True Low Unemployment Would Mean Things We Are NOT Seeing

Corporate media is fond of saying that unemployment is low, which would mean employment is up. I have previously covered the Labor Participation Rate, the Bloomberg report calculating that 600,000 jobs have been lost just since December, unreported and that report came out several months ago. However, even that isn’t necessary because the evidence that employment is as high as claimed does not add up with what we see all around us.

For one thing, if employment were truly up, we would not be having the discussion about immigration at all. We have seen incidents in the past when employment was high. At that time, the US was welcoming immigrants with open arms. Compare to what we see occurring right this minute.

Deporting large numbers of immigrants may have some impact on employment but barely enough to budge percentages or numbers. Consider that the estimate was that there were 11 million illegal immigrants in the US. Not all of those were in any condition or age to be employed. Many are children, as we can clearly see from the children being caged at the border this very minute. Others have been here for years and are too elderly to work. Still more are disabled in some way.

Thus, we can consider that possibly 3 million may have possibly been employed and most of those have worked in low-wage agricultural or similar jobs. In cases where they have occupied jobs with higher pay and skills, deporting them does more damage than good to the economy, as many corporations have moved jobs to South American countries. Those are the DREAMERS, who have gained education and skills which many natives lack. In other words, not only are the immigrants being deported but the jobs they occupied are being deported as well.

Even without the above, if employment was as high as claimed, immigrants would be welcomed to occupy lower levels of employment, allowing more skilled Americans to fill higher positions.

Next, consider that if employment were up, we would not be seeing other signs of a declining economy which we are seeing. Student loan defaults are at record levels. Vehicle loan defaults have been increasing for several years while new vehicle sales are down, causing mass layoffs in the auto industry. New and used home sales are declining. Consumer credit debt is rising rapidly as consumers are forced to use credit to meet basic needs. While we already have the highest level of consumer and corporate debt in world history.

In times of high employment, pay and benefits increase because employers compete for the best, most qualified workers first and then move down the skill/experience ladder from there. Wages do not remain stagnant at any level.

It is well known we are living in a “gig economy”, with a large percentage of jobs being contract or temporary work. I had written that this was coming in 2001, beginning primarily with medical professionals and then spreading to other fields. That is precisely what happened. However, what has changed over time has been a decline in pay and benefits for such positions as they became more common across industries. In fact, that is why it has become more common. Temporary and contract workers were once used to fill positions which were short-staffed and as a result, pay and benefits were above average. They typically led to offers of permanent employment for good workers. Today, these positions are used to avoid the need to hire full time staff. Workers are offered part time and contract positions or nothing at all, while they rarely lead to offers of permanent employment. This does not happen in times of high employment because employers are anxious about being stranded with inadequate staffing. In fact, they would be offering nearly unlimited hours to the best temp/contract workers who have already shown their value.

In times of truly high employment, one can see an initial anomalous dip in the stock market as employment rises due to wages being seen as a cost. Then stocks increase as profit margins rise due to consumer spending due to the employment and wage levels.

Right now we see prices rising in comparison to wages. In times of high employment, prices rise but only secondary to higher wages and employment. Yes, tariffs are playing into inflation but there has not been a time that prices have decreased at any time since the 2008 crash. In fact, rent in general has continued rising unabated since that time.

In times of high employment, employers will eagerly subsidize or even pay for higher education for valuable employees wishing to advance. Today, companies are mandating continued education at employee expense, with or without advancement. Note that some may use the example that employers once paid for travel and attendance to conferences and this has become less common. I find this not anything abnormal with technology advancements which have resulted in video conferencing becoming far more common gradually over time, reducing the need for travel.

When employment is high, increased wages and benefits result in a decrease in out of pocket costs for workers. That leads to increased consumer spending. Increased consumer spending results in a further cycle, maintaining and creating more jobs. Right now we are seeing reduced consumer spending outside of absolute essentials. Tariffs would have some effect to slow the volume of goods being sold but would not by itself result in a depressed consumer market resulting in mass layoffs and loan defaults.

