Community Log & News Digest
I cannot be the only one who has realized Donald Trump has incriminated himself.
Headline: “Trump tweets from motorcade he fired Flynn for lying to Pence, FBI.” (Chicago Tribune
). See also accompanying “Tweet” from Dec 2.
This appears to be prima facie evidence from Trump’s own tiny fingers that he knew of Flynn’s lies to the FBI well before they were publicly documented.
Supposedly the FBI discovered the lies in the summer, and Flynn’s guilty plea became public only last week. If Trump knew in February and did not reveal his knowledge, he clearly participated in a conspiracy to cover up Flynn’s crime. Both ignorance and knowledge of a fact cannot simultaneously be true.
The problem with lying, to the FBI or to the nation, is that one cannot keep the lies straight. In this case, Trump cannot have known in February that Flynn would lie to the FBI later in the spring or summer. So either he knew in February that the lies were coming — a clear indication of conspiracy — or he made up his prior knowledge yesterday. Either way, he either was or is a liar.
The idea that abandoning our national affordable care system and turning over health systems policy to the states will resolve the fiscal crisis in our nation is absurd. Simple demographics make it a bad idea.
With the exception of age-related maladies such as senile dementia and a few others, illness strikes in ways that are best understood as random. Almost no state has a population whose age distribution, ethnic mix, income, education, etc., closely mirror the national equivalents. Thus it is entirely predictable that the distribution of illness in some states will overload specific forms of care while in states with younger, healthier populations, medical services will abound and may be surplus or squandered.
Consider two hypothetical states A and B. A is in the rust belt, and its population is relatively old due to the decline of traditional industry and economy and consequent out-migration of young people, who take their earning power and their children (AKA future earners) with them. B is experiencing rapid in-migration its modern economy is creating new wealth and infrastructure that will continue to expand for decades.
A will likely be unable to provide adequate services to its population based on some national average block grants; it will be unable to pay for home care or even common services. It will be forced to raise the share of costs that must be borne by the individual, leading to increasing poverty. Parents will be obliged to pause before seeking care for their children’s injuries or minor illnesses, leading to long-term health consequences that will further unbalance the system. Certain high-cost medical procedures and specialties will become unavailable. Although it is purported that “choice and options” will increase, the real choice will be between medical care and other essentials, with the only option being relocation. Yet because the majority of A’s citizens’ wealth is tied up in their homes and their income is tied to declining local industry for which they were trained long ago, relocation is not a viable option.
B’s citizens, in contrast, will never have had it so good, at least for a while. Their economic and demographic advantages will mean that no one will have to pause before seeking care. Cosmetic surgery and other non-essential specialties will be growth industries; noses and breasts will be reshaped and augmented in every village and town. Medical specialties and procedures now unavailable in A will be a net revenue producer for B, leading to further outflow of A’s wealth and thence to further decline it A’s ability to finance health care. Medical training will continue to migrate to large, rich states, while small, poor states struggle to buy aspirin and adhesive bandages.
These effects will also operate at the local level. Poor counties will get poorer; rich ones will get richer; this will be most apparent in large states like California, Texas and Florida at one end and in Michigan, Mississippi and the Great Plains at the other.
Today we’ve learned that the “(R)eject and (R)egress” effort in Congress has failed again. Good news, but have no doubt they’ll be baa-ack one day soon. Beware!
Latest Bad Health Care Idea Dies in Congress © 26 Sep 2017
Huffington Post has summarized some striking successes by the recent state government in Minnesota (link
). Abandoning the "trickle down" economics of former Gov. Pawlenty, the state raised income taxes on wealthy households and increased minimum wages to a level comparable to that in Washington. The result has been a reversal of the state's economic fortune from stagnant to expansive.
The reason for this success and for the failure of tinkle-down is a fairly well understood principle of complex systems called feedback. Newton's observation that a process once in motion tends to remain in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force has applications beyond physics.
In economic systems, if an outside force tends to accelerate distribution of funds to a majority that has a propensity to spend or to create new businesses, then any given amount of income will be re-used often, creating new wealth and reducing inequality.
