Sunday, February 27, 2011

Public Union Membership in Numbers

Eating Dots

~ By: Larry Walker, Jr. ~

In terms of raw numbers, local government union members stand to be crushed, or perhaps just eaten. There are roughly 14 million unemployed Americans who would love to have local government service jobs, minus collective bargaining. Perhaps the media should poll the unemployed. The bottom line is that it's better to be gainfully employed than unemployed. Advice to local government employed union members: Work with your duly elected government officials, or kiss your jobs goodbye.

Out of 124 million Americans who are still employed (excluding the incorporated self-employed), only 14.7 million (or 11.9%) are members of unions.

Total Non-Union vs. Union Employees

Out of the 14.7 million union members, 7.6 million (or a majority of 51.8%) are government employees.

Government Sector Union Members

Out of the 7.6 million government employees who are members of unions, 4.7 million (or a majority of 61.3%) are local government employees, while 1.9 million (or 25.8%) are state government employees.

State & Local Government Union Members

Out of 124 million Americans who are still employed (excluding the incorporated self-employed), only 4.7 million (or just 3.8%) are local government employed union members.

Local Government Union Members

In terms of numbers, local government employed union members, those who are complaining the most, only represent 3.8% of all American workers (excluding the incorporated self-employed), 3.0% of the roughly 151 million American taxpayers, and 1.5% of the total population. We believe there is more empathy among Americans for the 9.0% of the labor force who are unemployed, and the millions more who have dropped out of the workforce, than there is for local government employed union members. In other words, the pink slips are in the mail.

"Every goodbye makes the next hello closer." ~ Anonymous Unemployed

Related: Union Label : Owned by China & Liberty VS Union Power

Reference: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -

Table 3. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by occupation and industry (Jan. 21, 2011 Report)

Table 3. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by occupation and industry (Historical Data)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Union Label | Owned by China

Owned by China

When 'Made In China' Isn't Enough ~

“Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.” ~ Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) ~

Made in China wasn’t enough, now union minions want to be owned by China as well. ~

So far all I see is a bunch of snot-nosed, deficit-financed, government employed, union slugs spewing nonsense, but not one drop of blood. Hey union guys, this isn’t 1945, except maybe in terms of the National Debt. Back in the day, American unions used to fight so-called greedy capitalists for higher pay, greater benefits, and better working conditions, but that was then, and this is now. Today, almost all union members are government employees. What’s up with that? Who are these guys fighting against? Can American taxpayers who pay your salaries really be equated to the so-called ‘robber barons’ of the past? I don’t think so. Most of us are just fighting for survival. By us, I mean the other 88.1% of the workforce who are not union members. When a small minority (11.9% of loud-mouthed, snot-nosed, whiny, union cry babies) can impose its will upon the majority (88.1% of responsible, hard-working, non-union juiced, taxpayers) – that’ll be the day. Good luck with that fight.

Back in 1945, almost 36% of American workers were represented by unions, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that number had dwindled to just 11.9% by the end of 2010. Although there has been a noted increase in the number of public employee unions since the 1960s, the decline in private-sector union membership has been most telling. If union membership was worth its weight in dues, then most of the goods that America purchases today wouldn’t be stamped “Made in China”.

Union Membership Plummets

At the height of union popularity in the 1940s, only about 9.8% of government slugs were represented by unions, versus 33.9% of private sector workers. However, by the end of 2010, those proportions had flipped. Today 36.2% of public workers are represented by unions while private sector union membership has plummeted to a mere 6.9%. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent survey indicates that union membership in the U.S. has fallen to just 11.9% of the total workforce.

I'm sorry, but all of you public union slugs need to shut the hell up and accept what we decide. We don’t work for you; you work for us.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Payroll Tax Cut Forsakes the Poor

None and Done

Obama’s Phantom Tax Cut

- By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

When Barack Obama signed what was touted by the mainstream media as the middle-class cut bill on December 17, 2010, it was praised as a historic measure which would extend tax cuts for families at every income level, renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and enact a new one-year cut in Social Security taxes that would benefit nearly every worker who earns a wage.

