The U-3 Unemployment Rate shows an Improving Economy while the while the U-6 Unemployment Rate begs to Differ

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 17th, 2012

Week in Review

With a presidential election coming up this year everyone is trying to talk up the good employment numbers.  Even well respected economic magazines (see Leaving the nest posted 3/9/2012 on The Economist).

As Jed Kolko of Trulia points out, this morning’s report included good news on that front:

“In February, the unemployment rate for 25-34 year-olds dropped to 8.7% from 9.0% in January and is at its lowest level in three years. The unemployment rate for all adults stayed steady at 8.3%. The recession hit this age group especially hard: their unemployment rate peaked at 10.6%, compared to 10.0% for all adults, but this gap is now closing. In February, 74.7% of 25-34 year-olds were employed (the rest were unemployed or not in the labor force because they’re in school, discouraged from looking or not looking for other reasons), up from 73.9% a year ago, but still way below the normal level of almost 80%.”

The unemployment rates they’re discussing are the U-3 numbers.  The ‘official’ unemployment rate as reported in the news.  Which has fallen.  Despite this being a ‘jobless’ recovery.  Which begs the question how can the unemployment rate go down when there are no new jobs to hire the unemployed?  Good question.  To answer it will require a brief discussion about arithmetic.  Because that’s how you calculate the unemployment rate.  You divide one number (let’s call it ‘A’) by another number (let’s call it ‘B’).  Multiply the resulting decimal number by 100 and you get a percentage.  Arithmetically it looks something like this: (A/B)*100.

Let’s say ‘A’ is the number of people unemployed.  You reduce the unemployment rate, then, by making ‘A’ smaller.  And there are two ways of doing that.  You either hire more people.  Or you don’t count everyone who can’t find a full-time job.  Which is what the U-3 unemployment rate does.  It doesn’t count the people working part-time because they can’t find a full-time job.  And it doesn’t count the people who have quit looking for work because they can’t find anything.  There is another unemployment rate that includes these people.  And it is a more fair representation of the jobs picture.  And explains the ‘jobless’ recovery.  The U-6 unemployment rate.

The U-3 rate may be at 8.3%.  But we know that’s not a fair representation of the jobs picture.  Because this so called ‘recovery’ is jobless.  And the U-6 rate explains how this ‘recovery’ can be jobless.  For the U-6 unemployment rate was 14.9% at the end of February 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Which is closer to the Great Depression unemployment rate.  And explains how a ‘recovery’ can be ‘jobless’.   Because it’s not a recovery.

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The UK funds Research to develop Carbon Capture and Storage Technology to Save the Planet and Kill the Economy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 17th, 2012

Week in Review

I guess we should put the plants and trees on notice.  For their carbon sucking days are over.  The UK is financing research to pull the ‘C’ out of CO2.  Leaving the plants and trees less CO2 to breathe.  In an effort to cool the planet.  Something else the green plants and trees won’t like all that much.  Based on how they look during the winter (see UK to give 20 million pounds to cheaper carbon capture posted 3/13/2012 on Reuters UK).

The British government on Monday launched a competition to provide 20 million pounds this year to companies developing cheaper and more efficient components for carbon capture and storage (CCS) plants…

The government has set aside 125 million pounds for research and development of CCS components over a four-year period, to be distributed in collaboration with three technology research groups…

The government is under pressure to deliver a new CCS construction programme in Britain, after its latest attempt to finance a project in Scotland collapsed due to spiralling costs.

CCS is an expensive and commercially unproven technology, but the government sees its development as vital to help reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

If my math is correct that 125 million pounds is about \$200 million.  Not a lot of money in the broad scheme of things when it comes to government budgets.  But for a government struggling to reduce its deficit there are probably a lot of \$200 million programs that we could eliminate to help with that deficit reduction.  Besides spending money on expensive unproven technology just transfers good money to bad investments.  Like all those windmills off the coast of Britain that fell still during winter.  A time when electricity really comes in handy.

We’re spending more and more on bad technology to end phantom problems.  Lucky for us the environmentalists weren’t around during the Industrial Revolution when smoke, soot and ash covered our cities.  Thanks to the steam locomotive.  And coal-fired industry.  Before there was electricity.  For back then there was real pollution.  It wasn’t a pretty pristine world back in the 1800s.  It was pretty filthy.  But we did survive.  And the last time I looked out of a window I saw the planet survived, too.  The planet is cleaner today.  Yet we’re more panicked and spend more to clean it.  Because of the environmentalists.  Who hate the modern world.  Capitalism.  And technology.  Unless it’s green and sucks the life out of the economy.

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Solar Panels and Wind Mills are only Viable with Massive Government Subsidies

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 17th, 2012

Week in Review

Renewable energy advocates paint a rosy picture for solar power and wind power.  There are huge gains in installations despite the high-profile failures like government backed Solyndra.   And all they need to build on these successes is a dump-truck full of more government subsidies, tariffs and legislation forcing consumers to pay more for energy (see U.S. solar and wind industries expand by Wendy Koch posted 3/14/2012 on USA Today).

