Archive for chart – Page 3

Decline of organized labor has helped worsen racial wage gap


union pay difference food industry

unions right to work for less cartoon gop

Meredith Kleykamp and Jake Rosenfeld are professors of sociology at the University of Maryland and the University of Washington, respectively. Both are members of the Scholars Strategy Network, and both wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times.

The topic: How the decline of labor unions has widened the racial wage gap and that "African Americans and other people of color have a lot at stake." They track the history of unions, their rise, their more recent sliding numbers, and the effect that has had on wages:

[O]ur research aimed to discover what wage trends among blacks and whites, men and women, would have looked like if union membership in the private sector of the U.S. economy had not declined so sharply. Here is what we learned:

• Had union membership rates for women remained at late-1970s levels, racial wage inequality among women in private sector jobs today would be reduced by as much as 30%.

• If rates of union membership among African American men working in the private sector were as high today as in the early 1970s, weekly wages would now be about $50 higher. For a full-time worker, that translates to an income increase of $2,600 a year. Regardless of race, all male workers have lost ground in the private sector as unions have declined.

They describe the modern labor movement as "remarkably inclusive" and one that has boosted African American and white workers and their families economically. The authors also conclude that the dwindling number of private sector unions has made the state of America's economic and social problems worse, including racial wage gaps.

Here are a few of the benefits that unions have provided:

labor unions brought us

See: "What a difference a union can make!" and "Why unions matter, in a measly 1 minute 19 seconds."

chart graph why unions matter


Bikini Graph time! 169k new jobs, jobless rate dips to 7.3%, Obamacare not "significantly hindering job growth"


bikini itsy bitsy

It’s time to bring back the Bikini Graph! As always, red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration. This comes to us from the Maddow Blog, courtesy of the wonderful Steve Benen:

bikini graph September 2013 overall

bikin graph September 2013 private sector

The new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 169,000 jobs in August, which is roughly in line with expectations. After years of public-sector layoffs serving as a drag on the overall economy, we're starting to see a slight turnaround -- the private sector added 152,000 jobs last month, while the public sector added 17,000 jobs. That may seem like a fairly modest number, but it's the most in recent memory.

The overall unemployment rate dropped to 7.3%, which is the lowest it's been in nearly five years, but it's not evidence of good news -- it ticked down largely because of people leaving the workforce [...]

All told, so far in calendar year 2013, the economy has added 1.44 jobs overall, and 1.47 million in the private sector.

For more analysis by Benen, follow the link.

Earlier Paddy posted "Video- Fox's Stuart Varney Previews Jobs Report By Pushing Myth About Obamacare Causing Part-Time Employment." When in doubt, blame Obama, right Stewy?

He should have checked out this Los Angeles Times report. It's an assessment of the Affordable Care Act's effect on the economy from Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics:

Zandi said the labor market was holding up well despite the drag from the automatic federal spending cuts and implementation of the healthcare reform law. Although there would be more hiring without those two factors, he said there's no indication they are significantly hindering job growth.


VIDEO: Why unions matter, in a measly 1 minute 19 seconds


chart graph why unions matter

Via Colin Gordon from June 2012:

Author's analysis of Historical Statistics of the United States,, Piketty and Saez (2003), and The World Top Incomes Database (http://g-mond.parisschoolofeconomics....)

The video is from the Economic Policy Institute, and it shows how unions are declining, paralleling the abrupt uptick of income inequality. Gee, what a coincidence... and what a shame, because: "What a difference a union can make!"

Along with the video, Think Progress has three charts also showing why unions matter, including how the income of the richest one percent has risen as middle class incomes drop:

Income inequality is skyrocketing, while worker wages stagnate and more and more people leave unemployment for low-wage, part time jobs. [...]

[L]ike many workers, fast food employees could greatly benefit from the ability to collectively bargain. After all, their minimum wage jobs have actually become worth even less as time goes on. While those one percent of top earners are seeing a great spike in their incomes, the low-wage worker is feeling deflated.

Earlier I posted an L.A. Times reader who suggested, "Instead of tying the minimum wage to state law, let us tie that wage to corporate profits." Twitter pal @vinctee added, "Or CEO pay."

