New Withholding-Tax Collection Record

March 3rd, 2015

On Monday, March 2, 2015, the IRS set a new single-day, withholding-tax collection record by raking in $38.02 billion from the paychecks of American workers. Take a look at the Daily Treasury Statement (click to enlarge):

Record

The previous record was set a year ago at $35.5 billion. See my report here. I know this is a record because I have daily data going back to 10/1/1998 in my database at The Daily Jobs Update where you can see charts of this data updated in real time.

So, does this mean that the jobs market is on fire? If you subscribe to DJU, look in your inbox for an email containing my thoughts on how the West Coast port strike, and minimum-wage increases may have affected this data.

Bill Maher – America’s Most-Honest Oligarch

February 4th, 2015

Normally, when a billionaire demands even higher levels of mass-immigration, he doesn’t tell the truth. Instead, he lies and says something along the lines that Americans are unqualified, uneducated, unmotivated, or just too stupid to work. He says that Americans have “unrealistic” aspirations to live a middle-class lifestyle.

He says anything but the truth: that he just wants foreign scab workers so that he can get richer.

But not Bill Maher who honestly described our policy of mass-immigration as a “gravy-train.” Not for the American workers kicked to the curb, of course. For them, it is a catastrophic destruction of their lives. But mass-immigration is indeed a gravy-train for employers, and the largest engine of income-inequality in our economy.

At the 42:42 mark of the January 30, 2015 episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” the comedian said:

“We’re just so foolish to be so mean to the people who want to immigrate to our country. A bunch of friendly people who just want to work for below minimum wage. Yeah, that gravy-train has to stop, huh?”

The last sentence was said sarcastically since he was criticizing the Republicans.

I am fascinated by this depiction of mass-immigration as a gravy-train. No other oligarch has even come close to being so verbally brazen. Maybe that’s how they talk at the secret meetings (Davos, Bilderburg, Bohemian Grove, Trilateral Commission, Skull & Bones, CFR, etc). Maybe Maher will get a caning at the next meeting for being so candid.

Maher surprised a lot of people in February 2012 when he donated $1 million to President Obama; people didn’t think he was so rich. Then a few months later Maher bought a minority stake in the New York Mets for $20 million.

So, Maher is a rich guy, but it doesn’t seem like his activities would employ a lot of scab labor. So I’m curios as to why the phrase “gravy-train” popped into his head. Maybe he has some Cambodian slave children sewing sneakers for him in one of Los Angeles’s notorious underground sweatshops.

Sinking Putin’s Cuban Carrier

February 3rd, 2015

It was surprising when President Obama announced that we would normalize relations with Cuba, but maybe it’s not that surprising after all. Cuba, of course, has a long history of being a Russian ally and a forward base for the Russian military. And now that we are taking it to Putin in Ukraine, neutralizing Cuba makes strategic sense. That is, if you expect the cold war to turn hot.

Our geostrategic policy is to treat Putin alike a super-sized version of Saddam Hussein. To squeeze him until the oil comes out. Expect continuous war until Putin coughs up his nation’s crown jewels – their oil and gas reserves. It’s not good enough that Putin will sell oil and gas. That just won’t do. He must transfer ownership of his reserves to Rockefeller Oil (Exxon), or face having them seized, like Saddam found out the hard way.

David Rockefeller is also probably still smarting from when his grandpa got played for a sucker by the Nobel family, who sold their Baku fields to Standard Oil right after the Bolsheviks took over in 1920 (see this page).

Immigration-Push Deflation

January 27th, 2015

Economists believe in a thing called “wage-push inflation” where an expanding economy creates more jobs than workers. Instead of being “a dime a dozen” workers are now 12 cents a dozen, and thus, the economy suffers from an alarming 20% inflation rate. Not inflation of the money supply mind you, but inflation of paychecks; something that cannot be tolerated.

Under such dire circumstances, the only sensible thing to do is crush the economy via egregious, Paul-Volcker style interest-rate hikes by the Fed. Otherwise, the workers might get uppity and whatnot.

But have you noticed that there is virtually no discussion of the opposite circumstance? And does it not stand to reason that if millions of workers are brought into the country, wages might be suppressed? And if wages are suppressed, our consumer-driven economy might run out of fuel?

So, I have coined the new phrase: Immigration-Push Deflation.

It’s pretty simple: you flood the country with superfluous workers, the excess supply drives down the market price for labor, everybody gets a pay-cut, and suddenly economists are baffled by the mysterious deflation that emerges. Do you think it was a coincidence that both the Great Depression and the Great Recession were preceded by vast waves of mass immigration that led to mass unemployment?

Without a high-spending middle-class, the U.S. economy will look a lot different than it has since World War II, and persistent deflationary pressures are likely to be the primary feature of such an economy.

Oh My God, The Wages!

January 10th, 2015

There was consternation on CNBC yesterday after the Employment Situation report showed a drop in wages. I find this hilarious because CNBC is the media flagship of neoliberalism, America’s national ideology, and the beating heart of neoliberalism is low wages.

The primary goal of our economic policy is to beat down wages via the mass off-shoring of jobs, and the mass immigration of cheap labor. Not to mention flat-out criminal corporate wage-theft (keep reading). Yes, this is an evil policy, but it is a successful one. Very successful, as evidenced by the massive increase in corporate profits. Devouring the middle class might be the most-profitable economic policy ever.

The talking heads on CNBC should have been celebrating. Instead, they are baffled that their ideology isn’t producing a land of rainbows, lollipops, and puppy dogs. What a bunch of brainwashed buffoons.

To illustrate, imagine a planter growing cotton on a thousand acres. Then he bribes the government to run-off the Native Americans living next door, buys the land, and doubles the size of his plantation. Now he needs more workers, so he goes to the market and purchases a hundred more slaves. That night, he drinks a toast to himself: “I am a great jobs creator!” But wages have not improved; they were $0.00 per hour before, and are still $0.00 now.

What is happening in the USA isn’t too much different. Recently, one of our fabulous jobs-creators in Silicon Valley did something similar. They flew in eight workers from India, made them work 120 hours per week, and paid them only $1.21 per hour. Now, let me point out something that might not have occurred to you: $1.21 per hour is lot closer to $0.00 per hour (slavery) than it is to the California minimum wage of $9 per hour.

That is a microcosm of what is happening in the USA. America’s once mighty middle-class workforce has, to a great extent, been either eliminated by off-shoring, or replaced by a massive foreign scab workforce tens-of-millions strong.

And what can Janet Yellen do about that? Absolutely nothing. The best she can do is keep rates low, and pray, but low rates cannot even put a dent in neoliberalism. Ultimately, it’s not her job, and she has no power to stop the forces driving wages lower.

If you are a neoliberal baffled by the lack of wage growth, may I suggest a psychiatrist skilled in cult deprogramming?

Further reading: Here is the story that I mentioned above: “Bay Area Tech Company Caught Paying Imported Workers $1.21 per Hour.” Management’s excuse was they thought that they could pay India’s minimum wage; that somehow U.S. and California laws do not apply to immigrant workers. Do they also think that they could go to Sudan and purchase slaves, and keep them slaves in California? Maybe they do. Maybe management’s homes should be searched. Interesting fact: back in the 1990’s, I worked for a software company in Silicon Valley that had offices in the same building as the company in the story, Electronics for Imaging. What if Janet Yellen parachuted into EFI’s offices? What could she do? Not a damn thing.

Funny: Mohamed El-Erian calls it the “wage puzzle.” Story here.