Obviously, capitalists will be capitalists and rent prices will continue rising, as we have seen in this battered economy. That leaves even less disposable income for consumers to spend.

These conditions are only going to get worse due to Trump’s trade war with China. No matter how much he gives farmers in subsidies at our expense, that does nothing for downstream jobs in trucking, packaging and shipping. Tariffs are a tax on the American people which slow consumer spending by volume purchased. When consumers have a limited budget, that budget does not increase because prices do, meaning they spend the same but obtain less. The tariffs do not mean more profit for retailers, so they see reduced sales volume. Less sales volume means less requirement for labor. That means more layoffs but will be less immediately evident because it will not be mass layoffs and instead be widespread and gradual reduction in staff. Then more downstream reductions in trucking, shipping, manufacturing and so on.

When corporate media is telling you anything about how well the economy and job markets are doing (among other things), it is highly advisable to question it very critically.

Trump’s Immigrant Detention Industry Is The Worst Form of Socialism- Pt 2

As I noted at the end of part 1 of this series, the immigration detention industry is paid for by society, yet offers no direct profit to society.

Contrast this with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. These programs offer direct societal benefits of providing a direct income or medical care. Under our current system, they do result in corporate profits but only afterthe money or service passes through the hands of the beneficiary.

None of this is true with immigrant detention centers. Instead the money goes first through the hands of the corporation. The corporation determines how much a worker gets paid after first considering their own profit margin, which is their first and only concern.

It is true that these facilities provide jobs and incomes for those that work there. They may boost local community revenues to some degree. However, this can only be seen as a temporary situation. There will come a time when the immigrant population will become so low that these facilities will decrease, leading to these facilities being closed again.

This could very well leave these communities in even worse condition than they began. You can count on the fact that many municipalities and local businesses will take out loans based on the increased revenue they see in the immediate present. So will many individuals, taking on new debt in the form of mortgages, vehicles, credit card debt and so on. Once the facilities begin reducing staff, cutting hours and closing doors, this party ends and the cleanup begins. The income will be gone and the bills will still have to be paid.

As long as these facilities remain open only for the purpose of detaining immigrants, this system is unsustainable. Eventually so many immigrants will be deported or naturalized that the end is inevitable.

For the record, the Socialist statement is also true of all of ICE, minus the corporate profit.

The alternative is considerably worse. That another use is found for these facilities. Like turning them into federal detention facilities. For whom? That’s the terrifying thing to think about. We already see laws being enacted to make it illegal to protest against corporate interests such as oil pipelines. We see laws being put in place which may well lead to it being a crime to protest our government giving billions in aid to Israel. I have no doubt laws already exist making it a crime to protest weapons manufacturers.

This in a country already hosting the largest prison population on the planet at any time in history.

Should these facilities turn into federal detention centers for other purposes, that would mean some working at those facilities would no longer be eligible to work there because employment criteria would change. These facilities would no longer be holding areas but actual prisons. The criteria for employment would then require security screening and training above and beyond anything currently required. In some cases, it would require training in restraint procedures and weapons training. (Of course, many currently working there would likely look forward to such things.) The inmates would be deemed “dangerous dissidents” and “terrorists”, even if they were someone like me, an anti-war, mostly pacifist blogger pushing for changes to our system which benefit everyone. ICE would likely be repurposed into a federal police force to identify and round up people like myself, then detain us with no charges, no right to representation, no Habeas Corpus at all.

Should that happen, many of those incarcerated would be family members, friends, social and business associates of those working in the facilities. Make no mistake that it would become a criminal act to protest the facilities themselves.

Some are going to claim that this projection will never happen, that it is unrealistic. Yet we have already gone so much further into what can only be described as fascism that our country is looking more like a dystopian nightmare than any sane person currently living in this country could believe. We are bombing 7 countries, collapsing our economy while corporate news denies it’s happening, spending an unbelievable amount on “defense”, threatening military action against at least 5 more countries, sanctioning our allies, destroying our own industries, handing all of the wealth to the already insanely wealthy, denying medical care and even food to those at lower income levels, poisoning our own water and land for the purpose of corporate profits, obliterating human and Constitutional rights at every level. What the HELL makes you think you are not next?!!