And another of my Twitter followers, @johnncastlerock, tweeted, "Raise to $16/hr and tie annual increases to national productivity. Corp 'profits' too easy to manipulate."

And finally, if you missed it, this is a must-see: A genius made this video, a British guy who calls himself a "Labor geek."


VIDEO: Bobby Jindal and disrespect for transgender people all in one Sunday. Somebody talk me down.



It's time for Blood Pressure Crisis Sunday! Today's blood pressure crisis was brought on by a Meet the Press (surprise!) segment with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and a subsequent and unrelated MSNBC interview with a member of the military.

Frankly, I can't bring myself to re-watch the Jindal interview, so I'll post it without the usual transcript excerpts. If you can make it through the entire thing, you'll see why I was so exasperated:

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In short, Jindal did nothing but lie and exhibit his usual hypocrisy. He was asked a direct question about the state of the Republican party, but he refused to respond, instead going off on his usual "privatize and de-unionize" education speechifying, couching his argument in gauzier terms that the non-political junkie might misinterpret in his favor. His idea of the American Dream is a countrywide enforcement of the bigotry and corporate goals of the GOP-- or as he called it "the stupid party."

He also blamed President Obama for wanting to shut down the government. Seriously.

And said we have a deficit problem. Seriously.

chart maddow budget deficit 2013 shrinkingMemo to GOP: Federal deficit shrinking at surprising rate, long-term debt stabilized for next decade 

And in a Politico op-ed today, Jindal blamed racial inequality on minorities being too proud of their heritages

Did I mention that phony, self-serving, privatization-happy, voucher-school-loving creationist Bobby Jindal now most unpopular GOP governor in U.S.? Great choice of spokesperson, GOP. Way to go.

Following Meet the Press was Weekends with Alex Witt sans Alex Witt (I can't find the video). The host interviewed a member of the military (apologies for not catching his name, rank, and serial number, but I was listening from another room and popped in only long enough to scream at the Tee Vee Machine). They were discussing Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) who was just sentenced to 35 years in prison and announced his intention to transition from male to female.

Putting aside the arguments over whether the military prison in Fort Leavenworth should accommodate her for now, I was struck by the blatant insensitivity and apparent bigotry of the guest. His attitude screamed, "Manning casually decided to be a girl on a whim, tough luck freak, now enjoy your time in the slammer."

No, "sir," actually Manning has long struggled with gender identity, identifies as female, and has "felt that way since childhood."

How about respecting that instead of belittling and willfully making false assumptions, "sir"? Even if he broke the law, he's still a human being. How about educating yourself instead of perpetuating ignorance and misinformation, "sir"?

The increasingly deteriorating discourse and dearth of challenges to what passes for informed commentary fed to viewing and listening audiences are not only infuriating, they're scary... and they are harmful to democracy.

blood pressure


CA participation rate in food stamp program lowest in U.S.; GOP-controlled states among highest.


chart food stamps working people

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting, and for me as a California native and resident, disappointing article about state participation in the federal food stamp program. Here I am, a die-hard Progressive, so proud to be living in a blue state, and suddenly-- *sound of brakes screeching*...

Liberal California discourages eligible people from signing up for food stamps at rates conservative activists elsewhere envy. Only about half of the Californians who qualify for help get it.

That stands in contrast to other states, including some deeply Republican ones, that enroll 80% to 90% of those with incomes low enough to qualify. [...]

While the federal government pays the bill, states get an economic boost from more people with money to spend on groceries.

Cash for food is so close to free money for states that several, such as Florida, with a Republican-controlled Legislature and a conservative GOP governor, pay contractors to scour the landscape for people to enroll in the program.

Yet we hear conservatives badmouthing food stamp recipients all over the Tee Vee Machine.

Not that the low rate of enrollment is purely intentional on California's part, it's not. But unfortunately, the result is millions aren't getting the help they need, plus hundreds of millions of dollars of federal money are going unused.

say grrrSome of the problems with enrollment include insane paperwork requirements, "inhospitable" county benefits offices, and confusing online applications. Even worse, some of those who do qualify get rejected, because agencies are understaffed, so they can't process applications.

