ChrisWeigant.com

Economic News To Be Thankful For

[ Posted Wednesday, November 24th, 2021 – 17:21 UTC ]

Good economic news keeps right on happening, even if this message isn't really reaching the public in a big way. The mainstream media, of course, bears a lot of responsibility for this, as they love to focus on anything going wrong rather than any good news, so stories about inflation (the price of gas, specifically) and supply-chain problems flood the airwaves while the steadily-improving unemployment situation gets maybe a one-day mention when new figures come out. But at heart, it is the Democratic Party's failure for not shifting the public conversation to positive news about the economy.

Today, new weekly unemployment numbers were released and America just had its best week in over 50 years. Let that sink in for a moment. Fewer people filed for unemployment last week than any other week since 1969. The last time we had such a good week, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison were all still alive. That is some spectacularly good economic news, because not only does it signify that we are now over the Delta wave of economic pandemic effects but that the economy is roaring back far stronger and faster than it did after the Great Recession. The overall (monthly) national unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent last month as well.

President Joe Biden has seen more jobs created in the American economy than any other president during his first 10 months in office. So many jobs have been created on Biden's watch that there is now a shortage of workers to fill them. This shifts a lot more power to the job-seekers and away from the employers. This shows up in the record number of people who are quitting jobs in the past two months as well, since most of them are quitting to accept better jobs. Wages have been going up, as employers are forced to react to this shift. This is all very good news for employees.

Granted, we're still not back to the employment levels we were at pre-COVID. We've got about four million more new jobs to go to get there. But we're in a lot better shape than we were when Biden took office. But how often do we hear this? From Biden or from other Democrats?

Granted, Joe Biden was elected in large part because he wasn't Donald Trump. But he really should steal a page from Trump's playbook and start crowing about setting these economic records. "The two economic measures the former president used to brag about were when he pointed to the stock market hitting record highs and when he stated that he had created the greatest economy ever (of any human civilization on Earth throughout all of recorded history) as measured by the low unemployment numbers. Well, we just had the best week on unemployment that we've had in over half a century and the stock market keeps setting record highs -- higher than it ever did under the last administration." Why can't Biden or one of his spokespeople start repeating this ad nauseam?

Biden does try, to give him some credit. He says things like: "We're experiencing the strongest economic recovery in the world," which is true -- we are doing much better than all the others -- but it's also kind of a detached way to put it. Average Americans don't really care what the economies of Britain or Germany are doing, instead they care what is happening in their hometown.

Here, too, the messaging from Democrats needs to be stronger. Finally we have moved beyond endless political stories being written about the pricetag of Biden's Build Back Better agenda and more attention is being paid to what it contains. This is all to the good.

So get out there and toot your own horn, Democrats! The message should be simple: Democrats care about helping working families and making life better for as many Americans as possible. Republicans, strangely, are against all of this. It's pretty easy to come up with relatable ways to say these things:

Before the pandemic hit, far too many American workers felt insecure about their jobs and their economic future. Democrats are trying to change that for the better, which is why the plan is called Build Back Better in the first place. We don't want workers to feel so stressed out and fearful they won't be able to find other work that they stay in a low-paying or otherwise-dire employment situation. We think it's great that people feel free enough to quit their jobs now and get better jobs!

In fact, we're trying to make it even easier for working Americans to do so. We want two more free years of preschool so that parents can return to employment earlier, if they so choose. We want childcare expenses to be limited to only seven percent of people's income, because that would solve an enormous economic Catch-22, where people decide not to take a job because the price of childcare would actually make them worse off financially than if they didn't work and just stayed home with their children. People don't have options when it costs too much for proper care for their children, and we want to expand their options in this regard.

We want parents to be able to take time off for a sick child and still get paid -- just like in every other industrialized nation on Earth. We think such policies are pro-family, and we are scratching our heads why the party that used to brag about being the champion of 'family values' won't support such basic changes.

We want to make sure affordable health insurance is available for all Americans -- even ones who live in stingy red states who refuse to implement all of what Obamacare offered. We don't think your right to affordable healthcare should depend on which political party runs your state -- this should be a right for all Americans, period.

Or how about this take, from Paul Waldman at the Washington Post today:

In a just society, there's no reason why everyone -- even a fast-food worker or a home health aide or a janitor -- shouldn't be able to live a satisfying life free of the grip of constant anxiety. It's simply impossible to be happy if you’re not only earning a low wage but you also can't find a place to take your kids, you're subject to the abomination that is just-in-time scheduling, or you can't speak up when your boss sexually harasses you because if you lose even your terrible job your whole world will collapse.

That hits home a lot better than talking about how the United States is doing in relation to the economies of Japan or France.

Granted, everything's not perfect yet -- but then when is it ever? All those wage gains for workers has contributed somewhat to the inflation now happening. But if Biden's economists are right, this should calm down by the first quarter of next year. Biden is doing what he can -- the White House is making ominous comments about companies who are using the excuse of inflation to just jack up all their prices and reap enormous windfall profits, in the hopes of getting the CEOs to think twice about price-gouging. The Biden administration has also been working to help speed up the supply-chain problems, and he just announced a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve which won't have any long-lasting effect on gas prices but could help them fall a little faster for the next few months, at least.

