The Land of the Mega-Rich

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

On March 9th,  the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that 227,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs were created by the economy during February. Is the government’s claim true?

No. Statistician John Williams (shadowstats.com) reports that 44,000 of these jobs or 19% consist of an add-on factor derived from the BLS’s estimate that 44,000 more unreported jobs from new business start-ups were created than were lost by unreported  business failures. The BLS’s estimate comes from the bureau’s “birth-death model,” which works better during normal times, but delivers erroneous results during troubled times such as the economy has been experiencing during the past four years.

Taking out the 44,000 added-on jobs reduces the February jobs number to 183,000, but does not provide a full correction.  In an economy as troubled as the US economy is, most likely the deaths exceeded the births, but we don’t know what the number is.  Was it 20,000?  50,000?  What number do we deduct from the 183,000?  We simply do not know.

Williams reports that seasonal adjustment factors do not work properly during troubled economic times and add their own overstatement to the jobs figure.  If anyone could estimate the overestimate of new jobs that results from malfunctioning seasonal adjustments, it is John Williams, but he doesn’t provide an estimate.

Most likely, the new jobs did not exceed 150,000, a figure that would merely keep even with population growth and thus not reduce the rate of unemployment, which, consistent with this deduction, remained constant.

Let’s look now at the kind of jobs that were created. Of the new jobs reported by BLS, 92% are in services. Of this 92%, only 7% could possibly relate to exportable services–architectural, engineering, and computer systems services.

Of the reported new service jobs, 29% are in health care and social services. The categories that account for the health services jobs are ambulatory health care services and hospitals.  Waitresses and bartenders account for 20% of the reported new jobs.

Employment services account for 29% of the new reported jobs.  Transportation and warehousing accounted for 5% of the reported new jobs, despite a loss of 60,000 jobs in general merchandise and department stores.

In other words, the vast majority of the new jobs are low paying jobs, except for a few truck drivers.

Other conclusions that we can draw are:

The US has nothing to export to reduce its massive trade deficit, which has, sooner or later, disastrous implications for the US dollar.

Middle class income jobs are declining, with polarization at the two extremes.

US economic policy continues to focus on the mega-rich at the expense of 99% of the population. US interest rates are kept at, or near to, zero in order to maximize mega-bank earnings, while depriving tens of millions of retired Americans of interest income on their lifetime savings, forcing them to spend their capital in order to live, thus depriving their heavily indebted children of inheritance.

In short, the US is well on its way to becoming a third world country, as I predicted would be the case in 20 years at a Brookings Institution conference in Washington DC early in the 21st century.

America is no longer the land of the free and independent.  It is the land of the 1% mega-rich.

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.  His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached through his website

 

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is How America Was Lost.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
September 4-6, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Regime Change Refugees: On the Shores of Europe
Lawrence Ware
No Refuge: the Specter of White Supremacy Still Haunts Black America
Paul Street
Bi-Polar Disorder: Obama’s Bait-and-Switch Environmental Politics
Kali Akuno
Until We Win: Black Labor and Liberation in the Disposable Era
Arun Gupta
Field Notes to Life During the Apocalypse
Steve Hendricks
Come Again? Second Thoughts on My Ashley Madison Affair
Paul Craig Roberts
Whither the Economy?
Ron Jacobs
Bernie Sanders’ Vision: As Myopic as Every Other Candidate or Not?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and Crisis
Jeffrey St. Clair
Arkansas Bloodsuckers: the Clintons, Prisoners and the Blood Trade
Richard W. Behan
Republican Fail, Advantage Sanders: the Indefensible Budget for Defense
Ted Rall
Call It By Its Name: Censorship
Susan Babbitt
“Swarms” Entering the UK? What We Can Still Learn About the Migrant Crisis From Che Guevara
Andrew Levine
Compassionate Conservatism: a Reconsideration and an Appreciation
John Wight
Adrift Without Sanctuary: a Sick and Twisted Morality
Binoy Kampmark
Sieges in an Age of Austerity: Monitoring Julian Assange
Colin Todhunter
Europe’s Refugee Crisis and the Depraved Morality of David Cameron
JP Sottile
Chinese Military Parade Freak-Out
Kathleen Wallace
The Child Has a Name, They All Do
David Rosen
Why So Few Riots?
Norm Kent
The Rent Boy Raid: Homeland Security Should Monitor Our Borders Not Our Bedrooms
Michael Welton
Canada’s Arrogant Autocrat: the Rogue Politics of Stephen Harper
Ramzy Baroud
Palestine’s Crisis of Leadership: Did Abbas Destroy Palestinian Democracy?
Jim Connolly
Sniping at the Sandernistas: Left Perfectionism in the Belly of the Beast
Pepe Escobar
Say Hello to China’s New Toys
Sylvia C. Frain
Tiny Guam, Huge US Marine Base Expansions
Pete Dolack
Turning National Parks into Corporate Profit Centers
Ann Garrison
Africa’s Problem From Hell: Samantha Power
Dan Glazebrook
British Home Secretary Theresa May: Savior or Slaughterer of Black People?
Christopher Brauchli
Poor, Poor, Pitiful Citigroup
Norman Pollack
Paradigm of a Fascist Mindset: Nicholas Burns on Iran
Barry Lando
Standing at the Bar of History: Could the i-Phone Really Have Prevented the Holocaust?
Linn Washington Jr.
Critics of BlackLivesMatter# Practice Defiant Denial
Roger Annis
Canada’s Web of Lies Over Syrian Refugee Crisis
Chris Zinda
Constitutional Crisis in the Heart of Dixie
Rannie Amiri
Everything Stinks: Beirut Protests and Garbage Politics
Graham Peebles
Criminalizing Refugees
Missy Comley Beattie
In Order To Breathe
James McEnteer
Blast From the Past in Buenos Aires
Patrick Higgins
A Response to the “Cruise Missile Left”
Tom H. Hastings
Too Broke to Pay Attention
Edward Leer
Love, Betrayal, and Donuts
Louis Proyect
Migrating Through Hell: Quemada-Diez’s “La Jaula de Oro”
Charles R. Larson
Class and Colonialism in British Cairo
David Yearsley
Michael Sarin: Drumming Like Summer Fireworks Over a Choppy Lake