January 21st, 2014
in Op Ed
by Reverse Engineer, Doomstead Diner
The Big Newz last week on the Economic Front was the Jobs Report from the Bureau of Lies & Statistics, which now has the FSoA UE Rate down to a remarkable 6.7%! We are doing FANTASTIC! This is down from Double Digit UE Rates around 11% following the Financial Crack-Up of 2008. Happy Daze are HERE AGAIN!
From Zero Hedge
Curious why despite the huge miss in payrolls the unemployment rate tumbled from 7.0% to 6.7%? The reason is because in December the civilian labor force did what it usually does in the New Normal: it dropped from 155.3 million to 154.9 million, which means the labor participation rate just dropped to a fresh 35 year low, hitting levels not seen since 1978, at 62.8% down from 63.0%.
And the piece de resistance: Americans not in the labor force exploded higher by 535,000 to a new all time high 91.8 million.
The jobless, laborless recovery continues to steam on.
ZH of course highlights the OBVIOUS canard being pitched out here, which goes to the Denominator in the Equation, who the BLS counts as UE and Looking for Work. The UE measured rate by the BLS obviously went down tremendously as soon as Da Federal Goobermint dropped millions off from Extended UE bennies that were running 99 Weeks. Once you have used up your Bennies, you no longer are counted as looking for a job, whether you found one or not by the time the bennies ran out.
At the same time, the "Labor Participation Rate", the percentage of the population who actually has a Job continues to drop here off the map. Are we expected to believe all these folks no longer need or want a job?
Part of the reason for this is Demographics. Overall the population is aging, and more of the Boomers Retire each year, and at least for now can collect SS and whatever Pension is due them, at least if they were not working for the City of Detroit for the last 30 years. However, we still do have Immigration going on, and we still do have homegrown young folks graduating from High School and College. The percentage of either class of people able to find "Jobs" in our current economy continues to drop here, and their hopes for the Future drop with them.
Of course this is NOTHING compared to what is ongoing in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy these days, where Youth
Unemployment is reaching into the +50% category. In a society where having a JOB to earn MONEY is essential if you expect to stay out of Prison or not live in a cardboard box on the street, I can't think of any better recipe for Social Unrest than these kind of UE numbers.
If you are older here and go UE, even if you are not QUITE yet eligible for SS, decent chance you have some savings to live off, or maybe a paid off McMansion you can sell and live off the proceeds in a trailer park while you wait for SS to kick in. Or you can try and get SSDI a bit earlier than 62 for regular SS retirement FRNs.
So there is still some Safety Net here for Job losses, which goes a long way toward explaining why we do not yet see the kind of social unrest already ongoing in Greece and Spain. How long this can continue to play here remains an open question of course.
So, the bottom line here on all of this ongoing collapse nonsense revolves around the JOBS, which have been since the Industrial Revolution the means by which MOST people get some MONEY to then be able to buy food, pay Rent to the Rentier Class and buy energy with which to run the carz they need to get to work and participate in said Industrial Economy. Jobs disappear, the ability to participate disappears with it.
What ARE the jobs of the Industrial Economy though? Well, for a while during the early Growth Phase here in the FSoA, those jobs were Industrial Factory type work, as we provided hardware to run both WWI and WWII. We had copious sources of local Cheap Energy to run the Factories back then, and besides that after destroying much of the Infrastructure in Europe in both wars, it needed to be rebuilt, providing a lot of work for Factory workers here in the FSoA, where nothing got Bombed.
During the Post WWII period also, the FSoA Industrialists began the largest Public Works project in the History of Mankind, the Eisenhower Interstate. The reason was not to develop Commerce, although that came out of it as a means to Finance the project, it came from the realization by the Military arm of the Military-Industrial Complex that in order to move their Tanks and Hardware around this vast continent, they needed ROADS upon which to roll that hardware.
As a Young Lieutenant in the Army back in 1919, Dwight D Eisenhower had to move a Convoy across the old "Lincoln Highway", which was really a Hodgepodge of paved and dirt roads, and the equipment they had got bogged down all the time. Fuel stops were vitually nonexistent, so they had to have their own Fuel trucks travelling with them to stock up at the few fuel depots that existed at the time in the more majore motros connected toa Rail line. It took WEEKS to make it across the country.