The last irony I will mention is this. Many of those who support these detention centers like to view themselves as “Christians”. The Bible teaches one to love your neighbor, love your enemy, feed to poor, heal the sick, judge not and to treat others as you wish to be treated. It also teaches you to welcome foreigners into your home and treat them as a guest, not only as an equal but with honor. One of the greatest sins listed in the Bible is pride and arrogance. The worst part for alleged “Christians” is that the majority of the immigrants from Mexico and South America are far more devout Christians than those who choose to eject them from this country.

Each day we force regime change on other countries, dictate laws to our allies and neighbors, imprison those who flee the results of our policies, separate families, kill innocent people in the name of “prosperity” and “security”, we deplete our resources, surrender our wealth, stain our reputation.. and create enemies. We are now creating terrorists within our country and in immediate neighboring countries. Those we have harmed for the sake of our own greed will seek restitution in some way, at some time. As individuals and as nations.

This country has suspended a Damoclean Sword above our heads with our actions as a society. It is only a matter of time before that sword falls and we have nowhere to turn to evade it. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

DHL Starts Drone Delivery Service.. In China

DHL, a German courier service, has started a delivery service via drone in China.

The US likes to portray China as being behind us technologically. However, China is rapidly expanding the development and utilization of new technologies far ahead of the US. From expansion of green energy to drone technology to 5G.

They are doing much of this in partnership with other Asian countries and European countries. Such as, in this case, a German company.

Any American should ask why DHL, which operates in the US as well, made the business decision to first utilize dron etechnology in China.

Amazon and other American companies have discussed the use of drones for local deliveries for several years now. However, as yet we have not seen any wide scale use of drones for that purpose.

One big reason for this is fear. Good old American paranoia. We are sold terror by our media on minute to minute basis. I’ve written about this a LOT of times. If Americans started seeing drones in our neighborhoods, they would be so scared some would have cardiac events. Others would reach for firearms. Others would be posting that the government is coming for them while still others would be certain we had just been invaded by a foreign power.

That fear is what has allowed other countries to be pushing ahead of us in technology. Genetic engineering being a good example. All major developments in genetic engineering since GWB have taken place in other countries, with the US bringing up the rear. A vaccine for lung cancer? Developed in Cuba.

This is a natural result of chronic paranoia. A person/people who are continuously afraid close their doors, windows and minds, don’t answer the phone, don’t listen to anyone that isn’t telling them to be terrified. Here, buy another gun, take another pill, don’t look out the window, keep the house locked, don’t talk to strangers.. and stay tuned to this channel so we can tell you what else to be terrified of.

In some cases, there is absolutely something to be afraid of. In this case, what you should fear is how many jobs would be eliminated by drone delivery services. Because that number reaches tens or hundreds of thousands. The advantage China has is that they already have a much more extensive social support structure in place, along with a far more stable and expanding economy.

Though it is not just fear which limits our adoption of new technologies. It is domestic competition of competing, less efficient technologies. Such as the fact that Ford is developing a robot to deal with the “last 50 feet” problem with atonomous vehicle deliveries. So if you have a delivery which comes by self-driving vehicle, the item would be delivered to your door by a robot. The robot has a weight capacity of 40 lbs, so most items it would deliver could also be delivered by drone. Mail, pizza, small packages and such.

However, the development of autonomous vehicles also allows for the elimination of millions of jobs in other industries. Cabs, buses, trucks, etc.

To eliminate that many jobs as an actual goal in a country whose government is actively working to destroy the social support net should give the most fervent right-wingers pause to question.

What are you afraid of? Because if it’s not the loss of millions of jobs and our country falling even further behind other countries in all ways, you’re afraid of the wrong thing.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is here and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

No, The Job Market Is Not Growing. It Isn’t Even Stable.

