New jobs report –
Although the headline number for job creation was below expectations, this was still a decent report. Some positives include more wage growth (see below), fewer part-time workers for economic reasons, fewer long-term unemployed, and a decline in U-6 (an alternative measure of underemployment).
Earlier: April Employment Report: 160,000 Jobs, 5.0% Unemployment Rate
A few numbers: Total employment is now 5.5 million above the pre-recession peak. Total employment is up 14.2 million from the employment recession’s low.
Private payroll employment increased 171,000 in April, while government employment declined 11,000 in April, mostly at the Federal level. Private employment is now 5.8 million above the pre-recession peak. Private employment is up 14.6 million from the recession low.
Great piece by Josh Marshall at TPM:
As you likely are too, I’m watching conversations unfold among friends on Facebook and in real life about the terrorist attack in San Bernardino and what the United States should be doing in response. Depending on your point of view, the argument is framed as one between American values and bigotry or political correctness and getting tough on radical Islam. Admittedly, these are extreme formulations, in each case using one side’s caricature of the other. But all of this ignores the central conundrum we face when we think about counter-terrorism, especially ones of the lone wolf variety or even more organized ones like the recent massacre in Paris.
The kinds of surveillance and scrutiny which inevitably fall on suspect populations as part of a heightened counter-terrorism posture are exactly the kinds of strictures which over time are likely to create the kind of social isolation and alienation which seems, from the evidence we have from Europe, to create a breeding ground for radicalization. So getting the balance right is very difficult. And this is entirely apart from the very legitimate and pressing discussion about what policies are American values and our constitution will or should allow. Throw all of that out the window and you’ve still got a very complex balancing act on your hands. (read the rest here)
With Jeb Bush fumbling an easy question from Meghan Kelly and Marco Rubio doing his Jeb Bush impersonation in front of Fox New’s Chris Wallace… I thought that I would repost this. It is a basic summary of why we went to war and how each one of those assumptions was wrong.
I will not say anything new in this post. I will not say anything that is outrageous or over the top. The Iraq War was one of the many reasons that caused me to start writing a book and to start a blog.
I think that the Bush Administration had four main reasons for going to war in Iraq. Yellowcake from Niger, aluminum tubes to concentrate uranium, mobile biological labs and the Al Qaeda (Mohamed Atta) – Saddam Hussein connection. It is now clear that none of these lines of argument were based in fact. I will not go into any of the details of why the above claims were lies. It should be clear to everyone by now. I will point you to Hubris and 500 Days as two very good books that go into detail about what happened and why. Also check out James Risen’s book State of War.
Cost of the War in Iraq
I guess the big question concerns what we gained from the Iraq War. Some will say nothing. Others will argue that we got rid of Saddam Hussein and that was worth it. I would argue that we squandered international good will. We fanned the flames of Muslim extremism. We played into the hands of Bin Laden by invading a country that was no threat to us or our allies. I would say that we turned a very backward nation into a battleground where there seems to always be war.