But first of all, extending last year's tax rates actually didn't do anything for anybody (i.e. nothing gained, nothing lost). Secondly, renewing jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed was simply the price we had to pay for a failed $887 billion economic stimulus program. Thirdly, and to the point of this blog post, as far as the one-year cut in Social Security taxes, exactly what does the term "nearly every worker" mean?

Well, just two months after its enactment, tens of thousands of American’s are beginning to find out. Many are noticing that their paychecks are actually smaller than they were last year, while others are seeing just an extra dollar or two per month. In fact, the only ones actually receiving the full 2% payroll tax cut are those making over $70,000 per year. Those making under $20,000 per year are actually ingesting a tax hike.

In an effort to determine why so many folks are complaining, we compared Internal Revenue Service Publication 15, (Circular E) Employer’s Tax Guide, for tax year 2010 to the 2011 publication. Then we created a spreadsheet to compare the differences. What we discovered is that in 2010 the amount of federal income tax withheld from paychecks was lowered, to compensate for the $400 Make Work Pay Credit. But with the expiration of the credit at the end of 2010, income tax withholding tables have been readjusted back to pre-stimulus levels. This adjustment in income tax withholding rates has completely negated the Social Security tax cut for the poor, and greatly reduced its effect on those with moderate incomes.

On its face, the new law lowers the amount of Social Security tax withheld from all paychecks from 6.2% to 4.2%, however not all paychecks are affected equally. Had this tax cut been implemented on its own, it would have been a good thing for all wage earners; however due to the corresponding expiration of the Make Work Pay Credit, the end result favors those making over $70,000 per year, and discriminates against those who earn less. The word on the street is that Obama's 2% Social Security tax cut is just one more in a series of lies emanating from the White House. If we could impeach a POTUS for lying (or ignorance), Obama would have been impeached 10 times over.

The following calculations are based on the IRS's monthly percentage method tables for single taxpayers (Table 4). If you're not convinced, you may always visit, search for Publication 15, and make your own assessment. But if you don’t want to go through all of that trouble, you can simply compare your latest payroll tax report, or pay stub, to one from last year.

As the table above displays, rather than receiving a tax cut, those making $15,000 per year, or less, are actually receiving at least a 0.68% payroll tax hike. Although this may not have been the Democrat's intent, this is what he delivered.

According to the table above, those making exactly $20,000 per year are receiving a mere 0.08% tax cut. Wow, that's a whole $1.13 in tax savings each and every month, leaving many on Main Street in shock and awe. Since those making under $20,000 all got a tax hike, those whose lives have been improved by a buck a month must be so proud of their Democratic saviours.

The next table (above) reveals that although those making $30,000 per year received a bona fide tax cut, it is effectively only 0.88%, or $17.80 per month. I suppose $17.80 per month, which equals $213.60 per year, will have some impact on the economy, but not likely much.

The table above shows that those making $40,000 per year are receiving a 1.48% tax cut. Although it's not a full 2.0%, the extra $39.07 per month can at least be banked, or perhaps donated to the poor and needy.

As the table above exhibits, those making $50,000 per year are receiving a 1.74% tax cut. Now we're talking real money, a whole $55.73 per month, although perhaps this would have been more appropriately directed toward those making less than $20,000.

The table above affirms that those making $60,000 per year are now taking home a 1.92% tax cut. It's getting there, although it's not quite 2%, an extra $72.40 per month can at least buy some extra food, or pay a bill. Then again, if you're lucky enough to still have a job paying $60,000 per year under the present regime, how important is an extra $72.40 per month?

Finally as exposed in the last table (above), those making $70,000 per year are picking up the full 2% tax cut and then some (actually 2.15%), a savings of $92.89 per month. The percentage of taxes saved tops out at about the 2% level with the monthly dollar amount continuing to advance up to the $106,800 cap on Social Security wages.

