Unemployment numbers offer glimmer of hope into 2011

A little end-of-the year cheer, from the AP:

WASHINGTON – The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to its lowest level in nearly 21/2 years, a sign that the job market is slowly improving.

Applications dropped by 34,000 to 388,000, the fewest since July 2008, the Labor Department said Thursday. The number of applications has either fallen or remained unchanged in five of the last six weeks.

The rule of thumb for economists is that fewer than 425,000 new people seeking unemployment benefits signals modest job growth. But they also caution that applications need to fall consistently to 375,000 or below to bring down the unemployment rate. Applications for unemployment benefits peaked during the recession at 651,000 in March 2009.

Source: www.calculatedrisk.com

Source: www.calculatedriskblog.com

In general, economic forecasts call for somewhat sunnier days ahead, with a few even upgrading their predictions for 2011. Mark Zandi of Economy.com, for example, concludes that “the policy response, in its totality, has been very aggressive, and I think ensures that the recovery will evolve into a self-sustaining expansion early in 2011.”

I’m no economist, but the analysis that makes the most sense to me comes from Olivier Blanchard, chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, who observes what he calls a “two-speed recovery.”

The two-speed recovery, low in advanced countries, fast in emerging market countries, is striking and its features are increasingly stark. They will probably dominate 2011, and beyond.

… Emerging market countries were affected by the crisis through both trade and financial channels. The turnaround in trade has been nearly as sharp as the earlier collapse. But while trade has not yet fully recovered, most emerging market countries have been able to increase domestic demand so as to return to high growth. In turn, their good performance has led capital flows to come back, in some cases, with much force. For many of these countries, the challenges are now how to avoid overheating and how to handle capital flows.

In many advanced economies, the crisis damage was much deeper. The financial system was badly broken. Securitization has to be reinvented. In many of these countries, markets are still uncertain about the true health of banks and financial intermediation is not working well. Combine this with the need to correct past excesses, from low saving to excess housing investment and the result is a slow recovery, barely strong enough to decrease unemployment.”

And to think, all of that international financial damage was brought on by one little gay Jewish Democratic congressman from Massachusetts who somehow forced an overwhelmingly Republican Congress and a Republican president to bend to his nefarious will.

197 comments Add your comment

ByteMe

December 31st, 2010
9:27 am

You forgot to mention the poor people who bought super-expensive condos all up and down the Florida coastline that they couldn’t afford all because of a government mandate to help the poor get into houses.

ByteMe

December 31st, 2010
9:28 am

And Barney Frank is not little. Jews don’t like to be referred to as “little”. :)

TaxPayer

December 31st, 2010
9:30 am

Here’s some more good news:

From 2003 to 2009, insurance premiums for Georgia families jumped 48 percent on average from $8,641 to $12,792, compared with a 41 percent hike nationally, according to a report by The Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit that focuses on health care policy.

Georgia excels at something. Not to worry though. Now that Republicans are in charge, they’re gonna fix that along with everything else that someone else screwed up. I’m thinkin’ tax cuts.

Scout

December 31st, 2010
9:31 am

“And to think, all of that international financial damage was brought on by one little gay Jewish Democratic congressman from Massachusetts who somehow forced an overwhelmingly Republican Congress and a Republican president to bend to his nefarious will.”

Maybe when the Republicans get there they will institute “Don’t Assk, Don’t Tail” for Congress ?

ByteMe

December 31st, 2010
9:33 am

Maybe when the Republicans get there they will institute “Don’t Assk, Don’t Tail” for Congress ?

They didn’t last time. Just ask Mark Foley.

TaxPayer

December 31st, 2010
9:34 am

Perhaps the Republicans have numerous messiahs, Jay.

Scout

December 31st, 2010
9:36 am

Headline: “Secretary Napolitano Arrives in Afghanistan to Meet Troops, Discuss Security”

Would someone please clue Janet Neopolitan (oh, excuse me – that’s ice cream) that her title is “Director of HOMELAND Security” !