Once again, Trump announces that jobs and wages are up. Not only do his followers cheer and regurgitate that statement but MSM continues pushing how well the economy is doing and employment is up.

When you look at the facts, they tell a very different story.

Layoffs and bankruptcies. Ford announced 25,000 layoffs in December. GM announced thousands more. GE announced thousands more. Toys R Us no longer exists. Sears/Kmart is bankrupt. A couple dozen other corporate chains have declared bankruptcy, downsized or completely disappeared. Carrier has exported jobs to Mexico. Harley-Davidson has shipped jobs to Thailand.

Many people only look at these employers and the announced jobs directly. They fail to examine the downstream effect of these job losses. There is always a downstream effect.

Downstream effects. Each one of these companies contracts and does business with other, smaller companies. Companies that produce components for vehicles, supplies stocked in stores. In addition, you have to consider truck drivers no longer delivering goods. Maintenance contractors. If the auto companies were purchasing American produced steel, that impacts that industry. Then you have dock workers, trains and more.

Further downstream. Yet the impact does not stop there. You have to look even further downstream. Each one of those workers is also a consumer and taxpayer. When consumers lose their income, they spend less or stop spending. Their skills are rather specific in some cases, which now places a constriction on future employment opportunities. In geographic areas where one manufacturer was the only employer for that field, workers may be forced to relocate. Loss of sales and property tax revenue impacts municipal operations, like schools, libraries, etc. Decreasing tax revenue and population means municipal employees will then be laid off with no job opportunities in that community.

Limited skills, limited options. With manufacturers that produce items like vehicles that require a specific skill set and limited number of manufacturers in this country, relocation may have little or no benefit and indeed incur cost which they cannot afford. It is unquestionable that most will be forced to take jobs with lower wages. Possibly in locations where cost of living is higher than they have been paying.

Continued middle class erosion. This is how the middle class continues to erode. To the point that we have reached critical mass. This is how people wind up working for minimum wage when they once had a living wage income. As they climb further down the income ladder, they are less able to afford a new vehicle, a new home, new clothes and may default on current debts.

Fake numbers. The numbers cited for unemployment are false numbers. They omit those who have simply stopped looking for work. Yet they include those who work insufficient hours to make an effective living. If you work 1 hour a week, you are considered employed.

The numbers included for new jobs created do not state a balance. Those numbers exclude the number of jobs which have ceased to exist.

Median wage. When wages are stated, they are stated as a median. So if I earn $100 an hour and you earn $1 an hour, the median wage is $50. Hence, stock brokers and CEO’s earn a wage, which is thrown into a lump sum with minimum wage workers and an average is calculated to state a median wage. That’s how the claim that wages are increasing is not true in the least.

More jobs in January? Claiming jobs are increasing in January makes no sense to begin with. Many retailers hire temporary labor during the holidays, then those jobs no longer even exist in January. Agricultural jobs are over 90% suspended during winter months. Construction is at a minimum.

The biggest thing to pay attention to when job and wage numbers are being stated is that no specifics are offered. If any source claims jobs are being created or wages are increasing, challenge that claim. Force them to name specifics. If they are capable, note that they rely on a limited geographic area or even one single employer in one area. Even that employer may have relocated to that area from elsewhere, where they left and eliminated jobs. Net job creation nationally: zero.

I will concede that wages have increased nationally in one respect. The areas that have increased the minimum wage. When averaged out, that gives a false impression that wages increased nationally. Yet those are such limited geographic areas that affect such a small number of workers that the national average is negligible. It is absolutely the wages at the top of the corporate ladder that affect the median wage.

In all ways, from all sources, whether Trump or neoliberal corporate media, we have to challenge, research and reason when claims are being made that don’t fit with what are seeing before our eyes.