Conversely, if an outside force tends to concentrate income among even a minority that tends to conserve (read "hoard") it (does the phrase "preservation of capital" ring a bell?), then income will be sequestered or spent on luxury goods and will not be available for development, leading to greater inequality.
In an oligarchical society, one in which a small number of powerful people make rules for others, there is a historically clear tendency to choose the latter course. This manifests itself as “cut taxes” campaigns, reduction of social services and an increase in funds directed to authoritarian control, such as more police and military expenditures that are not driven by external threat. More guns, less butter.
In a democratic society, one in which the maximum number of people participate in decision making, there is a countervailing tendency to choose a redistribution strategy. This results in higher taxes, but the increasing wealth and power of the common family generally causes increase in spending on education, infrastructure and social services like old-age assistance and medical care. Marginally fewer yachts, massively more teacher’s aides.
Note from the article that only modest changes in income distribution have a large effect in either direction. As they might say in Hollywood: No middle class or working people were harmed in the production of Minnesota’s movie.
It's pretty easy to see the effects of political intervention by government. The adjacent graph (Source
) shows the redistribution of income to the wealthy that has progressed under some administrations and slowed under others. I leave it to you to assess which party is (R)esponsible for the (R)egressive trends.
(Thanks to Glenda S for calling my attention to this HP article.)
OLYMPIA –The WA Dept. of Employment Secirity reports that preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell again to 5.6 percent in September with the state adding 20,000 jobs. Washington’s revised unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in August—after lingering for eight months at 5.8 percent.
According to the Monthly Employment Report from Washington’s Employment Security Department (ESD), the private sector added 14,300 jobs and the public sector gained 5,700 jobs.
“Bigger picture, Washington is continuing to add jobs,” said Paul Turek, the state’s labor market economist. “We’re seeing growth in the labor force while trimming unemployment as employers continue to pull people back off the sidelines and into the job market.”
The national unemployment rate increased to 5 percent in September. The unemployment rate in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area dropped from 4.1 percent in August to 3.9 percent in September.
ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 49,342 people in September.
The state’s labor force grew to 3.65 million in September, an increase of 21,400 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by nearly 15,000 during the same period.
From September 2015 to September 2016, the state’s labor force grew by 103,700 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 41,600.
The labor force is the total number of people in the workforce, both employed and unemployed, over age 16.
This month’s report shows the greatest job growth occurred in government with 5,700 new jobs followed by education and health services with 5,000 new jobs created and professional and business services with 4,400.
Financial services lost 400 jobs and wholesale trade shed 600.
Year-over-year, the private sector grew by 3.1 percent or 81,800 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2 percent, adding 10,800 jobs.
From September 2015 to September 2016, 12 of 13 the state’s major industry sectors added jobs. Manufacturing was the only sector to report job losses (-4,000).
The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
Education and health services with 21,100 new jobs;
Note: The BLS recently updated its “alternative measures of labor underutilization” for states to include the second quarter of 2016. The U-6 rate considers not only the unemployed population in the official “U-3” unemployment rate, but also “the underemployed and those not looking but wanting a job.” The annual U-6 rate for Washington through second quarter 2016 was 10.7 percent compared to the national rate of 9.9 percent. Washington’s U-6 rate is the lowest it has been since 2009.
Construction with 16,000 new jobs; and
Professional & business services with 13,400 new jobs.
Check it out! ESD has new labor market web information and tools, including a video tutorial to highlight popular information and data.
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OLYMPIA –As Washington celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month, nine public and private employers were honored today for their exemplary work recruiting, hiring, retaining and promoting individuals with disabilities.
Washington’s Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues & Employment (GCDE) and Business Leadership Network organize this ceremony annually to recognize state employers. It was held this year at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond.
“Our award winners excel at tapping into the tremendous energy and talent pool in the disability community,” said Chris Carnell, Governor’s Committee chairman. “They’re role models for the entire state.”
Winners of the 2016 Governor’s Employer Awards Program are:
· Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland
· Excelsior Youth Center, Spokane
· InsideWorks, Seattle
· Little Anchor Childcare Center, Seattle
· Snohomish County
· Sodexo - Walla Walla University Team
· Washington Access Fund, Seattle
· Washington State Department of Licensing
Washington businesses, agencies, organizations and individuals submitted the nominations and a panel of GCDE members, business representatives and previous award recipients selected this year’s honorees.
