Republican Bill Would Change How Unemployment Data Is Calculated

A bill introduced in Congress last week would force the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to report the “true” unemployment rate. The bill has more than a dozen sponsors.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (pictured above), R-Calif., introduced H.R. 1876, similar to the measure he introduced in 2012 which would change the primary measure of unemployment from the ‘U3’ to the ‘U5.’ BLS calculates U1 through U6, as Forbes notes:

  • U1: Percent of Civilian Labor Force Unemployed 15 Weeks and over
  • U2: Unemployment Rate – Job Losers
  • U3: Unemployment Rate
  • U4: All of U3, plus discouraged workers
  • U5: All of U4, plus marginally attached workers
  • U6: All of U5, plus total employed part time for economic reasons

While BLS calculates every figure, Hunter’s bill would ensure the U5 would be presented to the general public as the official unemployment rate.

In March, the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent using the U3 standard. But using Hunter’s metric, the rate would increase to 6.7 percent. Still, the San Diego-area congressman does not think this is about so-called ‘gotcha’ politics.

“[I]t makes me look bad too when unemployment is sliding … it makes the Republican Congress, the president and the Democratic Senate – anybody who is an elected representative and in charge look bad. I don’t think it goes one way,” Hunter said of his original proposal on Fox News in 2012.

Hunter amplified the case on his Facebook page Tuesday.

I introduced legislation to change the way the federal government reports unemployment. We shouldn’t only count those who are out of work and looking for a job–as currently the case. There are a lot of Americans, whether they are discouraged or face other challenges, who aren’t factored in the monthly U3 rate. They should be counted too–otherwise, true unemployment goes unrecognized.

Hunter has 15 members cosponsoring the bill, which has been referred to the House Education and Workforce Committee. They include:

  • Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga.
  • Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y.
  • Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J.
  • Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo.
  • Rep. Brett Guthrie, R- Ky.
  • Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill.
  • Rep. Robert Hurt, R-Va.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
  • Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla.
  • Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C.
  • Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss.
  • Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind.
  • Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark.
  • Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.
  • Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont.

h/t: The Blaze

Do you like Rep. Hunter’s idea? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Barbra Streisand Thinks Economy Is Doing Great Under Obama

Singer, actress, and political activist Barbra Streisand wants Americans to know that the economy is doing great under President Barack Obama.

She recently published an opinion piece in the Huffington Post entitled, “Have You Heard The Good News?” In the piece, she argues that given the economy Obama inherited, the nation is doing great. She points to the unemployment rate being at 5.5 percent thanks to the 11 million new jobs created since the president took office. She cites liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s claim that the economy is adding jobs at a rate not seen since the Clinton years in the 1990s.

Striesand’s analysis of the American economy is missing a few key points. First, given the depth of the recession, which began in 2007, the fact that the economy is adding jobs at a fast rate is to be expected, based on past recoveries. Furthermore, the March jobs numbers were nothing to write home about, with the economy adding a meager 126,000 new workers. She fails to mention that the real unemployment rate is over 9 percent, and the nation had not experienced such a low labor participation rate–62.7 percent–since the late 1970s.

The last time the nation experienced a similar recession during the late 1970s and early 80s, Washington took the exact opposite approach Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress took. As President Ronald Reagan famously pronounced, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem.”

Based on this assessment, the president and Congress cut taxes for individuals, businesses, and investments rather than raising them. They got rid of regulations burdening the energy sector and the overall business climate. In short, they created a climate where people wanted to start new businesses and grow the ones they had.

The results speak for themselves. The nation experienced unprecedented economic growth, with the economy of the United States growing an entire third larger (the size of the entire German economy) while adding 18 million new jobs; real unemployment dropped from over 10 percent to five. Add to this the fact that revenues to the Treasury doubled thanks to the booming economy.

Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore identifies a few key steps leaders in Washington could take to get the nation back on track:

Approve the Keystone pipeline, reverse recent EPA regulations that are strangling our oil and gas producers and our utilities, suspend the 50-workers and 30-hours-a-week rules that trigger Obamacare mandates and regulations, and cut the corporate tax rate. The 6.6 million jobs deficit is holding back family incomes and growth and bodes poorly for the future.

No matter what tune Streisand tries to sing about the great Obama economy, Americans know better.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

BREAKING: Obama’s Economy Lays An Egg Just In Time For Easter

WCJ images Jobs Broken

Given their dismal ability to offer a forecast that’s anything close to accurate, one has to question why anyone other than market-watching broadcast media eager to fill empty air time would pay attention to what economists have to say.

Equally curious, one might notice, is the shameless ability of the leftists to declare a loser to be a winner as they smear a thick coating of glossy lipstick on the pig that is the Obama economy.

PoliticusUSA — the website that touts itself as offering “real liberal politics” — has just put so much spin on the latest jobs report from the government that any reasonable visitor might suffer a debilitating bout of dizziness just reading their post.

“More Bad News For Republicans As President Obama Sets A New Job Growth Record,” proclaims the PoliticusUSA headline. The “record” the lib site trumpets is the administration’s self-declared achievement “that March makes the 61st straight month of job growth — ‘extending the longest streak on record’.”

