Dietrich Schmitz in Google Plus raised the issue of the continuing decline in labor participation rates in the US. He said US media were ignoring the issue and that it is serious – since 2000, 27 million Americans have left the Labour Force. In fact, one just begins to see signs that the media is starting to cover the issue. The NYTimes, in the announcement of the new 288,000 jobs in April noted that those leaving the workforce at 988,000 overwhelmed those new jobs.
Worse the GOP is beginning to show signs of “Pivoting”. Pivoting occurs when a party largely responsible for a problem suddenly does an opportune about face, and blames the other party. The classic example is US Deficits. It started with Ronald Reagan’s treasonous acceptance of Starve the Beast policy of deliberate overspending [http://onforb.es/1i7wMb8 – note this is a Republican commentator in Forbes magazine]while being carried out to even greater degree by the two Bushes. The net result is that GOP Presidents incurred 75% of the US Deficits in the past 30 years.
So despite being the creators of the US Deficits the GOP pivots on the day of the Obama’s first inauguration and adopts a new policy of being Deficit Hawks. Now the Tea Party leads the GOP charge to cutback all deficit spending even in situations where such programs a)do aid the recovery with more and/or better jobs and b)nearly pay for themselves. But since the Obama policies were scuttled, the GOP can claim with impunity “that they would never have worked”.
So in the GOP determination to prove “that Government Does Not Work” and “Obama is the worst President in US History”, they have successfully thwarted these programs. Under the guise of being newly found “Deficit Hawks”, a policy of House lead NO aided by Senate Filibuster [you need 60 votes in the US Senate to close a filibuster, the Dems have only 55 and if a GOP Senator crosses over they get pilloried by Rush and the big GOP PAC spenders]. So many Obama recovery plans have been logjammed in the Senate as much as the House.
So as detailed here [http://nyti.ms/1kDozwE ], many Obama policies which would have reduced the effects of the Recession while helping create more and better jobs were flatly rejected by the GOP. As Paul Krugman notes in the post above, this was a huge opportunity lost for the US Economy in the name of dubious political gain. And if you think The Despicable Me GOP is just a caricature, then read about the latest GOP duplicity.
Thus the current GOP “Pivoting”, as voiced today on the Sunday’s TV shows like Meet The Press and This Week, is to repeat the Deficit Coverup. The GOP spokepersons were decrying the growth in the jobless numbers and the lower participation rates blaming it on the incumbent President and declaring themselves innocent of all responsibility. Classic Political Coverup.
How the GOP Coverup Works
This coverup strategy may well work for the following reasons:
1) the issue is reasonably complex and there is a lot of data and details to understand. Perfect for hoodwinking John Q. Public;
2)Basic Hoodwink 0: Blame the guy in charge during the current pain while minimizing predecessors responsibility;
3)Hoodwink 1: The latest increases in permanent jobless have occurred under the Obama administration. But they started under Ronald Reagan. However, just as the case of Deficits incurred by GOP Presidents, nobody cares to look at the data which shows that Participation rates peaked under Clinton, started to fall off precipitously under Bush Jr and have continued apace under Obama with the help of the GOP “NO” policy [http://bit.ly/1umX1kk ].
4)Hoodwink 2: The issue of participation rate is made more complex by a)increases in women’s participation rate; b)changing amount of part-time work and c)the effects of outsourcing and job automation. “Figures don’t lie, liers figure” applies to recent claims of 50% participation rates.
5)Hoodwink 3: Big Business does not want the decline in participation rates to become an issue because it a)might spook the 6 year Bull Stock Market, b)call attention to their many times dubious wage and employment practices, and c)it maight impede the rollout of the new wave automation technology as seen here which will put even more jobs in jeopardy.
6)Hoodwink 4: The GOP does not have to get a 50% or greater of the population believing that the Dems are responsible for decline in Job participation rates. Just like in Climate Change all they have to do is sow enough confusion, misrepresentation and doubt to secure 35 to 45% belief in their “Pivoting”. And there is no better proof of this then the GOP’s ability a) to become Deficit Hawks in the 2 months after losing the 2008 Presidential election despite 30 years of Overspending and b)to torpedo all of Obama’s recovery plans from 2010 onwards with minimal political damage despite the increasingly catastrophic consequences as spelled out by Paul Krugman [do read his free Priceton course notes linked to in the story – all the GOP Shameful details are there].
So yes Dietrich, Employment Participation Rates are being covered up. And the cause is twofold – The GOP is doing so in a such a debilitating partisan way one can say it is tantamount to Treason. Big business, working inexorably to achieve ever lower labor costs, has on its agenda a new wave of automation which will inevitably lower participation rates even more; so they don’t want the full story out either.
See the recent Economist posting on this vital issue.