Small Business Decline Over Generations

Drive across America, through small towns. Some are ghost towns, others barely hanging by a thread. You will drive past factories, mills, silos, trains, rails rusting and homes abandoned, vandalized, collapsing. They make for great photos as I like to do. Haunted, melancholy images of times gone by, simpler lives of communities and families once closely bonded and privacy we no longer dream of.

Lots of Americans are proud that they “come from” small towns. “Came from” is the operative here. There’s a reason that so many people come from small towns.

We have watched the decline of small towns not over the past few years but over generations. It may not be you that came from a small town but your parents or grandparents.

Most of that decline can be directly attributed to two things. The rise of corporations and NAFTA.

In the 60’s, your grandparents may have lived in a small town. Your grandfather may have frequented a local diner where he could walk in and the waitress knew him by name, along with what he always ordered. He could sit by himself at the table by the kitchen door where the owner would wander out and talk to the customers, catch up on how their lives were going. Your grandfather may have met his neighbors like the farmer down the road as they read the paper and talked about the news and the community.

The diner was your first job, busing tables. Your friends from school would come by and order a soda or milkshake. The owner turned his back for a while as you talked to your friends before gruffly telling you to do your work. Not because there was that much work but to instill a work ethic in you. Then turn around and grumble with a half smile about “Damn kids nowadays” with the old man who would nod and agree.

In the 80’s, the local diner was gone, replaced by a national breakfast chain. Walk in the door not to your name but, “Just one? You’ll have to sit at the counter.” At least you have a waitress. The local farmer had his farm taken by the bank. You used to meet with a friend from the plant until the plant downsized. He moved to the city because there was no work in town for a living wage. You read your paper and drink coffee a while. Then the manger talks quietly to the waitress for a moment. Your coffee is cold, cup is not being refilled. Powdered creamer costs money. She was instructed to clear her counter customers so the next nameless customer could sit down. Your son works at the diner busing tables. He isn’t allowed to visit with friends at work.

In a flash it’s 2007. The breakfast place is gone, driven under by a fast food place. You stand in line, handed a number for your order. The few tables are dirty, you don’t want to sit. Your son moved away years ago. Your grandson works at a fast food place in the city to help pay the bills for the family. The plant closed down around 1990. The shops on the main drag are vacant. The town consists of a couple of fast food joints, a skeleton of a high school and a gas station. You’ve had your house up for sale to move closer to your children. No offers in two years. The real estate boom never made it to your town. Your pension was gone when the company raided the fund, then declared bankruptcy. You can afford a small place on the outskirts of the city if your stocks continue to hold.

It’s 2019. The gas station went bust. One fast food place pulled out, the other barely survives on people driving through to other places. Most of the old buildings are gone, main street is a flat expanse of old foundations. The plant rusts on the edge of town, overgrown with weeds. Your retirement account went dry in the 2008 crash, followed by your savings. The house never sold. At least the property taxes are low, since there’s no town council remaining and property values barely exist. Your grandson is grown but has to live at home with your son, too deep in debt from student loans and no job prospects for his degree. Your son is thankful, it helps pay the bills. No chance you can afford rent in the city on a fixed income. You look down the street and think back on the friends who moved away so very long ago. You stand in line at the remaining fast food place. The kid behind the counter gives you a vacant look as they take your order from the value menu. They can’t see a future, let alone a present. You half smile and grumble to an old man you don’t recognize, “Damn kids nowadays.” He nods and agrees.

Corporations Do Not Create Jobs

One of the biggest lies told which perpetuates the corporate control of our government and society in general is the claim that corporations create jobs.

It would be far more accurate to state that jobs create corporations. If you have a job with benefits, you probably have a 401k plan. In other words, an investment plan which places your money in the hands of corporations for their expansion. Money they use to lobby elected officials to enact legislation favorable to the corporation and against your own best interests. Part of that legislation includes you paying a financial penalty if you withdraw your own money, taking it out of corporate control.

