When are we finally going to recognize the economic insecurity that exists out there, let alone try to tackle it?…As we conclude the week with our Part 3, the economic system needs to be restructured for the benefit of workers.  We must also be cognizant not to create a dependency mentality, where government handouts are pursued by freeloaders more than finding a purposeful career.  Let’s never lose that great American work ethic where people are free to discover their path & earn their own way.  What has typically made America a great nation is not achieving equality of outcome, but equality of opportunity.  We remain among the very richest countries, but the benefits of economic growth are increasingly one-sided & our system does a poor job of reining in the high costs-of-living.  Basic essentials just aren’t affordable for too many families.  And reflected by the very low unemployment rates, there are currently lots of jobs available out there, but a high proportion of them aren’t particularly good jobs.  So in modern-day America, economic insecurity is practically now an epidemic.
 
The more progressive proposals being bantered about should not be considered socialism (an unfounded GOP talking point), but some are rather expensive big-government programs.  Contrast that with the GOP do-nothing posture which can only continue to widen income inequality while workers generally keep being exploited.  Somewhere in the middle should be the sweet spot where good ideas are hatched.  But in this era of extreme polarization, very few are really looking for that sweet spot.  It’s hard to envision any significantly productive legislation coming out of DC while we’re so bitterly divided, along with leadership prioritizing the interests of giant multinational corporations over the American people.  It’s frustrating that so few good ideas are coming from our political leaders, but what’s holding us back even more is their lack of determination or even altogether avoidance of addressing the problems.
 
 
Is the Latest Jobs Report Trying to Tell Us Something?
 
I never overreact to any single jobs report, but Friday’s numbers for May with revisions down in the previous two months indicate an apparent slowing jobs market.  We won’t know for sure until we see a trend in future jobs reports.  The most disturbing part is despite this environment at or near full employment, we still aren’t seeing a meaningful uptick in wages or participation rates.  While these signs of a slowdown might prompt The Fed to ease monetary policy by lowering interest rates, perhaps we can hope against all hope it could start getting the DC powers-that-be to actually think about crafting smart fiscal policy, since our blah economy is still saddled with the same entrenched structural problems. 
 
Other takeaways from the slower job growth include employers having difficulty finding workers in a tight jobs market, Trump’s tariffs/trade wars are starting to put a dent in the economy, plus the economy overall might really be headed for a slowdown if not recession.  This could also cause the segment of our population who still somehow take Trump’s words at face value, those statements always touting a great economy can finally start to possibly ring hollow with them.  Especially the large portion of the workforce still struggling mightily cannot be amused by all the presidential antics: politico.com/story/2019/06/08/trump-trade-deals-mexico-china.
 
The lousy jobs report for May plus pressure from within his own party & business leaders may have forced Trump’s hand to strike that deal with Mexico yesterday, so he could pull back on those threatened tariffs.  That whole episode about the tariffs was probably a bluff anyway.  But the China trade war is really wreaking havoc with certain sectors of our economy.  I was OK with giving the prez some slack on the tariffs if his negotiation ploys were to lead to better trade deals.  But his gambits seem to be just stirring the pot to rally his base & distract away from all his other problems, which the residual effects might wind up doing permanent damage to our economy & Americans’ pocketbooks.

 
Between a teetering economy & Russiagate hearings, it will be interesting to see how much of his doting base actually stays with him.  Overall Trump’s actual policies have done very little to help the economy, as his tax cuts were a boondoggle & his tariffs/trade war with China threaten to further derail economic growth.  If all this leadership malfeasance leads us into a recession sometime in the next year, our prez will have nothing to brag about on the economy (although he’ll still cook up some twisted lie & someone/something else to blame in deceiving his base).  Here are articles on the Friday jobs report & projections where the economy might be headed:


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
Economic Insecurity Runs Rampant as Income Inequality Increases Unabated
 
This long article provides plenty of commentary on unfortunate truths.  Recognition is first step to ultimately fixing the problems.  Poor leadership with dumb policies have greatly contributed to the troubles of persistent economic insecurity for many millions of American families.  Posted is the opening to theguardian.com/inequality/2019/jun/06/socialism-for-the-rich-the-evils-of-bad-economics, which we invite you to read the rest by clicking on that link:
 

In most rich countries, inequality is rising, and has been rising for some time. Many people believe this is a problem, but, equally, many think there’s not much we can do about it. After all, the argument goes, globalisation and new technology have created an economy in which those with highly valued skills or talents can earn huge rewards. Inequality inevitably rises. Attempting to reduce inequality via redistributive taxation is likely to fail because the global elite can easily hide their money in tax havens. Insofar as increased taxation does hit the rich, it will deter wealth creation, so we all end up poorer. One strange thing about these arguments, whatever their merits, is how they stand in stark contrast to the economic orthodoxy that existed from roughly 1945 until 1980, which held that rising inequality was not inevitable, and that various government policies could reduce it. What’s more, these policies appear to have been successful. Inequality fell in most countries from the 1940s to the 1970s. The inequality we see today is largely due to changes since 1980.

