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Dishing out context


To the editor:

A conservative contributor took issue with data I cited recently, writing “sometimes facts require explanation.” Challenge accepted. 

My critic cites Covid-19 to explain job losses under Donald Trump. Yet, six million more Americans are earning a paycheck today than at any time under Trump — that’s self-explanatory.

Next cited, declining Average Hours Worked as per “Beyond the Numbers.” That BLS report concludes “The declines ... reflected lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and during the last four decades were related to the long-term increases in part-time employment.” Covid-19 — sound familiar? — and a trend of “part-timing” jobs stretching back to Ronald Reagan.  The big decline? 4.56 minutes per week since April, 2020. Wow!

He also notes “real” unemployment which, like the national debt, only matters when Democrats hold power.  But “real” unemployment is based upon a faulty calculation – the labor participation rate - which includes college students and retirees. In 2020, the Fed created a more representative calculation (LNS11300060) of “prime age” adults (25-54). Using that matrix, participation now (April 2024—83.5 percent) is the highest in 22 years, just shy of the all-time high (January 1999—84.6 percent).

His last point — immigration “bankrupting cities.” Yes, federal law prohibiting asylum seekers from working for 6+ months burdens cities. A bipartisan bill (S. 255) reducing the requirement to 30 days died in the Senate due to Republican obstruction; much to Trump’s delight. As for immigrants “costing” taxpayers, never mentioned is that they also pay taxes. According to Forbes (11/15/23), undocumented immigrants comprised 4 percent of America’s workforce and paid $30 billion in taxes in 2021. Overall, 17 percent of the U.S. workforce is foreign-born and contributes $525 billion in taxes annually.

Yes, we are better off with Biden and immigrants, even after explanation. Trump threatens America’s democracy and its economy.

Joseph Cannisi


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