For adults aged 25 to 54, there has been no increase in the labor force participation rate over the whole of the past year, despite a steady decline in the official unemployment rate.There's nothing in Marx or Trotsky to permit a theorhetorically correct critique of job-killing regulations and taxes, thus we won't see the Socialist Equity Party noting the perverse incentives of the so-called Affordable Care Act. It's only the adjectives, though, that distinguish their annoyance with crony capitalism and rent-seeking from the libertarian version.
The persistent fall in the labor force participation rate reflects the fact that millions if not tens of millions of people have simply given up looking for work, either because there are no jobs available, or because of the terrible pay and working conditions at those that are.
In fact, almost the entire drop in the official unemployment rate last month was attributable to an enormous decline in the labor force, in which 432,000 people in the US stopped looking for work, according to the report.
Under these conditions, Obama was forced to qualify his praise for last month’s jobs report by hinting at the disastrous conditions facing working people in the US. Obama declared, “there are a lot of folks who still feel like the playing field is tilted in ways that make it hard for them to get ahead.”The likely effect of that overtime ruling? A further increase in part-time employment, as a company that puts two "assistant managers" or "floor coordinators" on thirty-hour schedules might, taking insurance requirements into consideration, spend less money than it would on one such person working 48 to 56 hours inclusive of the now-compensable overtime.
He should know, having done more than anyone else to secure this outcome. Even while pushing the expansion of low-paying jobs during the 2008 auto restructuring and supporting the drive of the city of Detroit to use bankruptcy to slash workers’ pensions, the Obama administration has provided trillions of dollars for the financial elite in the form of bank bailouts, zero-interest-rate central bank policies, and “quantitative easing.”
Now, Obama declares, “We’ve got more work to do because we’ve got to get folks’ wages and incomes to keep going up.”
Obama’s proposal to deal with stagnating wages, unveiled earlier this week and reiterated in his report, is a scheme to make an additional 3 percent of US workers eligible for overtime. According to the Labor Department, the proposal would increase wages for only 1.2 million people, adding $1.3 billion to total wages for US workers per year.
Obama’s trivial proposal on overtime pay is in line with the record of his entire presidency, which has sought to impose the full cost of the global capitalist crisis on the backs of the working class, while doing everything possible to protect and expand the wealth of the financial oligarchy that controls political life in the United States.