The committee also honored Emily Cooper for her commitment to people with disabilities. Cooper, an attorney with Disability Rights Washington, received the Governor’s Trophy in Memory of Carolyn Blair Brown — the highest honor given to someone with a disability who has significantly empowered people with disabilities in Washington.
A new award this year — the Employment Support Professional Award — went to Sue Anne Lemkin. As the Supported Employment coordinator for Snohomish County, Lemkin creates job opportunities for workers with developmental disabilities.
The Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues & Employment advises the governor, Legislature, state agencies and other policy makers on issues important to people with disabilities.
For interviews with the award winners and photos from the Oct. 7 ceremony, contact Melinda Johnson. For more information about the GCDE, contact Executive Secretary Toby Olson at 360-902-9489.
OLYMPIA – Preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show Washington continues to gain jobs on a year-over-year basis and the unemployment rate remains steady at 5.8 percent for the seventh month in a row.
According to the June Monthly Employment Report from Washington’s Employment Security Department (ESD), while the state lost 500 jobs from May 2016 to June 2016, it has gained 96,900 jobs since June 2015.
“Although hiring flattened in June, the state’s economy has produce jobs on a year-over-year basis and labor force participation is more stable than it was in 2015,” said Paul Turek, the state’s labor economist.
The U.S. unemployment rate increased to 4.9 percent in June and the unemployment rate in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area dropped to 4.6 percent.
ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 53,550 people in June.
Labor force dips slightly in Puget Sound and across Washington for the month
The state’s labor force dropped by 3,600 people to just over 3.62 million from May 2016 to June 2016. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force dropped by 4,900 people over the same period.
From June 2015 to June 2016, however, the state’s labor force grew by 90,000 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 26,300.
The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over age 16.
Six sectors see job growth, six sectors face losses
Private sector employment increased by roughly 1,000 jobs but government employment dropped by 1,500 for a net loss of 500 jobs in June.
This month’s report shows the greatest job growth in professional & business services with 1,800 new jobs from May 2016 to June 2016.
Construction added 1,700 jobs, and financial services increased by 1,300. Leisure and hospitality faced the biggest reduction, losing 2,800 jobs. Education and health services also saw the loss of 2,200 jobs.
Year-over-year growth remains strong with continued gains in public and private sectors
The state added 96,900 new jobs from June 2015 to June 2016, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.2 percent or 84,000 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2.3 percent, adding 12,900 jobs.
From June 2015 to June 2016, 11 of 13 major industries saw growth while the number of jobs in the mining and logging industries had no gains or losses, and manufacturing lost 4,800 jobs.
The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
Professional & business services with 17,400 new jobs;
Construction with 15,300 new jobs; and
Government with 12,900 new jobs.
ESD has new labor market web information and tools, including a video tutorial featuring popular information and data.
Persons interested in being an advocate for people with disabilities may consider applying for membership on the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment.
This state committee is recruiting new members to identify issues and concerns pertaining to the rights and needs of people with disabilities. The committee advises the Governor, Legislature, state agencies, the business community, organized labor, other public and private organizations and the general public. Members make policy recommendations with an emphasis on increasing opportunities for independence and employment.
“The committee has tremendous talent and contributes many volunteer hours working on projects that make a difference in the lives of Washington’s disability community,” said Chris Carnell, current chair of the committee.
Members must have a disability, have a family member with a disability or work as advocates for people with disabilities. The Governor appoints members to serve a three-year term with an opportunity to be reappointed for a second term. Members can live anywhere in the state.
The Governor’s Committee is administered by the Employment Security Department.
To be considered for an appointment to the board, apply by Aug. 31, 2016.
Find out more about becoming a member and read about the application process on esd.wa.gov. Contact Debbie Himes at 360-902-9362 for more information.
OLYMPIA – Despite adding 8,700 jobs from April to May 2016, Washington’s unemployment rate remains at 5.8 percent for the fifth month in a row, according to the state’s Employment Security Department (ESD). The state released the seasonally adjusted, preliminary jobs estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its May Monthly Employment Report.
