Tag Archives: homeless

Unemployment rate is not 7.5%. Tired of the news feeding you misleading information? (II)

The unemployment rate is about double that figure, with various experts providing a range between 13% and 16%.  Read on.

The report below is based on the ADP reports for job growth, or not . . .  Make sure to see the red and green graphic down the page a bit, “ADP Employment Change” (the recent change is negative).  While there is job growth in areas, look at the bottom of the info-graphic at the bottom of the article.  The average number of jobs in April was less than the previous five months.  Good jobs in manufacturing went DOWN, not up.

LINK:  ADP Private Jobs Plunge, Miss; Fall For Fifth Month In A Row

And get this:

LINK:  Dark side to jobs report: Big drop in hours worked; Commentary: Shorter work week equivalent to 500,000 jobs lost

Are you tired yet of the media providing a false and rosy picture of employment in this country?  What reason do they have to do so?  How can providing only part of the employment/unemployment picture help anyone – the government policy makers, business people, the unemployed?  While the author the article in the above link cautions that the data is only for one month and may not represent a long-term trend (still, that’s an awful lot of “jobs lost” not being reported), coupled with the ADP information in the first link, it isn’t encouraging.  It also confirms what so many employees are saying – they are given too few hours to work.

The video and transcript linked below gives actual, real-world evidence of the ridiculous time older people are having getting jobs (how they’re spending all their retirement, living off of aid, being forced into signing unlawful lay-off agreements, etc.).  Many were laid-off when the depression started.  I’m tired at this point of business people blaming others out there for out-sourcing jobs and therefore making it not competitive to pay Americans decent wages, or even hiring Americans at all, and things of this nature.  It’s business people that did all this – out-sourcing, laying off older workers because they have a higher pay rate and may cost more in health care, etc.  Not all business people have done these things, but it doesn’t matter much after our country and so many of its people are run into the ground.

Ethical business people should know about the applicable laws and regulations more than the average person, so they would be the best advocates for changes in the laws, tax structures, etc.  Many business people used to realize that employing people full-time and with decent pay made the whole community, and country, better.  Now it seems like only few do.  It’s like money is all that matters and that somehow they can take it to the grave with them – the future for everyone else is of no consequence.

As stated in the interview, the unemployment rate is closer to 16%.  This corresponds to Keith Hall’s testimony to the (US) Joint Economic Committee:  “Their data shows that American households now have an unprecedented dependence on these government programs. A remarkable 17.2% of total household income now comes from government social benefits, and such spending tracks pretty closely to the jobless rate (the share of the working age population without employment) . . .”

LINK:  Brutal Job Search Reality for Older Americans Out of Work for Six Months or More

For continually updated information on lay-offs and business closings, and links to pertinent articles (including where and how to get jobs), see DailyJobCuts.com.

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“Health-care price gouging is a scandal . . . “

Link:  Health-care price gouging is a scandal, but there are solutions

This article was an eye-opener.  I mean, I KNOW there are big big problems with the health care system, but from what I know (or what I thought I knew) of non-profit organizations, it had no idea it was possible for non-profit hospitals and agencies to do what they’re doing.  How is this happening?  We need to ask our government this, which regulates non-profits.  I started to look into this issue today after my boss told me that health insurance is going up 30% AGAIN, for individuals.  People, can we please do something for our brothers and sisters in this country?  Many people that are homeless ended up that way over health costs!!  Anyway, these are excerpts from the article.  Go to the link to read the whole thing, and the author provides a name and place to get more detailed and highly informed information.  Thanks.

I once tried getting an answer from officials at Bayfront Medical Center about why they billed a breast biopsy at more than $12,000, not including fees charged by the radiologist and lab. All I got were vague answers, and no one would break down the cost.

In nonprofit hospitals, where top executives often are paid lavish compensation of $1 million or more, Brill [from Time magazine] documents how patients are gouged, charged hundreds of dollars for services that Medicare would have reimbursed at little more than $20. In one typical case, a dose of life-saving cancer medicine, already expensive at $4,000, was marked up by the hospital to $13,700 — with no explanation given. . . .  We overspend on health care by $750 billion a year, Brill asserts, more than the gross domestic product of Saudi Arabia.

. . . transparency in medical billing is an essential consumer-protection reform. And . . . we need to put limits on pharmaceutical pricing to bring down U.S. drug charges in line with other developed countries. That reform alone would save Medicare $25 billion a year.

The uninsured, who are powerless to negotiate a better deal, can pay tenfold for the exact same services.

For even-better ideas, read Princeton economics professor Uwe Reinhardt’s posts at the NYTimes.com blog Economix. An expert in the funding of health-care systems . . .

The author of the piece, Robyn Blumner, believes that a single-payer system would be best, as does my CPA boss.  I agree.  We are still being killed softly by insurance company policies, even if they are keeping prices from hospitals down.  What underwriter should deserve health insurance themselves when they deny a dying (or simply overweight!!) person any?  This more than amazes me.  This is inhuman.  But from what people have been taught in schools, there’s nothing special to being human – it’s survival of the fittest (and somehow all other countries and humans are better than Americans . . . ).  People are losing their critical thinking skills, their compassion, and the appreciation and desire for beauty.  God help us!

