This is a redo of previous essays that I have posted on this subject. I am writing this not to correct previous mistakes, as redos often do. Due to the abundance of pasture splatter that is being boasted about in the liberal contingent of our body politic, I feel a need to post the truth.
The difference between my truth and their "truth", is that mine will stand up to examination. To begin with, we have not had a recovery. Eight years of Obama's genius financial stimulus and the one percent have gotten richer and the rest of us suffer.
The administrations big brag is that the unemployment rate is 4.9%. A rate under 5% is considered "full employment". Does anyone really believe that we have full employment? I remember full employment under Reagan. Fast food franchises were helping fourteen and fifteen year olds get working papers so they had enough help to stay open. If you still worked for a franchise when you were seventeen, you were the manager. It is not anywhere like that today.
Politicians decide how the unemployment rate will be figured. It is figured in a way that makes the politicians look good. The problem is that people collecting unemployment are the core figure for calculating the unemployment rate. If a person has used up their eligibility, they are dropped out of the formula. In essence they no longer exist in the employment market.
If you were an engineer, making a big salary, and now your packing bags at the local super market, you are fully employed. Even if you are working part time, you are employed. So that 4.9% figure is not all they would have you believe it is.
There are three thing that put the economy in perspective. The "Participation Rate", average salaries, and the "Gross Domestic Product". The Participation Rate is the number of people in the labor force. Our population has grown by one hundred million people since the late 1970s. In spite of that, our work force participation is about the same. It reached a peak of about 67 million in 1998 and has declined ever since to around 62 million. That is hardly a healthy economy.
In that same period of time, since 1998, average middle class salaries have fallen by ten percent. Again, not a healthy sign. But the greatest flag that our economy is still dragging along the bottom of "Dismal Swamp" is the GDP. When we are prospering, the GDP is 4 to 5 percent. The last three quarters have been .9, .8, and 1.2 percent. Truly dismal.
So when the administration or candidates supported by the administration come on TV and brag about the economy and their marvelous recovery, remember that old adage. "Figures don't lie, but politicians always do." Or something like that.