Race for the White House boils down to one question


Weak jobs report sparks new debate over "better off" issue

Larry Glazer: Sure, well the President's job plan is just not cutting it, and we know that when we dig beneath the surface that the situation is much worse than the headline data even suggests. We know that the underemployment rate, a much more comprehensive data level is closer to fifteen percent in this country. We know that the labor participation rate, a reflection of whether people are even actually looking for jobs is at its lowest level since the early 1980s, and we know that for those who are in the workforce the situation is not much better because their wages are barely keeping pace with inflation.

Susan Ochs: You know, without question we are better off. The people who think we aren't have forgotten what the world looked like in the Fall of 2008 and early 2009. We were losing eight hundred thousand jobs a month. GDP was contracting at five percent. I mean we were on the precipitous of financial Armageddon. So to think that we are not better off than we were then is ridiculous revisionist history. Now that's not to say that the growth has not been that strong as we want it to be and need it to be, but we are in a much better place than we were then.

Gary B. Smith: Exactly, and I just read the numbers it's easy for the left to say, "Oh my gosh" if Obama hadn't stepped in the world would've ended up in ashes, but we don't know what would've happened if the government didn't do TARP and the stimulus plan. All we have are the numbers when Obama took office as Larry mentioned the real unemployment rates are factoring in people who have stopped looking for jobs was 11 percent, now it's 16 percent. So the real unemployment rate has gone up thirty percent. Now you can make up stories, tell tales whatever but those are the numbers. So for anyone to say and I'll take the opposite side of what Susan says that we're better off has me scratching my head.

Tobin Smith: Yeah, I guess the argument would be that only ten percent of people actually owned stocks so the other ninety percent aren't feeling better. It's sort of like let's beat the heck out of the number and let's go back to real numbers. Gary's right that the real number that counts is the unemployment rate and the underemployment rate because that's the optimism goal, people are starting to lose optimism. The idea that this number that we got on Friday showed ninety-five thousand jobs clearly says that maybe Obama was the greatest of all time, but now right now we have slowed down for the last three quarters we are decelerating. The idea that we're going to do the same stuff the last three years to accelerate that's just insane, it's not going to happen.

Jonas Max Ferris: It's marginally improving, it needs to be more like wow we're employed. Everyone's laughing as if the unemployed are the only people that matter in the world. The stockholders matter too, they're doing a lot better than four years ago. If you own a business, publically traded or not in all likely hood you're doing a lot better than you were four years ago. Corporate profits are higher than they were four years ago by a wide margin. Now the unemployed are worse off than they were four years ago, much of the labor force is worse off than they were four years ago but that's not everybody of concern and we're going to focus on it here, but there are parts of the economy that are significantly better notably people that own businesses and that's an important part of the economy, they're people too so yeah - right now the labor market is weak, it's very sluggishly improving, but if the stock market is doing well and other things are doing well.

Report: Wisconsin's budget improving after reining in power of unions

Tobin Smith: I'm looking at these numbers here, my gosh Wisconsin and they're not that far apart if you know you're geography there is absolutely killing it. Any way you measure it unemployment rates, their debt the way that their tax collections have gone up by dropping rates. The quintessential thing, this is like the mind warp that the President was talking about. Somehow Michigan has gone into a time warp and said that if we just go back into the nineteen sixties we're really going to do great here or maybe go to the nineteen nineties, I don't know, but Wisconsin up Michigan needs a brain check.

Susan Ochs: Well, I think that Michigan is looking at what happened in Wisconsin and we don't want to see the rights of our workers stripped away by the whim of a politician, and Toby when you look at the Wisconsin budget and you really pick apart what they did to close the gap the majority of it was cuts in education which is a real shame when you think of it. Wisconsin has one of the best public schools systems in the nation and they're cutting their education budget back.