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America, the home of the free . . . to screw and be screwed.

Unemployment rate is not 7.7%. Tired of the news feeding you misleading information?

English: United States mean duration of unempl...

I can say with confidence that the unemployment rate is not 7.7%, since that figure is only one of six measures the Labor Department uses to decipher U.S. unemployment. For some bizarre reason, “news” stations keep feeding us this one measure without doing the slightest bit of analysis; they are the country’s (or administration’s) cheerleaders instead of information providers.  The written news media sometimes do a better job at reporting the actual figures (see the source article, for instance).

The unemployment rate is closer to 14.3%. This is the figure the Labor Department also came up with for February, 2013, which includes all those persons underemployed who want an actual job that pays their bills (it does not include part-timers who are happy with their hours), those persons who want to work but have stopped looking because there’re no jobs where they live, etc. As a note, since these figures are based on surveys, and the unemployed/homeless might not be answering their phone (if they have one), the statistic has the possibility of being too low. There are a lot of homeless around here and I don’t think they’ve answered any survey calls from the Labor Department – but they should be a part of the statistic given in the next paragraph.

Another statistic put out by the Labor Department is the ratio of employed persons relative to the overall working-age population.  For February, that ratio had not changed.  It is standing at 58.6%.  By way of comparison, in the year 2000 it was 64.7%.

The long-term unemployed number has not changed, standing at 4.8 million.  The longer these people remain unemployed, the harder it will be for them to get hired.  That is what we saw happen during the recession, in any case, and I don’t see employers changing their hearts on this matter.  Underemployment also stands the same as before, at 8 million.  I don’t see corporations changing their hearts on this either – it’s all about making more and more money to bolster stock prices and returns (this is my opinion based on personal experience, talking with others, and documentaries).

And what to make of this?  From Recession Like Symptoms, March 7, 2013.

In its reporting of monthly job-cuts for February this morning, Challenger, Gray & Christmas informed us of a sharp spike in layoffs. It is information that certainly runs counter to the market’s direction today, and it asks an important question about the economy, too. . . .

Maybe it’s for good reason. Job-cuts increased by 37%, to 55,356, which is a rather high level and could offer another warning about the economy. After all, fourth quarter GDP was just revised barely into positive territory and last month’s Employment Situation Report showed deterioration. Those are important recession-like symptoms, and hard to mistake for anything else.

Source of this information,  Unemployment rate: How many Americans are really unemployed?, and recommendations:  The Recession and Recovery in Perspective; Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted; Unemployment Is 18.0% NOT 7.7% (alternate link: http://wallstreetgreek.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-false-prophet-unemployment-is-really.html).

Lent, the Rich and Poor in Orange County, and low-income housing

 

The average prA Place at the TAbleice of a home in Orange County, CA, where we live is over $646,000 (the average for CA as a whole is over $345,000).  This simply floors me.  You cannot be low income and really live in this county, yet there are poor everywhere.  The gap between rich and poor is amazing.  There are homeless in the plazas I walk to, along the sidewalks and in McDonald’s (and there are a great many that hang out at the library a bit farther away) and some have died in these places recently.  I have more than they do, by far, and we are low income.  So what are all the wealthy here doing?  Surely many must be millionaires here for the average price of a home to be over half a million dollars.

I just got done looking over a property that we’re trying to buy through a low income housing project.  Only one unit is available, and it is farther away from where we work than I’d like . . . but seeing how the prices are only going up now, we should take it if we happen to be chosen to buy it.  Who knows how they decide that . . .  The average price for a home in the city in which it is in – though it is on the boarder of an even poorer city – is almost $426,000; if you can believe it, the average one year ago was over $100,000 less (hurrah for economic recovery???).  I think, honestly, that the price for the low income home we’re trying to get is too high.  I think the bank owns the whole property or something, and is asking “market value,” but providing loans that are not normally available.  I’ll find out tomorrow.

Anyway, I come to this after reading the short introductory chapters of A Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor (by Chris Seay).  Our church is using this book this Lenten season.  I don’t know why most nondenominational Christian churches do not emphasize fasting at all.  Some will talk about it and encourage people to do it, but this is somewhat rare from my experience.  The new church we’re going to is affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination. It’s not Catholic-related by any means (they emphasize Christ’s church in the world, and de-emphasize themselves, more than any church I’ve attended), but they observe Lent.  Christ fasted for 40 days before His public ministry began, and He said that His followers would fast after he ascended, so I don’t know why we don’t emphasize it more.  Anyway, reading this book and considering its messages, is humbling.

It says in here that there are 2.2 billion children in the world – and guess how many live in poverty? – almost half, 1 billion.  Also, stunningly, a child dies every 15 seconds for lack of clean water to drink.  Drink clean water and thank God for all He gives us.  The book, and our church, suggest eating simply for Lent and giving the difference of what we would normally spend on our food to the poor.  I hadn’t thought about it much yet, but I’ll see what we come up with.