From the Illinois Dept. of Transportation website:
In late June 2006, a caravan of vehicles organized by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) will travel across the United States from San Francisco, California to Washington, D. C. to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Interstate Highway System.
The AASHTO Anniversary Caravan of 2006 will follow Interstate 80 much of the way. It will be retracing, in reverse, the approximate route of a famous previous expedition, the Transcontinental Army Motor Convoy, which followed the Lincoln Highway across the country from Washington to San Francisco in 1919. PHOTO (ABOVE): Soldiers pushing a disabled truck during the 1919 Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy, Eisenhower Library Audiovisual Department, photo 86-19-190
The remainder of this section will describe the 1919 Army Convoy; report on its three-day trip across Illinois and relate what the 1919 Army Convoy meant for the future of American Roads.
ORIGINS AND PURPOSES OF THE 1919 ARMY CONVOY
World War I (1914-1918) was the first large scale military conflict that employed vehicles powered by the relatively new internal combustion engine. Airplanes, trucks, motorcars, and tanks were used on both sides. However, they lacked the reliability, flexibility, and capacity for moving large masses of troops or equipment over long distances on inferior European roads. The vast majority of WWI military transportation on land was done by horses and railroad trains; nevertheless, by the end of the war, most military leaders saw the potential for increased use of motorized troops and equipment in military campaigns of the future.
The end of the war also inspired the leaders of the Good Roads Movement to resume their public relations (PR) campaign to convince the public to demand better roads from state and local governments. The PR campaign had been put on hold during the 1917-1918 period while America was engaged in WWI. Early in 1919, Lincoln Highway Association leader Harry Ostermann had persuaded the War Department to conduct a transcontinental motor convoy trip from the East Coast to San Francisco on the marked route of the Lincoln Highway.
The purpose of the convoy was two fold: 1) it was to be a training exercise and 2) a test of the feasibility of the long distance movement of military men and supplies by auto and truck.
From the Good Roads Movement's viewpoint, the convoy was meant to produce positive PR by demonstrating that long distance motor travel was possible. It was also meant to heighten awareness of existing poor roads that comprised much of the Lincoln Highway and other roads in the Unites States. Return to Top
AN EPIC JOURNEY FULL OF CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Amid much hoopla, speeches and fanfare, a 76-vehicle combined "public-private" convoy, including 56 military vehicles, 209 officers and enlisted men, and dozens of private citizens took off from the White House on July 7, 1919. (LH/MAIN STREET, p. 83).
Later that evening, the convoy was joined by two, last minute volunteer Army officers. They were Lieutenant Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower and Major Sereno Brett, who were to serve as observers for the Army Tank Corps. PHOTO: Major Sereno Brett, Harvey Firestone, Jr., and Lt. Colonel Dwight Eisenhower at 1919 Army Convoy stopover at the Firestone Homestead, Columbania, Ohio, July 13, 1919. Eisenhower Library Audiovisual Department, photo 70-520-3.
The convoy was to operate as if the country was at war and that an Asiatic enemy had destroyed railroad lines, bridges, and tunnels. They were also to act as if they would be traveling through enemy territory and thus, had to be self-contained and self-sustaining over the 3,250-mile route. Maintaining the illusion of being at war or being truly self-sustaining proved to be very difficult, as was the trip itself.
Among some of the military personnel, there was even doubt whether or not the convoy could actually make it across the continent. The vehicles were untested over long distances. Many sections of the Lincoln Highway were unimproved dirt roads. Finally, few military personnel; especially enlisted men, had much experience with motor vehicle driving or maintenance. Eisenhower later wrote that the trek was a genuine adventure. "We were not sure it could be accomplished at all. Nothing of the sort had ever been attempted."