She has screwed up enough over here without trying to be Director of FOREIGN Security.

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
9:36 am

And to think, all of that international financial damage was brought on by one little gay Jewish Democratic congressman from Massachusetts who somehow forced an overwhelmingly Republican Congress and a Republican president to bend to his nefarious will.

LOL!!!!!!!

People in America need to be prepared for the long haul. We don’t have any industry that is capable of producing enough jobs to lower the unemployment numbers significantly enough to satisfy what we’re looking for. Couple that with the fact that people are working more years and retiring later in life, and it’s the perfect recipe for long-term unemployment in the double digit realm.

Scout

December 31st, 2010
9:37 am

Excuse me: “Neapolitan”

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
9:39 am

Maybe when the Republicans get there they will institute “Don’t Assk, Don’t Tail” for Congress ?

Or they could require tickle fights for everyone in memory of Rep. Eric Massa.

Scout

December 31st, 2010
9:42 am

Southern:

LOL !

Paul

December 31st, 2010
9:43 am

Going into the New Year is time for predictions. So, how many months until we see consistently better numbers and Republicans say “SEE? The tax cuts for the wealthy WORKED!!!”

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
9:45 am

Paul

You mean years right? Where are those jobs going to come from?

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
9:47 am

Scout

This past weekend, congresspeople in NY didn’t have to hide money in their freezers. They could have simply left it in the street and it would still be untouchable.

Left wing management

December 31st, 2010
9:49 am

Down with pseudo-change.

So, Mr. Obama, when you gonna ditch the Wall Street bankers that pack your administration? I think you better get with the program or risk crushing defeat in 2012.

james

December 31st, 2010
9:53 am

We shall end the year the same way we began. The far left thinks that those who don’t think like them are neocons and the far right. Simply not true as the moderates simply read bs from the far left and laugh at the ignorant silliness that is expressed. I would like to challenge Bookman to quitely take an online economics test- no need to report back as I know the result.

Bookman- keep up those little blogs about your travels- they are your highest and best use.

GetReal

December 31st, 2010
9:58 am

All smoke and mirrors and no cure for the systemic problem, so enjoy it while it lasts!!!

From your colleague Kyle Wingfield on Oct 21, 2010 — One in five Americans — 64.3 million people — relies on government handouts to fulfill basic needs for housing, food and/or health care. That’s double the proportion before Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society,” and it doesn’t even include corporate welfare. Add the number of public workers, and almost three in 10 of us get our livelihood from government. At the same time, two in five Americans in 2008 — 132.5 million people — did not pay federal income taxes and were not claimed as dependents by anyone who did. The percentage of nontaxpayers has nearly tripled since 1984….

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
10:06 am

GetReal

Don’t forget to add the fact that the “Bush Tax Cuts” that everyone wanted to extend actually increased the number of people who’s tax burden was lowered to $0.

Russ555

December 31st, 2010
10:07 am

Recovery is under way, but it’s going to be slow and take years, in the meantime, watch our standard of living go down. We are having to compete with the low wages in China and India and other places. Their wages are going up but until we meet somewhere in the middle it going to be tough for us.

Rightwing Troll

December 31st, 2010
10:11 am

“I would like to challenge Bookman to quitely”

And I would like to challenge you to a spelling bee…

Left wing management

December 31st, 2010
10:14 am

james: “The far left thinks that those who don’t think like them are neocons and the far right.”

Yeah, and the right (which in fact IS the far right) thinks anybody who isn’t FOX is the “far left”.

So what’s that tells us?

What it tells us, I think, is that we have a political discourse that is gradually going insane. There’s only one radical agenda right now, and that’s of the right. It has hijacked any possibility of a ‘reasonable center’. And those who heed this propaganda think anyone who resists it is socialist.

Hey GetReal: “The percentage of nontaxpayers has nearly tripled since 1984….”