In conclusion, those who needed a diminutive tax cut the least are receiving it the most. It all goes to show that in spite of a far left-wing progressive like Obama, "The rich keep on getting richer while the poor get poorer." While other countries like China directed payroll tax cuts toward employers, you know, the ones who can actually provide jobs and a real boost to an economy, Obama has blown his 3rd and final chance to get it right. Three strikes and you're out! Perhaps our next POTUS will be one who not only takes the time to read the bills presented for signature, but one who is actually capable of understanding cause and effect. Obviously, the present White House occupant is a wash. Obama is 'one and done', but in terms of American jobs, this could be more effectively expressed as 'none and done'.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blindsided | White House Fiscal Lunacy

Back in the Ditch

2016 GDP vs. National Debt

- By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

"We will not be adding more to the national debt." ~ Barack Obama ~

Say what? You must mean that you will not be adding more to your national debt, because I know that I certainly won't be adding to the national debt, so you need to take the we out of that statement buddy. The real question is how are you going to pay back the trillions of dollars that you have already squandered? And here's another riddle - What will the U.S.A.'s gross domestic product (GDP) need grow to by the year 2016 in order to keep pace with the present White House occupant's irrationally exuberant spending spree? And based on the answer to that question, at what annual rate must our economy grow?

If we add the inexperienced CEO's 2011 to 2016 projected annual budget deficits to fiscal year 2010's ending national debt balance of $13.6 trillion, then the national debt will equal $19.0 trillion by the year 2016. And you call that "not adding more to the national debt"? So is this guy a pathological liar, or what?

At the end of 2010, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that gross domestic product (GDP) for the year was $14.6 trillion. So depending on the rate of economic growth over the next 6 years, the national debt may sooner or later exceed GDP. Although even the present White House occupant once stated that the national debt is unsustainable, the question is - as juxtaposed to what? If we take a look back to the days when our debt was sustainable, when the economy was growing at roughly 5% per year with low unemployment, such as in 2003, we will discover that the debt-to-GDP ratio back then was 60.9%. So the question is what do we need to do in order to reduce our debt-to-GDP ratio from its present level of 92.8% back down to 60.9%?

In Scenario #1 (below) we will determine the rate of economic growth necessary in order for GDP to equal our projected debt by the year 2016. In Scenario #2 we will discover the rate of economic growth needed to return to a more healthy debt-to-GDP ratio of 60.9%. Finally, in Scenario #3 we reveal what the debt-to-GDP ratio will be by 2016 if GDP maintains its present growth rate of 3.2% per annum.

Scenario #1 – The budget to nowhere

Gross domestic product must grow from $14.6 to $19.0 trillion in order to equal the National Debt by 2016. In other words, GDP must maintain an average sustained growth rate of 4.5% per year, over the next 6 years, in order to achieve a debt-to-GDP ratio of 100%. This represents 'the budget to nowhere'. Although, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that GDP grew at the rate of 3.2% in the 4th quarter of 2010, as you can deduce, this will not be sufficient to reach the current White House occupant's pitiful goal of a 100% debt-to-GDP ratio.

Scenario #2 – Back to sanity

In order to return to the more prosperous 2003 debt-to-GDP ratio of 60.9%, GDP must grow at a sustained annual rate of 13.5% over the next 6 years. How likely is this? In order to achieve such a rate of growth, our economy would need to expand at the pace of an emerging market economy, a feat which is hardly doable. This is precisely why the Debt Commission recently stated that we will never grow our way out of this fiscal disaster.

Scenario #3 – Your new reality

Finally, if GDP maintains the present annual growth rate of 3.2%, then our debt-to-GDP ratio will have reached 107.4% by 2016. Welcome to reality, and to a future of bonded labor. This doesn't look like winning the future to me, it looks more like a donkey in a quagmire.


The present White House occupant's budget plan leads to disaster. What most of us wanted to hear was a plan for paying off the debt which he alone has run up over the last two years, not more debt evasion. Face it, there is only one way out of this mess. The first thing we need to do is to derail all of this administration's reckless spending initiatives. Secondly, government spending must be cut, slashed, and cut again. And finally, we must get this fiscally bankrupt pathological liar out of the White House, by any means necessary. By any means necessary. And as far as who will be the next POTUS; throw a dart. While I am not certain about who it will be, I definitely know who will be packing up at the end of 2012, if not sooner.


