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Invisible America

There is the one America where John Edwards paraded himself around as a goody goody family man, and then there is the other America where his mistress goes on Oprah to tell all about his love lips.

It is a crying shame that Edwards was the one to popularize the “Two Americas” rhetoric and taint it with his phoniness.

New Deal, Raw Deal. Why split hairs?

From Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies (via GW’s blog):

The unemployment rates of workers in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2009 varied extremely widely across the ten household income deciles. Workers in the lowest income decile faced a Great Depression type unemployment rate of nearly 31% while those in the second lowest income decile had an unemployment rate slightly below 20% (Table 3 and Chart 2). Unemployment rates fell steadily and steeply across the ten income deciles. Workers in the top two deciles of the income distribution faced unemployment rates of only 4.0 and 3.2 percent respectively, the equivalent of full employment. The relative size of the gap in unemployment rates between workers in the bottom and top income deciles was close to ten to one. Clearly, these two groups of workers occupy radically different types of labor markets in the U.S.

During the 2008 election cycle, Hillary spoke of the invisible Americans under the Bush Administration.

Under the Obama Administration we have Great Depression levels of unemployment for Invisible America and full employment for the America that reassures us the economy is turning a corner.

The more things Change™, the more they stay the same.

81 Responses

  1. Great catch Wonk! it’s amazing how any one could call this a recovery with this level of unemployment, the NBER hasn’t even done that and they’re the ones that are supposed to call an end to recessions

  2. Wow! Those stats are staggering.

    During the 2008 election cycle, Hillary spoke of the invisible Americans under the Bush Administration.

    Who will speak of the invisible Americans under the Obama Administration?

    • Well, if Hillary hadn’t joined the dark side, it could have been her.

      • If I was in the position of trying to stop this train wreck I would … I believe she saw that she could at least fix a few rails in one area so fewer trains would go off the track. That’s what you have to do when you’re a ‘party loyalist’. You’re a team player no matter what.

        • ‘party loyalist’ is now a very dirty word! no matter which party. fat lot of good it does to throw your lot in with them.

          • well, until we all went Chicago style, there were some redeeming qualities to the Dem party over the Repub. Now we know it was only a pair of dancing love lips

          • While she is a party loyalist, she is also a Stateswoman. I’d prefer to call her an American Loyalist.

          • Now we know it was only a pair of dancing love lips


            And, it was Elizabeth (Edwards) who pushed for the more populist talk, so of course she had to be trashed too.

      • Like anyone would have listened to her. The KoolAid crowd would be calling it sour grapes and we all know it.

          • Amen. Right before the election, people were getting all upset with Bill because he wasn’t attacking Obama. What possible good would that do? He’s the completely wrong person to carry that message, and if he tried he’d be drowned out by a chorus of whining.

          • Yup. Even if Hillary wasn’t SoS right now, neither Bill nor Hillary would be the right person to carry that message.

    • Who will speak of the invisible Americans under the Obama Administration?

      There’s Elizabeth Warren… although she’s probably not immune from the party loyalty catch-22 either.

    • Saw that stat earlier today, was blown away too. I also remember BO giving that speech in LA after his first 100 days saying, no other President since FDR had accomplished as much as he had in the first 100 days. I remember he looked drunk. Think they’ve pulled the video.

  3. Saw an amusing t-shirt the other day. The Obama logo with the legend “Change It Back!”.

  4. Oh Jayzus! Wonk. Didja have to resurrect that Time Cover?

    • It’s sacreligious in my book.

    • Creepy image for creepy stats–Wish I could have put some kind of a black spoiler bar over it, though!

      Chris Bowers was tearing down FDR to elevate Obama the other day.

      • they’re trying to call the British leader of the Liberal Dems the Brit Obama … evidently some one didn’t listen to the first Democratic debate and compare that to the Brit debate the other night. Clueless and idealess Obama sans TOTUS vs. this guy that KNEW his stuff. Unfugging believable …if I were Clegg I’d sue for defamation of character

      • Even Paul wouldn’t go along with it. Bowers is a complete loss I guess.

    • It had me reaching for the barf bag, too.

      I remember phone-banking for the Democratic Party when I was in college. I would talk to elderly Democrats in small towns and rural areas in my state. They almost always had a story of how FDR saved their farm or got them a job through a government program. This was decades after FDR’s death and people still revered the man.

      Who is going to revere Obama in the decades to come? Wall Street bankers? Insurance company executives?

      • Frat boys. Always and forever, he’ll reign supreme at Omega Epsilon Delta.

      • Not sure when you were in college, but future Dems working the telephones (or whatever is used then) won’t hear those kinds of stories from most voters.

  5. OT, check out these gorgeous photos of Iceland’s volcano erupting with northern lights in the background.


    • Gorgeous!

    • that’s so kewl … I sometimes caught a glimpse of the Northern Lights when I lived in Minnesota, but nothing spectacular like that

      • Exquisite!

        There was a lengthy showing of the Northern Lights some 3-5 years ago….they could be seen as far south as the Carolinas. Much more spectular than all my sightings from Duluth, MN when my grampa would keep us kids up late to see them.

        • I haven’t seen the northern lights in about 30 years — saw them in Milwaukee, WI back in the early 80’s.

          I got home from working really late and went for a brief walk in the park — saw these strangely undulating “clouds.”

          Northern lights! I just lay down on the grass and watched until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

    • Wow, those are breathtaking and surreal.

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you for the Northern Lights link!


  6. Whoa….stunning!

  7. How many members of Invisible America are female? How many are black or other minorities?

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and say there aren’t very many members of the creative class in there.

    It’s also a safe bet that most Invisible Americans will vote for Democrats if they vote at all. Where else can they go?