At first, in the East from Washington through Indiana, the roads were generally good but mechanical problems with the various vehicles and logistical problems slowed the convoy's progress. Military discipline among the men also was "conspicuous by its absence," according to one observer. About the familiarity of the men with operating trucks, Eisenhower wrote:
All drivers had claimed lengthy experience in driving trucks; some of them, it turned out, had never handled anything more advanced than a Model T. Most colored the air with expression in starting and stopping that indicated a longer association with teams of horses than with internal combustion engines. (EISENHOWER REPORT)
As the convoy (also referred to as the "train" by some) headed into Illinois and the West, road conditions along the Lincoln Highway presented serious challenges that often delayed and sometimes halted the convoy. The Highway ran on dirt roads through most of Illinois, but the weather was dry, so it was possible to cross the state in a few days. Of the roads between Illinois and California, Eisenhower, in his post-trip report wrote:
The dirt roads of Iowa are well graded and are good in dry weather; but would be impossible in wet weather. In Nebraska, the first real sand was encountered, and two days were lost in western part of this state due to bad, sandy roads. Wyoming roads west of Cheyenne are poor dirt ones, with weak culverts and bridges. In one day, 14 of these were counted, broken through by the train. The desert roads in the southwest portion of this state are very poor. In western Utah, on the Salt Lake Desert, the road becomes almost impossible to heavy vehicles. From Orr's Ranch, Utah, to Carson City, Nevada, road is one succession of dust, ruts, pits and holes. This stretch was not improved in any way, and consisted only of a track across the desert. At many points on the road water is twenty miles distant, and parts of the road are ninety miles from the nearest railroad. (EISENHOWER REPORT)
In fact, one of the biggest problems was the poor state of the bridges along the Lincoln Highway. PHOTO: Army Truck testing the holding power of one of many small bridges crossed during the Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy, 1919. Eisenhower Library Audiovisual Department, photo 81-17-25.
Advance notice of the convoy spread and its arrival in towns along the Lincoln Highway were occasions for celebrations and plenty of speeches imploring listeners to demand more public funding for "Good Roads." The convoy passed through 350 communities, and it was estimated that more than 3,000,000 people witnessed it along the route. Millions more followed the trek in newspapers and early motion picture "newsreels." PHOTO: 1919 Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy on Review, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1919. Eisenhower Library Audiovisual Department, photo 81-17-55.
The convoy did make it. Battered, but unbowed, the caravan arrived at the gates of Lincoln Park in San Francisco. However, it had taken until September 6, 1919 for it to reach its destination, a grueling sixty-two (62) days!
In November 1919, Lieutenant Colonel Eisenhower wrote a seven-page report relaying the observations he made during the Army Convoy to the Chief of the Army's Motor Transport Corps (M.T.C.). He summarized the results as follows:
The truck train was well received at all points along the route. It seemed that there was a great deal of sentiment for the improving of highways, and, from the standpoint of promoting this sentiment, the trip was an undoubted success. As stated before in this paper, it is believed that the M. T. C. should pay more attention to disciplinary drills for officers and men, and that all should be intelligent, snappy soldiers before giving them the responsibility of operating trucks. Extended trips by trucks through the middle western part of the United States are impracticable until roads are improved, and then only a light truck should be used on long hauls. Through the eastern part of the United States, the truck can be efficiently used in the Military Service, especially in problems involving a haul of approximately 100 miles, which could be negotiated by light trucks in one day. (EISENHOWER REPORT.)
THE 1919 ARMY MOTOR CONVOY IN ILLINOIS
The 1919 Army Transcontinental Army Convoy crossed into Illinois on the afternoon of Saturday, July 19, 1919. It stopped the next day for a Sunday rest period in Chicago Heights. The trip was resumed on Monday July 21, 1919, and the convoy camped over that night in DeKalb. On Tuesday July 22, 1919, the convoy left DeKalb and crossed over the Mississippi River Bridge at Fulton, Illinois and entered into Iowa that evening.
During the two full days it spent on the road in Illinois, the convoy covered about 172 miles in a little over 21 hours on the road. It was fairly lucky with the weather and thus the roads, but as the following account from the convoy's daily log reveals, it had its share of problems with the vehicles, drivers, and equipment in its journey across the Land of Lincoln.
(Read the official Army account of the convoy's journey thru Illinois).