And some who are eligible don't even know they are.

Other hurdles, however, involve a problem that affects much of California's government: the outmoded and inefficient data-intake systems the state uses to process applications. Different county agencies use different software programs, which are often incompatible with one another.

California requires applicants to produce bank statements, utility bills, day-care receipts and, until Jerry Brown put a stop to it, fingerprints. Immigrants were fingerprinted, even those who were here legally, but were deterred because they worried that they would be flagged by immigration authorities.

California also has a lifetime ban on food stamps for anyone convicted of drug dealing.

I'll end with this frustratingly mind-boggling Not-So-Fun Fact:

...Nobody expects California to reach a participation rate of 92% anytime soon. That figure comes from conservative Tennessee, where Republicans control the governor's office and both legislative chambers.


June trade deficit narrowest since ’09, exports hit record high + VIDEO: Budget deficit shrinking #BlameObama


chart maddow budget deficit 2013 shrinking

Via a Fox Biz email alert, so you know it's true, right?

The Commerce Department reports the U.S. trade deficit fell to $34.22 billion in June from $44.1 billion in May, much smaller than the $43.5 billion deficit economists expected. Imports slid 2.5%, while exports jumped 2.2% to a record high.

President Obama is the worst socialist ever. It's clearly because of his Marxist Kenyan gay upbringing which, of course, drove up the ENORMOUS budget deficit!

Oh wait:

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Eric Cantor:

What we're trying to do is fund the government and to make sure also that we take away the kinds of things that are standing in the way of a growing economy, of better health care, and all the while keeping our eye focused on trying to deal with the ultimate problem which is this growing deficit.


"Our ultimate problem, which is this growing deficit." The deficit is growing. Do we have a growing deficit? Is that true or false? False.

Republicans love the idea that our Democratic president is so spend happy that he's driving up our nation's budget deficit! That the a difference between what our government takes in and what it spends is getting worse, the deficit is getting bigger! That is not at all true.

Look, the first bar here is 2009, that's President Obama's first year in office. That's what he had on his hands when he came into office, what he got handed by the outgoing Republican administration.

Then the next three bars are 2010, 2011, 2012 and the final bar, the teeny tiny one, little shorty there, you might miss it on the right, that's the projected deficit for the end of this year.

Notice that the bars are getting shorter? Which means the deficit is getting smaller. You see, when things were once long become less long, they are not growing. It's amazing, right?

Eric Cantor, you are incorrect.



Bikini Graph time! Unemployment rate reaches lowest point in nearly 5 years


bikini itsy bitsy

It’s time to bring back the Bikini Graph! As always, red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration. And today we get a bonus graph, courtesy of the wonderful Steve Benen:

graph chart unemployment Obama benen Maddow

Incidentally, the other main Republican talking point on jobs for much of Obama's first term was that the net total of jobs gained on the president's watch is zero. It was always a ridiculous argument -- it was predicated on the assumption that Obama deserved the blame for the jobs lost a couple of weeks after his inauguration -- but it looks even sillier now. To date, the net gain for jobs under Obama is about 2.1 million overall and nearly 2.8 million in the private sector.

And here are the Bikini Graphs. The Maddow Blog has more details. Benen starts by calling the jobs report "underwhelming" because the 162,000 jobs added in July were below expectations. However, there was a glimmer of positive news, too:

bikini graph August 2013 overall

bikini graph August 2013 private sector

In a rare sight, public-sector layoffs were not a drag on the overall totals -- the private sector added 161,000 jobs, while the public sector added 1,000 jobs. (In recent years, the public sector ordinarily sheds several thousand jobs per month). The overall unemployment rate dropped to 7.4%, but largely because of people leaving the workforce. [...]

We're steadily adding jobs every month at rates above population growth, but we're seeing neither a hiring boom nor a deteriorating employment landscape. It's just ... leveled off.

Money quote (no pun):

Republican leaders remain committed to sequestration cuts that are holding back job creation on purpose, and are focused primarily on spending bills that punish those already struggling.

I made similar points here: Boehner wants Pres. Obama to destroy a growing economy.

So far this year, 1.34 million jobs were added overall, 1.37 million in the private sector.