Trying to Understand the Declining Labor Force Participation Rate

Trying to Understand the Declining Labor Force Participation Rate

President Obama has been patting himself on the back now that the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.6 percent—but he’s the only one. There is a bleaker employment-related statistic that has most economists scratching their heads—the declining labor force participation rate (LFPR). The LFPR is the percentage of Americans actually participating in the labor force. And even though the U.S. population continues to grow, the percentage of people in the labor force has been declining for years. And no one knows exactly why. Many economists and commentators have blamed Obama and his obsession with imposing higher costs and taxes, heavier regulations and greater uncertainty on the business community. And those efforts are surely a factor. But the LFPR started declining several years before Obama took the throne. And so while his policies have thrown fuel on the fire, he didn’t start the trend. Just consider: As the graph shows (see link), the LFPR peaked in April 2000 at 67.3 percent. While it stabilized for a few years between 2004 and 2007, it has mostly declined for 15 years, to 62.7 percent today. There has been some speculation that the decline was the result of the first wave of baby boomers turning 65 and retiring. However, that the LFPR of those age 65 and older (without a disability) has actually increased since the end of the recession, from 21.7 percent to 23.4 percent, peaking at 24.4 percent in May 2013. And the LFPR of those 55 years and older actually increased steadily from 29.4 percent in 1993 to 40.2 percent at the end of the recession, where it has leveled out...
Unemployment Will Remain High So Long As The Dollar Remains Wiggly

Unemployment Will Remain High So Long As The Dollar Remains Wiggly

By Ralph Benko The Republican National Committee recently passed a resolution, by the unanimous vote of its National Committeepeople, calling for the creation of a national Monetary Commission.  This legislation is prime sponsored in the House of Representatives by Joint Economic Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tx) and in the US Senate by Republican whip John Cornyn (R-Tx). Cato, with a representative from Heritage, recently conducted a panel on Capitol Hill on this same proposed Commission. Policy does not grow on trees.  Policy comes from people who command attention and have, and win, arguments.  As the attention-commanding RNC together with two of the capital’s leading think tanks indicate, a good argument is brewing.  America needs to have and win an argument about the role of good money — as in Fed policy — in fostering, rather than retarding, a climate of good job growth and equitable prosperity. This, however, is not a partisan issue.  It very much is one that loyal Democrats can, and should, embrace.  Even the RNC made a nonpartisan call to action for “all political and civic leaders,” not just Republicans.  Job creation through good money is bigger than partisan politics. The RNC resolution recites WHEREAS, The apparent consensus among both experts and laypersons is that monetary policy is a key factor in establishing a climate conducive to equitable prosperity, economic growth, rapid job creation, fiscal responsibility, and security of savings for those on a fixed income, such as retirees; … WHEREAS, Rep. Kevin Brady, Chairman of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, thereupon sponsored legislation, H.R. 1176, introduced on March 14, 2013, calling for the creation of a...

Minimum Wage Fraud Revisited–Again and Again

Federal and state politicians are eager to raise the minimum legal wage—again. They have raised the minimum legal wage many times before, but they complain that it is never enough. The last rise in the minimum wage wasn’t enough because the prices of food, clothing, and shelter keep going up faster than wages. Why do the prices of food, clothing, and shelter keep going up? Could this have something to do with the behavior of politicians and government? A general rise in prices is caused by government monetary policy. Yes, Ben Bernanke and kids at the Federal Reserve Bank had fun printing a couple trillion dollars over the past decade. As it takes more and more dollars to buy the same goods, the value of wages, savings, and pensions falls. Politicians could tell the Federal Reserve Gang to stop printing money, but they don’t. They don’t stop it because printing more money is useful to the spending plans of politicians. In this manner, politicians rob the value of wages, savings, and pensions. State politicians are also responsible for rising prices. They don’t print money, yet they raise prices by raising taxes on nearly everything. State politicians could give workers an effective pay raise by reducing taxes on the earnings, savings, and purchases of workers. But they don’t. Politicians don’t cut taxes because tax revenues are useful to the spending plans of politicians. Federal and state politicians could also lower prices in the islands by ending the Jones Act, a very old law that severely restricts shipping to the islands. Bloomberg editors recently commented on the effect of the Jones...

Grassroot Perspective: The Continuing PLDC Saga, Hirono on Judiciary and Susan Rice Withdraws From Nomination

A weekly liberty briefing and news guide to keep you informed and prepared on what’s UP to more freedom or DOWN to bigger, more intrusive government. Quote of the Week: “Small business is the gateway to opportunity for those who want a piece of the American dream … that’s where miracles are made, not in Washington, D.C.” –Ronald Reagan   LOCAL NEWS Money, power and moral hazard: Is Hawaii’s Public Land Development Corporation above the law? (TWTC, 12/11) Many people in Hawaii are wondering just how an organization with such broad sweeping powers as the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) was able to clear the Legislature in 2011. Exempt from taxes and regulations and even able to issue revenue bonds all on its own authority, the PLDC is perhaps one of the most controversial organizations to ever be created in the State of Hawaii. I was very fortunate to interview with Hawaii State Representative Jessica Wooley – a legislator who was one of only nine who voted against the PLDC – to get a better understanding of just what happened behind the scenes and where the system failed on Act 55. Rep. Wooley mentions in our interview that “When this bill passed, the legislative hearing process itself was rife with abuse and public input was bypassed. The irony could not be worse. There was no public input on the elimination of public input. Major new language appeared in the House amendment of the bill. There was only one opportunity for the public to comment on many substantial changes, including the county zoning, subdivision, and permitting exemptions. Notice to the public of that single...

Grassroot Perspective: Hawaii Leadership, Ron Paul Was Right and Using Sin Taxes For Credit Ratings

by Danny de Gracia, II A weekly liberty briefing and news guide to keep you informed and prepared on what’s UP to more freedom or DOWN to bigger, more intrusive government. Quote of the Week: “We have depended on government for so much for so long that we as a people have become less vigilant of our liberties. As long as the government provides largesse for the majority, the special interest lobbyists will succeed in continuing the redistribution of welfare programs that occupies most of Congress’ legislative time.” – Rep. Ron Paul Local News After Akaka: The Next Generation of Native Hawaiian Leaders (Civil Beat, 10/25) Michael Levine of Civil Beat reports that the retirement of Sen. Daniel Akaka –  the only Native Hawaiian ever elected to the upper chamber of Congress – leaves an unknown future.  “With nobody ready to take Sen. Daniel Akaka’s place, will the void created by his departure provide the kick in the pants the Native Hawaiian community needs to incubate and organize a deeper “bench” of leaders?” Levine writes. ANALYSIS: The “reset” that comes with the departure of long-standing leader of an organization indeed creates uncertainty, but it is also a golden opportunity to change the atmosphere and bring about new reforms and higher levels of excellence. Leadership consultant John C. Maxwell writes in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership that the major barriers to successful planning are “fear of change, ignorance, uncertainty about the future and lack of imagination.” Whoever wins the November 6th election will need to recognize thatHawaiineeds a paradigm shift in both leadership and representation that makesHawaii’s congressional delegation...