John Kline is appropriately proud of his wife, her career and her accomplishments :
John and his wife, Vicky, live in Burnsville and have called the south metro home for nearly 20 years.
After 20 years of active service in the Army, she returned to several civilian urgent care and trauma centers before officially retiring from nursing in 2002.
In her spare time, Vicky volunteers with the Red Cross and the Veterans Hospital in Minneapolis. She is also involved in her church and her local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She is active in a tennis league and volunteers on her husband’s congressional campaign. Additionally, Vicky and John help manage the family’s fifth generation farm in Houston County, located in southeastern Minnesota.
After completing his term in Congress, at the ripe young age of 69, John Kline will join his wife in retirement.
Retirement … something many of us look forward to … whether you do it before you turn 55 or at the age of 69
But to one candidate for Congress, he is concerned about that people are not working — “as of August, a shocking 94 million Americans are not in the labor force. Indeed, a civilian labor force participation rate of just 62.8%”
That was the Labor Day message from Jason Lewis … the Republican candidate seeking to replace John Kline representing Minnesota’s Second District.
Yep, Jason Lewis, the candidate who has expressed his willingness to raise the retirement age for Social Security benefits and cut defense spending, used Labor Day to return to a familiar refrain bemoaning the civilian labor force participation rate — a subject that was already discussed on the Roundtable.
First, though, let’s make sure that everyone understands the exact definition of “civilian labor force participation rate” … it means everyone (excluding military, agricultural and Federal government workers) who is sixteen and over … and “over” is just that … until you die.
So, yes, this means that when Congressman John Kline retires he will join the pool of the available civilian labor force. If he gets a job, that will please Jason Lewis because he is participating … actually, the BLS report actually breaks it down by age group … listing the last one as 75-and-older.
OK … to get a little understanding of this “problem” … it isn’t that men like John Kline might be not participating, it is what happened with women in the civilian labor force.
As the population ages and more people live beyond retirement age, it was expected that labor force participation rate would decline. In fact, labor force participation has been declining since the 1950s — for men.
The only reason why the overall rate of labor force participation has not declined was because of the slow but steady mass-entry of women into the labor force in the 1960’s and 1970’s and peaked in January 2000.
According to BLS, over a ten-year period (2004-2014), the women in the civilian labor force declined from 59.2% to 57.0 and are projected to decline to 55.8% over the next ten years.
Does anyone blame Vicky Kline for opting to leave the civilian work force in 2002 ?
What about the stay-at-home Mom … is she too lazy to get a “paying” job ?
Both are part of the “problem“.
Yet, is it really a “problem” ?
Survey data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that those outside the labor force in 2014 said their reasons for not working were retirement (44 percent), illness or disability (19 percent), school attendance (18 percent) or home responsibilities (15 percent). Only 3 percent said they couldn’t find a job, or gave some other reason.
Yep, a 3% “problem” but if you’re a candidate for Congress and Minnesota — which has a 3.9% unemployment rate (versus the nationwide 4.9% rate), you harp on declining civilian labor force participation rate complaining that the 62.8% rate “hasn’t been this low since the Carter-era”.
Yep, bash Carter without acknowledging the obvious, and anticipated, retiring baby-boom generation (which includes John and Vicky Kline).
To bash Carter is expected, as is Jason Lewis praising Ronald Reagan :
“During the Reagan recovery, we actually had 5 straight quarters of GDP growth above 7%; we have yet to hit 3% during the Obama administration.”
Hmmm … is that cherry-picking the data ?
Well, 7% is a big number … in fact, Reagan’s 1984 year was the only time since 1959 that that number had been reached. And if 1984 is mentioned, so should 1982 when the GDP reported a NEGATIVE 1.9% … thus, if the entire Reagan presidency is considered, the overall GDP was 3.5% versus Carter’s 3.2% and Clinton’s 3.8%.
Bashing Obama is also expected … but with the European debt crisis, American housing bubble bursting, lower oil prices and a Republican-controlled Congress willing to shutdown the government, he has had a tough task. Yet, let us remember that George W. Bush had a 1.6% GDP growth over his two terms and George H. W. Bush, who inherited the Reagan economy, had a 2.1% rate.
So how did Reagan achieve this growth … Reagan increased spending with defense contractors for weapons while funds for troops, maintenance and training languished. For example, not only did Reagan approve construction of the costly B-2 bomber, he also resurrected the B-1 bomber, a problem-plagued program that the Air Force didn’t want and the Carter administration canceled. From 1981 to 1989, the Pentagon budget doubled from $158 billion to $304 billion.
For a point of reference, John Kline is presently on the House-Senate Conference Committee finalizing the FY2017 defense spending bill which the House sets at $517.1 Billion which is $3 billion more than last year.
So, Jason Lewis Labor Day message is that “the American worker can do far better” by electing him to Congress … ‘cause not enough people are participating in the workforce and yet is willing to cut defense spending and raise the retirement age.
This is a candidate who has embraced H.R. 27 Tax Code Termination Act which would end corporate and personal income taxes with the concept of enacting a Flat Tax with no provision for mortgage deductions, consideration for medical or charitable deductions, or employer-provided healthcare benefits.
We have seen Republicans in Congress willing to shutdown the government before … do you have any doubt that Jason Lewis would do that ?
Quite a contrast from the message of Lewis challenger … Angie Craig
Since 1980, income for the top 1% of all earners has grown at a rate 7 times faster than the average family. Today, the 400 richest people in our country hold more wealth than over half of the nation’s population combined.
As staggering as these numbers are, it’s important we remember that each one of these figures is underpinned by a story being told by an American family. For many, it’s a story about how they still haven’t felt the full effects of the recovery. About how they’re working harder than ever but can’t seem to get ahead. Those stories remind us that we must continue to fight for policies that reflect the values of our country, push for laws that uphold the fundamental rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain, and renew our commitment to strengthening the middle class and stemming income inequality.
This Labor Day, it’s important we remember the men and women who sacrificed for the labor movement and continue their commitment to giving every hardworking American family a fair shot.
Two different messages … one looking for negatives to exploit and one reminding us that we have more to do for working families.