GOP Flummoxed

The Unemployment rate for Montana was announced today to be 4.1%. That’s the lowest in eight years, and substantially lower than when Steve Bullock was sworn in.

This is good news for everyone except a small few. The uber-wealthy Greg Gianforte, considering a run for Governor, is essentially in a waiting mode, sitting tight to see if something in the economic picture changes in the next four or five months. If it doesn’t, he probably will walk away. You can’t beat a governor whose state has moved into a position of having one of the lowest unemployment rates in America (11th). Although that will leave the GOP in a tough spot since Gianforte is now clearing out the field.

If you want to see an example of how flummoxed the Republicans are by this economic news, of how frozen in their tracks they are in terms of not being able to get any traction, see the tweet of the party’s top operative, Chris Shipp, yesterday. In reaction to the news of the unemployment number, Shipp tweeted his outrage that….(wait for it)….Steve Bullock is running in the Boston Marathon.

My bet is that when it’s all said and done, Gianforte takes a pass. But if he doesn’t, if he jumps in and runs against Bullock, he can feel secure in the persuasive value of the rhetoric and messaging coming from the GOP.


32 Comments on "GOP Flummoxed"

  1. Well, if Gianforte does decide to run w/ unemployment #s still down at least he’ll be pumping money into the state economy – because he won’t win. Let’s hope he does run so Montanans can hear his outrageous ideas and finally decide to run him and other TEA Party hooligans and carpetbaggers out of other elected offices.

    Humiliating himself on the campaign trail should guarantee no further trouble from him in the future (except maybe his money pushing his foolhardy agenda).

  2. U-6 unemployment figures, historically more comparable, tell a different story. Nationwide, we are still around 11%, and in Montana 10.3%.

    U-6 is “Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.”

    U-6 means that the day laborer who gets an occasional job is counted as unemployed, as he should be.

    As usual, the monkeys are monkeying with the numbers.

    • Montana Mule Gal | April 24, 2015 9:49 AM at 9:49 AM |

      Good point. However, the U6 is also a manipulated figure.

      Shadow Stats has a better explanation of the true unemployment rate nationally.

      It’s part of the All-Propaganda All-the-Time campaign waged on the average US citizen.

      • The manipulated figure is the unemployment rate reported here by CG. They’ve been monkeying with it for decades now since our structural employment has grown, giving us the perception that our 4% unemployment now is the same as 4% unemployment back in the 1960’s, when it really was 4%. The real number is the percentage of available workers who cannot make an adequate living in the job market, and that number is 11%.

    • Grasping at straws, always grasping at straws. The GOP bull crap machine never ends.

  3. Old Line Democrat | April 24, 2015 11:21 AM at 11:21 AM |

    Regardless of the real or perceived deficiencies in the 4.7% figure used, it is the metric accepted by the vast majority of people, the media and government.

    If the rate had gone up to 5.7% the hue and cry calling for Governor Bullock’s head would echo throughout the Capitol. No one would be arguing that some other calculation is more accurate, realistic or other descriptor.

  4. Click on the Unemployment Chart, what comes up is the Employment Chart.

    Notice flat line employment since 2009.

    Notice signs of too much printing press money in speculation bubbles
    of tech and pharmaceuticals and auto loans and student loans,
    now that US Crude oil may have a $65 cap.

    Yes the published and the printed employment figures,
    and the Inflation figures,
    have been bogus for a long time!

  5. Where are all these jobs? Most of the folks I know either work construction or they are Service Industry.

    The Construction pays well but we are all building for people who are going to move here and then need a job to afford to live here. Starting to feel awfully 2006 all over again.

  6. Excuse me? Am I the only one who actually clicked on Mark T.’s BoLS chart? You know, the one he claims shows Montana at an underutilization rate of 10.6 when in fact that number is 9.4? It’s right there in the link, the one that shows Montana tied for 12th best in the nation for U-6.

    Now, the chart does say that it was updated on 4-24-2015, today. It is entirely possible that when Mark went there he saw the number 10.3%. It is also entirely possible that he just threw out misdirecting gobbledygook as is somewhat his habit. Before we all get het up complaining about ‘bogus’ statistics, consider this. There are 2 possibilities. 1) Mark just lied to establish a misleading point. ‘Wouldn’t be the first time. Or 2) The U-6 number has dropped from 10.3% to 9.4%, which exactly verifies and establishes the point made in this post by MT Cowgirl. Your choice, of course.

