Tag Archives: US Labor Department

Senate GOP makes yet another run at the ACA

Here we go … again!

U.S. Senate Republicans have come up with a scheme to pay for the big tax cut they’re trying to enact that involves the Affordable Care Act. They want to repeal the individual mandate portion of the ACA, which they say will save more than $300 billion over the next decade.

The savings would be used to pay for the tax cuts being pitched for many wealthy Americans.

This is so very maddening, in my ever-so-humble view.

Congress trying again to repeal ACA

Congress has been unable to repeal the ACA and replace it. The president has been unable push his Republican pals across the finish line. They have tried and failed since long before Donald Trump took office as president of the United States.

Now comes this bit of Senate trickery: attach the individual mandate repeal to a tax cut they say would jumpstart the economy. Moreover, is anyone on Capitol Hill or the White House worried any longer about the national debt and our annual budget deficit, which economists say are going to explode under the GOP tax cut?

I want to make a couple of points.

One is that the economy is rocking along just fine. The U.S. Labor Department announced earlier this month that non-farm payrolls jumped by 260,000 jobs in October; the unemployment rate is at its lowest rate in 17 years. Not bad, man!

Two, enrollment for the ACA is moving along at a brisk pace. Hundreds of thousands more Americans signed up for insurance when open enrollment began at the beginning of the month, despite the president’s efforts to undermine the ACA.

I remain totally opposed to any wholesale repeal of the ACA. I continue to insist that it can be improved. It can be made more affordable. 

Removing the individual mandate — which requires Americans to purchase health insurance or face a penalty — is certain to do one thing: It will toss millions of Americans off the rolls of the insured.

How is that supposed to help?

Labor market loses jobs; no big deal … maybe

Donald J. Trump was all too quick while running for president to denigrate the nation’s stellar job growth during the final months of Barack H. Obama’s administration.

A couple hundred thousand jobs added to non-farm private payrolls during a given month? The number are phony, Trump would proclaim. The Labor Department is cooking the books, he would allege with no proof. The “real jobless rate” is something like 40 percent, he’d bellow.

OK. Today, the Labor Department came out with some dismal jobs numbers: employers shed 33,000 jobs in September. Yes, the jobless rate fell to 4.2 percent, which is pretty darn low!

But, but …

Still, the job losses aren’t the president’s fault. Really. They aren’t. Economists blame the job loss on business shuttering in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The hospitality industry was particularly hard hit along the Texas coast and throughout Florida, they said.

The good news is that the jobs are likely to rebound in the weeks ahead as Texas and Florida continue to recover, albeit slowly, from the savage beatings delivered by Harvey and Irma.

There’s no particular moral to this item, other than the jobs report issued today is no more “cooked” or “made up” than they were when they were reporting much happier economic news.

Let’s also remember that not even this president — the self-proclaimed “very smart person” who surrounds himself with “the best people” — can prevent nature’s wrath from damaging the nation’s business structure.

Big spike in job growth … is it still ‘fake,’ Mr. President?

I want to say something positive about Donald J. Trump’s stewardship of the U.S. economy.

The Labor Department announced a big spike in job growth over the past month; 222,000 non-farm jobs were added to the payrolls. Good deal, yes? Of course it is! The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4 percent, up from 4.3 percent. Cause for alarm? No, as it signals — apparently — some renewed confidence in people’s ability to find work.

The growth was greater than economists had predicted.

The president’s previous disparagement of the Labor Department’s stats, though, taint any good word one would be inclined to say about robust job growth.

When jobs were being added during Barak Obama’s presidency, then-candidate Trump spoke ill of those monthly reports. He called them “phony,” “fake,” “cooked up” by politically minded statisticians intending to glorify President Obama’s economic record.

It’s different now that Trump has taken the watch. He’s said so himself. Imagine that, will ya?

That’s OK, though. The numbers look good and Americans should hail them as a sign of continued economic growth. Trump is on pace to exceed the job-growth numbers that occurred during Obama’s final months in office.

If only the president can take those numbers, accept them with dignity and class, and refrain from crowing about them. Do you think that’ll happen? Well, me neither.

This a ‘disaster,’ Mr. President?

The job numbers came in this morning — and they look pretty darn good.

The U.S. Labor Department reported today that the economy added 211,000 non-farm jobs to payrolls in April and the unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent.

The boost in jobs was considerably greater than analysts had predicted. The jobless rate has inched a bit closer to what one might consider to be “full employment” in the United States.

Donald J. Trump used to disparage the Labor Department figures as phony, bogus, cooked up, fake. That, of course, was during the Obama administration. The president doesn’t say those things now that he’s on the job.

Hey, I’ll give the president credit for presiding over this sparkling jobs report. Let there be many more of them.

I do have one question: A little more than three months into your presidency, is this the economic “disaster” and the “mess” you have said repeatedly you inherited from Barack Obama?

‘Phony’ jobs numbers now become ‘real’

Donald John Trump is demonstrating yet again just why he makes me sick to my stomach.

