If the same percentage of adults were in the workforce today as when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 11.1 percent. If the percentage was where it was when George W. Bush took office, the unemployment rate would be 13.2 percent.Ezra Klein • Remarking on declining labor force participation in the US. It’s often noted that official unemployment numbers understate the real percentage of people out of work, as they only tally people actively searching for a job. One consequence of this is that when labor force participation decreases—that is, when unemployed folks just give up and stop looking for work—employment actually “increases.” That’s why only 115,000 jobs were added last month, yet unemployment decreased from 8.2% to 8.1%. Since Barack Obama took office, labor force participation has declined 2%. It’s now at 63.6% which, Klein notes, is “a level not seen since the early days of the Reagan administration.” Here’s a chart. source (via • follow)
It was very touching. I thanked her for her service, wished her well, and she just looked beautiful.Gabrielle Giffords shooting survivor Pat Maisch • Describing her impression of the resigning Congresswoman at her “Congress On Your Corner” event, which Giffords resumed on Monday, over a year after the shooting that nearly killed her. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords thanked the survivors and heroes from that day. Maisch was the one who wrestled the gun away from the shooter. Although Giffords has made incredible strides in her recovery, the Congresswoman has decided to leave office this week — but not before watching Obama’s State of the Union address tomorrow; she’ll be there in person. source (via • follow)
Almost nobody’s talking about one of the central points that everyone who has analyzed this situation makes – including the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission – which [is] you shouldn’t do any of this until the economy is clearly recovering.Bill Clinton • Discussing the deficit-reduction fight going on in Washington, with dealing over the debt limit functioning as a negotiating tool for the GOP to push for spending cuts. This is an angle that’s been taken by many mainstream economists (though obviously, the world of economics can be as contentious as anywhere else), namely that the ability to put off paying down the deficit for a while, though it may not jive with the popular notion of fiscal responsibility, is a valuable tactic to avoid straining the economic recovery. To use an overly simplistic metaphor, if we were to gain thirty pounds over the course of a year, working out twelve hours every day wouldn’t be a healthful way to slim back down. It takes a while to gain the weight, so it’s only natural and measured that it’ll take a while to safely cast it off again. source (via • follow)
» Not all is rosy in Bailoutville: One of the biggest issues we still face are the dual sinkholes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have reportedly cost taxpayers $150 billion and we like to think of as dual sinkholes. And some legislators feel that the effect has set us up for having to bail out unsuccessful companies in the future.
good news on the lara logan front. It’s being reported that Logan has been dismissed from the hospital following her “brutal and sustained sexual assault” in Cairo. While an unnamed source claims that, fortunately, Logan’s assault was “not a rape,” we can hardly imagine of the terror of it, especially in the context of a wild, tumultuous scene in Tahrir Square. Logan is reportedly in surprisingly good spirits, and is home with her family. Best wishes for her, and for her recovery. Relatedly, though, film critic Roger Ebert had this to say: “The attack on Lara Logan brings Middle East attitudes toward women into sad focus.” We’re all for somberly analyzing the broad implications of specific events, but really? Unless you can’t imagine a woman in America being sexually assaulted in a chaotic mob, it seems a little cheap and easy to paint a whole part of the world with the brush of this horrible event. Still, better than Nir Rosen’s analysis was. source