  8. Weird, an earthquake in Corpus Christi, TX last night.


    They are everywhere, they are everywhere.

  9. LOL… doesn’t love lips still think he is going to be President someday? These jokers crack me up.
    And of course “Economists” for the creative class think the economy is rebounding. Their jobs are safe!

  10. I read these stats on unemployment about a month ago. For those making over $100,000 the rate was quoted in the 3% range. For those on the bottom, the numbers are staggering. Yes, in the 30 percentile. For the AA community,for instance, male unemployment has been estimated well over 20%. For black females? In the 12-15% range.

    The hardship is at the bottom, the people who can least afford it. And what is this Administration doing? Happy talk. These figures cannot hold. People are not going to roll into a ball like pill bugs and blow away. The middle-class is being squeezed on all sides. And without a strong, stable middle-class, we can kiss the Republic goodbye. Once the tax hikes start rolling in [which they’re sure to do], things are going to get very interesting.

    Recovery? For the President’s friends in high places, absolutely. For the rest of the country? Not so much. And when I read the President’s professor-speak presentation to Wall St., “suggesting” the financial sector agree to reform, I was reminded of a quote from FDR, one that I reread recently. When he called the bankers on the carpet during the 30s, he minced no words. He said,

    “They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.”

    I suspect this is why my grandparents and great aunts thought the man a saint.

    Our present Administration? Not even a contest.

  11. boogieman7167,

    Have you or anyone here heard about HAARP? I found this today while looking for the Tiawan quake.

    HAARP Earthquake Timeline 2010 China Haiti Chile h.a.a.r.p

    • Earthquakes (and related volcanoes) are geological events of a significant nature. Tectonic plate movement, (subduction, transform) where the plates converge, slip, or dislodge cause earthquakes. I can’t imagine there is much in the way of an overland vibration that could hasten a plate movement either on land or under the ocean where the plate boundaries are.

      However, some of the new oil drilling techniques which are being used are pretty Earth-invasive and that gawddamn Hadron Collider – well who knows what that is doing. I’d look at that stuff as opposed to weather machines.

      • I thought it was interesting that their server at one site was over its capacity and then went and checked out the video. Also, Hugo Chavez doesn’t strike me as the scientific type and he did give O a big hug…so, nah, I don’t think there is a machine, just a look of hot air.

  12. Night folks 🙂

  13. Invisible? You must be a tea bagger or sumpthin’. Everyone knows, people in America are either B0bots (and they’re happy, I tells ya) – or those few sore losers, racists and angry cuz they lost. No one in between, and no other reason to be angry!!!!
    great post!
    Today’s tabloids: Obama working hard at trying to look compassionate

    • Aren’t these miners the same type of people Obama called bitter and clingy in front of his San Francisco millionaire friends?

      Aren’t they the same people the Obots call uneducated, ignorant “uncreative” bigots?

      Gimme a break, Mr. President.

  14. But no! According to this NY Times piece, Americans are happily shopping away again. Good times are here! Of course, after a very poetic opening where the writer makes it sound like it’s boom time in the US, he starts to bury actual facts further in the article. Where, exactly, is all this spending money coming from, and how sustainable is it?

    From the Mall to the Docks, Signs of Economic Turn

    At malls from New Jersey to California, shoppers are snapping up electronics and furniture, as fears of joblessness yield to exuberance over rising stock prices.

    On the factory floor, production is expanding, a point underscored by government data released Friday showing a hefty increase in March for orders of long-lasting manufactured items. In apartment towers and on cul-de-sacs, sales of new homes surged in March, climbing by 27 percent, amplifying hopes that a wrenching real estate disaster may finally be releasing its grip on the national economy.

    While few dispute signs of recovery across much of the economy, significant debate remains on how robust and sustained it will be. The lingering effects of the financial crisis have some economists envisioning a long stretch of sluggish growth.

    Still, much of the improvement appears the result of the nearly $800 billion government stimulus program. As that package is largely exhausted late this year, further expansion may hinge on whether consumers keep spending. That probably depends on the job market, which remains weak.


    • One of the dirty little secrets to all that shopping is the millions and millions of Americans who have simply stopped paying their mortgages. It’s an epidemic. They’ve given up hope, and since the banks are dragging their feet on foreclosing (since if they foreclose they have to mark that property to its true value, not its inflated value), people just stopped paying. Who cares, when it may be one to two years before they toss you out of the house?

      This is not the spending of recovery and positive outlook for the future. This is “I don’t even care anymore, I’ll spend it while I can.” It’s desperation and throwing rules and caution and future planning to the winds. Anyone who thinks this consumer spending is based on confidence in the economy is living under a rock.

      Have any of you ever known a friend or relative who went on a spending spree precisely because they knew they were going bankrupt in a few months? I have. And that is what this is. It’s based on “screw ’em all, I’ll party while I can”, not on positive outlook.

      • Yep.

        And even the big media excitement about GM paying off their loans was a lie.

        GM paid off the initial TARP funds by drawing down the federal escrow account set up for them. Basically, they paid off their Master Card with their Discover Card, so to speak. It wasn’t because they’re selling more cars at all.

        It was all bullsh*t, for public consumption, right before the midterm elections.

      • I was just going to say the same thing. People are spending the money they have left after they defaulted on mortgages and credit cards. It’s panic spending–getting what you can before the final crash.

  15. As much as I liked the idea, the Edwards two Americas rhetoric never worked for me. I always went straight to a Sondheim place:

    “We’re the other national anthem, folks,
    The ones that can’t get in
    To the ball park.

    Spread the word…

    There’s another national anthem, folks,
    For those who never win,
    For the suckers, for the pikers,
    For the ones who might have been…”

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