Yeah, scary ain’t it? And the biggest freeloaders of all: those in the very top tax brackets. They never had it so good …

RW-(the original)

December 31st, 2010
10:16 am

The biggest margin Republicans ever had during the Bush years was 55-45 in the Senate and 232-201 in the House. Hardly overwhelming when you consider that during the Obama years Democrats have had margins as large as 60-40 in the Senate and 258-177 in the House.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 31st, 2010
10:16 am

Good morning all, and happy new year in the event I am not here later. Good time to review the total employment progress under this Congress over the past two years.

2009 01 133549.
2009 02 132823·
2009 03 132070·
2009 04 131542·
2009 05 131155·
2009 06 130640.
2009 07 130294.
2009 08 130082·
2009 09 129857·
2009 10 129633.
2009 11 129697·
2009 12 129588·
2010 01 129602·
2010 02 129641·
2010 03 129849·
2010 04 130162·
2010 05 130594.
2010 06 130419·
2010 07 130353.
2010 08 130352.
2010 09 130328.
2010 10 130500.
2010 11 130539.

Should the incoming progress prove to be less solicitous to the regulators and controlling types, tpta; employment may return to the levels of the Republican congress. Big if, since the executive branch demonstrates an strong intent to control, even without Congressional blessing.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 31st, 2010
10:17 am

Apologies, cut and past left a joke @ 10:16- “progress” vs “congress.”

james

December 31st, 2010
10:17 am

BTW- here is your Barney Frank quote from October of this year:

“I hope by next year we’ll have abolished Fannie and Freddie,” “it was a great mistake to push lower-income people into housing they couldn’t afford and couldn’t really handle once they had it.” “I had been too sanguine about Fannie and Freddie.”

Don’t understand the need to add “litte gay Jewish” to his name- but you must have feel compelled.

jconservative

December 31st, 2010
10:18 am

“Would someone please clue Janet Neopolitan (oh, excuse me – that’s ice cream) that her title is “Director of HOMELAND Security” !”

Per President Bush the reason we went into Afghanistan in the first place was for Homeland security. Same same with Iraq, another Homeland Security “fixer upper”.

But one is a Republican which makes it OK and the other is a Democrat which makes it not OK.

james

December 31st, 2010
10:18 am

Rightwing- in the future maybe you can edit before I hit send? I will pay $8 a blog- no benefits.

Finn McCool

December 31st, 2010
10:18 am

Tomorrow is the first day of the new year and the first day of Republicans offering the only ideas that have EVER crossed their little minds:

TAX CUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTS

Conservative: “Can sumbody give me a dang tax cut ahreedy!!!!!”

james

December 31st, 2010
10:19 am

leftwing- turn off the tv and read the economist, the financial times, and a good book. Maybe have a real live discussion or two.

james

December 31st, 2010
10:20 am

Hey Troll- where were you- did I spell okie dokie for you?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 31st, 2010
10:21 am

Actually I would be a neocon, except that I was never anything other than a conservative and I am not Jewish. (”Neocon” is Pat Buchanan’s creation, a slur for Jewish conservatives, strangely embraced by the compassionate left wing name-callers.) I am undoubtedly far right, as I find nothing admirable in democrat initiatives. I credit Obama with having the good sense to keep in place the intelligent Bush policies, in Iraq and Afghanistan and GTMO, and now – at least temporarily – in the tax cuts.

AmVet

December 31st, 2010
10:24 am

Good morning all.

A beautiful December 31st morning, isn’t it?

To our host and the many good people who post here, Happy New Year! All the best to you and yours in 2011.

And to Harry, Barry, the humper sisters, rw, RB, Pogo, yacker71 and the plethora of other ever-enraged no-name/new-name drive-by cons, here’s to another miserable year coming up!

And as for living in the greatest land in the history of man, party on Waynes and rock on America!

And remember boys and girls, it’s only….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GonQSHxzb1k

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
10:25 am

Should the incoming progress prove to be less solicitous to the regulators and controlling types, tpta; employment may return to the levels of the Republican congress. Big if, since the executive branch demonstrates an strong intent to control, even without Congressional blessing.

