1) The Week Just Past: Worried Job Creators = No Job Creation
2) By the Numbers: America's Jobs Picture
3)The Economic "Recovery"- Better Off Without the "Stimulus"
4) Noted With "Interest": Avoid a Default, But Cut Spending Now!
5) Carrying NATO's Burden
6) Safeguarding Women's Health
The Week Just Past: Worried Job Creators = No Job Creation
"Earlier this week, the nation's largest small business organization, the National Federation of Independent Business, released a report showing that unemployed Americans face the worst jobs prospects seen in the past eight months. The NFIB survey indicated that more small businesses are planning to lay off workers than are planning to hire new ones. As the New York Times puts it, this is "the latest sign that the economic recovery may have lost whatever modest oomph it had.'
"Of course, my constituents are keenly aware of this fact. Unemployment has been too high for too long and most of us know someone who has lost their job, or is holding onto one just to pay the bills and is essentially underemployed. Of course, there's a lot of concern about food prices at the grocery store, as well as the high prices at the gas pump, and how it's taking its toll on families as they try to make their way towards the summer vacation season.
"Together with the kind of issues that we are wrestling in terms of the debt and the fact that we are still borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend, it is clear we have a very sick economy and that people are hurting.
"In the House we have been focused, not only on getting our fiscal house in order in Washington, but trying also to encourage growth. We are committed to helping small businessmen and women and the middle class return to some sense of optimism.
"Which brings me back to my original point. The simple reality is this: job creators are not going to create jobs until they have the confidence to do so. Businesses and entrepreneurs are not going to build or invest until the President gives them the certainty needed to expand and employ more workers. Unfortunately, we have not heard the words "confidence' nor "certainty' come out of the President's mouth lately.
"Our nation's economic growth is still too low and too slow to restore the millions of jobs that have been lost in recent years. This Administration must understand that in order to boost job creation and grow the economy, we need to stop spending money we don't have and restore employers' faith in the economy. I regret to say that as long as job creators are worried about a spending-driven debt and tax-filled future, job seekers will be hard-pressed to find work."
Recommended Reading: Thomas Friedman wrote in the weekend New York Timesthat "an epidemic of uncertainty about what the future holds for everything from health care to the rate of taxation to Social Security and Medicare spending to the availability of credit to the general direction of the economy -- the sum of which has people holding back "
By the Numbers: America's Jobs Picture
* 9.1%: The unemployment rate for the month of May.
* 28: The number of consecutive months that unemployment has been at or above 8 percent--the level the President said unemployment would never reach if the stimulus passed.
* 19.1%: The rate of underemployment during mid-May according to Gallup's monthly employment survey. This accounts for the unemployed, those unable to find full-time work and those discouraged from looking for work.
* 13,914,000: The number of unemployed Americans looking for work in the month of May.
* 44,587,321: The number of Americans receiving food stamps, the highest number of participants in history.
* 39.7: The average number of weeks that job seekers have been unemployed.
* 8,548,000: The number of Americans who are working only part-time because they cannot find full time employment.
* 6,200,000: The number of Americans unemployed and searching for work for more than 27 weeks.
* 2,206,000: The number of unemployed Americans who want work, but who have stopped looking because of the poor economy.
* 1,231,000: The number of job seekers that are new entrants to the workforce and have yet to find a job.
* 24.2%: The unemployment rate among job seekers between the ages of 16 and 19.
* 14.7%: The unemployment rate among Americans without high school diplomas.
* 6.8%: The level at which the Obama administration claimedunemployment would be today if the "stimulus" was signed into law.
* 1,908,000: The number of net jobs the economy has shed since the President's "stimulus" was signed into law in February 2009.
* $1,161,000,000,000: The total cost of the so-called "stimulus." Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of the bill will reach $814 billionand interest on the debt for this bill will be at least $347 billion.
Recommended Reading II: Dan Molinski and Elizabeth Williamson write in the Tuesday Wall Street Journal that Colombian lawmakers have passed legislation they hope will open the floodgates of trade with China, as a long-delayed U.S. trade deal with the South American nation stalls in Congress.
The Economic "Recovery"- Better Off Without the "Stimulus"
Economic data over the past weeks, punctuated by recent dismal employment reports, confirm the diminishing impact of the "stimulus" efforts orchestrated by the Obama Administration and the Federal Reserve.
Record doses of both monetary and fiscal injections did not produce the desired results. In fact, the size and scope of the "recovery" of the past two years was weaker than would have been expected in a typical business cycle recovery without any stimulus whatsoever.
Recommended Reading III: Charles Krauthammer, writing in this morning's Washington Post, "Union Owned."
Noted With "Interest": Avoid a Default, But Cut Spending Now!
Negotiations on avoiding a debt crisis this summer continued this week.
No one really believes the U.S. will default on its sovereign debt. As of yesterday afternoon, 10 year Treasury bonds were selling at yields of 3.08 percent.
In contrast to that, many experts fear the Greek government may default on its debts, and so their 10 year bonds sold this week for yields of nearly 17 percent.
The Chairman of the Federal Reserve told the Wall Street Journal that "Failing to raise the debt limit could cause "severe disruptions in financial markets, including ratings downgrades of U.S. government debt and damage to the special role the U.S. dollar and Treasuries currently enjoy in global markets,' the Fed chief said."
According to the Financial Times, U.S. banks are "preparing to cut their use of US Treasuries in August as a precaution against any turbulence that could follow if warring Republicans and Democrats fail to increase soon the US debt ceiling."
"The new House majority has fundamentally changed the debate in Washington - away from blind devotion to a larger government, more spending and higher taxes. That's a significant shift from the start of the year, when President Obama was pushing hard for billions in dollars of additional "investments' in a range of domestic spending despite our growing ocean of red ink," Rodney said.
"I hope the prospect of an approaching deadline will spark new "seriousness' on the part of the Obama Administration in the official debt ceiling talks in Washington."
Carrying NATO's Burden
Outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates delivered a speech last week in Europe and pointed out that the U.S. share of NATO defense spending is now more than 75 percent! Further, just five NATO members -- the U.S., Britain, France, Greece and Albania -- spend more than the agreed 2 percent of economic output on defense!
Safeguarding Women's Health
Rodney was one of the guest speakers on Monday at the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey's "Women's Health Summit" at the Morris Museum.
The summit focused on the latest research available to prevent illnesses that largely strike women, with a specific emphasis on chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, among others.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States:
* 7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year;
* Almost 1 out of every 2 adults have at least one chronic illness;
* Obesity has become a major health concern. 1 in every 3 adults is obese and almost 1 in 5 youth between the ages of 6 and 19 is obese;
* 25% of people with chronic conditions have one or more daily activity limitations;
* Arthritis is the most common cause of disability, with nearly 19 million Americans reporting activity limitations;
* Diabetes continues to be the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-extremity amputations, and blindness among adults aged 20-74.