The U.S. Labor Department today announced that 235,000 non-farm jobs were added to payrolls in February, the first full month of Trump’s presidency; the jobless rate declined to 4.7 percent.

Those are impressive figures. What does the president say?

He declares those numbers are “real” even though he said multiple times during his campaign for the presidency that the Labor Department was cooking the books during Barack Obama’s presidency. He called the job growth registered during President Obama’s time in office “fake”;  he said the numbers were phony; he said the “real jobless rate” was much greater than what the Labor Department was reporting.

As White House press secretary Sean Spicer said today, quoting the president: “They may have been phony in the past but they’re real now.”

Now they’re real?

Trump sickens me for many reasons. At many levels. You name it.

He lies, slings innuendo around, insults his foes, boasts openly about his own prowess.

The Trumpkins lap this crap up, giving this clown license to keep making patently, demonstrably untrue statements.

The job figures are impressive. The president should simply have acknowledged them as progress toward the nation’s continuing economic recovery.

But no-o-o-o! He had to remind millions of us why we detest him.

Jobless rate falls; look for the critics to chime in


The U.S. Department of Labor has just released its latest job report.

The nation added 178,000 private-sector jobs in November. The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent. Both numbers were better than economists had forecasted.

Good news, yes? Well, not exactly. That depends on a single political factor, or so it seems: your political persuasion.

President Barack Obama has overseen an astounding string of consecutive months with job growth: the count now stands at 81 months. When he took office in January 2009, the nation was shedding three-quarters of a million jobs a month; we were in the midst of that worldwide economic/financial collapse, if memory serves.

Jobs are up.

The jobless rate is down to 4.6 percent. That’s the lowest since the days of the Clinton administration.

Good news, yes?


Hold on! Not quite. Obama critics cite something called the “workplace participation rate.” That includes a metric that measures the number of people looking for work. When the jobless rate falls to this kind of level, the critics suggest that’s a symptom of folks who no longer are “participating” in the job search.

Thus, the good news becomes bad news … according to the critics.

There used to be a time when you could measure joblessness and economic health using the number of jobs being created and the rate of unemployment.

Jobs are up. Joblessness is down.

That’s no longer good enough.

My head is spinning.

Still trying to grasp the ‘problem’ with the economy


I must need to crack open a few economics books.

The U.S. Labor Department released its monthly jobs numbers this past Friday and they came in quite well.

The economy added 255,000 non-farm private-sector jobs; the unemployment rate remains at 4.9 percent. The jobs figures helped stimulate the stock market as investors — for a day at least — demonstrated confidence in the economy. The economy has added 14 million jobs since Barack Obama became president.

Is that bad news? Really?

But then we hear the politicians.

The economy stinks, they say. Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump is leading the gloom-doom amen chorus by telling us how “incompetent” the government has been during the past eight years.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, of course, kept up the mantra during his unsuccessful bid for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Too much wealth belongs to too few Americans, he said. We have to spread it around, he said; we have to break up those big banks.

I keep hearing how “terrible” the economy is doing. What I hear, though, doesn’t quite match up with what I see.

I live in a section of Amarillo, Texas, that is undergoing a significant business and residential expansion. My wife and I drive north and south all the time along Coulter Street and are amazed at the transformation we’ve witnessed during the two decades we’ve lived here.

We joked just this weekend about how we had moved into our newly built house in late 1996 when it literally was one block from the edge of urban civilization. Everything west of us was pasture land. That’s it! Cattle grazed a block from our front door.

Today? We see nothing but rooftops for as to the horizon.

Businesses are springing up like the crab grass that envelops fescue lawns in this part of the world.

OK, I get that the economic recovery could be stronger. I read the economists’ reports telling us of their concern that the economy could tank at any moment.

None of this, though, matches up with what I’m seeing in this city where we live.

What in the world am I missing?

Jobs report due; get ready for unfounded griping

The Labor Department reported today that claims for unemployment benefits fell to a 14-year low.

This comes on the eve of its monthly jobs report, due out Friday.

So, what will happen? Usually, when the jobless claims dip as they did this week, it means a glowing jobs report is sure to follow.


I’m not going to predict any numbers here, because I have no clue what they’ll be. I’m thinking, though, the job growth in the private sector will match the recent trend, which has been very good.

So, how will the Obama administration’s critics react to this latest bit of sparkling economic news?

They’ll say, “Oh well, the Christmas buying season is almost here and retailers are hiring temporary help to assist with the boost in business.” They’ll pooh-pooh the numbers as a seasonal aberration. Big deal. Where’s the beef? The economy is still in dire straits. Didn’t the mid-term elections just prove that Americans are uneasy about the economy and the direction the country is heading?

This goes to show what politics does to reality.

The reality is that the economy has come back. It’s getting even stronger.

I heard an oil-and-gas analyst today suggest that lower fuel prices are going to give consumers more disposable income to spend at shopping malls across the country, suggesting a booming holiday shopping season that commences with Black Friday the day after Thanksgiving.

Oh, but that’s all smoke and mirrors, the critics will say.