Tennessee is a joke.

Growing Poverty and Job Losses in Tri-Cities VA-TN

by Lewis Loflin

Tri-Cities, Bristol Virginia-Tennessee will not only have among the lowest growth in the nation, but the lowest in Tennessee and Virginia. The region already suffers a 20 percent plus real poverty-unemployment rate. Oddly liberals and Progressives work with big business Republicans to destroy labor, drive down wages. Where do I begin?

See Bristol Virginia-Tennessee News Opinion 2014

Bristol Virginia Tri-Cities Crime 2014

Steb Hipple on a Shrinking Tri-Cities Labor Force 2014

ETSU economist Steb Hipple is the last word in economics in Tri-Cities, but lately nobody in the press or government are saying much about him - they claim unemployment is down and all the corporate welfare has turned the economy around. Well, not really. To quote Dr. Hipple:

During the first quarter (2014), the Tri-Cities Consolidated Statistical Area (CSA) continued to see job losses. Compared to the same period in 2013, regional job levels were lower by 0.7% to 221,514. Employment has now declined for the past eight quarters and increasing numbers of jobless workers are withdrawing from the regional labor force.

As a result, unemployment fell 16.5% to 16,072, and the labor force contracted by 1.9% to 237,586. The jobless rate for the metro area was 6.8%, compared to 7.9% a year earlier. Under these conditions, a falling unemployment rate is a sign of labor market weakness...

During the January to March period, employment was higher by 0.5% in Bristol, but fell 1.6% in Johnson City and 1.2% in Kingsport. Matching the regional pattern, large numbers of unemployed workers are exiting the labor market in each city.

This has lowered jobless levels by double digits, contracted the labor force, and reduced jobless rates. The percent of workers unemployed fell to 6.6% in Johnson City, 6.7% in Bristol, and 6.8% in Kingsport. As in the metro area, the lower jobless rates in each city are a result of weakness in the labor market.

Arch Coal Fires Another 213 Workers - It's the tip of the Iceberg

Radical environmentalists are cheering as another 213 high paid mining jobs are destroyed and hundreds are left with an uncertain future. The losses will hit workers in Wise County Virginia and Letcher County, Kentucky. Wise County is already in dire straits unable to fund its schools.

This is in addition to 100 layoffs last year. Declines in demand for metallurgical coal is blamed. I'm from Wise County and have watched this for years as millions were wasted on endless pork-barrel nonsense that has produced nothing. Arch Coal's stock dropped to $2.96.

What is worse is the ripple effect through the community in this case Appalachia Virginia. Mining jobs are high paying and one of the few good jobs available to those without advanced degrees or connections to government. Every job lost takes down two service sector jobs with it. The real impact is more like 500-600 in the community. Ref. BHC July 22, 2014.

If we throw in mining job losses in nearby Buchanan County that brings the total to over 600 in the last few months. In 2012 "Alpha Natural Resources Announced It Is Eliminating 1,200 Jobs, Nearly A Tenth Of Its Work Force."

Virginia power producers Appalachian Power and Dominion Power plan to close or convert to natural gas four coal-fired plants and electricity costs are expected to soar. Dominion was seeking a 4.1 percent rate increase in May 2014. The Virginian-Pilot noted,

"The request is described as necessary to maintain Dominion's electrical grid and cover higher costs of natural gas and power purchased out of state...

But the utility will need to do more in coming months and years to increase its use of renewables and nuclear power, a move that will both improve the environment and protect the utility and Virginians from the energy market's fluctuating costs."

So we are hit in this region going and coming - Republicans blame it on the EPA and Obama but they are not the real problem. The State of Virginia has mandated power producers use 12 percent 'renewable' sources by 2022. See Southwest Virginia Can't Afford Green Power.

That's why they buy wind or solar power from out of state - at much greater cost along with shutting down coal plants or when converted to gas that also comes from outside the state. This growth in power consumption is being driven by growth in Northern and Eastern Virginia - but everyone pays the cost!

One recent example was building a coal-fired plant in Russell County Virginia in Southwest Virginia then send the power across the state to Northern Virginia - and everyone paid for the transmission lines to do it!

Note that Bristol Virginia-Tennessee is on TVA which is another story.

The Pilot notes Virginia power rates are cheaper than most but they don't live here. These higher rates can be easily absorbed in wealthy Northern and Eastern Virginia but not in Southwest or Southside where the median family income is half the state average and in many areas falling.

Coal mining job losses and spiking power rate increases are bad enough, but it will have other potential drawbacks for this region. To hold onto what manufacturing jobs that are left we are dependant on 1) growing levels of corporate welfare, 2) cheap labor, and 3) cheap electricity - all three a potential disaster waiting to happen.

July 26, 2014

Under Construction

TVA Slashes Nearly 2000 Jobs in 2014

As if the job misery in East Tennessee isn't bad enough TVA has cut 1,750 high paying jobs. The Chattanooga Times Free Press and AP report TVA "supplies power to about 9 million people in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia."

The fact is TVA's peak production was in 2007 before the massive losses in manufacturing across the region that is still ongoing in 2014. They stated "increased conservation and energy efficiency since then" has led to declines when in fact it's the loss of manufacturing I believe is the big factor.

Manufacturing uses a lot of electricity. 124 industrial plants in the TVA service area have slammed the doors since October 2008-9.

See TVA Jobs Losses to Raise Power Rates

Again the loss of middle class jobs be it TVA, manufacturing, or the over 600 mining jobs lost in recent months in Southwest Virginia will ripple across the whole community. We simply can't replace these jobs with tourism crap jobs and expect the high poverty rates to not get worse.

One has to wonder how it is possible to spend these hundreds of billions to alleviate poverty and still have the same number of poor people that we had, say, in 1968...It prompts the more suspicious among us to ask: What happened to the money?...[A] tremendous chunk of these domestic outlays goes to pay the salaries of people who work for and with the federal government - including well-paid civil servants and an array of contractors and "consultants," many of whom have gotten rich from housing programs, "poverty" studies, energy research grants, and the like...

"Where Do All the Welfare Billions Go?" (Human Events, February 6, 1982) M. Stanton Evans

It's not about race

The dismal future of the working poor in this community is tied directly to a job structure hostile to working people. The same thing that happens to black Americans also happens to far more white people. The results are the same: high levels of drug and substance abuse - and massive numbers in jail.

Lack of economic opportunity is not a racial thing but system wide planned policy cutting across all demographic groups. Mass immigration has pushed millions out of the job market - yes in disproportionate numbers black Americans are pushed out.

Meat packing for example was once heavily black and white paying $18 an hour - today illegal alien Hispanics and some Asians now dominate the factory floor with dismal working conditions and abuse while wages have fallen below $12 an hour. How is that diversity working for you?

If business went in and fired their black workers as they did here and replaced them white workers there would be howls of 'racism' in the press - yet black leaders cheer this on.

Take a hard look and tell me how many blacks get jobs from Hispanic and Asian immigrants - they hire their own people and relatives - not native born Americans in most cases.

Thomas Sowell

Does becoming an atheist make one a better person?

This is the latest answer to my challenge on atheism. I'm not here to judge or attack, but believe everyone has a right to express a view. For the record I'm a staunch believer in God, evolution, and science. Shocked? By the way I had Bible classes in college and if I had to believe in the Bible I'd be an atheist.

See Debunking the New Atheists