Newly installed solar panels produced 109% more electricity nationwide last year than in 2010, reaching a record 1,855 megawatts, as the price of these panels plummeted by more than 50%, according to a report today by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), an industry group, and GTM Research.

“The U.S. remains the innovative center of the solar industry worldwide,” says Rhone Resch, SEIA’s president. He says “run-of-the-mill” panels may increasingly be made overseas, but the U.S. still will make the most advanced solar components and post double-digit annual growth. He expects solar power, which now produces less than 1% of U.S. electricity, to generate 10% by 2020…

“It’s not all rosy. … There have been growing pains of late,” says Ron Pernick, managing director for Clean Edge, a research firm. He expects “considerable consolidation.”

A federal “production tax credit,” which lowers the wind industry’s cost of producing power, is slated to expire at the end of 2012. Also at issue:

•A Treasury Department program, which Resch says helped many solar start-ups, expired at the end of last year. On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate rejected an effort to restart the Section 1603 program, which allows companies to take upfront cash grants in lieu of tax credits.

•The Department of Commerce is likely Monday to decide whether to impose duties on solar panels made in China in response to an unfair-trade complaint filed by Oregon-based SolarWorld and six unnamed solar manufacturers. If it imposes duties, Resch expects a slight increase in panel prices.

•Low natural-gas prices are threatening the economic rationale for renewable energy. Pernick says the wind and solar industries will still grow, because more than two dozen states now require utilities to produce more of their power from renewables.

Yes, solar and wind are viable energy alternatives.  As long as we make consumers pay more in taxes to subsidize these industries.  We punish them for buying lower-priced solar panels.  And we force them to pay higher utility bills so utilities use more expensive renewable energy instead of less expensive natural gas.  If only we do these, and tank the U.S. economy in the process, we can make renewable energy viable.  Which it clearly isn’t.  Because we have to do these things.

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New 480V Charging Stations allow about an Hour’s Drive between Half-Hour Charges

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 17th, 2012

Week in Review

They found a cure for the range anxiety of electric cars.  A fortune in infrastructure spending.  Now all they need to find a cure for is time anxiety (see First big piece of ‘Electric Highway’ gets juice by JEFF BARNARD posted 3/16/2012 on the Associated Press).

Spaced about every 25 miles, the stations allow a Nissan Leaf with a range of about 70 miles to miss one and still make it to the next. Electric car drivers will be able to recharge in about 20 minutes on the fast-chargers. The charge is free for now.

“I would say range-anxiety with these fast chargers will be nearly a non-issue for me,” said Justin Denley, who owns a Nissan Leaf and joined the caravan.

Inspired by the stations, his family is planning a trip from Medford to Portland, a distance of about 280 miles. Last summer, he took the family on a 120-mile trip to the coast and had to include an overnight stop at an RV park to charge up.

He expects the trip to Portland to take perhaps three hours longer than in a gas car, because the only chargers available for the last 100 miles are slower, level 2 chargers.

Level 1 car chargers use 110 volts, like a regular home outlet, and it can take an entire night to charge a vehicle. Level 2 uses 240 volts, like a home dryer or range, and can charge a car in three or four hours.

But Level 3, which uses 480 volts of direct current, makes en route charging feasible by boosting a Nissan Leaf’s 45-kilowatt battery from a 20 percent charge to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes.

Are we there yet?  Parents had better get used to hearing this.  Especially if they have to stop every two hours for a half hour rest to recharge the car.  If they’re at a charging stating with a Level 3 charger.  And if they are I hope they keep the kiddies away from it.  For they don’t even let licensed electricians to connect and disconnect a 480 volt circuit without the proper protective clothing.  It’s a little thing we call arc-flash.  The electrical flash as a high-voltage circuit connects or disconnects as the voltages makes the current jump the air gap.  Ionizing the air like a bolt of lightning.

If you’re not lucky enough to have a dangerous voltage to plug into then you might as well look for the charging stations with the motels attached.  Or an RV park where the family can bed down in their shoebox of a car.  To spend the night when their batteries recharge.  Adding an extra night or two to that afternoon drive.  A family drive that we made once upon a time in a gasoline-powered car.  Leaving and returning home on the same day.  On a single tank of gas.  Lucky for us these days we have time to kill in our lives.  Money to burn.  And children who love to sit quietly in a car for hours on end and have large bladders.

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Unlike in the US, the UK finds that Parents are Good for Children

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 17th, 2012

Week in Review

In America the government is very concerned about the wellbeing of children.  So much so that they are emphasizing the role of the government in child rearing.  Such as noting the failure of parents to provide proper nutrition for their children.  Even while the government serves dog food (aka pink slime) to American children in their public schools.  They want to tax soda and fast food.  While at the same time passing out free condoms at schools.  And help girls to get abortions without their parents finding out.  Meanwhile in the UK they are finding that when it comes to child rearing parents know best (see Marriage is good for children and state must back it, declares Iain Duncan Smith by Kirsty Walker posted 3/12/2012 on the Daily Mail).

Marriage provides a more stable environment for bringing up children than other relationships and should be supported and encouraged by the state, ministers will say today.