Doesn’t the Right believe that job growth is NOT because of the government. IF these jobs magically appear, will they be pulled from unseen orfices from these Republicans? There is not a substantial industry that can expand enough to lower unemployment to the numbers we had before.

G. AMERICAN

December 31st, 2010
10:27 am

BOOKIE,
YOU SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED THAT BUG-EYED DAGO BROAD WITH THE LIL’HOMO. HAHAHAHAHAH.

NOW THAT THE ADULTS ARE BACK IN CONTROL OF CONGRESS WE’RE ALREADY STARTING TO SEE THE IMPROVMENTS.

Paul

December 31st, 2010
10:27 am

SoCom

How many years? Nope, months. Gotta get the talking points as accepted fact before the 2012 elections.

Where will they come from? Who knows, but any uptick like we just saw will be cited as proof “The recovery is underway and tax cuts made it happen!!”

And a Happy New Year to you too, AmVet!

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
10:31 am

Where will they come from? Who knows, but any uptick like we just saw will be cited as proof “The recovery is underway and tax cuts made it happen!!”

And, of course, people will fall for it. Just as people talk about the 47% of people who don’t pay income tax, but fail to mention that Bush’s Tax Cuts increased that number from where it was before 2000.

Left wing management

December 31st, 2010
10:34 am

james: “leftwing- turn off the tv and read the economist, the financial times, and a good book.”

Darn. I was gonna hit you with just that line.

Now surely you’re aware that the Economist and FT are effectively pinko socialist rags from the standpoint of the FOX-led, rabid US Republican right?

Paul

December 31st, 2010
10:39 am

SoCom

“Just as people talk about the 47% of people who don’t pay income tax, but fail to mention that Bush’s Tax Cuts increased that number from where it was before 2000.”

Funny, isn’t it? The FarFarRight uses that to talk about the lazy, unproductive leeches in society, the UberLeft refuses to acknowledge Pres Bush took a page from what they see as their playbook and implemented it.

Bosch

December 31st, 2010
10:41 am

“Just as people talk about the 47% of people who don’t pay income tax, but fail to mention that Bush’s Tax Cuts increased that number from where it was before 2000.”

SoCo,

That’s usually because those who use that in the negative are incapable of thinking past the two second sound bite.

josef nix

December 31st, 2010
10:42 am

james and ByteMe…
That “one little gay Jewish…” thing sorta grabbed me the wrong way on read through, but I figured I was just being thin-skinned and wasn’t going to say anything, still having a bit of a warm spot in my old cold heart for the Bruin from that column downstairs…

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
10:46 am

Paul

That’s one of many reasons I consider Bush and Obama to be two peas in a pod.

Bosch

LOL!!!!! Insight like that is the reason why you’re my hero.

RW-(the original)

December 31st, 2010
10:58 am

The Bush tax cuts, that become the Obama tax cuts tomorrow, may well have taken more people off hook for paying federal income taxes but one of the first things Obama did was raise federal cigarette taxes 50¢ a pack. What economic group do you think was most negatively affected by that tax increase?

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
11:01 am

What economic group do you think was most negatively affected by that tax increase?

The lower socio-economic group would be most negatively impacted by that. That still doesn’t negate the fact that Bush’s Cuts of old and Obama’s new extension increased the number of people who do not pay federal income taxes. Although, I’m certain there will be some on the extreme right who will now claim it’s Obama’s doing.

josef nix

December 31st, 2010
11:02 am

RW

What economic group will be most negatively affected…Smokestack Obama comes to mind…hell, he could make a lot of political hay claiming his tax hikes target him…! :-)

larry

December 31st, 2010
11:04 am

What economic group will be most negatively affected…Smokestack Obama comes to mind…hell, he could make a lot of political hay claiming his tax hikes target him…!

Maybe thats the reason he hasnt had a smoke since March. He could not afford them anymore.

larry

December 31st, 2010
11:05 am

What economic group do you think was most negatively affected by that tax increase?