Related: The Progressive Slide to 2020 GDP vs. Debt

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Obamarail | The Bullet Train to Bankruptcy

Train Wreck at Eschede

Or death, whichever comes first

- By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

From January through November of 2010, the Federal Railroad Administration received some 8,050 reports of injuries and deaths among railroad workers, rail passengers and people crossing tracks in vehicles or on foot. Yet, while several Republican governors (namely Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio) have turned their backs on Obama’s irrationally exuberant spending binge, including his envisioned high-speed rail system, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the administration would press forward in a “patchwork fashion” if necessary. In other words - Safety, Supply and Demand, and Cost-Benefit be damned. Who cares what the citizens or governors want; LaHood, Biden and Obama know what’s best for all of us, right? I know, I know, “we can’t afford not to spend money that we don’t have.” Yeah, whatever!

Rail Safety?

As stated above, during the first eleven months of 2010 there were 8,050 reports of injuries and deaths among railroad workers, rail passengers and people crossing tracks in vehicles or on foot. So in an effort to improve safety, the federal government is proposing to increase rail speeds from 60 to 80 miles per hour, to speeds of more than 200 mph. If it takes a 100 car freight train travelling 55 miles per hour over 1 mile to stop, one can only imagine how long it takes a passenger train travelling over 200 mph.

In the famous Eschede rail disaster (pictured above), the train was only travelling at 125 mph, yet by the time a passenger was able to report that a wheel had fallen off, within seconds the train derailed leaving 101 persons dead and 88 injured. You may find a detailed listing of pre-1950 through January-2011 railroad accidents here. It appears that instead of addressing the current dilemma, the administration has once again taken the high road to solving imagined 23rd Century problems.

Modal Ratio - click to enlarge

Demand / Benefit

Rail usage statistics reflect not only the "popularity" of rail travel (for example, in Japan) but also the geography of the country. "For instance, the United Kingdom is a relatively small, densely populated country where many more short journeys are made compared to a larger, much less densely populated country such as the United States. To gauge the true importance of rail travel, the number of journeys (however short or long) needs to be calculated.

By this method one finds that the number of intercity rail journeys per year in the United States per inhabitant is so small as to be almost immeasurable. The U.S. figure is approximately 0.08 journeys per inhabitant per year, compared with the United Kingdom's figure of 17.54 journeys per person. These statistics imply that Britons use the train 219 times more than Americans.

So while perhaps high-speed rail would be important in counties like China, Japan, and the United Kingdom it will have very little impact in the United States. In other words, there is very little demand for intercity rail transportation in the U.S., in spite of the administration's delusional scheme. Where I come from, that’s not exactly a smart strategy.

Investing any money in any venture which lacks enough demand to recover said investment, along with a reasonable profit, is just plain foolish. While the U.S. has a population of roughly 305,000,000, the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP), a Washington, DC based lobbyist, can only boast in membership of approximately 23,500, representing a whopping 0.0077% of Americans.


Supply / Cost

According to a May 2009 report in the Business Insider, a true national high-speed rail network would cost more than $500 billion. California is attempting to build a true high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles capable of top speeds of 220 miles per hour and average speeds of 140 miles per hour. The environmental analysis report for the California high-speed rail had projected costs of $33 billion for just 400 miles. Meanwhile, the Midwest Rail Initiative had projected costs of $7.7 billion for 3,150 miles of moderate-speed rail. That's $82 million per mile for true high-speed rail (partly because the California project goes through some mountains) and only $2.4 million for moderate-speed rail.

All things being equal, high-speed rail will cost 10 to 12 times more than moderate-speed rail. Knowing this, the administration’s idea is to press forward in a “patchwork fashion” (i.e. Spend $53 billion here and there to get it started, and then beg for more cash every year). I guess it would be nice if we had an extra $500 billion to burn, and even nicer if there was any real demand to support the plot. But, maybe there’s a way to make this all work out after all.

