- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday
that the economy gained only 103,000 new jobs in December--not enough to
keep up with population growth--but the rate of unemployment (U.3) fell
from 9.8% to 9.4%. If you are confused by the report, you are among the
- In truth, what fell was not the number of unemployed
people but the number of unemployed people who are actively looking for
work. Those who have become discouraged and have ceased looking for work
are not considered to be in the work force and are not counted as unemployed
in the U.3 measure. The unemployment rate fell because discouraged workers
increased, not because employment rose.
- The BLS counts short-term discouraged workers (less than
one year) in its U.6 measure of unemployment. That unemployment rate is
16.7%. When statistician John Williams (shadowstats.com) adds the long-term
discouraged, the US unemployment rate as of December 2010 was 22.4%.
- The question to ask yourself is: why does the media focus
on the unemployment measure that does not count any discouraged workers?
The answer is that the U.3 measurement only counts 42% of the unemployed
and makes the situation appear to be a lot better than it is.
- Where are the 103,000 new jobs? As I have reported for
years, the jobs are in non-tradable domestic services: waitresses and bar
tenders, health care and social assistance (primarily ambulatory health
care services), and retail and wholesale trade.
- Today the United States has only 11,670,000 manufacturing
jobs, less than 9% of total jobs. Yet, despite America's heavy dependence
on foreign manufactures and foreign creditors, the idiots in Washington
think that they are a superpower standing astride the world like a colossus.
- John Williams reports that "the level of payroll
employment still stands below where it was a decade ago, despite the U.S.population
growing by more than 10% in the same period. The structural impairments
to U.S. economic activity continue to constrain normal commercial activity,
preventing any meaningful recovery in business activity."
- Another way of saying this is that American corporations
have taken American jobs offshore and given them to the Chinese. So much
for big business patriotism.
- Williams also reports that, unless it is finagled, next
month's BLS benchmark revision of payroll employment data will lower the
level of previously reported employment by more than 500,000.
- Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke used his testimony
before the Senate Budget Committee last Friday to warn that the U.S. government
must get its budget deficit under control or "the economic and financial
effects would be severe." Here Bernanke is acknowledging that the
Federal Reserve cannot indefinitely print money in order to finance wars
and bailouts of the mega-rich.
- But how is the government to get its budget under control?
The U.S. government, regardless of political party or president, is committed
to American hegemony over the world. The Congress has just passed the largest
military budget in history, and there is no indication that any of America's
wars and military occupations are near an end.
- The financial crisis is not over, with more foreclosures
and more losses for the financial sector that will result in more taxpayer
bailouts for those "too big to fail." John Williams says that
the double-dip is already happening, just disguised by faulty statistics,
and that the deficit implications are horrendous and are likely to result
in hyperinflation as the Federal Reserve will have to monetize the otherwise
- The dollar is also in danger, its role as reserve currency
undermined by the Federal Reserve's creation of more and more dollars.
Temporarily, the dollar is buttressed by the grief that Wall Street's
sale of fraudulent derivative financial instruments to Europe
- has caused the euro.
- The Republicans will try to destroy Social Security and
Medicare in order to pay for wars and bailouts. If Americans are capable
of realizing that they are threatened on a much greater level by the Republicans'
evisceration of the social safety net than they are by terrorists, the
Republican assault on what they call "the welfare state" will
- The fallback target will be private pensions, assuming
any survive plunder by the Wall Street investment banks. Pension funds
could be required to invest in Treasury debt or they could face a levy.
In the Clinton administration, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Alicia
Munnell proposed confiscating 15% of all pension assets on the grounds
that they had accumulated tax free. Certainly Washington will steal Americans'
pensions, just as Washington has stolen Americans' civil liberties, in
order to continue the empire's wars of hegemony.
- Increasingly, the rest of the world views America as
the single source of its financial and political woes. While the superpower
massacres Muslims in the Middle East and Central Asia, people in the rest
of the world have learned from WikiLeaks that the U.S. government manipulates,
bribes, threatens, and deceives other governments in order to have those
governments serve the U.S. government's interest at the expense of the
interests of their own peoples.
- The American Imperial Empire rests on puppet governments
that are increasingly distrusted and hated by the peoples under their rule.
Like the Soviet Union's Eastern European empire, the American Empire is
ruled not directly but through puppet states.
- Puppet governments are caught between the empire's power
and the power of the local population. To the extent that Europeans have
a moral conscience, they will find America's foreign policy increasingly
repugnant. To the extent that Muslim solidarity grows, the Muslim puppet
governments that support America's and Israel's massacres of Muslims will
find themselves threatened from within.
- The American Empire is on the rocks, despite its vast
arsenal of nuclear weapons and its control over the foreign and domestic
policies of its subservient puppet states in Western and Eastern Europe,
the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, parts of Africa, the Middle East,
Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, the Baltic states, Georgia, Kosovo, Mexico,
Central America, Columbia, and, no doubt, others.
- A country that is the font of war and oppression, whose
dominance rests on the weak reed of puppet states, and whose economy is
collapsing will not long remain dominant.