Of course , Laura Bush took it in stride ,she could afford the tax increase.

RW-(the original)

December 31st, 2010
11:06 am

SoCo,

I wasn’t trying to negate your point and I think that taking so many people off the federal tax hook was a big mistake by Bush. Obama put them back on in a roundabout and very punishing way.

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
11:09 am

What economic group do you think was most negatively affected by that tax increase?

Those living below the poverty level.

I thought the percentage would be higher, but it is only an 8.8% difference between smokers below the poverty level and those at or above.

Racial demographics:

Smoking prevalence remained at the highest among American Indians/Alaska Natives at 40 percent in 1998. Prevalence among African-Americans (24.7 percent) and Caucasians (25.0 percent) remained higher than among Hispanics (19.1 percent) and Asians/Pacific Islanders (13.7 percent). Smoking prevalence among racial/ethnic populations has remained fairly stable in recent years.

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
11:09 am

RW

No argument with your 11:06

Paul

December 31st, 2010
11:09 am

RW-(the original)

“What economic group do you think was most negatively affected by that tax increase?”

Ummmm….. millionaires living in the White House?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 31st, 2010
11:10 am

Dear Southern @ 10:25, conservatives understand that job growth occurs despite government, not because of it. That’s what the numbers show during the democrat regency. (Excluding unproductive jobs, such as government, of course.) Now, due to the tea party discipline, there is reason to hope that government will stay out of the way.

Paul

December 31st, 2010
11:10 am

okay, okay, I just scrolled down and saw josef nix beat me to it –

figures….

Paul

December 31st, 2010
11:11 am

Hey Bosch

Yesterday, I did it again. Three times first on the page.

Thbpppptttt………..

josef nix

December 31st, 2010
11:12 am

larry
Not since March is what his pr squad says…being an ex smoker myself, I’m inclined to believe he still sneaks a puff or two! Of course, the tax hike probably doesn’t hit him if he IS an ex-smoker, just those he gets his OPs from (other people’s)…you know, the folks who think “quit smoking” is the same as “quit buying!” :-)

ByteMe

December 31st, 2010
11:15 am

Josef, the “little” just caught me as being incorrect to describe someone who likely tilts the scales at over 225. And, of course, the aversion I think most men have to being described in any way as “little”.

Anything else is probably a bit thin-skinned, yes.

RW-(the original)

December 31st, 2010
11:16 am

josef,

Obama probably had himself declared an Indian tribe in that cigarette tax increase. That way he could get around the tax and also open a casino once he’s out of office.

ByteMe

December 31st, 2010
11:16 am

RW: I’m surprised Sonny hasn’t thought of that trick.

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
11:18 am

<i.Now, due to the tea party discipline, there is reason to hope that government will stay out of the way.

Anytime the government stays out of the way, temperance turns to intemperance and effort turns into greed. If it is the desire of the Tea Party to inflict more harm upon this country by fulfilling the craven desires of greed for a select few, “I HOPE THEY FAIL!!”

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
11:19 am

oops, didn’t hit the shift key and messed up me slantees… :mad:

carlosgvv

December 31st, 2010
11:20 am

One month’s improvement in unemployment figures means nothing. We will have to have consistent improvement, and a lot of it. With gas prices going up, housing values going down and a possible student-loan meltdown coming, I really don’t see much hope for the future.

josef nix

December 31st, 2010
11:20 am

ByteMe
Oh, I don’t think the Bruin had any malintent, but that “little” thingie coupled with gay and Jew IS one of those red flags you watch out for and go back (if you’re trying not to be thin skinned) and take a second look at…sorta like “uppity” and “those people.”

josef nix

December 31st, 2010
11:24 am

RW
Ooooh…no…Walking Turkey ain’t real popular in Indian country!

http://nativeamericansagainstobama.wordpress.com/

ByteMe

December 31st, 2010
11:26 am

Josef, I’m not sure what you mean by the Bruin… I don’t spend enough time reading the comments, I guess. I try not to worry too much about the covert -isms that people around here have, since one of my former managers (seriously) wanted to know where my tail and horns were when he found out my religion.