Maybe you have heard the business maxim, “location, location, location”. What this means is when starting a business, finding a location favorable to your specific business is important. I’m not judging this, it’s rational and logical. I once lived in a mostly Hispanic neighborhood which had no less than 10 Mexican restaurants in a 1.5 mile straight line. Plus, most of them sucked. One would fail and close, another Mexican restaurant would open in it’s place, only to close a few months later. The problem was lack of insight or research into the local market. The local market was mostly low income and people who ate the same foods at home which those restaurants were serving. None had a gimmick and the prices were almost identical from one to the next and all were overpriced for the specific area.

Corporate invasion. Enter multiple corporate chain fast food places to the area. Each had lower prices and different menu items from the existing restaurants. Guess what happened to the local businesses? They suffered major loss of traffic and income. Now, in this particular case, I will state that most of these businesses fairly deserved to lose business. They were doomed to begin with. Though no small part of that was lack of business education and no money to consult with experts.

Cookie Cutter Corners. However, that situation is fairly rare. I am a fan of small businesses. I like eclectic or family businesses, ones with character. Hole in the wall treasures that serve the best food you can find. Problem is, these places that used to be so common are becoming more rare on a daily basis. They are being replaced by homogeneous chains of bland, identical, plastic, rubber stamped corporate block structured clones. No more family run places with menu items you just cannot find elsewhere. No more places that look plain but you would eat nowhere else. No more places you can sit and talk with the actual owner for hours at a time. No more being hailed by your name as you walk in the door.

Why has this happened? Mostly because today’s business owners have no passion other than money. They want guaranteed profits and instant name recognition. There was a time when banks and local backers would loan money or become silent partners in local businesses. When business owners would take risks based on their passion and skills. Those days are gone. Investors form Limited Liability Corporations (LLC’s) to purchase franchise licenses and build just another BK, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, etc.

Location, location, location. One advantage these corporations have is the money to buy or lease prime real estate locations. If they see a neighborhood that has a thriving small business community, they want in. Because they have the combined money of numerous investors, they can bid prices out of the range of potential small business occupants, so they can buy or lease from the LLC-owned property owners. They have the money to invest in market research to determine how much demand there is for that business or it has already been paid for by the licensing corporation.

What is lost. When these franchises move in, they steal business from the local small businesses while driving up property values or lease prices. They oppress the ability of potential small business owners to locate in places where they are likely to succeed. Driving the small businesses out to less desired fringe locations. Then, if that location becomes popular and successful, the chain moves in again.

No jobs created. Corporations like to claim they create jobs. Yet, as in the example above illustrates, the corporations do not create jobs. The small businesses would create jobs and profits which would remain in the local community. Instead, the same people who would work for the local business take jobs at corporate chains because that’s what is available.

Downstream. Local businesses often purchase supplies and services from other local businesses. From carpet cleaning to appliance repair to restaurant supplies and on and on. The chains order supplies trucked in from other cities and states, have their own contracts for services and ship in appliances from their own companies. This drives other small businesses under, eliminating more jobs and often business failures.

No passion, no diversity. Corporate chains offer no room for variances. They have standard floor plans and color schemes. Menus and items set in stone by corporate offices. Every ingredient is measured and duplicated. Employees wear uniforms and adhere to dress codes. Owners are never seen, being a group of people in suits who may not even live in the same state. Changes to the corporate standards, no matter how positive, result in punishment or termination.

What we can do. One of the best things we can do to battle this is patronize local small businesses as much as possible. If you want to invest in or start a business, look at something not corporate. Help rebuild diversity and local enterprises. Have passion, encourage passion in others. Pull money out of stocks and place it in more local efforts.

The more we support the corporate dominance of our country, the more of it we will see. I’ve detailed before how large corporations are consuming one another to become even larger corporations. That results in even less diversity. We can see that from what has happened to the media. 95% of all news media in this country are owned by six corporations and they are fighting to consume or destroy each other.

Want fries with that? It becomes ever more conceivable that at some point the US will be entirely owned by one corporation. If that one corporation fires you from a job, you will have no options left for employment. Speak out and you will be a criminal. While many will endorse the system because, “Hey, it’s not the government.”