“Even though we added more than 101,000 jobs over the last year, Washington’s unemployment rate is holding steady,” said ESD’s state economist, Paul Turek. “As I’ve been saying for the last several months, that’s not necessarily bad for our economy as we have been seeing more and more people enter the labor market.”
The U.S. unemployment rate dipped to 4.7 percent in May. Unemployment in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area remained steady at 4.9 percent after the April unemployment rate was revised upward slightly from 4.8 percent to 4.9 percent in April 2016.
In Washington, ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 60,742 people in May.
Labor force continues to grow in Puget Sound and across Washington
The state’s labor force increased by 97,100 people to nearly 3.63 million from May 2015 to May 2016. The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over age 16. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force grew by 33,100 people over the same period.
Nine sectors see job growth, four sectors face losses
This month’s report shows the greatest job growth in professional & business services with 2,300 new jobs from April to May 2016.
Education and health services added 2,000 jobs. Government and construction both added 1,600 jobs.
The number of jobs in leisure and hospitality decreased by 1,400, with 900 of the loss occurring in arts, entertainment and recreation.
Year-over-year growth remains strong with continued gains in public and private sectors
The state added 101,700 new jobs from May 2015 to May 2016, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.5 percent or 89,700 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2.1 percent, adding 12,000 jobs.
From May 2015 to May 2016, 11 of 13 major industries saw growth while the number of jobs in the mining and logging industries dropped by 200 and manufacturing lost 2,800 jobs.
The top five industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
- Professional & business services with 18,8 000 new jobs;
- Construction with 14,000 new jobs;
- Education and health services with 13,700 new jobs;
- Government with 12,000 new jobs; and
- Retail trade with 11,700 new jobs.
OLYMPIA – Washington added 12,800 new nonfarm jobs, on a preliminary, seasonally adjusted basis, from December 2015 to January 2016, according to the state’s Employment Security Department (ESD).
“Washington continues to enjoy solid job growth,” said Paul Turek, Washington’s state labor economist. “The state has continued to add new jobs each month since October 2014 — and we are continuing to see growth in the labor market.”
The state’s unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent, the same as revised employment rate for December 2015 and the same as one year ago in January 2015, according to estimates by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The U.S. unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.9 percent for January 2016.
Unemployment in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area rose from 5 percent in December 2015 to a preliminary 5.1 percent in January 2016.
Labor force continues to grow in Puget Sound and across Washington
The resident labor force statewide rose slightly from nearly 3.57 million people in December 2015 to nearly 3.59 million in January. The resident labor force in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region rose from nearly 1.59 million to nearly 1.595 million over the same period. The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.
The number of unemployed rose to 209,900 statewide. The number of unemployed in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area grew from 78,700 in December to 81,400 in January. In January 2016, ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 86,598 statewide.
New jobs in retail, education & health and leisure & hospitality drive growth this month
This month’s report shows the greatest job growth in retail with 3,500 new jobs last month.
Eight more industries experienced job gains in the month of January including:
- Education and health services (3,300)
- Leisure and hospitality (2,800)
- Other services (2,800)
- Government (1,600)
- Financial activities (1,300)
- Manufacturing (800)
- Information (600)
- Construction (400)
Wholesale trade and mining and logging were unchanged. Professional and business services lost 2,900 jobs and transportation, warehousing and utilities lost 1,400 jobs.
Year-over-year growth remains strong with gains in both public and private sectors
Washington added 93,700 new jobs from January 2015 to January 2016 on a not seasonally adjusted basis. The private sector grew by 82,000 jobs and the public sector added 11,700, according to ESD’s Monthly Employment Report.
From January 2015 to January 2016, 11 of 13 major industries saw growth while the number of jobs in the mining and logging industries dropped by 700 and manufacturing lost 800 jobs.
The top four industry sectors with the largest employment gains from January 2015 to January 2016, not seasonally adjusted, were:
- Retail trade with 15,700 new jobs
- Professional and business services with 14,900 new jobs
- Leisure and hospitality with 14,400 new jobs
- Government with 11,700 new jobs.