 

In both the US and the UK, from 1980 to 2016, the share of total income going to the top 1% has more than doubled. After allowing for inflation, the earnings of the bottom 90% in the US and UK have barely risen at all over the past 25 years. More generally, 50 years ago, a US CEO earned on average about 20 times as much as the typical worker. Today, the CEO earns 354 times as much. Any argument that rising inequality is largely inevitable in our globalised economy faces a crucial objection. Since 1980 some countries have experienced a big increase in inequality (the US and the UK); some have seen a much smaller increase (Canada, Japan, Italy), while inequality has been stable or falling in others (France, Belgium and Hungary). So rising inequality cannot be inevitable. And the extent of inequality within a country cannot be solely determined by long-run global economic forces, because, although most richer countries have been subject to broadly similar forces, the experiences of inequality have differed.

 

No Strong/Vibrant Economy Would Ever Have This Many Troubles & Headwinds

Health care is too expensive & many Americans can’t afford it, often resulting in dire health conditions which also puts a real crimp in the economy:
 
 
Trumpcare was always just a talking point, not serious policy:
 
 
The prez has stocked the swamp with corrupt parasites, which here it appears there are backroom deals going on serving Big Pharma, keeping drug prices artificially high:
 
 
Young people keep battling to make ends meet & we’ve posted the conclusion:
 

Our data suggest that the U.S. economy’s gains haven’t fully filtered across equally for everyone. While the Trump administration and other GOP leaders often paint young adults as idealistic socialists, the economic policy preferences of millennials are focused on protecting their jobs, securing benefits, reducing income inequality and ensuring that everyone has a decent shot at a productive economic future. Millennials and now Generation Zers continue to face, or at least believe they face, a precarious economic future, and want the government to have their backs. Candidates for president in 2020 vying for the youth vote may wish to continue to recognize and speak to their economic insecurities.

 
Many of them are depressed & broke:
 
 
Truckers aren’t happy & they’re right to be mad:
 
 
 
Farmers are none-too-pleased either:
 
 
Manufacturing a struggling sector:
 
 
Housing & Autos also struggling:
 
 
Roads, Bridges & Pipelines in sad shape:
 
 
At least it would be an immensely positive move if they can crack down on these unwelcome & irritating intrusions:
 

Economic insecurity has indeed become a chronic condition in America for much of the working class.  See this entire article from washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/06/04/why-us-economy-is-worse-than-it-seems which shows several categories which define our real economy:

Much has been made lately of the hot economy, a narrative driven largely by a long run of strong jobs numbers. But this enthusiastic story line is ignoring a few disturbing structural problems that suggest that the economy is not as strong as those numbers suggest. Underneath the hood, problems persist, including earnings below what families need to get by, stark inequalities in wealth and income, an increasingly jittery stock market, an affordable housing shortage, damaged fiscal accounts and slower growth on the horizon.

 

Wages trend up but still too low: The tight labor market is no doubt lifting workers’ wages, particularly at the bottom of the wage scale as less-advantaged workers see their bargaining position improved. However, a few good years of rising wages doesn’t make up for the decades of real wage stagnation faced by many middle- and low-wage workers. The result is that for many working families, their paychecks fail to meet their basic needs. Consider a single parent with a couple of kids who is earning the 20th-percentile wage (20 percent earn less; 80 percent earn more) and whose pay could rise to $13 per hour by the end of this year, or about $26,000 per year, pretax. Subtracting payroll taxes and adding tax credits for working parents could get her up to about $30,000. That clears the poverty line, but it doesn’t pay for decent housing, child care, health care and transportation, at least not in most cities. Family budget calculators show that child care for two kids costs about $11,000 per year in Ohio, and more than twice that in New York. Add housing and health-care costs, and even middle-wage earners with children have trouble squaring their budgets with their salaries.

 

Economic insecurity: This too-tight breathing room between what many families earn and what it costs them to live has created a widespread sense of economic insecurity, which shows up clearly in recent analysis of economic well-being by the Federal Reserve. One-fifth of white households and a third of black and Hispanic households grade their financial conditions “just getting by” or worse. And just under half of rural households grade their local economies to be “only fair” or “poor.” The Fed’s survey also looks at the share of adults who “would have difficulty handling an emergency expense as small as $400.” They find that 39 percent of adults couldn’t cover an emergency expense of that amount with cash, savings or a credit-card charge that they could pay off quickly. For African American adults, that share is 60 percent. In other words, well over half of black adults are highly vulnerable to even a relatively mild economic hit. (Economist Michael Strain is critical of this Fed data, but we think it’s telling us something important.) Though down from the years coming out of the crisis, these numbers are largely unchanged from 2017, suggesting that communities all across the country, and especially communities of color, continue to face entrenched barriers to getting ahead even in a hot national labor market.

 

Surging inequality: The situation looks very different at the high end of the economic scale. Over the past decade, the nation’s highest earners (the 95th percentile) saw their wages grow at almost four times the rate of those whose earnings put them in the middle of the pack (the 50th percentile). Even more remarkably, the top 1 percent of households now hold 31 percent of the nation’s wealth (assets minus liabilities), or $30 trillion, while the entire bottom half of the nation’s households hold only about 1 percent, or $1 trillion. That comes to $23 million per household for the top 1 percent and $18,000 in net worth per household for the bottom half. And the Trump tax cut is exacerbating these divisions, with a recent analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy showing that in 2020, more than half of the tax cut will go to the top 5 percent of households, with only 14 percent going to the bottom 60 percent.