So basically from the 1950s right up until around 2008 when the Sub-Prime Mortgage Bubble popped, as the Industrial Jobs began to leave the country in the 1970s to go to Cheaper Labor Markets in places like Mexico, India and China, fairly decently paid work in the Construction Industry took their place. Many jobs even for highly paid well educated folks like Civil Engineers, Architects, Electrical Engineers, Plumbers et al, as every new Mall and every new Suburban Subdivision needed to be Wired Up and Plumbed to keep the Sanitation Decent. As the communities sprouted like mushrooms across the once Pristine Wilderness of the FSoA, Civil Service Goobermint workers in every field from Police Work to Sanitation workers to Teachers were necessary. Where did the MONEY come from to PAY all these people for these new JOBS in these new communities?
As with ALL money since the beginning of the Industrial Era (and really long before that, btu expanding exponentially through this period), the MONEY came from the Issuance of New Credit done by the folks who have controlled this since the beginning of the Colonial Era at the LATEST, the TBTF Banks and the small number of people who control them, often referred to here on the pages of the Diner as the "Illuminati". In 1692 the Bank of England was Chartered, and despite a real lack of Precious Metals in England at that time, these folks issued CREDIT on what basically was all the resources of the New World they were set to exploit. They did not HAVE the "money" to issue out, they CREATED the money to issue out. Long as everyone under their Political Control HAD to use this money ("Legal Tender") they could LOAN it to others, who then owed them Interest. Anyone on the Inside of this Scheme never really could go Broke, as they could always issue themselves newer and bigger Loans to further buy out the Resources, and the Flow Begins of this money through the economy. EVERYTGHING comes to depend on this flow of money, and constant INCREASE in the money supply otherwise the interest being charged cannot be paid up on. whenever a Contraction or even just a slowdown occurs, Depressions ensue, Deleveraging occurs and most of the population gets hung out to dry. this was the narrative pretty much from 1700 right through to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Throughout the period of the post-Revolutionary War here in the FSoA, Credit was issued by Industrialists in Europe to first off exploit the Coal Resources here and ship them back to Europe to power their Factories, and then to further build out Industrial Infrastructure here. The Railroads were the essential component of this, because without them there was no moving the Coal from the mines of West Virginia to the Ports on the East Coast. So the Jobs of those days came in the form of Coal Mining and Railroad construction, and as the railroads expanded across the continent, new communities based on this new type of Industrial living popped up like Buboes across the landscape.
Still, it was basically an Agrarian Paradigm, with most people in the country engaged in local Agriculture, right up until the Great Depression. Reason for this is that it really was not until the 1920′s or so that the first ICE Tractors became available, and Ag was still very Human Labor intensive through the 1800s. Even going into the Great Depression in the 1930s, most estimates I have read put 90% of the population here living and working locally in the Ag paradigm.
For those who did not Own Land, up until the Civil War you had explicit Slavery for the imported African Labor force, so I don't think you can really call what they did as a "Job". During the Reconstruction period, you had Sharecroppers, and not sure this form of exploiting labor can be called a Job either.
Where what we think of now as Jobs being paid with Money emerged here was first in the Coal Mines and along the Railroad Tracks, work which was uniformly low paid and very dangerous also. Workers who performed these jobs were recruited from places like China and Ireland, where conditions for their populations were so bad at the time that just the CHANCE to come over here and work in one of these jobs was a step up, though for many it proved a disappointment for sure as they died in dangerous working conditions, and often had wages so low surviving on what you could buy from the Company Store was pretty difficult
The upshot of this period as the Factories began to pop up as well was a workforce that became increasingly Organized, with Labor making it's first Battles here against the Capitalist class in control of Credit Creation, money, and by this time virtually all the worthwhile Property across the country.
In fact this battle started in Europe where the whole Industrial paradigm began, and Jobs (or lack of them) and ridiculously low pay and bad working conditions developed alternative ideas to the Capital Exploitation model. Specifically, Karl Marx and Friederich Engels developed the Communist model, which the Bolsheviks in Russia tried to implement, becoming increasingly bastardized over time. In fact that model was probably corrupt right from the get go, as Trotsky and Lenin likely got most of their funding for that Revolution from Industrialists in Germany and England.
