Showing posts with label Economy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Economy. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

No Love For Trump in the Ruins of Kenosha

This is an example of deliberate misinformation and manipulation.
US President Donald Trump has visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, to back law enforcement after the police shooting of a black man sparked civil strife.
The Republican president sought to blame "destruction" in the Midwestern city on local Democratic leaders.
Kenosha was rocked by days of violence after Jacob Blake was shot in the back by officers.
Opinion polls show Mr Trump is cutting into his Democratic rival Joe Biden's lead ahead of November's election.
The president is pushing a strong "law and order" message ahead of the vote. Mr Biden has accused Mr Trump of stoking racial division.

Trump does not care about the people of Kenosha or anything that resembles "law and order." He cares about being photographed in the "ruins" of a city that is run by Democrats so that he can scare enough people into voting for him.

If he can persuade people that things are really out of control he can win a handful of people over to his cause. The thing is, there is no cause! There's nothing that Trump stands for except producing more liberal tears. So, fuck this guy. He represents a nihilism that is almost unimaginable in modern America. He can't bring jobs, reform, or a cure for COVID-19 so he's going to bring what he has left--fear.

His campaign is a weaponization of fear and manipulation. That's all it is.

And this will work with low information voters, it really will in this day and age. There are far too many people who believe that Trump is looking out for them when all he's trying to do is survive for another four years and continue stealing as much money as possible. The good news is that there are fewer and fewer low information voters because, well, when you're getting hammered economically, you tend to wise up. Tens of millions of Americans are now radicalized to vote Trump out of office. This is no small thing. Contrast that with the Biden candidacy, which is an emphatic rejection of fear and intolerance.

A "law and order" president does not go through as many lawyers, judges, and Attorneys General as this one.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Here Come the Deficit Scolds

None of this means anything, of course:

The U.S. budget deļ¬cit may quadruple this year to almost $4 trillion. Projections from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) say that by 2023 U.S. debt held by the public will surpass records set in the post-World War II years.
And these projections only include spending enacted so far—in a three-month-old crisis that has seen emergency Congressional appropriations top $2.3 trillion. Additional spending is almost certain as the coronavirus pandemic destroys millions of jobs and thousands of businesses while slashing tax revenues for local and state governments.
I could write a hundred of these posts. If the entire economy collapses, then what difference does it make if we're running deficits? All this is intended to do is keep Democrats from coming into office and spending money to improve the lives of working people.
It's the same scam they ran against both President Clinton and President Obama. As soon as a Democrat gets elected, the GOP sends a handful of serious-minded policy wonk jackasses out before the cameras to give us lectures about how we have to live within our means and act responsibly for future generations. This thinking seriously dogged every effort that President Obama made to restore our economy. The media had orgasms every time Paul Ryan would talk about how we had to cut entitlements. This is catnip for people terrified that the poor will finally be taken care of.
These same hypocrites always vote for massive increases in spending and for ruinous tax cuts when a Republican is in office.
Ain't buying it, ain't falling for it, get out of here with that bullshit.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Trump is a Failure at Everything

Whatever you do, don't look at your 401K or cash it out:
U.S. stocks recovered some of their steep losses on Thursday after the Federal Reserve announced extraordinary funding actions to ease strained capital markets in the wake of the coronavirus sell-off.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 826 points lower, or 3.5% after plummeting more than 9% for its worst drop since the 1987 market crash. It was on pace for the sixth-worst decline for the Dow in history, according to FactSet. Even the worst one-day drop of 2008 financial crisis did not reach this magnitude.

The S&P 500 traded down 4.4%, joining the Dow in a bear market on Thursday. The main U.S. stock benchmark is now down 22% from its record set just last month. At one point, however, the S&P 500 was down more than 9%. The Nasdaq Composite recovered slightly, trading about 4.5% lower after plummeting more than 7%.
One of the reasons why I supported Senator Elizabeth Warren for president was her avowed interest in fixing the rigged casino game that is the modern stock market. Trump's horrible tax cuts for the rich and his equally horrible fiscal policies are setting us up for disaster, and Warren knows what that looks like because this is how every Republican governs in the modern era. They cut taxes, fudge the numbers, let Wall Street run wild, and leave the Democrats to pick up the pieces, cut spending, and fix everything they've broken.

