Doug Mataconis, Brett Bittner, Mike Hassinger, Tom Knighton and Jason Pye will be live-blogging President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address and the Republican response given by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). We’ll kick things off around 8:30pm (EST).
Our friends at the Cato Institute are also live-blogging this evening.
Welcome Instapundit readers!
Today, we learned that the economy had added 431,000 jobs in May but that most of them were temporary Census positions:
Employers added 431,000 nonfarm jobs nationwide in May, the biggest increase in a single month since the recession, the Labor Department said Friday. But the bulk of the growth was in government jobs, driven by hiring for the Census, and private-sector job growth was weak.
The unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent nationwide, from 9.9 percent in April, the department said.
The figures for May represented the fifth consecutive month that payrolls have risen, but fell below analysts’ expectations that 540,000 jobs would be added to the economy.
The shortfall was immediately reflected in futures trading in the Wall Street stock indexes, with the Dow Jones industrial average expected to open almost 2 percent lower.
Altogether, 411,000 of the jobs added were for Census workers whose positions will disappear after the summer.
The net gain in government jobs was 390,000, while the private sector added only 41,000.
In other words, 95% of the jobs created in may were government jobs that will no longer exist as of mid-July. But for that census hiring, the unemployment rate would not have gone down at all and we would have had an anemic jobs report.
This is six months after we were told that the worst is behind us.
President Obama, however, thinks this report was good news:
President Barack Obama said on Friday the gain of 431,000 jobs in May is a sign the U.S. economy is getting stronger, although there will still be ups and downs going forward.
Continuing the “Liberty Candidate Series” of interviews, Jason and Brett talk with Adam Kokesh, discussing the new players in his race, jobs and the economy, national drug control policy, and the 10th Amendment Summit. Kokesh is seeking the Republican nomination for New Mexico’s 3rd District representative this year.
This special edition podcast is the eigth in a series devoted to showcasing liberty candidates nationwide.
Continuing our “Liberty Candidate Series” of interviews, Jason and Brett talk with John Dennis, discussing his opponent, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, liberty in San Francisco, and his candidacy. Dennis is a “Pro-Liberty” Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in California’s 8th Congressional District.
This special edition podcast is the fifth in a series devoted to showcasing liberty candidates nationwide. Dennis talks about his liberty-focused campaign against the Speaker of the House in California.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 24% of Americans believe that the welfare is the main reason for persistent poverty:
Two decades after President Bill Clinton promised to “end welfare as we know it,” Americans blame government handouts for persistent poverty in the United States more than any other single factor, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday.
Given a list of eight factors and asked to choose the one most responsible for the continuing problem of poverty, 24 percent of respondents in the poll chose “too much government welfare that prevents initiative.”
Whether Americans are too dependent on government was a flashpoint of the presidential campaign last year, and shrinking government has been a focus of the Tea Party movement, which has risen since the election of President Barack Obama.
“Lack of job opportunities” was the second most popular answer, at 18 percent, followed by “lack of good educational opportunities” and “breakdown of families,” with 13 percent apiece.
The other four options in the poll, in descending order, were “lack of work ethic,” “lack of government funding,” “drugs” and “racial discrimination.” Eight percent of respondents said that all eight factors were equally responsible.
It’s not surprising that a tough economy reduces job prospects for those who are willing and able to work. Many Americans want to work, but job opportunities are hard to come by. But too frequently there are many who rather live off the forced generousity of taxpayers than go out and work for a job.
After months of waiting President Barack Obama to stop sitting on his hands, the House passed a resolution last night in a 241 to 175 vote to bypass the White House and approve the northern leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline:
The House passed a bill Wednesday that would approve the northern leg of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline by an act of law, and take the decision out of the hands of President Obama.
Members voted 241-175 in favor of H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act. Republican supporters were joined by 19 Democrats, much less than the level of Democratic support in the last Congress.
The House also accepted a lone Republican amendment from Rep. Randy Weber (Texas), which highlights State Department findings that say the Keystone pipeline is environmentally sound. Weber’s language passed 246-168.
President Obama has promised to veto the measure. That generally means that the Senate won’t even bother taking up the measure. But the upper chamber did pass an amendment to its budget back in March that approved Keystone XL.
There have already been a number of stories written on the effects of ObamaCare on many small businesses. Perhaps no enterprise has felt the impacts of the law worse than the restaurant industry.
ObamaCare requires employers with over 50 employees to offer insurance coverage to those who work 30 hours or more, which is considered to be “full-time” under the law, or otherwise pay a $2,000 fine per worker. This is known as the “employer mandate.” Opponents of ObamaCare warned that this mandate would hurt investment and many workers, who would either lose their jobs or face scaled back hours. Supporters of the law obviously didn’t care enough listen.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal highlighted the plight of restaurant franchisees who are struggling to remain profitable as the realities of ObamaCare hit their businesses:
Sam Ballas, chief executive of ECW Enterprises Inc., owner of East Coast Wings & Grill, a 26-unit chain in North Carolina and Texas, in March imposed a three- to five-unit limit, for the time being, on the number of restaurants that franchisees can own, because of worries about health-care costs.
Mr. Ballas said several East Coast Wings franchisees are up against that limit now and that one is considering selling a restaurant to remain below the threshold.
Capitalizing on the frustration congressional Democrats have recently expressed over rising health insurance premiums and the Obama Administration’s implementation efforts of ObamaCare, the House Republican Conference rolled out a new video on Thursday that highlights the headlines showing slashed hours and job losses that have come as a result of the law. This is the primary reason, outside of the recent IRS scandal, that House Republicans have pursued repeal of ObamaCare.
After rolling though the headlines, the video asks, “How many more jobs will ObamaCare cost?” It’s a question worth asking because, to this point, ObamaCare has been a nightmare for employers and there are no signs that the consequences of the law are letting up.
With all the excitement over the comeback of the TV show, Arrested Development, the trailer for which was just recently released, the House Republican Conference has come up with a humorous parody of the show featuring a “dysfunctional Democratic majority.”
The video features President Barack Obama, ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), all of whom pushed for passage of ObamaCare, and notes that the law is causing insurance premiums to rise and causing employers headaches. It also highlights the doubts about ObamaCare now being expressed by members of their own party:
The White House and leading congressional Democrats are still trying to fight back against critics of ObamaCare, but their specious case isn’t convincing skeptical small business owners. According to a recent survey from Gallup, only 9% believe that the law will help them, while 48% of small business owners believe ObamaCare is going to be bad for business:
To show how deep the concern over the law goes and the messaging problem before apologists of the law, only 13% of small business owners believe that ObamaCare will improve quality of healthcare.
FreeEnterprise.com, the official blog of the United States Chamber of Commerce, also points to a separate poll of business owners showing the confusion over ObamaCare and points to the fact that “41% said [of sma held off on hiring workers, and 38% said they’ve pulled back on growing their businesses because of the law.”