The unemployment numbers released last Friday are even worse than they look, and they look terrible. From David Stockman at lewrockwell.com:
Yes, they are…..gone.
We are referring, of course, to all of the jobs created not only since the Great Recession bottom, but during the entire 21st century to date!
That’s right. The 20.5 million jobs plunge reported for April essentially wiped out the “strong labor market” brouhaha of the 244 “Jobs Friday” reports since January 2000.
In fact, the 131.072 million nonfarm payroll jobs reported for April 2020 were actually below the 131.124 million jobs reported way back in February 2000 when Bill Clinton was still scurrying around the White House looking for some place to hide the blue dress.
Total Nonfarm Payrolls, 2000-2020
Needless to say, embedded in the above disastrous chart is the boot heel of Lockdown Nation at its most vicious. That is, it has brutally monkey-hammered those channels of daily economic life that are based on social congregation – bars, restaurants, hotels, malls, salons, gyms, movies, concerts etc.
California is one of the epicenters of coronavirus craziness (New York is the other). Both states are destroying their blue-collar work forces. From Joel Kotkin at realclearenergy.org:
Like the rest of the country, although far less than New York, California is suffering through the Covid-19 crisis. But in California, the pandemic seems likely to give the state’s political and corporate elites a new license to increase their dominion while continuing to keep the middle and working classes down.
Perhaps nothing spells the triumph of California’s progressive oligarchy more than Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to off-load the state’s recovery strategy to a task force co-chaired by hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer. A recently failed presidential candidate, Steyer stands as a progressive funder. He is as zealous as he is rich. Steyer sometimes even found the policies adopted by climate-obsessed former governor Jerry Brown not extreme enough for his tastes.
Some conservatives wistfully hope that the pandemic will push the climate crusaders to the side. In California, at least, the corporate aristocrats, the governmental apparat, and the progressive nonprofits have the momentum to impose their ultra-green vision on the state’s residents. Steyer may have made much of his fortune on fossil fuels, including coal, but now, approvingly described as “a reverent Christian,” the Bay Area mogul seems to be eager to repent, both through his political largesse and as operator of a fulsomely organic ranch down the coast from his San Francisco manse.
This is almost a dog bites man story: laws end up hurting the people they were ostensibly meant to help or protect. From John Stossel at townhall.com:
Freelance jobs are “feudalism,” says California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.
She persuaded California’s legislature to pass a new law reclassifying freelance workers as employees. That means many people who hire them must now give them benefits like overtime, unemployment insurance, etc. Politicians said it would help freelancers a lot.
Of course, much of the media agreed. Vox called it “a victory for workers everywhere”!
Sigh. Young reporters just don’t understand that stifling economic freedom always creates nasty side effects.
Actually, more understand now, because they got a very personal lesson. Once the bill passed, Vox media cut hundreds of freelance writing jobs.
When Gonzalez was asked if she felt bad about that, she sneered, those weren’t “real jobs.”
One of the main and generally unattributed factors behind the West’s rise since the Middle Ages was the lack of political centralization. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:
It is not uncommon to encounter political theorists and pundits who insist that political centralization is a boon to economic growth. In both cases, it is claimed the presence of a unifying central regime—whether in Brussels or in Washington, DC, for example—is essential in ensuring the efficient and free flow of goods throughout a large jurisdiction. This, we are told, will greatly accelerate economic growth.
In many ways, the model is the United States, inside of which there are virtually no barriers to trade or migration at all between member states. In the EU, barriers have been falling rapidly in recent decades.
The historical evidence, however, suggests that political unity is not actually a catalyst to economic growth or innovation over the long term. In fact, the European experience suggests that the opposite is true.
Why Did Europe Surpass China in Wealth and Growth?
A thousand years ago, a visitor from another planet might have easily overlooked European civilization as a poor backwater. Instead, China and the Islamic world may have looked far more likely to be the world leaders in wealth and innovation indefinitely.
Why is it, then, that Europe became the wealthiest and most technologically advanced civilization in the world?
Indeed, the fact that Europe had grown to surpass other civilizations that were once more scientifically and technologically advanced had become apparent by the nineteenth century. Historians have debated the question of the origins of this “European miracle” ever since.
CEOs and their companies now have to be “woke.” From Tim Hartnett at lewrockwell.com:
Vivek Ramaswamy is not a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant but he is a man and he did some ‘splainin. It’s not a good sign that it was necessary on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal. Skepticism tends to be looked on with skepticism these days—popular culture is always ripening the harvest for confidence men.
The subject of Ramaswamy’s piece is another enlightened scheme for saving the world—from what we will all find out–as the vision unfolds. This time it goes by the Newspeak name “stakeholder capitalism.” The term is supposed to mean that righteous corporations will be raising the stakes above mere profit for shareholders. What it looks to be saving us from, as Mr. Ramaswamy is wont to point out, is that ever-present peril to democracy known as “one man one vote.”
A new, improved corporatocracy now has plans to look out for you–a guy with no stake in the company–just like Bill O’Reilly does. What kind of fascist could have a problem with that? It’s not like the last few generations have been immune to clandestine arrangements—engineered in opaque conclaves—to fix our broken world. The question is, if any of them are working, who are they working for? People who dare to question high flying priorities—under a banner of noblesse oblige that nobody voted on–are frequently heaved to the political kitchen bin. Anybody who can’t tell the difference between a CEO who stands for goodness itself, and a televangelist making the same claim, might not be employable once Mom and Pop’s finally get wiped out. Where’s the downside of that? What could Vivek, who is a CEO himself, be thinking?