So the number of jobs added in March was really spectacular, eh? Well, not so much, as USA Today notes in a post far less congratulatory of Obama’s economic policies.

“Employers added a subpar 126,000 jobs in March as the labor market cooled off…. Economists surveyed by Action Economics expected employment gains of 248,000, according to their median forecast.”

Further bad news in the latest unemployment numbers from the feds: “Job gains for January and February were revised down by a total 69,000.”

And about that Obama-driven jobs “record” the far-left website celebrated, a really key number that PoliticusUSA neglected to highlight during their happy dance for the president — the incredibly high number of discouraged Americans who have dropped out of the labor force, job seekers who have given up.

Breitbart digs down into the revealing statistics that expose the failure of the administration to implement policies that benefit Americans across the board:

More Americans dropped out of the labor force last month, as the number of people not in the labor force hit another record high in March.

According to Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statics jobs data 93,175,000 Americans were not in the work force in March, an addition of 277,000 to February’s level of 92,898,000.

The Breitbart post notes that March was the first month in which records have been kept where the number of people not in the U.S. labor force surpassed 93 million.

One sector of the economy hard hit by falling gasoline prices has been the mining industry, which includes oil and gas companies. As USA Today notes:

Oil producers and related service companies have announced about 80,000 layoffs since December amid a sharp drop in crude prices. Manufacturers that supply the industry also have planned an additional 10,000.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Who Are The Biggest Fans Of Minimum Wage Hikes?

a katz / Shutterstock.com  a katz / Shutterstock.com

Liberal politicians and media love to profile earnest minimum wage workers who benefit immediately from a minimum wage hike (even if they later lose their jobs because of it, after the media has moved on).

But we never see profiles of the biggest winners from minimum wage hikes: the salespeople whose job is to convince supermarkets, retail stores, and fast food restaurants to install self-service ordering and checkout kiosks.

Self-serve kiosks are no longer rare or remarkable; they are sweeping across America–and every time the minimum wage is increased, these technologies become more cost-competitive versus human workers.

In public documents, the companies selling these self-service machines tout their accuracy, ease of use, customer satisfaction, and various other features that are said to make them a wise investment.

But what these companies do not want to be seen promoting is how much labor they save – i.e., how many employees they make it possible to eliminate.

Consider an actual supermarket in Bethesda, Maryland. It has a sticker on its front door proudly proclaiming it has a unionized workforce.

The store has one employee bag groceries for every two traditional checkout lanes. So, for example, to check out six people at once, it used to employ six cashiers and three baggers, for a total of nine employees.

Then recently, over the course of a few days, it installed a group of self-service checkout machines. This cluster of six machines allows six customers to check out simultaneously, with…get this…just one employee monitoring them.

In the course of one week, this proud union shop had eliminated the need for eight workers per shift.

And the kiosk salesperson had scored another commission.

Think of all the self-service machines you saw in 2014. Now chew on the fact that 21 states have increased their minimum wage since New Year’s Eve, making those machines instantly more cost-competitive.

To be clear: there is nothing dishonorable about these salespeople or the stores that add these machines. Labor-saving devices – from the automobile to the dishwasher to the computer – are a basic feature of human progress and should be applauded.

The problem comes when government mandates like the minimum wage artificially hasten the adoption of labor-replacing devices, particularly in the midst of our ongoing underemployment crisis, with our nation experiencing the lowest labor force participation rates in three decades.

Rather than face this issue, many have their heads in the sand.

In the New York Times last summer, an article waxed eloquent about a burrito chain called Boloco. The Times noted how Boloco pays even its newest, least-efficient employee more than the minimum wage, in contrast to other fast food brands that were portrayed as stingy. The co-founder of Boloco was quoted as saying: “If we’re talking about building a business that’s successful, but our employees can’t go home and pay their bills, to me that success is a farce.” He even appeared at a photo op with Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and called for a minimum wage hike, saying that paying his workers more than minimum wage was “a no-brainer.”

But missing from the fawning media was one significant fact: Boloco uses self-ordering kiosks to reduce the need for paid employees.

Last year, for example, in its Bethesda location, not far from the supermarket mentioned above, Boloco typically had one cashier available to take orders–and four self-serve ordering kiosks. So to move five people through the line simultaneously, Boloco did not employ five workers; it employed one.

The kiosk vendor promotes its work for Boloco in materials that hint gently at the labor-replacement value of self-service machines: “Boloco wanted to keep its emphasis on guest service, without having to exponentially increase staff.” But don’t worry; it quotes a Boloco Vice President reassuring us that “Kiosks . . won’t ever 100 percent replace our cashiers. . . .”

By the way, Boloco just closed its Bethesda and Washington, DC outlets. It gave all of its now-unemployed former workers four weeks severance.

Now imagine Bethesda’s labor-replacing mechanization being replicated nationwide, and you have a sense of how our existing unemployment crisis is about to get a whole lot worse for low-skilled workers and the unemployed.