Biden is doing things, in other words, to use what influence he can to solve problems -- even problems (like the supply-chain issue) that are largely beyond the federal reach (dealing with private corporations, in other words). And while the effects may be slow in arriving, at least he's not just ignoring the problems or (worse) denying they even exist (as Donald Trump regularly did). The underlying economy is getting a lot better and the problems in the news now will likely be seen later as mere road bumps. So President Biden and all the Democrats should really emphasize the good news whenever they can -- like the fact that the last time we had such a stellar week on the unemployment front, you could go see "Purple Haze," "Me And Bobby McGee," and/or "Riders On The Storm" performed live.

 

[Program Note: This will be the last column until next Monday. Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone, and a great long weekend! Regular columns will return after the break.]

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

42 Comments on “Economic News To Be Thankful For”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Chris and everyone!

    And, remember the Republican cult of economic failure!

  2. [2] 
    SF Bear wrote:

    We all talk a lot about the fact that Dems consistently fail to get out a positive message about what they do. This is a lamentable fact, but does anyone have an idea WHY this is true? What is wrong with Dems? Why do the have such a hard time doing what Repubs do so well on a daily basis?

  3. [3] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [2]

    Hate to say it but the Cynic Within me thinks that such political malpractice is because Democrats (or enough DINOs like Manchinema) also serve big money. The Repugs are simply more honest about representing the few and to hell with the 90%.

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That's about the only thing that makes any sense. :(

  5. [5] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Re " . . two more years of preschool so parents can return to employment . ."

    FINALLY, a lefty admits that pre-school has zero to do with education, and everything to do with high-priced, glorified day care!

  6. [6] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Re " . all those wage gains . . has contributed to inflation . . "

    Economic nonsense. Wage gains can only affect price inflation within sectors of the economy where normal competition does not exist (automobile manufacturing prior to globalization would be an example). Wage gains by themselves cannot directly cause price inflation. Actually, it's the price inflation (caused by monetary inflation, increased demand or reduced supply) that are causing the wage gains.

  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    key word there is directly. wage gains increase demand because more people can afford to buy things. and it's demand in turn that influences price.

  8. [8] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CRS - 5

    CW made no such admission about the educational value of child care. That is purely your extrapolation… aka putting words in somebody’s mouth.

  9. [9] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Stig

    Those words were a direct quote from his first box. I attributed them to some unnamed "lefty". I never said they were CW's words, however I definitely think he is in agreement with them, otherwise he wouldn't be advocating for fellow Dems to broadcast them, right?

  10. [10] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CRS-9

    CW used the term “preschool” - but clearly in the context of childcare, not education. The prefix Pre means before, so preschool is where children go before they are old enough to go to school. Preschool is primarily intended to keep young children safe, fed and supervised. Things most working parents can’t do while on the job. Some education will break out - but it’s not the primary mission. Bottom line, there is nothing for Lefties to acknowledge…your comment is just more of your divide and conquer shtick.

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    in many respects, high schools could just as easily qualify as high-priced, glorified day-care. nonetheless, attendance in pre-school is among the most accurate predictors of future academic success. probably because before most kids can succeed in school, they need to know how to behave in school. parents, especially poor parents but even some rich ones, simply don't do that job themselves.

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I was right there with ya, Joshua, right up until that last bit.

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    wow. I mean, just wow. Whoa, in fact.I'm pretty sure my mom wasn't the exception to prove that rule. why do you equate being poor with not being able to teach good behavior?

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz,

    poor parents in the US generally have to spend most of their time working, which doesn't leave a lot of time for other things. so kids generally don't get enough quality time with them. because they're too busy keeping a roof over everybody's heads.

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Wow ... there is quite a lot of generalizing going on there. Far too much than is actually warranted, I believe. The focus on 'poor' is pretty misquided.

    Sorry, but you have struck a nerve.

  16. [16] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz,

    in truth it's more of a multi-factor spectrum based on a combination of economic and cultural factors. but yes, one can't easily fit that into a sound-byte.

    JL

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Parents who must spend most of their time working care more for their kids, generally speaking, and take extra care when instilling good behavior, in or out of school.

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    We're talking "sound-bytes"?

  19. [19] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    talking points?

  20. [20] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    as i said, some parents can't be convinced to read to their kids no matter how much spare time and money they have, but on the spectrum of parent behavior having less time, money, energy, health-care, etc. means a smaller subset will have the values and drive necessary to overcome all that.

  21. [21] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    and that's before we even start with inequality of skills, ability, training, parental education and all those other things nobody wants to talk about because it might mean having to discuss racism and the like.

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Your arguments make little sense to me. I'm really surprised how easy it is for you to draw a line between poor parents and values/drive to overcome hardship.

  23. [23] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    yes, there are many, many anecdotes of people overcoming their circumstances, but whether we like it or not, poverty is the biggest statistical predictor of academic difficulty.