On the other hand, when anyone refers to my puppy’s color as “black”, I say “We don’t use that word to describe him any more.” It’s all in how you think about it.

Paul

December 31st, 2010
11:27 am

carlosgvv

“One month’s improvement in unemployment figures means nothing”

Ahem. The improvement took place immediately after the tax cuts. Certainty took hold, employer confidence increased, thousands of small business owners saw how much money they’d save and rather than keep the $$$$ and buy stuff, they decided to hire tons of people.

Get with the program, man!

:-)

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
11:27 am

ByteMe

The Bruin is josef’s moniker for the esteemed blog host, Jay.

Southern Comfort

December 31st, 2010
11:28 am

Paul

There you go hammering those talking points!!!

RW-(the original)

December 31st, 2010
11:30 am

Actually the “little gay Jewish” part should be highly offensive to anyone with a modicum of good taste since its made in the context of a sarcastic point to show the impotence of that individual as it relates to the topic. Therefore all the adjectives convey impotence and thus declare little, gay and/or Jewish people impotent.

/soapbox returned to its place under the desk…

josef,

If he declared himself a tribe unto himself it really wouldn’t matter what the new competition thinks of him. You’d certainly be more familiar with the facts on this, but my jerking knee says Clinton “discovered” more tribes in his 8 years than were recognized in the rest of our history combined.

Paul

December 31st, 2010
11:30 am

SoCom

Personally, I think the people who dream up those talking points must be hammered.

If not them, then their audience -

Moderate Line

December 31st, 2010
11:31 am

And to think, all of that international financial damage was brought on by one little gay Jewish Democratic congressman from Massachusetts who somehow forced an overwhelmingly Republican Congress and a Republican president to bend to his nefarious will.
++++++++++++++
I believe as moderate there is enough blame to go around for both parties. Neither party did enough to avert the crisis. It is well know that Barney Frank was one of the main supporters of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Your sarcasm does diminish that affect nor would the use of sarcasm diminish the role Republicans had in the current recession.

josef nix

December 31st, 2010
11:31 am

ByteMe

Tail and horns, eh? Tell him on Michelangelo’s Moses! :-)

Paulo977

December 31st, 2010
11:34 am

“No hope for the future” ..carlosgvv?
Sorry you feel that way ..Oh well

Happy New Year Jay and all

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw1vvGYHQBw

ByteMe

December 31st, 2010
11:34 am

SoCo: Oh….. Okaaaay…..

Then, no, josef, my take is that it was not a slam or even a tweak on Jews. It was a slam on the macho “strong” Republicans who couldn’t resist his mind-bending tricks.

josef nix

December 31st, 2010
11:36 am

RW
Keep the soapbox handy…methinks it might be of use..but, jokes aside, what you said says far better than any of my knee-jerking what it was in that comment that hit me…you know how I feel about when these two groups stand up for themselves and take matters into their own hands and their “friends” of yore now think they’re “ungrateful.”

ByteMe

December 31st, 2010
11:37 am

Josef, it was a bunch of years back and I just took it as a lame joke on his part and moved on. It was only later that I found that the “lame joke” was not uncommon around here. Success is still the best revenge. :)

josef nix

December 31st, 2010
11:40 am

ByteMe
And, in all fairness, you are right in that he had no bad intent, and that’s why I said what I did about taking a second look…on second look, no; on first look, maybe and check it out…but the question still remains, why was it necessary to define him as gay and Jewish? What did that have to do with the subject at hand…?

josef nix

December 31st, 2010
11:41 am

ByteMe

What do you mean by “around here?” Where are you from? Seriously, I do have a reason for asking that…

carlosgvv

December 31st, 2010
11:45 am

Paul

You sound like a paid shill for the Republican Party. I am way past believing in right-wing propaganda. Hard reality tells me we are nowhere near getting out of this mess, your attempts at Tea Party brainwashing not withstanding.

josef nix

December 31st, 2010
11:47 am

carlos

Paul? A shill for the Republican Party? He’s the founder of and head of the EOI! :-)

Scout

December 31st, 2010
11:48 am

This is the biggest weekend in the year to gorge football !