 

Shortage of affordable housing: Compounding these challenges is a deepening crisis in affordable housing for working families. Supply constraints are making it increasingly hard to find an affordable place to live anywhere near economic opportunity, forcing more and more families to choose between forgoing a good job and paying unaffordable rent. The percentage of housing stock available for rent or sale has fallen sharply since the housing crash and is now as low as it has been in more than 30 years. And it is set to get worse, possibly much worse. The current annual supply of new housing units is running an estimated 300,000 below the trend for new housing demand. The increasing shortfall of housing supply is pushing up house prices and rents, particularly in areas that offer better jobs, education and health care, as demand increasingly vastly outstrips supply. This is not only holding back a large number of working families; by reducing labor mobility, it’s also holding back the entire economy.

 

Tax stimulus proving expensive and fleeting: The Trump administration claimed that the tax cuts would pay for themselves by jump-starting stronger and sustainable growth, but it has not turned out that way. In the absence of any meaningful boost in investment, revenue has fallen to levels far below where it should be in an economy closing in on full capacity. And in the absence of any spending cuts to offset this loss in revenue, the tax cuts are putting us in a hole that will make it harder to address the wide range of economic and social challenges that will ultimately demand greater public investment. The cuts did contribute to faster economic growth in 2018 and 2019, adding close to a point to gross domestic product growth and pushing the unemployment rate below 4 percent. However, given the failure of the cut to generate significant additional investment, it has offered more of a sugar high than any meaningful improvement in the economy. Virtually every economic forecast, except those of the White House, projects its effect to fade this year, with GDP growth falling back to about 2 percent next year.

 

Worrisome signs from the stock market: While only about one-third of households own stocks of any consequence, the stock market’s performance can be a good indication of investors’ expectations about future growth and profitability. Investors tend to buy stocks when they believe businesses will be able to sell more of what they produce at a higher price, and they tend to sell them when they fear the reverse, making marketwide movements in the stock market a useful metric for investor forecasting the health of the economy. With that in mind, investors appear to be increasingly wary of what is to come. While the market stands roughly where it was when Trump signed his tax cut into law 18 months ago, it has swung wildly in recent weeks, driven in large part by concern over his escalating trade war. The dynamics we’ve described — low wages, income and wealth inequality, a shortage of affordable housing, increasingly nervous investors — all create head winds for growth. The momentum from the deficit-financed tax cut has thus far proved strong enough to overcome them, but that momentum is slowing, raising the prospect of a stalled economy still struggling with a host of deep structural problems.

 

Short Bits

Maybe it’d be best to gradually raise the minimum wage to eventually get to $15 incrementally, but it’s irresponsible the federal minimum wage remains stuck at $7.25, basically poverty rates contributing to widespread economic insecurity:
 
 
Trump’s policies always favor corporations over workers, whether it serves to suppress wages, make the jobs more dangerous, or allow the products being made to be less safe:
 
 
In every Part 3, we always have articles about the Trump tax cuts:
 
 
Hoarding the wealth makes the widening gaps seem almost obscene:
 
 
Why would such a clueless clown touting his obsolete trickle-down nonsense receive such a prestigious award?:
 
 
 
Perhaps we should look at things differently:
 
 
Desperate Refugees

It’s happening right in our backyard here in the western world, where American leadership should be counted on to offer help & solutions.  Instead, our president remains mum.  America has become better known for dealing with the crisis through the atrocity of kidnapping helpless kids from their families, without proper record keeping to ever hope for reunification, which is basically a heartless violation of international human rights laws.  Trump’s tariff threats against Mexico were all about the fleeing migrants, not really based on the details of a trade deal.  But there are very valid reasons people are fleeing Honduras & desperately trying to come here as chronicled in this first link:
 
 
 
 
 
 
There are also 4 million people escaping Venezuela, overwhelming other neighboring South American countries: 
 

Careful What We Wish For

Socialism, Green New Deal, eliminating fossil fuels, Medicare for All without preserving private health insurance, repealing the Hyde Amendment so taxpayer dollars can fund abortions, LGBT rights, free college; these are high priorities on the far-left progressive wish list.  But if Dem primary voters keep pushing their large field of presidential candidates further to the left, they could blow their chance to do what most needs done…WIN!  If Trump is not constitutionally removed from office or forced to resign, it’s imperative he must be voted out!  Let’s make sure the tent is built large enough that moderates & independents aren’t scared off.  These industrial Midwestern swing states in this article won narrowly by Trump in 2016 look like layups for Dems, if they play their cards right by not overplaying their hand:
 
 
 
Take This Job & Shove It
 
I don’t normally go country, but this song captures the frustration of the working class stuck in a low-pay/dead-end job.  Yes, many jobs in our service-oriented economy hardly pay poverty wages as economic insecurity has become increasingly widespread throughout society:
 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRKTwh5ffH0