Unemployment and Job Figures Aren’t Truthful

Unemployment and Job Figures Aren’t Truthful
by JBS President John F. McManus

The U.S. Department of Labor recently claimed that the number of unemployed workers in America has shrunk to 5.6 percent. And the same source claimed that 252,000 new jobs were created during the month of December and everyone should cheer the success of the Obama administration. Shouldn’t we all be delighted with these numbers?

The real unemployment rate is 11.2 percent, exactly twice the published figure (Image from Flickr by Sean MacEntee, some rights reserved).

But there are problems with these claims – big problems. Plenty of seasonal jobs are created during the end-of-the-year, pre-Christmas buying spree. They don’t last. Celebrating temporary seasonal job growth as though it were permanent is dishonest.

Secondly, the unemployment figure doesn’t count the many Americans who have ceased looking for work after months of trying to find a job. Nor does it count others who have part-time jobs instead of the full-time employment they formerly enjoyed and would surely prefer. The statisticians compiling the government’s figures don’t include all of these individuals. If they did, the real unemployment rate swells to 11.2 percent, exactly twice the published figure.

A nation’s economic vitality – including decent-paying jobs – depends on manufacturing. A nation whose people are making things is a nation where wealth is being created. But the number of manufacturers in our country continues to shrink. Everyone knows that the stores are full of imported goods made by others in faraway lands. So, too, are many other items made outside the U.S. when they were formerly manufactured by Americans.

America’s wealth-producers took a huge hit after enactment of the 1995 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In 1993, the U.S. had a $1.66 billion trade surplus with Mexico. After NAFTA, the surplus disappeared, replaced immediately by a $15.8 billion deficit that has grown to more than $60 billion per year. The jobs that Americans formerly held haven’t returned. Many more have ended up in China where the U.S. trade deficit has ballooned to more than $80 billion per year.

The Obama administration has customarily provided dishonest unemployment figures. But the President and his team are now seeking congressional passage of two additional NAFTA-like trade agreements, one with Pacific-rim nations and the other with the European Union. If these two pacts are approved by Congress, the already bad unemployment situation will grow even worse.

Follow these links to contact Congress and tell them to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). And messages sent to elected officials ought to demand honesty from the bureaucrats who habitually paint the nation’s economic situation with rosy colors when honesty calls for quite the opposite.


Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


Say No to Dangerous Trade Pacts

Say No to Dangerous Trade Pacts
by JBS President John F. McManus

A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center sought the public’s attitude about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) intending to greatly link the U.S. with 12 Pacific nations and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that would deeply tie our nation with the bloc of nations known as the European Union. Both pacts will soon be considered by Congress. To say the least, the Center’s findings were mixed.

Two-thirds of those polled favored trade in general, while fewer than 25 percent believed that trade pacts created jobs and boosted wages. Yet, asked about the TPP and TTIP specifically, about half of the respondents expressed approval and half were skeptical.

Facts are more important than the attitudes of the public, however, especially when the public has little awareness about the loss of jobs because of previous trade pacts. Most Americans know that jobs have indeed been lost but few know that a 20-year-old trade pact largely led to the losses. The 1995 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) paved the way for saying good-bye to approximately 5 million jobs. It also established judicial tribunals whose rulings now supersede decisions handed down by American courts, a development that has shocked even some of NAFTA’s previous supporters. A hard look at both TPP and TTIP shows that they threaten to worsen both of these problems.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is an admitted socialist. Yet he is cautioning colleagues about the TPP because he sees in it a great deal more than just tariffs on goods. The liberal Washington Post correctly claims that the agreement deals with “a broad range of regulatory and legal issues,” that can impact foreign policy and even domestic lawmaking. Sanders rightly insists that TPP “is much more than a free trade agreement.” If he understands this, other senators and congressmen can see it as well. But most think only in terms of increased trade, which is what the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stress. Numerous labor unions, environmental groups, and global health organizations have also registered opposition because the pact deals with matters of concern to them.

A further complicating factor regarding these pacts is President Obama’s desire to be awarded “fast-track authority” for speedy approval of both. Such a grant of power would bar Congress from debating and amending the pacts, allowing only a “Yes” or “No” vote on each. Sanders reminds colleagues that the Constitution grants Congress sole authority “to regulate commerce with foreign nations,” not the Executive branch.

The Socialist from Vermont might be dead wrong on some issues but he’s correct in this instance. And the high and mighty so-called capitalists at the Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce are wrong. Congress should never cede its constitutional prerogatives by granting “fast-track authority” to the President. And both the job-threatening and foreign-entangling TPP and TTIP should be rejected. Let Congress know today!

 


Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.