The Social Justice Strategy paper will stress that marriage is an ‘excellent’ environment in which to raise families, and warns that family instability or breakdown can have ‘devastating’ long-term consequences.

The hard-hitting document, launched by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, adds that children enjoy better life outcomes when the ‘same two parents’ give support and protection throughout childhood…

The document adds that one in three cohabiting couples separate before a child’s fifth birthday, compared with a figure of around one in ten married parents…

The report states: ‘Given that married relationships tend to have greater longevity and stability than other forms, this Government believes marriage often provides an excellent environment in which to bring up children.

‘So the Government is clear that marriage should be supported and encouraged.’

The strategy provides welcome ammunition for campaigners who are trying to push David Cameron into keeping his promise to give a tax break to married couples…

‘When families break down, the consequences can be severe,’ he added.

Mr Duncan Smith will add: ‘At the heart of this, it means emphasising the Government’s support for marriage.’

The Social Justice Strategy paper warns that men who have been separated from a parent, experienced high  family conflict or multiple  transitions in new families, were more likely to be involved in crime.

In a survey of offenders, 41 per cent reported witnessing violence in their home as a child and 29 per cent – or almost a third – reported emotional, sexual or physical abuse as a child.

It finds: ‘Children who have experienced parental relationship breakdown are more likely to have poor cognitive development and education and employment outcomes than those who have lived with both birth parents.’

The paper says that ‘multiple relationship transitions’ are particularly detrimental to children.

Meanwhile in America the trend has been for the government to replace the family unit.  To step in and offer assistance for single mothers.  Encouraging these women to turn to the government instead of a husband to provide a stabilizing influence for their children.  They do this to ‘help’ the mothers.  But it only facilitates more of the same.  Putting more and more children at risk in the long run.  And making these single mothers further stressed, unhappy and alone.

The most destructive influence on children is the breakup of the family.  And the government facilitates it.  Despite all their claims of caring for the children.  They care so much that they even play food police and tell parents what a poor job they’re doing raising their children.  Even though parents have a successful track record of raising their children to lead happy and productive lives as adults.  Unlike the government.  Whose experiments in public housing and child support have been utter failures.  Where their policies have torn families apart.  And caused societal decay on a massive scale.

No, government has demonstrated that they are horrible at parenting.   But you know who’s pretty good at it?  Parents.  The British are just rediscovering this.  Let’s hope the Americans rediscover this, too.  And soon.

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UK Study finds that Rape and Sexual Assault victimize One in Ten Women

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 17th, 2012

Week in Review

Women have lost a lot since the hippy movement of the Sixties that turned them into sex objects for men to enjoy instead of becoming wives and mothers.  For it was a new world out there.  And women didn’t need to subject themselves to the horrors of wedded bliss.  For the women’s movement liberated them.  They could be whatever they wanted.  Do whatever they wanted.  And have sex whenever and with whoever they wanted.  Thanks to birth control.  And then abortion.  It was a time of empowerment.  And this empowerment led to a boom in pornography, strip clubs and prostitution.  And worse (see Rape Survey Shock: One In 10 Are Victims posted 3/12/2012 on Sky News).

As many as one in 10 women in the UK claim to have been raped, according to new research by parenting website Mumsnet.

The survey of 1,609 women found a tenth of those who responded had been raped and a third had been sexually assaulted.

More than four in five of the victims did not report their perpetrators to the police because of concerns over low conviction rates, embarrassment and shame…

Allison Saunders, chief crown prosecutor for CPS London, said: “I support the message of the We Believe You campaign, its aim to raise awareness of the extent of these crimes, and to challenge preconceptions.

“As a society we need to be aware of the myths and stereotypes that members of the public who become jury members may hold and which have the potential to influence court outcomes and ultimately lives.

In other words, women are NOT asking for it.  The problem is that the very people (liberals, feminists, etc.) who claim to support and defend women have objectified them.  Which is the unfortunate corollary to women exploring their sexuality and using birth control and abortion to empower themselves.  Because the underlying message is that women are NOT for marrying and raising a family with.  They’re for sex.  Sex without consequences.  Which can’t do anything but objectify women.  And when some knuckle-dragging Neanderthal can’t join in on some of that consequence-free sex when everyone else appears to be enjoying it their twisted little minds interpret that as a personal insult.

Rape is not about sex.  It’s about power.  Control over women.  A violent response to a lifetime of rejection.  Or not being ‘good enough’ for a night of casual, meaningless sex.  These men blame women for their deficiencies.  Whatever it is that is wrong with them that prevents them from participating in the world of casual sex.  Because if everyone else is doing it and they’re not then something is wrong.  Either with themselves.  Which they refuse to accept.  So that leaves women.

The prevailing attitude about sex today is sending two different messages.  One that encourages women to liberate themselves from the horrors of wedded bliss and to go out and live life to its fullest.  And one that tells too many men that women are some THING just to have fun with.  Not a PERSON to honor, cherish, respect, etc.  And that is why our wives, sisters and daughters are suffering today from some of the most unspeakable of crimes.

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