Mandatory Ridership

Perhaps like Obamacare, Obamarail could be funded by requiring every citizen to purchase a ‘mandatory’ seasonal rail pass. The government could even implement another “cash for clunkers” program, but this time when you bring in the old gas-guzzler for crushing, you get a discount on season rail passes. And if you are uncooperative, refusing to participate in the government’s mandatory rail program, you would pay a tax (but they would just call it a penalty). The government could even make the case that mandatory rail travel is covered under the Commerce Clause, because unless everyone buys a ticket, travel by high-speed rail would be cost prohibitive for the 0.0077% who really need to ride.

The IRS could then be called upon to implement the enforcement portion by requiring that a unique national rail ticket number be entered on everyone’s income tax return. And to put the icing on the cake, the CBO could make wildly unsubstantiated claims about how Obamarail will save the nation trillions of dollars over the next century, or some nonsense. Yeah, well, I have an idea about how to save trillions of dollars in the future too. My idea involves not squandering the next $53 billion in present value dollars - today, but as stated above, “who cares what the citizens want”.

The Bullet Train to Nowhere

When this despotic patchwork is complete, only then will we know whether it worked, but first, we have to squander $500 billion on Obamarail in order to find out. Imagine a nation where workers are able to take ‘shovel ready jobs’ hundreds of miles from home, to return once or twice per year via high-cost, oops, I mean high-speed rail, and you have China. The contention is that $53 billion is such a small price to pay for another patchwork adventure in government-side economics. In government-side economics, if the square peg doesn’t fit, then you hit it with a hammer, right? And if it still doesn’t work, then you simply go out on the campaign trail and convince everyone that it did.

In spite of having over-spent by more than $3 trillion during the past two years, they surmise that their only failure was not having spent enough. Do you suppose that if the federal government borrowed and spent another $3 trillion it would do the trick? 'Maybe next time it will be different! I mean, it’s not like the nation has a fiscal problem or anything.' Face it, this isn’t supply-side economics, and it’s definitely not demand-side, so that leaves only one possibility; it’s a government-run bullet train to nowhere.

This doesn’t sound like ‘winning the future’ to me. It sounds more like a bullet train to bankruptcy, or better yet, like 'losing your future'. I mean the one in the near-term, in November of 2012. Are you ready for another shellacking?

Related: Derailed By Amtrak: The Money Drain

Other References:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Keepin’ It Real: Jobs Lost or Squandered

Experiments After Sputnik

Stimulus: Failure to Launch

- By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

Can we call the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) a failure yet? After all, the number of black and white Americans who are no longer counted as part of the labor force has reached a record high under the present White House occupant. Is this good or bad? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the beginning of February of 2009, an additional 772,000 black Americans, and an inconceivable 3,743,000 white Americans have left the labor force. Additionally, the labor force participation rate among both white and black Americans has declined to the lowest level since 1984. From the start of February of 2009 through January of 2011 the labor force participation rate among whites fell from 66.0% to 64.5%, while the participation rate among blacks declined from 63.2% to 61.7%.

If he was so wrong about the Stimulus Bill, couldn’t he also be wrong about health care and every other one of his experimental proposals?

In the past 8 months, only 92,000 net jobs have been created, so exactly how are we better off? Has the back of the Great Recession really been broken? I would say not.

According to my previous post which is based on data which is publicly available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, through January of 2011 the Stimulus Bill has resulted in a loss of 3.3 million jobs, and that is in addition to the number of jobs lost from the beginning of the recession until that time. The total number of jobs lost or squandered under the policies of the current White House occupant has been 5.19 million.

Revised: Stimulus Jobs Tracker

Stimulus Jobs Tracker

Step 1: Honesty - Get honest (with yourself).