    • Like just about everything about this country, including “news,” election” results, “parties,” “history,” unemployment numbers are a lie, but a professional one. They’ve been tweaking them since the 1970’s to mask structural unemployment by excluding people from the count for various bogus reasons. That is the only reason we even talk about “U-6” and why Cowgirl is able to put up her bullshit post here.

      Montana has very high unemployment, no matter which party in charge. Better to lie about it, professionally.

      • As lokywoky points out below, “height” is a comparison. Recognizing that words have meaning, comparatively Montana does not have “high unemployment”.

        Whether you disagree with the import of the number she uses or not (the number was accurate and significant), Cowgirl’s post was anything but “bullshit”. She was discussing the impact of a trend on political process, a trend that you yourself inadvertently verified.

        There are reasons to disagree with MT Cowgirl’s conclusion here; I have a few of my own mostly based on Gianforte’s ego, religious infection, and the money that props both up. But whining about her ‘number’ being bad and then whining more when your numbers show the same exact thing are not a valid critique. Your response is not the product of what you would call ‘critical thinking’, or I would call ‘reading comprehension’.

        • Unemployment rate for Montana was announced today to be 4.1%. That’s the lowest in eight years, and substantially lower than when Steve Bullock was sworn in.

          I read just fine, thank you. Cowgirl is unaware of the U-system or that the current rates are high by historical standards so that large groups of people have to be excluded to get the 4% number, which is hokey. If she does not understand how unemployment numbers are doctored, she should not write about them, nor should you talk about them.

          She’s also inferring, I think by osmosis, that a R-Democrat in office, Bullock, is somehow magically transforming the landscape. It is interesting to peer into the mind of a Democrat. I didn’t realize economics was that simple.

          • Fantasy, Mark. You quote just fine, but do you actually read? This post wasn’t about the unemployment numbers as a stasis. It was about the political implications of the trend of those numbers. That would be a trend you, yourself, supported. She never claimed that Bullock transformed those numbers, only that they have political implications for Gianforte. They really do. The only fascinating look into a mind is the portal looking into your diseased gray matter of anti-Democrat paranoia.

            • You’re reading all kinds of subtle meaning into her post, which is not there. She saw 4% and her fingers hit the keyboard running. She saw D-Republican governor while phones unemployment numnpbers hit 4%, and subtly gave him credit. She’s a tool.

              You’re twisted into a tight little knot here, Professor, trying to make her out to be someone deep, like you I suppose. I’m not having any problem at all. This argument is remarkably simple.

              • it is simple, Mark. A simple number gives a particular person political gravitas. It doesn’t need to be deep, because it isn’t. You tried to make it ‘deep’ and had to lie your ass off to do so, and ended up simply supporting the point. I’m not doing anything with the point, except noticing how stupid you sound trying to refute yourself.

              • You and I both know who the liar is here, Kailey. You and I both know what you did with the Monty stunt. I see the inside of your black soul, your meaningless existence. I humor you with debate,but don’t you ever call me a liar, you effing liar. Ever.

                • Toke, you lied when you said you were done commenting on blogs yet you haunt this one because you’re a liar lying again, loser.

                  • In fact, you’re at The Cowgirl Blog because Democrats are winning: not only in your state of Colorado, but in Montana, the state that jettisoned your stupid ass.

  7. You can argue that the figures are bogus all day long – but since they are being compared to the same bogus numbers in every other state…apples to apples…that is what is important here. Nothing more. If you want to actually get real numbers for Montana, then you must compare those to real numbers for every other state as well – and we wind up in the exact position – 11th. It doesn’t change anything because the numbers are bogus in the exact same way in every other state.

    That said – I agree – they are bogus. But so long as the comparisons are equal, we get a relative comparison and that is what is important here. We can argue about the bogus-ness and try to do something to fix it but we have to fix that for the entire country, not just our little state before we run comparisons.

    As far as real employment – well, that too is bogus since people who don’t show up at the “UNemployment office” to collect a check aren’t counted as unemployed. And there are lots of those folks. So when you drop off the radar there – you really drop off the radar. That is one of the manipulations that makes that number so bogus, And it is the worst one IMHO. And if you have a part-time permanent job, you are considered “employed”. Never mind you cannot support yourself, let alone a family on the screwed minimum wages of such a job. Lots of these folks too.