Over here, as the Great Depression took hold, similar Movements towards Communism and Socialism began to gain traction, the Wobblies were a growing force, and everything possible was done to keep that movement from gaining traction. Labor Union was pitted against Labor Union, Union Bosses were paid off, the Pinkertons were brought in to disrupt Organization and physically threaten anyone organizing, and overall the Capitalist class was successful in destroying the Labor Movement in the FSoA as we moved into and past the Great Depression.
The IWW promotes the concept of "One Big Union", contends that all workers should be united as a social class and that capitalism and wage labor should be abolished. They are known for the Wobbly Shop model of workplace democracy, in which workers elect their managers and other forms of grassroots democracy (self-management) are implemented. IWW membership does not require that one work in a represented workplace, nor does it exclude membership in another labor union.
In the 1910s and early '20s, the IWW achieved many of their short-term goals, particularly in the American west, and cut across traditional guild and union lines to organize workers in a variety of trades and industries. At their peak in 1923, IWW membership has been estimated at about 40,000. However, the extremely high rate of IWW membership turnover during this era (estimated at 133% per decade) makes it difficult to state membership totals with any certainty, as workers tended to join the IWW in large numbers for relatively short periods (e.g., during labor strikes and periods of generalized economic distress).
Nonetheless, membership declined dramatically in the 1920s due to several factors. There were conflicts with other labor groups, particularly the American Federation of Labor (AFL) which regarded the IWW as too radical while the IWW regarded the AFL as too staid and conservative. Membership also declined in the wake of government crackdowns on radical, anarchist and socialist groups during the First Red Scare after WWI. The most decisive factor in the decline in IWW membership and influence, however, was a 1924 schism due to internal conflict, from which the IWW never fully recovered.
Compromises were made however, and the New Deal of Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt incorporated numerous salves to buy off the Working Class, primary among them the creation of the Social Security system. Unions also still retained decent power in the post WWII period as the Automotive Industry ramped up in the FSoA, and for a short while the Working Class Heros of Industrialization did OK here, from say 1950 to maybe 1970 or so, though you did have to usually have "Connections" to get inside any of the powerful Trade Unions of the Era.
Over time of course the Unions and their ability to negotiate a better wage for their workers has been systematically diminished, and on a Media level the whole IDEA of Unions and Collective bargaining has been subject to non-stop Bernays style propagandizing against, to the point through the 90s-00s that even the Blue Collar workers such collectives work best for were convinced they were bad. Go to any Kneejerk Conservatard Website like the one Mike "Mish" Shedlock runs on Global Economic Analysis, and you will find non-stop BLAME being placed on Unions as the Cause of all our problems. See folks, if we just got rid of those nasty Teacher's Unions and Auto Unions and all those "Big" Pensions they negotiated over the years, we would have PROSPERITY again! LOL.
Prosperity for WHO? Certainly not Prosperity for the Pensioners who have their pensions ripped out from under them, that is for sure. Certainly not Prosperity for the next Generation of Workers either, who in order to keep our products "competitive" on the Global Market need to drop their Wages down to whatever it is the Chinese of Mexicans or Egyptians are getting these days, like $2/day there. the folks who PROSPER from reneging on Pensions are the Rentier Class, aka the Illuminati. See, they are the "Secured Bondholders". gotta pay them off before you pay the pension of anyone who worked for the City of Detroit for the last 30 years. As the economic system which Industrialists used to build out their system falls apart here, they hang out to dry everyone who ever worked in the system in ANY capacity, from an Industrial Factory Worker to a Coal Miner to the Police Force of Detroit, who for near 100 years protected the "Property" these folks claimed to own, thoroughly polluted and then abandoned.
Same Bizness occurring over in China now, just at a vastly Accelerated Pace as first the Hot Money drops in there to "Create Jobs" in Industry, profit is sucked out on the back of cheap labor, the resource landscape of the country is destroyed and then when no more Profit can be pulled from this mess, they "Unwind the Carry Trade", Newzpeak for the Rentier Class packing their bags and Private Jets with whatever they can and GTFO of Dodge, leaving the rest of the Chinese Population to die in the stinking sewer they made of that land mass.
Today, as we speak, this whole paradigm is coming to a close, for numerous reasons.
