No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

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Archive for February 3rd, 2012

Reid – 1,000 days without a budget? You’re damn right I’m doing that!

by @ 15:48. Filed under Budget Chop, Politics - National.

(H/T – Tina Korbe)

I had resisted the conservative push to mark the 1,000+ days since the Senate last passed a budget, mostly because the budget they passed on April 29, 2009 was for FY2010, which ended on September 30, 2010, and they weren’t legally required to pass any succeeding budget until April 15, 2010. However, The Only Member of Congress That Matters, Sen. Dingy Harry Reid (Dingy-Nevada), just uttered that the Senate will not take up a FY2013 budget either. From The Hill:

Senate Democratic leaders said they don’t expect a fiscal 2013 budget to reach the floor this year because spending levels were set last summer under the debt-ceiling agreement.

“We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year — it’s done, we don’t need to do it,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters on Friday, echoing previous statements from his office.

I could have swore I predicted when the debt deal was passed last year, this would happen. Thanks to The Dingy One and his sidekick Charles “Don’t call me Chuck” Schumer (Dunce-New York), that prediction came true:

Reid and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) argued that the debt-limit agreement in August directs spending for the next year and that Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) has already asked the heads of the subcommittees to write their appropriations bills for fiscal 2013.

Let’s do some math:

  • The next Congress will be seated on (or about) January 3, 2013. Even if the Senate passes a budget that day, it will be 1,345 days after they passed the prior budget, and 994 days after they were required to pass the FY2011 budget on April 15, 2010.
  • Unless said budget covers the remainder of FY2013, the Senate will have gone 1,096 days between the expiration of the last passed budget (for FY2010) and the start of the next adopted budget (for FY2014).

By the way, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the federal debt will have increased by $3,252,000,000,000 in the three full fiscal years Congress has operated without a budget. It took over 200 years to reach the first $3,252,000,000,000.

Is the unemployment rate 8.3%, 8.9%, 9.9% or 11.9%?

by @ 11:24. Filed under Economy Held Hostage.

I’m sure you have heard by now that the official unemployment rate has “dropped” to a seasonally-adjusted 8.3% last month, with the somewhat-broader U-4 (which includes “discouraged workers”) and U-5 (which includes “those marginally-attached to the labor force) declining to 8.9% and 9.9% respectively. That’s pretty much where the good news ends, unfortunately.

On a seasonal basis, the 141,637,000 employed is lower than it was in February 2009, and indeed the last time prior to that point it was that low was May 2005. On the other side of the equation, the 12,758,000 officially unemployed (i.e., they didn’t have a job and looked for one in the 4 weeks prior to the mid-January survey) is higher than any point prior to February 2009. Worse, the 6,319,000 who want a job but were not counted as “unemployed” because they had not looked for work in the previous 4 weeks was higher than any point between May 1994 (the fifth month this stat was recorded) and December 2010, and over 1 million higher than any time between one month prior to Bill Clinton’s re-election (October 1996) and Barack Obama’s election in November 2008. Zero Hedge noticed a record 1.2 million departing the labor force on a seasonal basis (or if you prefer unseasoned numbers, Ed Morrissey noted it as nearly 1.6 million on an unadjusted basis).

Others have used different modifiers. ShadowStats uses a proprietary method to add in what it sees as “long-term discouraged workers” to the U-6 rate, while AEI’s James Pethokoukis uses the labor-participation rate as it was in prior years.

The absolute simplest definition of the unemployment rate is to divide the number of people who want a job but don’t have one by the sum of that number and the number of people who have a job. Unfortunately, since that number is often embarrassing to those in public office, it is never publicized, and indeed, has only been able to be accurately calculated since 1994. Think of the chart below as “U-5Plus”, as it takes everybody who is unemployed and wants a job and divides it by that number plus those who want a job.


Click for the full-size image.

The 11.9% of the potential labor force who want a job but do not have one is higher than any month prior to March 2009. Worse, the Congressional Budget Office doesn’t see the future as too bright. They don’t see the number of employed returning to the first-quarter 2008 high of 146 million until the first quarter of 2015.

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