Notes from around the Human Experience…
NUMBERS GAME: The unemployment rate in the United States continues to fall, down to 4.3 percent in May, down a bit from April.
Dry, Technical Matter: Now, as people both smarter and infernally duller than us like to point out, there are a lot of elements attached to an unemployment report, most of which, thankfully, are beyond the scope of this column.
But taken as a raw, relative value, 4.3 percent isn’t too bad. In fact, it is very good, not too far removed from full employment, where everyone who wants a job and can hold a job has a job because there is always going to be a small percentage of the population who neither need nor want to work.
Fly In The Ointment: A 4.3 percent unemployment rate should be the sign of a flourishing economy. It is not.
America: Land Of The Free, Home Of The Broke: One, wages are still low. Companies cut employees, hours and wages during the Great Recession in order to make a profit and while the workforce has increased, wages have not. And with private sector union membership low and workers otherwise not demanding higher wages, they’ll remain low.
Two, almost 20 percent of Americans receive some sort of government aid. In an America with a flourishing economy, that figure should be no more than five percent. As every social model as shown throughout history, that’s about the number of people in any society that will be unwilling or unable to provide for themselves.
The Bottom Line: Until America has an economy anchored in low taxes, free markets and minimal regulation, she will never have a flourishing economy. Low taxes will give citizens more money to spend and companies more capital to meet these growing needs. Flourishing businesses means competition for workers, something we really don’t have now, which means wages and salaries will increase right along with profits.
TILL OUR ANNULMENT DO US PART: Henry VIII, King of England, marries for the first time, taking Catherine of Aragon as his wife on this date in 1509. Henry had been king for about six weeks and Catherine would serve as queen consort until Henry has their marriage annulled in 1533, ostensibly because she had been unable to produce a male heir, but really because Henry had the hots for Anne Boleyn.
At Least She Knew What She Was Getting Into: Earlier, Catherine was married to Henry’s brother Arthur, who was then Prince of Wales and heir apparent to the throne, however Arthur died six months into their marriage.
When In The Course Of Human Events: The Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, appoints John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston and Richard Sherman to a committee to write a declaration separating the American colonies from Great Britain on this date in 1776.
After some bickering, John Adams, a man of good sense, convinced the other three members of the Committee of Five to allow Jefferson to write the first draft, which had to be challenge with Benjamin Franklin in the same room.
While the Declaration of Independence went through extensive revisions by the rest of the committee and by the Congress, History generally remembers Jefferson as its author.
More Dry, Technical Matter: The original Declaration, the one signed by Congress, was in the custody of the Secretary of State for many years and, along with the original Constitution, was transferred to the Library of Congress in 1921. In 1952, both were transferred to the National Archives.
Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Despite being revered the world over and babbling that all men were endowed with certain unalienable rights are were all created equal, Jefferson never did anything to free slaves either on his plantation or in his country.
And Down The Stretch He Comes: Sir Barton wins the Belmont Stakes on this date in 1919. Earlier he had won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, and becomes the first horse to win the Triple Crown.
We’re Outta Here: Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin escaped from Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay on this date in 1962.
Another inmate, Allen West, had participated in the planning of the escape, but was unable to get out of his cell that night until after the others had left the island. West then went back to his cell and slept. He would cooperate with investigators and would not be punished for his role.
Back On Message: The escape culminated six months of work. Among other things, they had to dig holes in the walls in back of their cells, make papier-mache models of their heads to make guards think they were sleeping and pilfer the materials required to make primitive life rafts and vests.
After exiting their cells they climbed up a ventilation pipe in the utility corridor behind their cells, then made their way down from the room to the shoreline. They were never seen again.
More Official Daily Dose Policy: We think they made it.
While authorities like to make a big deal about the fact it was highly likely all three drowned, we’re not so sure. While their life boat and one life vest did turn up, it is not altogether reasonable to believe that all three drowned without at least one of the bodies turning up. The escape remains an active case for the United States Marshals, who report they still regularly get leads from the public despite the fact all three men would be in their late 80’s by now.
Thought For The Day: The tragedy of life is not that man loses, but that he almost wins. – Heywood Braun
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The month of July has seen the most ML games where a player hit four runs with five.
Today’s Stumper: Of the three Triple Crown races, which one is the oldest? – Answer next time!