Obama’s Legacy? Dismal and Declining Labor Force Participation
But every so often, my job requires an unpleasant task, and watching the State-of-the-Union Address as part of Cato’s live-tweeting program counts as one my least enjoyable experiences since joining the team.
But let’s make lemonade out of lemons by looking at lessons that can be learned from Obama’s speech. The most jarring part of the evening was when Obama bragged about the American economy.
Since we’re suffering through the weakest recovery since the Great Depression, that was rather bizarre.
Moreover, being proud that we’re doing better than Europe is akin to getting a participation ribbon in a soccer league for kids.
And the chest thumping about the unemployment rate was very misplaced since that piece of data only looks good because so many Americans have given up on finding a job.
I’ve pontificated on that issue before and cited the Labor Department’s overall data, but let’s dig a little deeper to fully understand why Obama should have apologized rather than patted himself on the back.
Here’s the employment/population ratio for the prime, working-age population of those between 25 and 54 years of age.
As you can see, this ratio has improved a bit over the past five years, but it appears that there’s very little hope that the overall employment situation will ever recover to where it was before the recession.
At least not with current policies.
Here’s another way of looking at the same data. It’s labor force participation by age. The lines don’t seem that far apart, but a 3-4 percentage point decline across age groups adds up to millions of people no longer productively employed.
Last but not least, here’s another way of approaching this data.
We have a chart from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank showing the number of working-age people not in the labor force.
There are two takeaways from this chart.
First, it’s clear that the problem started well before Obama.
But it’s also clear that the problem has gotten much worse during his tenure.
The bottom line is that the expansion of redistribution programs has lured more and more people out of the labor force, particularly when matched by government policies that have hindered the private sector’s ability to create jobs.
Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute. Mitchell is a strong advocate of a flat tax and international tax competition.
Sessions rips Obama's 'autopilot immigration flow': In a new immigration pitch, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions is urging the GOP to adopt reforms focused securing borders and stopping the administration's efforts that let companies favor cheaper immigrants over American employees. Sessions and Virginia Rep. Dave Brat, in a letter to Republicans, said that kind of a reform package will win over independent voters and disgruntled Democrats. We should correctly define the words 'immigration reform' to refer exclusively to the policies our voters – and all voters – can cheer and celebrate. Real 'immigration reform' protects American workers, families, and livelihoods. Defined this way, it is always the 'right time' to promote 'immigration reform,' the duo wrote in a letter hand-delivered to all House and Senate GOP offices.
Placating Americans with Fake Immigration Law Enforcement
How our leaders create fantasy 'solutions' for our immigration-related vulnerabilities.
By Michael Cutler
FrontPageMag.com, December 4, 2015
Therefore the Visa Waiver Program should have been terminated after the terror attacks of 9/11 yet it has continually been expanded.
It is clear that the overarching goal of a succession of administrations and many members of Congress, irrespective of political party affiliation, is to keep our borders open and take no meaningful action to stop that flow of aliens into the United States.
. . .
The obvious question is why the Visa Waiver Program is considered so sacrosanct that even though it defies the advice and findings of the 9/11 Commission no one has the moral fortitude to call for simply terminating this dangerous program.
The answer can be found in the incestuous relationship between the Chamber of Commerce and its subsidiary, the Corporation for Travel Promotion, now doing business as Brand USA.
The Chamber of Commerce has arguably been the strongest supporter of the Visa Waiver Program, which currently enables aliens from 38 countries to enter the United States without first obtaining a visa.
The U.S. State Department provides a thorough explanation of the Visa Waiver Program on its website.
Incredibly, the official State Department website also provides a link, “Discover America,” on that website which relates to the website of The Corporation for Travel Promotion, which is affiliated with the travel industries that are a part of the “Discover America Partnership.