. It revealed reality for growing millions. It exposed wrongheaded policy.
Around 95% of jobs created were rotten ones. They were in low-pay/poor benefit wholesale and retain trade positions. They were largely part-time or temp.
They reveal a nation in decline. When the world's richest country can't produce living-wage jobs, race to the bottom dystopia follows. America is on a fast track toward it.
Saturday headlines downplayed disaster. Tout TV talking heads tried putting a brave face on economic failure. Roberts said he's been examining monthly jobs reports for years.
This one was disturbing, he said. "Normally a mainstay of jobs gains is in the category 'education and health services,' with 'ambulatory health care services' adding thousands of jobs," he explained.
Not this time. "Education and health services" added "zero."
"(A)mbulatory health care services" lost "4,100 jobs and health care los(t) 6,000 jobs." Roberts believes it's "a first." Maybe Obamacare shares blame, he said.
He calls it "possibly the worst piece of domestic legislation passed in decades." Indeed so. Previous articles explained.
It's a giveaway for major providers. It lets them profit hugely. Especially predatory insurers. It rations care for growing millions.
It raises costs at the same time. It increasingly makes coverage unaffordable. It promotes illness, not good health.
Friday's report showed school teacher layoffs. "Aren't Washington's priorities wonderful," said Roberts. One trillion dollars in annual QE for Wall Street. "(N)othing for school teachers."
What's ahead throughout 2014 remains to be seen. For sure living-wage jobs will be few and far between. Honest analysts were downbeat on Friday's report.
Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Arian called it "somewhere between puzzling and worrisome." It gives pause to alleged economic recovery. It's more fake than real.
Economics Professor Robert Prasch called Friday's report "disappointing but not surprising." Business hiring occurs when "current and projected revenues increase relative to costs," he said.
US wages declined since recovery began. Interest rates are near zero. Both factors constitute no "barriers to hiring," said Prasch.
Aggregate demand is to blame, he added. Consumer expenditures are constrained by over-indebtedness. Other demand related categories are lackluster.
"Absent anything driving aggregate demand, can we be surprised to learn that overall spending is failing to grow at anything like the pace required for a robust economic expansion," asked Prasch?
Future reports may or may not be better. They won't be good enough, he believes. He sees nothing driving economic growth any time soon. Hard times for growing millions will get harder.
A previous article said the fake unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percent to 6.7%. It's because hundred of thousands of discouraged workers stopped seeking jobs.
They can't find them. They're aren't enough around. Government policy bears full responsibility. Job creation isn't a federal priority. Pathetically little is done to help.
Around 155 million workers comprise America's labor force. In December, a shocking seasonally adjusted 490,000 dropped out. Seasonally unadjusted numbers fell 638,000.
Doing so bears witness to deplorable economic conditions. Poor quality jobs available explain more. Bush's record was abysmal. Obama's performance is much worse.
Practically nothing about December's report was encouraging. Labor force participation hit a 37-year low. For African American men, it was an all-time low. Major media reporting ignored it.
Indications suggest greater depths coming. Perhaps 2014 will be moment of truth time. Day of reckoning arrival is long overdue.
Friday's report puts a lie to so-called recovery. Protracted Main Street Depression conditions explain things best. Human misery does best of all.
Growing millions are affected. They've been thrown under the bus and forgotten. America's most disadvantaged suffer most.
Canada's report was worse. Nearly 46,000 jobs were lost. Unemployment rose to 7.2%. Perhaps more bad reports will follow.
So-called recoveries benefitting only privileged segments of societies aren't sustainable. Ones leaving growing millions behind suggests eventual trouble.
Force-feeding austerity when vital aid is needed perhaps assures it. Gerald Celente calls ongoing hard times "the greatest depression."
"When people lose everything and have nothing left to lose, they lose it," he says.
Perhaps it's just a matter of time. It may be the only way to change things. According to Occupy Wall Street, "the only solution is world revolution." What better time than now!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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