Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Census Bureau Reports American Misery


It's true.  If you read enough, if you're curious enough, you learn something new every day.  For example, I thought the U.S. Census Bureau fanned out across America, dropped off or mailed out Census cards, collected the data, then went into hibernation for another ten years.

Not so!  Last week I was reading a U.S. Census Bureau report called the American Community Survey.  Alas, the report contained nothing but bad news about the state of our nation's economy as well as some nasty spikes in the number of folks living below the poverty level.

Every time I read of these misery indexes I can't help but look back on Obama's 2009 pork stimulus program.  How in the world did we spend nearly a trillion dollars only to make matters worse than they were.  More homeless people trying to survive in tent cities, homeless shelters, living under freeway bridges or even out of their cars.  

Even for those who still sleep with a roof over their heads the poverty rate has worsened with 44 million more people living below the poverty line since 2009.  Minority unemployment now stands at 30 percent and overall unemployment has averaged 8% across the board during the last four years.  

Census figures show that nearly fifty percent of college students who graduated in 2010 have now returned home to live with mom and dad, unable to get a job with that freshly minted college degree.  An astounding 10 million Americans, aged 44 to 65 have dropped out of the jobs market, no longer having hope of finding another job.  Thus, the Labor Participation Rate has declined to 63%, the lowest rate since 1979.  While this has kept the overall unemployment rate at 8%, the combination of idle recent college graduates and laid off adult workers shows the real unemployment/underemployment rate to be a frightening 30% of the entire American workforce.  Perhaps more frightening was the surge in 2012 and 2013 of employers converting full time jobs to part time in order to skirt paying Obamacare medical premiums.  

So far, over six million small, medium and large businesses have reduced employee hours from 40 to 30 hours per week in order to avoid paying for Obamacare and having to hire additional accountants to monitor thousands of new Obamacare regulatory requirements.  Ironically, the creation of these part time jobs have made the unemployment rate look better than it actually is.   The Bureau of Labor is reporting these new part time workers as additions to the labor force while failing to subtract the full time jobs wiped out by employee fears of Obamacare.  So now, businesses are eliminating full time jobs and hiring two part time workers to perform the same work.

The Census Bureau reported on demographics as well.  Those foreign born now living in the United States increased to 44 million, as undocumented Mexicans stopped returning to Mexico as the federal government stopped enforcing deportations.    Of that 44 million, over ten million Hispanics living here have less than a high school education and 7.7 million falling below the poverty level.  California had the largest increase in poverty level residents, having gained 1.5 million poverty level residents, the vast majority of those being illegal Mexicans.

The overall number of families falling below the poverty level increased by 22 percent since 2009 and sadly, the middle class (income from $50,000 to $99,000) eroded further as home equity and unemployment contributed to the declining American middle class.  25% of those who were considered Middle Class four years ago are now drawing Food Stamps, frequenting food banks and applying for local, state and federal assistance.

Well folks, not a promising report about the current state of the nation.  In addition to the statistics cited the U.S. Census Bureau opined that current economic indicators show further declines in both job and wealth creation as the economy continues to stutter.

Oh yes!  There was one bright spot in the bureau's report, I quote:  "Among the 25 largest metropolitan areas, the Washington, D.C., area had the highest median household income in 2012 at $88,233."

So, the Congressional lobbyists, the politicians and the federal workers are doing just fine, thanks!


Carol said...

I will sleep well tonight, knowing our politicians are all paid well (I say sarcastically!).

A Modest Scribler said...

Carol, they are paid so well in Washington D.C. that they nearly told Walmart to fly a kite....if they couldn't pay $15 dollars per hour, with full benefits, D.C.ers didn't want them.

Walmart planned to leave the D.C. area entirely if a proposed $15 dollar minimum wage law went into effect. Apparently sanity was restored when the D.C. Mayor rejected the measure.

TheOldMan said...

When I run for dictator, my campaign slogan will be "Boom times for the 50, Depression for D.C."

A Modest Scribler said...

I'll vote for you old man!