    I could go on and on….

  8. Looking at all of the U numbers provides a more detailed picture of the unemployment situation, but all show Montana is doing better than much of the nation.

    An equally important statistic for assessing a state’s economic vitality is median household income ( Here, Montana ranks 13th from the bottom, just above South Carolina, New Mexico, Tennessee, Alabama, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Seven of these states defended slavery in the Civil War. Kentucky and West Virginia are coal mining states.

    Finally, one should look at the poverty rate. The 2012–2013 national average was 14.7 percent, while Montana’s was 14.0 percent. That’s better than Mississippi’s 22.0 percent, but not as good as North Dakota’s 10.6 percent.

    Our problem seems to be not so much a lack of jobs, but a lack of jobs that pay well. Like many of the states that went to war to defend slavery, Montana has an economy that depends on cheap labor.
    One of our political parties, the one hoping that a Bozeman billionaire who believes in young Earth theology will run for governor, exhibits little enthusiasm for raising the minimum wage, less enthusiasm for organized labor, and dance-in-the-streets enthusiasm for libertarian selfishness. That’s the party that hates it when the unemployment rate declines when Democrats govern.

    • I went door-to-door in 1996 carrying a petition for a ballot issue to raise the minimum wage and tie it to inflation, collecting hundreds of signatures and qualifying two districts. As a candidate for office, fellow Democrats suggested I back off the issue.

      That is to say, Democrat “support” for minimum wage is a gate keeping tactic, nothing more. There are people in the party who favor raising it, but leadership holds them at bay. All of the good energy to raise it, when funneled through the party, is wasted.

      That’s why people instead ran it as a ballot issue in’96, as and end run, and why the Democrats officially wanted nothing to do with it.

  9. How about a Living Wage in Montana,
    financed by repealing the Tax Holiday to Investors in MT Bakken projects,
    as a citizen’s initiative in 2016?

    Do an end run around the R/D pile-up!

    Duopoly is not responsible to fix itself!

    We gotta step in to reality!

    • Earlier this year a small group of Bozeman citizens researched a “living wage,” or substantial minimum wage increase, initiative for the city.

      Signature requirements are onerous to be kind — 15% of the estimated 33,500 registered voters. The time “window” is narrow. Not impossible with help from a few active, civic-minded groups. Several were approached. Meetings were held. Not one could spare a single staffer, or was willing to share lists of potential “activists” to help with signature gathering. Other priorities.

      Women’s pay equity won out over minimum wage, hands down. Bright and shiny. Conferences. Lookin’ good on tv.

      Maybe next year raising the minimum wage will fit the narrative and the funding. My quesion remains: What is more important than a living wage to someone living below the poverty line?

      • God, Guns, Stopping the gay agenda, Gender Equality, Student Loans, not having somebody else tell you what you want, the next cool cell-phone, their pets? Hey, you asked … Besides, voting doesn’t really matter, right?

        The problem with your question, Steve, is that the living wage initiative wasn’t asking anyone to consider what is most important to people they aren’t. Let me rephrase it for you: What is more important than a living wage to those who already earn it? About a thousand things, including the Constitutionality and rationality of forcing local businesses to pay a local minimum wage on top of already significant local property tax and maintenance tax. That’s not a political winner, is it? That local civic organizations would choose to put their literal ”political capital’ into causes that have traction is not a shame. It’s pragmatic. You can wail that such self-indulgence is immoral, but you aren’t a local business owner, are you?

        You have a habit, Steve, of blaming voters who vote as you wish they would for not accomplishing your goals for you. Then, out of the side of your mouth, you advocate and agitate for people to not vote at all, or vote for fantasy candidates who never appear. I don’t fault you for being a moral idealist. But reason dictates that you aren’t going to get what you want by asking others to sacrifice for your good feels. There are many great arguments for a living wage ordinance in Bozeman, and many great arguments against the effort to bring it. Blaming, weak attempts at shaming, those who recognize this difficulty doesn’t actually help your cause or that of those who really do need and desire a living wage.