Gallup’s CEO recently posted an essay that called the official 5.6% unemployment rate “The Big Lie,” noting that “as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed.” With government-mandated wage hikes fueling the accelerating wave of self-service kiosks that will take over fast food restaurants, supermarkets, and dollar stores, many more Americans are about to be added to that figure. As union agitators promise fast food workers that they are soon going to make $15 per hour, many are actually headed to $0 per year.

Of course, mechanization is inevitable, over time. Machines get cheaper, and their quality improves. New jobs will emerge to replace many of the old ones lost.

At the same time, people must improve their skills to survive in this new economy. But instead of having a national conversation about the need for struggling Americans to get to work on improving their skills, we continue to debate endlessly the notion that politicians can wave a magic minimum wage wand and deliver pain-free higher salaries to these workers.

American workers desperately need leaders focused on policies to strengthen our economy, improve our schools, speed economic growth, and create new jobs. In the meantime, there are probably more than a few self-serve kiosk salespeople rooting instead for more minimum wage hikes.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

The Big, Fat ‘American Worker Recruitment First’ Lie of H-1B

Flickr/astrid westvang

You’ve heard it from Big Government lobbyists. You’ve heard it from Big Business lackeys in both political parties. And you’ve heard it from journalists, pundits, and think-tankers ad nauseam:

The H-1B foreign guest worker program, they claim, requires American employers to first show that they searched for and tried to recruit American workers before tapping an ever-growing government-rigged pipeline of cheap foreign workers.

The foot soldiers of the open-borders brigade are lying, deluded, ignorant, or bought-off.

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee brought top independent academics and informed whistleblowers to Washington to expose the truth. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, hosted Howard University associate professor of public policy Ron Hira, Rutgers University professor Hal Salzman, Infosys whistleblower Jay Palmer, and former computer programmer-turned-lawyer John Miano, who brought much-needed reality checks on the systemic betrayal of American workers to the Beltway table.

Miano’s testimony was particularly important because he explained how the little-known “OPT” (Optical Training Program) for foreign students is being used to circumvent H-1B and supply large corporations with cheap foreign labor. President Obama has expanded this regulatory program by unfettered administrative fiat. As Miano noted, “OPT has no labor protections of any kind. Aliens on OPT do not even have to be paid at all. While DHS requires aliens to work in an area related to their major area of study, DHS has no ability to ensure that this happens. Under OPT, over 125,000 foreign workers a year are simply turned loose in America with no supervision or restrictions.”

Also on hand at the hearing: a few Big Tech shills toeing the Zuckerberg/Gates/Chamber of Commerce line that there’s a catastrophic American tech worker shortage, even as thousands upon thousands of American workers are being laid off in favor of underpaid, easily exploited H-1Bs. (Just use H-1B-promoter Google’s search engine and type in “Southern California Edison” and “layoffs.”)

Grassley put it plainly: “Most people believe that employers are supposed to recruit Americans before they petition for an H-1B worker. Yet, under the law, most employers are not required to prove to the Department of Labor that they tried to find an American to fill the job first.”

He added, “And, if there is an equally or even better qualified U.S. worker available, the company does not have to offer him or her the job. Over the years, the program has become a government-assisted way for employers to bring in cheaper foreign labor, and now it appears these foreign workers take over — rather than complement — the U.S. workforce.”

Hira affirmed: “It’s absolutely not true” that employers seeking H-1Bs must put American workers first, either by “law or regulations.”

How did this myth gain such traction? Many commentators and journalists confuse the labor certification process required for companies applying to obtain green cards (lawful permanent residency status) for H-1B workers with the Labor Condition Application (LCA) process for H-1Bs. Labor certification in the green card process “exists to protect U.S. workers and the U.S. labor market by ensuring that foreign workers seeking immigrant visa classifications are not displacing equally qualified U.S. workers.” Only in extremely narrow and exceptional circumstances do these nominal protections exist in the H-1B LCA process. (Companies must be classified as “H-1B dependent” for the requirements to apply. Big Tech giants like Facebook have been lobbying mightily to avoid the classification.) And even those narrow exceptions are easily and often circumvented by H-1B foreign worker traffickers.

Conservative journalist W. James Antle gets to the heart of the matter: “If the government has discretion in how it exercises its legitimate authority over who comes and who goes, a prerequisite for national sovereignty, then shouldn’t it exercise such discretion in a way that minimizes the impoverishment of Americans?”

For a very brief window, Grassley and, yes, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a small group of H-1B-employing banks, and other financial institutions that accepted federal bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) did have to demonstrate that they had taken “good-faith steps to recruit U.S. workers” and offer them wages “at least as high” as those offered to H-1B workers. In addition, the targeted employers had to show that they “must not have laid off, and will not lay off, any U.S. worker in a job essentially equivalent to the H-1B position in the area of intended employment of the H-1B worker” within a narrow time frame.

But this American worker-first provision, vociferously opposed by Big Business and Big Government, expired in 2011. The refusal of the vast majority of politicians and the White House to embrace these protections for all U.S. workers tells you everything you need to know about H-1B’s big, fat lies.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom