Common Sense Political Economics

"If you laid all of the (PhD) economists end to end, to tell you which way to go, they would look like the spokes of a wheel."

Harry Truman

Monthly Archives: October 2015

I feel so sorry for college graduates today, and not just because of student debt. I know a 28 year old woman with a college degree and an excellent personality who is working as a delivery truck driver. She said she has not been able to find anything better. When I graduated from college in 1965, employers were coming to me.
This young woman told me that she and her fiancée are not even  getting married because the economy is so bad. She is not officially unemployed, but she might as well be.

As I have said before, the official unemployment rate has become almost a joke, a useless number. All it measures is the number of people who are ACTIVELY looking for a job.

In the past, when recessions only lasted a year or two, it was a meaningful number because people were not so discouraged and kept looking until they found something.
We are now living in a “new normal,” in which millions of people have just given up trying to find a job because the recession has lasted so long and there are fewer and fewer jobs to be had. I don’t know what these people are doing every day. Many are living in their parents’ basement or on the streets. Some are working at odd jobs and getting paid in cash so they never show up in any government statistics.

There is another measure of employment that is much better than the unemployment rate. It is called the “Labor Force Participation Rate.” It simply measures the number of people who ARE working. But If the number of jobs available is shrinking, it is possible for the official unemployment rate to be going down AND the labor force participation to also be simultaneously going down.

Or to make that more clear: If the number of jobs were constant and the unemployment rate went down, you would expect the labor force participation rate to go up, and vice-versa.

Here’s how bad it is. In 2009 the elite economists who live in the unrealistic world of Wall St. and inside the D.C. Beltway, said that the great recession was over. They were (and still are) out of touch with the realities on the ground along Main St.

Since their declaration that the end of the great recession occurred in 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the labor participation rate has continued to go DOWN since 2009, and in April of 2015 that there were 39,175,000 people of working age WHO ARE NOT IN THE WORK FORCE. This is an historical record.

So when you include all of the discouraged workers and the people with college degrees working at menial jobs ,because they can’t find anything else, the real unemployment rate is currently about 23%, not the 5.2% being reported.

And furthermore, instead of new jobs on Main St., the only industry that has been growing is the financial sector. Its share of GDP has risen from less than 4% in 1960 to about 8% today. Finance is not a productive activity, it is a looting (legal gambling) activity. It does not create JOBS.

I know how to create jobs.  My plan is in chapter 8 of my book, GREED IS GOOD-SO IS SOCIALISM: A UNIFYING MANIFESTO. Please read it and support it.

Then let me know what you think.



Hi Folks,

I didn’t write a post this week because I was sick in bed the whole week, (health now restored.)
Also, you should know that I don’t write posts unless I think I have something unique and important to say.
I read a lot of liberal weblogs and watch the news closely, as I am sure many of you also do. And there are many good bloggers out there saying many good things. So I see no reason to just rewrite basically what someone else has said.
If I don’t see how my “take on it” is uniquely Wendell Williams, then I just don’t write.
I work harder thinking about WHAT to write each week than the effort it takes to put my thoughts down as though I were publishing a book.

For example, what I mean by unique is the post I wrote, entitled GUNS DO KILL PEOPLE. I posited the argument that inanimate objects, guns included, do seemingly BEG to be used. I have never heard that argument from anyone else. If anyone has please let me know by commenting publically after this post or privately thru the “contact me button.”

I would also like to know what issues you are interested in so that I can address them too. Please write and let me know what’s on your mind.

We now have about 450 subscribers and about 200 open their email addresses in response to my invitation to read my blog. That doesn’t mean that they are the same 200 every time. Some people open it occasionally and some every time. Of those that open it, about 40% go ahead and read the rest of it. I am told that these are normal blog statistics.

Needless to say, it would be nice if each of you could get just one person to subscribe. That alone would double the amount of subscribers to 900 . The more subscribers, the more opportunity to read a wider range of opinions.

And speaking of that, it would mean a lot to me if more of you took the time to comment.

Let’s get a conversation going.  And here’s something to get you started:  What do you think is the issue of greatest concern in the U.S. today?


FOR SEVERAL MONTHS now I have been waiting for Bernie to DEFINE what he means by socialism. In my opinion he has been doing a terrible job of it.

Tonight on the Bill Maher show, Maher asked Bernie to define what he means,
and Bernie did not really answer the question. Maher asked the question THREE times and still no clear, succinct answer.

Sanders must clarify this and do it SOON before the American public allows the Republicans to crystalize THEIR definition in our minds.

Their definition of socialism focuses on the negatives of PURE SOCIALISM.

Their definition includes state ownership of industry and business.
Their definition includes state planning of the markets, instead of
the “invisible hand” of capitalism.
Their definition includes make work programs just to keep everyone employed.
Their definition includes some kind of malevolent oligarchical dictatorship.
Their definition includes no private ownership of property.
Their definition includes communal living.

The number of Americans who would vote for ANY of these ideas is
is miniscule. So there is NO WAY IN HELL that he will ever be elected
President until he explains in crystal clear words that he is for NONE of the above. But he IS for growing the middle class and continuing to maintain the social safety net.

I spent some time in the Soviet Union in the 1980’s and witnessed the good and the bad aspects of socialism. I saw a country where there were no filthy rich nor any lowly poor. Seemed like everyone was middle class. What Bernie wants for us is to temper our runaway laissez faire” casino capitalism” with the best that socialism has to offer. He is doing an excellent job of describing those GOOD aspects but a terrible job of separating out the BAD parts.

Why Bernie allows this gross misunderstanding of what he means by Socialism to live on (It is growing legs as we speak) is beyond me. He needs to kill it and kill it NOW.

Some people say that the problem is not guns, it is just crazy people.
But others say it is mainly the prevalence of guns that is to blame.

Both of them are WRONG.

The reason I say this, is that although they are both PARTIALLY right,
the real truth is that guns DO kill people AND also crazy people DO kill people.

But a crazy person without a gun can NOT kill people, and a gun without a
crazy person can NOT kill people. So obviously it takes both.

And that is why either polar opposite argument by it’s self is wrong.

It is easier for someone to understand the argument that guns do not
kill people, than it is to understand the argument that guns do kill people.

Let me explain why.

If a man comes home to his family with a brand new car, what is the first
thing that the family says?
We all know the answer, “Dad, let’s go for a ride and try it out”.

Now they are not really going anywhere; they just want to USE it.
That new car is “talking” to them, saying “Aren’t you just itching to use me?”
And the answer is YES. It seems to be human nature that

INANIMATE THINGS do have a way of begging you to use them.

Another example: We moved into a new house in the country and
found that there were lots of squirrels and they were destroying our
potted plants digging to hide acorns. We tried several methods to get
them to go away but nothing worked. So I decided to buy a BB gun
to shoot them in the butt. I was assured that it would not hurt them,
it would just scare them away. I bought the BB gun and after shooting
them for a week or two, I noticed that they seldom came back to dig
in our pots on the deck. They still played in the trees a little further out.

Now here is the point. I keep that new BB gun by the back door ready to
use if I find a squirrel on the back deck. And to my surprise,
I have found that if I am walking in the house and happen to walk past it,

I often look at the deck to see if there are any squirrels. And if I see none,
I find myself feeling deprived. I WANT TO USE THAT GUN.
There is a little itch in me that wants to be scratched. Barely noticeable, but still there.

So when a man buys a new 38 cal. pistol, whether or not he realizes it,
he IS itching to use it, to some degree. And that itch slowly builds up
the longer he doesn’t use it.

So what do you think might happen if he finds his wife in bed with another man and that gun IS available?
What do you think might have happened if the gun were NOT available?


I am not recommending government ownership 0f the means of production. But I am recommending more regulation and control over the means of production as well as the financial industry.

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