Moderate Line

December 31st, 2010
11:49 am

Various proposals to fix the deficit look set to gather dust (see article). Bondholders, who have been very forgiving of the printer of the world’s chief reserve currency, greeted the tax deal by selling Treasuries. Some investors, no doubt, see faster growth on the way; but a growing number are worried about the size of America’s fiscal hole. If those worries take hold, the United States could even see a bond-market bust in 2011. …

Over the next five years emerging economies are expected to account for over 50% of global growth but only 13% of the increase in net global public debt.

http://www.economist.com/node/17677746

emo

December 31st, 2010
11:52 am

“one of the first things Obama did was raise federal cigarette taxes 50¢ a pack. What economic group do you think was most negatively affected by that tax increase?”
Ummm, maybe people who can afford to buy cigarettes? A self-selecting group. Don’t want to pay the tax, don’t buy the product, save on health care, too.

Seriously, though, I think we’re in a period where the new normal unemployment is not 6% but 9-10%. Too many jobs gone overseas, too many corporations wringing too much out of too few employees, maybe even too many illegals being paid too little.
Another year or two and we’ll be used to it and spending whatever’s left after the oil speculators get theirs first.

Scout

December 31st, 2010
11:58 am

Del, USMC Dawg, etc.

“The Gun Is Civilization” by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force.
If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force.
Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion.
Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force.
You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations.
These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job.
That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat–it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury.
This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.

People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst.
The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter.
It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone.
The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.
It removes force from the equation… and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret.)

Paul

December 31st, 2010
12:03 pm

carlosgvv

Might I suggest not taking everything here so seriously? Smiley emoticons are a tip-off. I used to type //sarc// so people would get the message, now I like emoticons, mostly because it bugs @@.

Scout

December 31st, 2010
12:08 pm

@@

December 31st, 2010
12:17 pm

jay’s little “Glee” Club. Only a leftist would view glummer as a glimmer.

No Rest for the Weary: Unemployment to Remain High Through 2011 and Beyond

Of the 8.7 million people who lost their jobs during the recession, more than 7.3 million are still without work. There are still nearly five job seekers for every job opening. In fact, adding in workers who are working part time but looking for full-time work and those who have given up looking all together brings the “real” unemployment rate to a staggering 17% compared to 16.5% last year, the latest government report shows.

Hillbilly Deluxe

December 31st, 2010
12:22 pm

If gas prices keep going up, that red line will go right back up.

ByteMe

December 31st, 2010
12:26 pm

josef: “around here” is Georgia. I’m originally from Miami before there ever was a “Miami Vice”, which is to say that I don’t recognize the place any more. What did the adjectives have to do with it? Made Rep. Frank seem more like David to the Republican Goliath.

Hillbilly @ 12:22: there’s an article in today’s paper that people are buying more SUVs again. Is that optimism or just stupidity?

Scout

December 31st, 2010
12:27 pm

Headline: “Napolitano lands in Kabul”

“The homeland security secretary spends the day touring the Af-Pak border crossing.”

Good grief, she can’t even control our borders and she’s over there looking at theirs?

Political grandstanding and so she can get her “combat ribbon” and say “I was in danger” !

cosby

December 31st, 2010
12:30 pm

We all know the feds jumble numbers…the fact remains that after four years of Harry and Nancy and the Dems and two including spend happy Obama the economy is stagnant with unemployment at near 10% and the true number is even higher including those who are no longer looking or working in a reduced capacity. The spend happy stimulus money will dry up next year creating an even more dire situation. In short, the economy is down..hmm..wonder what The Fair Tax would do to the economy..my bet is it would get it ticking again with less interferrance with the Federal Government. Proven fact,The Feds lengthened the great depression by interferring, history is repeating itself

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
12:32 pm

..hmm..wonder what The Fair Tax would do to the economy..