Gary B. Smith: Well, I think the answer is easy Wisconsin you know the left always paint this picture as if it's Marlon Brando and on the water front and the beleaguered workers we must stand up for them. You know but that hasn't been that way for like sixty years now, maybe seventy years for crying out loud. Basically what Michigan wants to do is mandate monopolies. It's funny because this country has been so anti-monopoly for so long but that's what a union is, it's a monopoly that guarantees artificially high wages for those lucky enough to get a job, but the problem is that when companies have to pay higher wages than normal they don't have enough of money to hire other people. Do you think for example that at GM if the wages were half of what they were in the hay day they would've had the same number of workers? No, they would've had a lot more workers there. So when you have more workers, you have a bigger tax space you have more revenues coming in, it's all good. Wisconsin is going to win this war, Michigan is going to be looking back like they're in the stone age.

Jonas Max Ferris: There's a lot that's changed in the auto industry a long time ago they had high wages too relative to the rest of the country and the auto industry is very successful they've got a flawed product. There is more going on here than just the union wages. Wisconsin is a different economy than Michigan, I will say that they're close together I think someone said. The point I'm trying to make here is that unions in theory could close the budget gap if they do what Gary says is try to raise wages, well those wages are taxed by the state by the state tax rate. In the shorter run that could help close a gap in the long run those jobs are going to go to states that aren't like Michigan which would be Wisconsin and other states so it doesn't work. Michigan has to get on board with these low hanging fruit that don't have unions.

Larry Glazer: You know Brenda, these measures have no place in the political process and they have no place on the ballot. Look let the workers decide that if they want to join a union they'll do it, but there's a reason why union participation is less than fifty percent of what it was thirty years ago in this country. Unions need to reinvent themselves to make themselves relevant to the process and fighting and spending. You know over $100 million was spent in Wisconsin that's money they could've fed the poor, educated students fed a whole host of things more than ten million of tax payer money. Michigan cannot afford to waste that money in a political debacle like they did in Wisconsin. We got to learn from these mistakes.

Senate Candidate Warren: "Corporations are not people"

Gary B. Smith: Absolutely not Brenda, you know this is the most anti business screed that I think has come out of the left. Basically, you can put the kyron if you will, the little name things you see on the screen right now under Elizabeth Warren and basically subtitle her speech as business is evil. You know, she talked about what people are, what do you think corporations are. Corporations are things that are a collective of people that build things. They provide services, they provide us food. They take care of us when we're ill for crying out loud. That's what corporations are. They're not some evil boar floating there into space trying to fire missiles and nothing can knock it out of the sky for crying out loud. Corporations are people like everyone here on this panel working for a collective good. I actually hate that speech that she made and I'll hate it until the day I die.

Jonas Max Ferris: Yeah, the U.S corporations is the whole basis of capitalism it's one of the reasons why our country has been more successful than other countries, but you don't want the state to consider it a person. It should be able to contract people, it is owned by people but it lives forever that is the last thing she said. I don't know if she meant this, but that's a wonderful thing because you know the state puts people to death when they do crimes in America that state can't shut a corporation down just because some people there broke a law. We wouldn't want them to do that. A corporation could live forever, some people might go to jail but you don't want it to be treated as a person.

Tobin Smith: Corporations, companies have their own culture in that sense, the culture is how people act when they boss is not there, it's how people act into their communities, but let's not be literal here for crying out loud. This is a shareholder, those are people, these are employers people come on she never had a job that's why she's boo hoo hoo.

Susan Ochs: There's a legal structure about corporate personhood, but it does not imbue all of the rights of a person onto a corporation, and the reason that this has resonated so much with the base is because this is what people think of Mitt Romney, they think that he cares more about corporations than he does individuals.

Larry Glazer: Well, look blaming corporations is not going to solve the problems in this country just like blaming...you can't say government is a person.


Gary B. Smith: (AMZN)

Larry Glazer: (EFA)

Jonas Max Ferris: (VFH)

Tobin Smith: (SNDK)