First off, there really is no NEW place to go to either exploit Resources or Exploit Labor to gain "Profit" for the individual or corporation that has not already been thoroughly sucked dry. Though there is still some fossil fuel energy left in the ground to extract, the energy cost for pulling it up comes ever closer each day to the cost the consumer of this energy can afford to pay. Without continuing expansion of Credit, there is no 'money" flow to the end consumer, and while the Central Banks provide endless Quantitative Easing FREE CREDIT a ZIRP to their member TBTF Banks, said Banks do not pass this money on in the form of new loans to anybody further than one tier below their line. Do you think a lot of Individuals line up to buy a Facepalm IPO? Who are the "Investors" in Facepalm, and where do they get the money to invest in that piece of shit Social Media White Elephant? Faceplam has NEVER turned a Profit since the day Mark Suckerbug and the Winkletwins dreamed it up. Regardless, "investors" subscribed to the IPO to the tune of like $100B, least that is around where the Market Cap is here I think. Where did they GET $100B to "invest" in Facepalm? They BORROWED it from the Federal Reserve, rehypothecating worthless MBS as collateral to invest here. This is the circle jerk of money creation, and folks on the inside get fabulously wealthy off of it, but everybody else gets screwed to beat the band here. Constant investment in ultimately non-productive and worthless enterprise that simply burns energy faster all the time, until there is nothing left to burn, which we are not at yet but getting closer to all the time. Ongoing here really since the very first Railroad Tracks were laid here in the FSoA in the early 1800s.
So, in the final analysis, this is where all the "JOBS" came from. Money created as Debt to exploit the resources of the New World, accessing a fabulous wealth of stored energy, first from Coal, then following that from Oil. Every last "Job" that has been created through the era all comes from the downhill flow of this energy as it is burned, and with less and less available to burn all the time, there are fewere and fewer Jobs to be had that depend on the burning of this energy. Politicos calls for a "Return to Growth" are a chimera, there is no growth, really there has not been for 30 years here or so. The "growth" you see is Numerical Smoke & Mirrors, pretty arbitrary numbers overall that get bigger all the time, while the population at large gets poorer all the time. The FSoA population has been getting steadily poorer under this paradigm, but not until now has it really been evident, masked well by Financialism and control over the Global Reserve Currency of the Dollar.
Besides the fact there is no new place to GO to exploit resource and labor, the result of 200 years of this shit is that we are now Neck Deep in our own sewage, with far too many people on the planet who have opportunity for truly productive things to do with their lives and who are pretty much 100% Dependent on the system continuing onward for their own survival. Willfully trying to exit the system while it continues to function is close to impossible in most places, really you have to go way out into the bush to even try something like this, and few people are prepared to do that these days.
Those of us who are engaged in building the SUN Project see all of these things quite clearly. There are no easy answers, no simple ways to exit, and a "Crash on Demand" by a large percentage of the population walking away from Industrialization simultaneously is unlikely to occur as a willfull thing, though it may happen organically quite rapidly if the current systems fail rapidly in cascade fashion.
For those of us involved in SUN, we seek to redefine the ideas of Jobs, Work & Money. Jobs as we have known them through the Industrial Era are already going the way of the Dinosaur, and as Bruce Springstein write in "My Hometown", they ain't ever coming back.
We don't NEED no Stinkin' JOBs, and we don't NEED the Debt Money pitched out here by the Illuminati for the last 200 years of Industrialization either. Like the "Assets" this money created, it is all going quite Worthless now. What we NEED is to work together, to build our communities, to work for the common good of our Species and the Planet we live on. We are rapidly running short on time here to make such changes in anything but the most Painful Way conceivable, and Heliopaths seek to avoid such a nasty endgame, if not for everyone, at least for those who see what is coming and wish to do the best they can to avoid it with us.
Perhaps you think this is all useless, it is too late already and the End is Written in Stone. If so, I wish you well and I will see you in the Great Beyond when we all get there. I personally am not concerned with whether the End is Written in Stone or not, because that does not materially affect the way I approach this End Game. Maybe I will go down, maybe my friends will go down too. However, if that is how it plays out, we will GO DOWN SWINGING.
IT AIN'T OVAH TILL THE FAT LADY SINGS!