I must confess, I was fascinated with the Weiner story. But now that Anthony Weiner is resigning from Congress, we can move on to more important things.
You know, like that war in Libya that the Obama Administration says is not a war. In a 32-page report sent to Congress, the administration claims that “U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof.”
Last time I checked, we (meaning NATO, which is mostly America) were trying to kill Gaddafi. That sounds like sustained fighting to me. Now I’m all for killing the bastard, but let’s follow the Constitution and not a U.N. mandate.
Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, though applications remain above levels consistent with a healthy economy.
Unemployment benefit applications fell 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 414,000, the second drop in three weeks, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s a positive sign that layoffs are slowing.
Still, applications have been above 400,000 for 10 straight weeks, evidence that the job market is weak compared to earlier this year.
Applications had fallen in February to 375,000, a level that signals sustainable job growth. They stayed below 400,000 for seven of nine weeks. But applications surged in April to 478,000 — an eight-month high — and they have declined slowly since then.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, was unchanged.
Economists said the report signals that the job market is improving, but at a very slow pace.
Great. The economy is recovering! Oh, wait, what about that “very slow pace” part? Yeah, I guess that means it will be many years before we return to pre-recession employment levels. In other words, the economy isn’t really improving all that much.
You might not realize this if you get your news from the MSM. The media like to use the unemployment rate and jobless claims to assess the economy. But The DC’s Peter Tucci says those figures are misleading:
The trouble is, the unemployment rate is a poor indicator of the economy’s health. It only measures the percentage of people who are looking for work but can’t find it, ignoring the millions of people who have given up looking for work altogether.
A better measure of an economy’s health is the civilian employment-population ratio, which measures the percentage of the working-age population that is employed. From 1987 to 2008, the employment-population ratio bounced between 61% and 65%, rising during periods of strong economic growth and falling during recessions. The current employment-population ratio is just 58.4% — and it’s been a full two years since the recession officially ended.
The worst part is that the employment-population ratio has been stuck near 58.5% since 2009. In fact, the employment-population ratio is 0.1% lower today than it was in October 2009, when the unemployment rate peaked.
So the economy is still in the crapper. In fact, since the passage of Obama’s “stimulus” package, 1.9 million fewer Americans are employed. Success!
How about that debt ceiling business? That’s pretty important. We certainly wouldn’t want America’s credit rating downgraded, and we don’t want to continue the reckless deficit spending either. So what’s happening on that front?
It seems that Obama and the Republicans in Congress are deadlocked. The GOP wants some real budget reforms and spending cuts in exchange for the lifting of the debt ceiling, but Democrats are accusing Republicans of holding America hostage. Because, you know, wanting to cut spending is the equivalent of storming into a bank, threatening to shoot the tellers, demanding everything from the vault, and then taking everyone prisoner and demanding a helicopter to the airport and a G6 waiting for you to fly to the Cayman Islands.
I’d write more, but the Weiner press conference starts soon and I need to make my popcorn. Yes, I’m still intrigued by the Weinergate saga, but like you, I’m ready to move on.
The Democrats should be more embarrassed by their positions on the issues than by a singular perv named Weiner.
UPDATE: If you are interested, check out this survey from Pew that shows the disconnect between the focus of the media and the public.