Friday, June 21, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #113 - Part 7

Clown Award: Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein

Now for one of our regular features, the Clown Award, given for acts of meritorious stupidity.

This week, the winner of the big red nose is the CEO of the Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, or, as he is also known, Dr. Evil.

He told Politico last week that when people are gloomy about the economy, they get scared and that can hold back economic growth. "[The] culture of America has gotten too negative," he said, and "sentiment matters."

In other words, what's wrong with the economy, what's keeping it from growing as it should? You! You're not happy enough.

The US is currently in the the weakest labor-market recovery since World War II. The unemployment rate is still above pre-recession levels. And the jobs that are being created are mostly low-paying: 60% of the jobs lost in the recession were middle-wage jobs, while 58% of those gained in the recovery were low-wage jobs. About a third of working families in the US, representing about 47 million people, are in low-wage jobs today.

But the problem is, you're not happy enough.

Hourly pay has grown by just 2 percent per year, on average for the past four years, the weakest four-year stretch on record, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hourly pay for nonfarm workers fell at a 3.8 percent annualized rate in the first quarter - the biggest quarterly decline since the BLS started keeping track in 1947.

But the problem is, you're not happy enough.

The unemployment rate for African-Americans rose to 13.5 percent. The U-6 unemployment rate, which includes the jobless and people who are working part-time because they can't find anything better, is at 13.8 percent. And the number of long-term unemployed - people out of work for 27 weeks or more - is 4.4 million. The percentage of people working part-time is still higher than it was before the recession - nearly 19 percent of all workers.

The economy is still 2.4 million jobs short of where it was in January 2008. At the current pace of job growth, the economy may not be back to full employment until 2021.

But the problem is, you're not happy enough.

Meanwhile, corporate profits are at an all-time high. Which I'm sure makes Lloyd Blankfein, who made $26 million last year working for a company that only still exists because of a $10 billion taxpayer bailout in 2008, very happy indeed.

He's still a clown. A happy clown, but a clown.


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