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I see your anecdotes with a lot of over-genealization.

  25. [25] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    poet [11]

    Re "Attendance at pre-school is among the most accurate predictors . ."

    Check out the government's own audit of the vaunted "Head Start" program issued several months ago. Supposedly the 'Cadillac' of pre-K educational programs, turned out to be "of no lasting value whatsoever", I think their conclusion was "No effect beyond third grade."

  26. [26] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Actually both of you are right about pre-K. It's a strange subject to look in to. First there are two types of pre-school: play based and academic. There are also two main types of studies: the most common follow students through 3rd grade. A few track them into early adulthood. It is pretty consistent that pre-k regardless of type do not show academic achievement improvements via standardized test scores up to 3rd grade vs students that did not attend pre-k. On the other hand, students followed beyond 3rd grade into early adulthood, those that attended pre-k had higher college attendance rates, better paying jobs and less incarceration. It also depends on the quality of the pre-k. Head Start is not the "Cadillac" of pre-k. That would be Perry and Chicago, but those were probably too expensive per student to apply nationally. The other problem with many of the studies is they tend to focus on disadvantaged students over middle class and wealthy students. My take is good quality play based pre-k should be standard for all students. Once you do the math and take in to consideration reduced incarceration costs and increased tax revenue, the over all cost is not that bad and worth the improved outcomes...

  27. [27] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    Sigh, words of wisdom have just vanished somewhere...

    At the pre-K level, social and verbal skills are the most important, along with promoting fine motor skills as they develop. Even in middle class families, not every child has enough opportunity to play with other children or interact with non-family adults. Verbal skills tend to go up with parental education, but not absolutely. Play-based pre-K is foundational.

    My mother taught kindergarten for decades in a working poor neighborhood, and was well aware of the struggle of good parents who worked long hours, possibly at more than one job, to raise their children in the way they wanted. They had to rely on the school and programs like Head Start to help them out.

  28. [28] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    BB

    Head Start was pitched to us in the beginning as being the "Cadillac of Pre-K education", but the Gov't audit report I mentioned concluded that it had turned out to be in reality, an "Inner-city jobs program".

    Not the first (nor likely the last) expenditure of taxpayer money on well-intentioned programs that failed utterly.

  29. [29] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Stucki-

    You would have to post the specific study, but the ones about Head Start I have read all fall in to the cut off the study at 3rd grade and only look at standardized test results category that I mentioned above. Way too narrow to call "failed utterly"...

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    One of my favorite EAGLES songs..

    VERY rich in story-telling..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1HhWmjDFAw

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Very nice!

    Since there was no FTP column on Friday, there was no CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party, so ... it's all Chris's fault.

    See ya this coming Sunday night!

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    I know.. I missed it.. :D

    No reason we can't have a little one ourselves.. :D

    Another EAGLES tune that tells an awesome story... :D

    HOTEL CALIFORNIA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BciS5krYL80

    I knew a guy in NJ who swore up and down that HOTEL CALIFORNIA was about a robotic takeover.. :D

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    so ... it's all Chris's fault.

    Yea.. So what else is new.. :^/

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I love, love, love Hotel California ... and all Eagles songs.

    Michale, I think you will love The Cooper Brothers, from Ottawa!

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Just heard that Bryan Adams has tested positive for Covid, again!

    And, he's got a big New Year's Eve performance scheduled in Vancouver ... hoping for the best for him

    Here is a favourite BA tune ... Bryan wrote this with his longtime writing partner, Jim Vallance of PRiSM fame ... Lonely Nights

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    I love, love, love Hotel California

    It was the first song I was exposed to at the tender young age of I can't recall that far back.. :D

    Michale, I think you will love The Cooper Brothers, from Ottawa!

    Work permitting, I'll check it out.. :D

    Listening right now to WASTED TIME :D
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUdbbC3Beo4&list=RDMMC2cMG33mWVY&index=7

    Apropos, eh?? :D

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    Grrrrr.. The more things change, the more they stay the same... :^/

    heh

  38. [38] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Of course, can't play that without also playing a phenonmenal cover by another of my favourite bands - Parallel 49 - United We Rock!

    I'm hoping to see them live in the not too distant future...

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just heard that Bryan Adams has tested positive for Covid, again!

    Yea, I had a couple bouts with COVID.. Once in Jun of 2020 and another again in Jul of 2021....

    It ain't no thang... :D

  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm getting ready for the big premiere and opening night Gala for the Rolling Stones' exhibition, UNZIPPED, tonight! Yeah, it takes me that long. Ahem. See ya later...

    Here is what should be the official theme song for the only Canadian stop for this phenomenal retrospective of the greatest rock and roll band in the history of the world and their impact on music, fashion, film and pop culture.

    "I turned on my boy scout smile; I stood up and gave her my seat. I winked my eye and UNZIPPED my fly and later we went up to her penthouse suite!" Love it! :)

    Check this out!

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    I have missed yer bubbling effervescence, Liz.. :D

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Heh.

    I'll leave you with Gimme Shelter - LIVE

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