    • Had we passed the ballot issue in ’96, the issue would be resolved, as MW was to indexed to inflation, a no-brainer. But Democrats bailed on us back then, so the problem remains.

      And now what … look to Democrats to fix the problem?

  10. Kailey,

    It’s always personal with you. Your little rant about being more “pragmatic” will surely inspire others to follow their passion. Frankly, I think a living wage initiative is a winner. I was simply pointing out that institutional roadblocks to ballot access are imposed to keep citizens from voting on issues not on the party agenda. There is no great moral question there. Corruption, perhaps.

    Ever consider that people who don’t vote might feel that neither party represents their interests? That’s pragmatic.

    I still volunteer my time to protect public forests and things that live there. However, I would hardly call raising minimum wage my “cause.” I enjoyed looking into it, but know a dead horse when I see one. It’s all yours.

    • Personal? Touchy a bit, aren’t you? See that’s personal. My assessment of your comments both online and in the press is observation about your supposedly defensible positions. That’s not personal, Steve. It’s noting the import of your role as a public figure. You laud yourself as ‘volunteer’ and notable public advocate. I just notice what many others have that you attack the public when members of the public just don’t agree with you enough. The fact that you don’t get that is a personal problem for you, but most certainly not for me, or anyone else.

      We disagree that a living wage initiative in Bozeman is a political ‘winner’. The roadblocks to such a thing are not institutional, unless you are advocating for some form of non-democratic representation. I wouldn’t disagree with you in such advocacy, but the pretense that an issue is incumbent on current institutions such that you can make harsh moral judgment on them is actually rather foolish. It is not a matter of party but rather of Constitutional political organization. If you want to advocate for socialist control, at least have the chutzpa to be honest about it, without blaming any particular facet/party of an entire system you find corrupt. Despite Toke’s BS caterwaul, it is not the Democrats, or this website or me who are the problem with the poor being ‘not poor’.

      I’m well aware of why people don’t vote. It’s not pragmatic, it’s defeatist. I’m also well aware of how ridiculous and counter-productive it is for people like you to encourage them not to. American history is rife with new party growth. It hasn’t happened lately because those who want such a thing are so buttburt as to just insult those who actually bother to support the ideals embraced by existing parties, or emerging parties. You seem to be an advocate, so go plant something, and quit going out of your way to insult those who are leery of what you plant.

      As to your last paragraph, it’s always personal with you, isn’t it?

      • Kailey,
        I will be sure to consult with you before advocating any new political initiative. I have for too long undervalued your contribution to society. In the meantime, I’m sure you, the Democratic Party and the public will carry on as usual, as will I. Job well done. Ciao.

  11. Yes, political arguments Pro/Con regarding Public initiative for Initiative for Living Wage
    both appear valid. Therefore, think outside that box.

    Instead of subsidizing development of oil property in the MT Bakken,
    subsidize development of a Living Wage in Montana!

    Instead of MT tax give-away to Big Oil,
    how about a MT tax break to workers making less than a Living Wage?

    How about careful considering at what might happen to the economy,
    then thinking well beyond items on the ALEC and FGA agenda/shopping list!
    Beyond items on the R and D agendas.

  12. Cowgirl, this was in my email box:

    Dear Mr. Kurtz,

    The attached ad was published in the Livingston Enterprise. As a Park County resident, I am concerned about this serious issue raised by Dr. Lahren and want to raise public awareness. The landfill sits above Chicken Creek, which flows into the Yellowstone.

    Thank you for any consideration of this matter. There needs to be some outside pressure put on the county commission.

    Sheila Royston

    Note – Dr. Lahren is author of the book “Homeland, An archaeologist’s view of Yellowstone Country’s past”

  13. FED Employment Numbers, are Published also Announced, and very closely followed
    by many many people. Good example: The first sentence of the Post by Cowgirl.

    Private, Propietary “Employment Number” are spoken and E-Mailed and Printed.

    Good example: Shadow Stats. Looks like USA a long way from recovering from 2007+

    Employment still flat while Standard and Poors 500 stocks are up and up again!

    Global warming pays premium for Montana Ag produce. Cheap oil pays more Tourist Dollars into Montana.

    How big is the MT fossil fuel tax Holiday?

    As a thought experiment, evaluate your findings,
    then recognize and reconsider feasibility of a Living Wage in Montana,
    say for the kids!

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