Hmm…wonder if the FairTax can ever get out of committee….

JKL2

December 31st, 2010
12:32 pm

SoCo- This past weekend, congresspeople in NY didn’t have to hide money in their freezers. They could have simply left it in the street and it would still be untouchable

Do you mean because the unions (obama’s buddies) didn’t clean the streets (do their job) because they saw this as an oportunity to extort more money from the government (don’t waste a crisis)? I’m sure it’s nothing increasing my taxes couldn’t fix.

JKL2

December 31st, 2010
12:34 pm

kamchak- Hmm…wonder if the FairTax can ever get out of committee….

Not with obama hiring all those new IRS agents.

Bruno

December 31st, 2010
12:34 pm

What did the adjectives have to do with it? Made Rep. Frank seem more like David to the Republican Goliath.

ByteMe–Liberals like to perpetuate the myth that conservatives are bigoted, yet (not so) paradoxically, liberals consistently oppose conservative efforts to remove all reference to race and ethnicity on college and job applications. From my perspective, the compulsion to categorize everyone based on race, gender, ethnicity, etc. comes primarily from the Left.

josef nix

December 31st, 2010
12:36 pm

ByteMe

The David-Goliath thing is what I think the INTENT was…but why are gays and Jews the Davids? And, please understand, I am not trying to be snarky…this is a question that has always intrigued me.

Next question–are you a MOT?

Bruno

December 31st, 2010
12:36 pm

@@–How’s that pledge to not hang around the JB blog coming along??

I guess there’s always 2011 to start new resolutions…..

Dusty

December 31st, 2010
12:37 pm

Well, I see the local bigoted journalist at the AJC has given us his thoughts here. They surely do show us a lot. Anybody else pointing fingers at someone and sneering “one little gay Jewish” would be roundly castigated by the noble Bookman. A pox on the duplicity of Brother Jay. It aint a pretty sight to see.

Anybody calling me “one little Christian twit” will cause a round of letters to every “editor” at the AJC.(Don’t do it, AmVet. I’m busy.) Discriminatory insults however subtle are not banished by any explanations.

Hillbilly Deluxe

December 31st, 2010
12:38 pm

Byte Me

I worked in car dealerships for many years and there is one thing I learned, the number one thing older people look for in a vehicle, is how easy it is to get in and out of. The U. S. population is growing older all the time. People, as a whole, aren’t going to buy small cars, except when they get in panic mode, like the Oil Embargo, of the 70’s, etc. There has been an awful lot of talk about why car manufacturers were making large vehicles before we had that $4 a gallon gas, a couple years ago. The answer is simple; that’s what people were buying. They could’ve made all the small cars they wanted and they would’ve just filled up the lots. I don’t see any of that changing any time soon.

Me, I drive a full size pickup. One, I use it to haul stuff, quite a bit and two, I used to have a small pickup, and while it was comfortable, once you were in it, it was hell for a long legged person to get in and out of.

stands for decibels

December 31st, 2010
12:38 pm

The financial system was badly broken. Securitization has to be reinvented.

Nonsense. We just have to stop forcing bankers to lend money to po’ colored folk. Or so the financial geniuses posting here keep telling me.

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
12:41 pm

Not with obama hiring all those new IRS agents.

Well sport, the FairTax was introduce in 1999 and since then Democrats and Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress and it still hasn’t been out of committee.

If there is one thing that is truly bi-partisan it is the fact that both parties have avoided this piece of crap like so much nuclear waste.

Bruno

December 31st, 2010
12:41 pm

The David-Goliath thing is what I think the INTENT was…but why are gays and Jews the Davids?

Just one man’s opinion, but I think Jay has fallen back on the old trick of trying to galvanize the (liberal) troops by demonizing the (conservative) enemy. I can only wonder if he ever notices the three fingers pointing back at himself. Self-righteousness is never pretty.