Video: Vanguard TV3 Failed Rocket Launch after Sputnik



Friday, February 4, 2011

Final: Tracking the 5.19 Million Jobs Obama Squandered

Day 745

"We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork." ~ Milton Friedman ~

- By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

Formerly: Tracking the 5.2 Million Jobs Obama Squandered (published on 10/29/2010) *

Obama's economic stimulus bill was sold to us with the promise of creating 3.5 million jobs by January of 2011. Well, since January has now passed, it's time to tally up the results. My previous post, Tracking the 5.2 Million Jobs Obama Squandered, was about dead on. You can call it 5.19 million jobs squandered if you like, but it's still 5.2 million when rounded off.

For a refresher, "Tracking the 3.5 million jobs Obama will save or create" was the title of a blog post, last updated on January 8, 2010, on a website named Understanding The Market - Capire Il Mercato. In a note, the author, Cole Kendall stated, "I will make the calculations in a way that provides a “best case” to the Obama team." Since Mr. Kendall decided to give up on his tracking operation at the end of 2009, I decided to follow it through to it's dire conclusion.

Using the same criteria as originally outlined by Obama's (now former) economic team, jobs are defined by counting the total non-farm employment, from Table B-1 of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment Situation Report" (as seasonally adjusted). Instead of boring you with the month-by-month data, I went ahead and cut to the chase, skipping from December of 2009, where Mr. Kendall left off, to January of 2011, up to the latest data available from the 02/04/2011 jobs report.

Following is an excerpt from Cole Kendall's original blog post, followed by my revised stimulus jobs tracker, and a brief analysis:

In an earlier essay I tried to explain President Obama’s notion of saving or creating jobs. The stimulus plan bill was passed by both houses of Congress last night and the final plan was a bit smaller than the earlier version, so the President now asserts that the plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs.

This post will track the 3.5 million jobs. There are a number of ways to measure jobs in the US. Some people work several different jobs at a time while others change employers frequently, so measuring jobs is not as simple as it might seem. There was a cartoon from the Clinton era showing the President speaking at a dinner that he had created 8 million jobs and an overworked waiter thinking that he had three of them. Obama’s economic team defined jobs [as those contained in the Department of Labor's establishment payroll data] (see here for their original report).

Just before the stimulus bill passed the Department of Labor issued a report (see here). The number of people working (see Table B1, about 2/3 of the way down, with the heading “Establishment Data”) was 134,580,000 (seasonally adjusted). This is a preliminary measure and will be revised next month and probably revised again in a year. Using the Obama team methodology, without the stimulus bill employment would be expected to fall by around 1,613,000 jobs during the next two years so that without the stimulus bill we would expect employment to be 132,967,000 in January 2011.

With the revised estimate of 3,500,000 jobs “saved or created”, employment should be 136,467,000, creating 1,887,000 in addition to the 1,613,000 jobs saved.

The table below will be updated with every new employment release to see how jobs have changed. The first column is the actual number of payroll jobs starting with the month before the stimulus plan passed; the second column is the total change in employment since the month when the stimulus plan passed and the third column shows the gap remaining of jobs to be “created” in order to reach the target.

Revised: Stimulus Jobs Tracker

Stimulus Jobs Tracker

The conclusion is pretty grim, and certainly doesn't mesh with what Obama has been saying out on the campaign trail. The sad truth is that instead of creating 3.5 million jobs, since it was passed, the stimulus plan has instead resulted in the loss of 3.3 million jobs. Since the stimulus plan was supposed to have saved 1,613,000 jobs, in addition to creating 1,887,000 jobs, by January of 2011, and since it has actually resulted in the loss of 3,298,000 jobs, Obama's Economic Stimulus has fallen short of the original target by 5,185,000 jobs.

I don't know what you call this, but I call it a colossal failure. Perhaps it's time for an orderly transfer of power? Do we need another stimulus plan, or just another President? I don't think Obama is helping his case by roaming around the country making false claims in what appears to be a frantic effort to get re-elected, especially when he's the one who screwed this up. The thought of trillions in deficit-financed spending flushed down the drain, to no avail, doesn't bode well for Democrats, nor for Mr. Obama.

Obama was a job creator from day one.” ~ Nancy Pelosi

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. ~ Abraham Lincoln (R-IL)


Table B-1 Data: Total Non-Farm Employment (In Thousands, As Seasonally Adjusted):