American Elephants

Here’s How to Make People Paranoid by The Elephant's Child
January 6, 2012, 6:48 pm
Filed under: Humor, National Security, Terrorism

Election Year? All Those Federal Workers Deserve a Raise! by The Elephant's Child

All those civilian federal workers who are paid about twice as much as comparable workers in the private sector — roughly two million of them — will get a 0.5 percent pay increase as part of Obama’s 2013 budget proposal.  Raises for within-grade step increases and promotions have continued during the pay freeze which began in late 2010.  No decision has yet been made on raises for uniformed military personnel.  Roughly 85 percent of the civilian federal employees live and vote outside of the District of Columbia.

John Gage, president of the American Federation of Federal Employees said the move “doesn’t make me yell and cheer.”

Clearly I don’t think it comes close to paying federal employees what they’re worth, but at the same time, it also breaks this terrible pay freeze that has been put on us,” Gage said. “And hopefully it will carry through, and we will avoid any pay freezes that might come from the payroll tax deduction negotiations.

A real threat remains that Republicans will successfully enact a pay freeze as part of the payroll tax negotiations.  AFGE and other unions believe Republicans should focus on raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans instead of federal employees, the vast majority of whom are middle-class wage earners.

The federal government added about 2,000 new jobs in December, according to employment statistics released on Friday. The two senior administration officials who released  the modest pay increase news said that “a permanent pay freeze is not an acceptable policy.  While modest, a 0.5 percent increase reflects the belt-tightening we must do in these difficult times.”

Uh huh.  Can’t have two million federal workers suffering in an election year from only getting step increases. As Ace at Ace of Spades said: “This needs congressional approval you say?  I hope the GOP offers the following counter-proposal: 15% of you are fired.”

@PoliticalMath added on Twitter, “Pro tip: Don’t announce raises for bureaucrats the day after you announce you’re firing 10,000 soldiers.”

There Has Been No Progress On Unemployment In the Past Two Years. by The Elephant's Child

If you turned on the radio to news today, you heard enthusiastic commentators announcing that payroll employment rose by 200,000 in December, and the jobless rate trended down at 8.5%.  Don’t get excited. Most of the jobs were in retail.  And the drop in the jobless rate simply reflects the fact that the size of the labor force dropped because 315,000 people quit, dropped out or ended their unemployment benefits.

The economy presumably resumed growth two years ago, there are around 24.4 million people out of work or underemployed.  Employment remains 6.3 million below its level in December 2007 when the recession began. The broader measure of unemployment that includes people who want to work but have stopped looking, and those who are working part-time, but want more work is at 15.6 percent.  There should be more people looking for work.

The administration has been trumpeting the 200,000 figure, ignoring the larger number who dropped out of the labor force— essentially eliminating any real growth. There has been no progress on unemployment in two years’ time. 

If the size of the labor force was as large as it was when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate wold be 10.9 percent.

What matters are the job-destroying  actions of the Obama administration. The regulations keep pouring out, the attempts to shut down anything connected with fossil fuels continue apace. Encourage your Congressmen when they vote to prevent this.  We can’t just complain all the time, though that seems to be what I do day after day.

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