Thursday, June 9, 2011

Why Are the Unemployment Numbers So Low?

Giggle at this headline, my friends, but I have a point.

The war on socialism is not new.  I'm not sure why Glenn Beck thinks that it is related to Nazism, because we were definitely told that it was an off-shoot of communism.  Get your history right, Glenn!

(Sheesh!  Always getting in wrong!).

One way that they tried to sell us against the idea of socialism back in the day was telling us that our unemployment numbers were a lot better than all of the socialist countries like France.

One magazine article that stuck with me explained that because of our anti-regulatory policies and reduced social policies, that all of these little things combined together and made us more economically-competitive than Europe and resulted in much lower unemployment rates.  In fact, the author likened it to a basketball team, where you cannot simply win with one star player, but had a multitude of talented players who each did their bit.

Sometimes I want to read everything I read, but I recall an article that I read when I was about 7 years old that said that animals such as dogs do not actually have emotions, and that they simply wagged their tales because they were confused about what to do when given choices to make.  As such, the questionable reads stick with me.

However, I do not pretend to know how the unemployment system works.  In a weird way, it is not really an objective factor.  The problem is the definition of unemployment.  If you have a bunch of stay at home parents in the country, then they do not count in that statistic.

Even with this economy, I am sure that there are beating the drums and telling people that we should be glad that our unemployment numbers are not like countries X and Y that have their uppity socialist views.  With that in mind, I would like to point out other factors that contribute to "low unemployment rate numbers:"

The prison system.

Quick:  Where are over two million of your fellow citizens sitting right now?  Here's a hint: They are deciding whether to join the Mexican gang, the black gang, or the Aryan Brotherhood as we speak.  They wear jumpsuits and have many new boyfriends in the bad kind of way.  For you attorneys, they may be writing you a letter asking to represent them in a lawsuit to demand that fish be served in the cafeteria.  And their numbers far outstrip the number incarcerated in any other country in the world.

Is it because we Americans are more poorly behaved than the rest of the world?   Have we over-criminalized everything?  Do we want to send every last minority to the pokey?  Are other countries simply more lax?

If you ever hear about incarceration abroad, you know that most other countries suck in comparison as per their standards of living.  Even so, we all know that there is a certain segment of the population who cannot help but draw attention from the police, no matter the circumstances.  Maybe our society is run like CSI where we expect people to drop from the ceiling and take down a kid spray painting a wall.  I can only speculate.  However, those two million are gone from the work force.


Like it or not, everyone in the US is in college.  Or, considering the fact that even the shitiest of places have a college or two taking up precious farm land, it's become easy for the unemployed or the people who are dissatisfied with life to decide that they need a degree in English and to write mass-market paperbacks.  In many European countries, university is generally the pursuit of the young.  It is treated as a stepping stone after they scored high enough on the examinations at the end of their high school years.  You tend not to see 40 year olds who had washed out of one profession sharing the same space.

Maybe a large percentage in the US do not actually graduate with a degree, but a lot of those people are still out of the work force in that year or two that they decide that they cannot hack it before they drop out.  On the other end of the spectrum, there are professional students who take way too long to graduate with their b.s. degree.    They need to change their major at least three times while they "find themselves" and pick the absolute perfect career that is going to set them off on their path of glory.  Then, after about 15 years when they finally get sick of that shit on their job, they go back to school and learn something else.  This time, they breeze through the subject after figuring out that they will never reach spectacular heights in their career.  While most simply opt for night classes, there are a few ringers who feel compelled to leave their lives behind and enroll full time--Especially if they get pissed that Joe gets paid more than them because Joe has a doctorate.

Kato Kaelins

Do not underestimate this segment of the population.  I am sure there is no accurate way of counting them, but there are millions of them living underneath the floorboards.

Some of you may be aware of the phenomenon that I speak.  While normal people go through a vetting process to see if they qualify to be let in someone's house, there are certain people who do not believe that this is an effective process.  Some such stories are like when one responds to an ad on Craigslist and move directly into their new beloved's home two weeks later without ever having previously met in person.

And they are not running Hugh Hefner's palace.  They live in something like the woodshed in the woods behind the Playboy Mansion.

As such, there is a multitude of people who effectively function as stray dogs.  On the other end of the symbiotic relationship is the odd ball who picks up strays.  Suddenly, the odd ball's house turns into a flop house and there are 12 people scattered around a one-bedroom apartment.  Half of them were people they met at the bar, and others are just people they found at the bus stop or McDonald's that morning.  The other hosts to these lecherous organisms are unfortunate people who married the individual.  The wedding ring slips on and their feet prop up on the coffee table.  They may occasionally work at a tire change place, but it never lasts for long before they become angry about something and go back to unemployment.

While the media portrays many of these people as governmental assistance leaches, the truth is that many find a suitable host and begin leaching off of an individual.  They end up with someone rooted on their couch and staying up until 5am every night because they do not need a job now that they have a suitable host.  Why get hassled by "the man" when he makes you fill out paperwork and prove that you have no income when you have the unquestioning symbiotic host willing to provide all of life's necessities without any effort?  We make our unemployed jump through hoops while the so-called socialist countries appear to be more willing to give hand outs.  As such, they probably have more people applying for benefits.  The downside for us is that family members and random strangers end up taking the economic brunt of caring for our leaches, while in "socialist" countries, they spread the wealth and keep these people off other people's couches.

In sum....if you add all of this up together, our unemployment rate is not really that much different than anywhere else....

1 comment:

  1. The unemployment rate is kept artificially low. Even during the Clinton administration - when things were "humming along" - the official rate was much lower than reality.

    Here are some of the tricks employed:

    1. Not counting full-time students in the data.
    2. Those who are not "actively looking" are likewise not counted.
    3. Those who report cleaning up the weeds in their brother's lawn are considered "employed" - as are those who watched their sister in law's kids and received some compensation. (As long as it is not in the form of a blow job or performing cunnilingus, presumably.)
    4. Those who have been out of work for more than six months are simply not included. Apparently, they are considered "unemployable."
    5. We do not track under-employment, which is VERY real in today's world. How many people would like to work 40 hours per week, but can only find part-time work?
    6. BLS makes no distinction for those with PhDs and MAs who are pouring lattes or working security for the monster truck show. To these bureaucrats, a job is a job.

    This nation is in dire straits. With the rhetoric of the teabaggers and corporate Democrats and greedy Republican pigs, it will likely become worse.