Employment Security website
Initial unemployment claims fell last week, dropping the average over the previous month to its lowest level in 14 years, the Labor Department said Thursday, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
About 278,000 people filed for first-time unemployment benefits, down 10,000 from the previous week. The decline was larger than economists had forecast.
The figure remained above the post-Great Recession low of 266,000, reached in the week ended Oct. 11.
The four-week average for claims, which smooths out some of the volatility of the closely watched labor market barometer, has been falling steadily since the beginning of the year.
The current turmoil in Ferguson, MO, is sadly nothing new. The tragedy of an apparently promising young man lost is being compounded by anger among the population and compounding of racial tension by local police. The good news is that this can become a teachable moment.
Much of the problem we are witnessing stems from low expectations for our police, by the public and even by the police themselves. Police brutality is not a myth, and police officers who misbehave often move on down the road to misbehave elsewhere. Yet police must often engage in a dangerous balancing act few of us would care to adopt as our way of life.
One recurrent proposal over the years has been the creation of national standards for policing, licensing of officers and the removal of political influence from police procedure. The profound inadequacy and even total lack of training of local police creates a patchwork of policing in the US, ranging from superb to appalling. In this case, think Keystone Cops with bazookas.
Herewith a nudge in what I think could be the right direction. There are several interlocking components.
1. Preliminary Training
Professional police academies can produce professional police officers. No one without such training should be given a badge and gun and told to "be careful out there." The training should have a structure similar to other post-secondary education. Schoolteachers are required to pass through two or three levels of college to advance and are typically required to engage in continuing education throughout their careers. Similarly, police officers should be obliged to complete preparatory education and then pass through regular examinations in law and best practices. Supervisors should need the equivalent of bachelors and masters degrees at least comparable to teachers, laboratory workers, firefighters and others who are occasionally charged with life and death situations.
2. National Standards
The standards for policing need to be national. It cannot be acceptable for police in one state or city to exercise their power brutally against people they simply dislike, while in other jurisdictions police are weakened to the point of ineffectiveness.
3. National License
A license to serve as a police officer should be defined using the national standards, and dismissal in one jurisdiction should result in loss of that license, either with or without the potential for redemption after a period of time and re-education. The license could be administered by the states for efficiency, but the standards must be the same, and national funds should not be available to nonconforming states.
The "best practices" are surely well established in law and education in most states and could be amalgamated to a national standard with regional options (for example, rules on operating in mountainous terrain could be waived for Kansas and Florida, but gratuitously beating minority citizens would be equally illegal in Mississippi, Montana and Massachusetts). A system of standardized, national licensing would be relatively easy and could be in place in under five years at minimal expense (the cost of creating a national academy to produce the needed standards is probably no more than is being expended -- some would say wasted-- in Missouri this week). This would primarily benefit police officers, as their career options would dramatically increase. There are many aspects to designing a good system that would need planning and continuous refinement; for example, retention of quality officers by small, relatively poor jurisdictions.
Our police do indeed protect most of us from harm, and they do indeed confront danger often, for which we should thank them and help them to advance in their profession, to our mutual benefit.
SEATTLE-- Calling the decision an extraordinary victory for voters, Secretary of State Sam Reed and Attorney General Rob McKenna today applauded the U.S. Supreme Court for upholding Washington’s wide open Top-Two Primary.
The 7-2 decision handed down today follows years of court battles over the primary and the rights of voters to choose any candidate on the ballot. In a Top-Two Primary, voters do not have to declare any party affiliation, and can vote for any candidate, regardless of the candidate’s political party preference. In today’s decision, the Court rejected the political parties’ claims that this type of primary is unconstitutional.
SEATTLE – Following on the heels of Washington and other states that have approved credit freeze laws, the nation’s three leading credit bureaus recently announced they will provide all Americans with the opportunity to freeze unwanted access to their credit history. But before you rush to sign up, the Attorney General’s Office says there are some things you should know.
Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that legislation to address assault by strangulation, one of the most serious domestic violence crimes, has been introduced by a bipartisan coalition in both the Senate and House of Representatives. The full story is in Civic Affairs.