I don't have much hope for Joe Biden, beyond being a decent human being who will surround himself with smart people. But one thing he could do to break this cycle is to throw a lot of people in prison for insider trading, most of whom are currently working for Trump. That would be a big help.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Business Savvy President

Everything is crashing down around our Wall Street president, who just doesn't seem so business savvy these days:
Stocks fell sharply once again Thursday as investors worried that the coronavirus might be spreading in the U.S. A slew of corporate and analyst warnings also dragged down the major averages.

The Dow plunged more than 800 points, while the S&P 500 tumbled 2.9% and the Nasdaq sank 3.3%. Those losses put the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq in correction territory, down more than 10% from the record highs set earlier this month.

The CDC confirmed Wednesday the first U.S. coronavirus case of unknown origin in Northern California, indicating possible “community spread” of the disease. The CDC doesn’t know exactly how the patient, a California resident, contracted the virus.
“We’re extremely cautious in the short term,” said Tom Hainlin, an investment strategist at Ascent Private Capital Management. “No one really seems to be an expert on the coronavirus. We haven’t seen anything like this really in our investing lifetimes.”
Apple, Disney and Visa were among the worst-performing Dow stocks, dropping at least 3% each. AMD and Nvidia fell 4% and 4.2%, respectively. Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences climbed 1.9% after the company announced the start of two studies for a possible coronavirus treatment.
The slow collapse of the "Trump Economy" is really the result of being handed the gains of the Obama era and then taking a massive orange dump all over everything. It is beginning to accelerate, and the fake money being pumped into the economy is going to run out faster than Larry Kudlow on a coke binge.

Trump has started trade wars, imposed tariffs, fired competent people left and right, and engaged in every pro-oligarch policy imaginable. This is literally the guy who campaigned on the idea of running America like a for-profit business venture. And instead of prosperity, we get the mother of all Trump bankruptcies. 

Hope your 401K is doing well, MAGA voters.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Empowerment Plan

This is exactly the kind of story I needed to read today. It's about solving a problem with creativity, planning, and hard work:
In the shadows of Detroit's tallest skyscrapers, dozens of homeless people shiver in the 17-degree cold. 
Ferocious wind gusts of 15 mph feel like cold knives stabbing the face.
Such conditions claim the lives of countless homeless people every winter -- especially those without warm coats. 
Now, a nonprofit aimed at solving that problem has accidentally led to one of the most successful homeless employment programs as the country's homeless crisis keeps growing.
"This is so much bigger than anything I could have imagined," said Veronika Scott, the 30-year-old CEO and founder of the Empowerment Plan.
The plan hires homeless people and teaches them how to make coats for the destitute suffering on the streets.
Problems are getting solved in every corner of this country and it has nothing to do with the government or the private sector. It's about letting people figure out what they need and putting Americans back to work making things.

When Americans are making things, we all do better.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gas Prices Plummet

I can still remember Election Day, 2008.

In our little corner of Maryland, I went to the polling place and voted. Some jackass was driving around in the parking lot, obstructing people from voting, and he was campaigning from his car window in violation of the law. On his bumper were two stickers:

Get Ready for $5.00 gal/gas If Obama Wins

Still waiting, asshole. Still waiting.

One of the traditional measures of how a President was doing was centered around the price of a gallon of gas. Nothing affects working people more than what they pay at the pump. You can't just "cut down" on the amount of gas you buy because people use it to get to where they have to be. As in, work, school, and to the store. Nobody buys gas they don't need. And so the impact on our economy is felt when the cost of gas is high because you HAVE to buy gas--you cut back on extras after you buy the gas you have to have. That's what drives down our consumer consumption.

This President can't even campaign for other Democrats because things are so toxic, and there is no shortage of those who believe he has been a tyrant/apologist/sellout/failure. None of those people remember the days when President Bush was clueless about why our endless wars in the Middle East were causing massive disruptions in the oil supply. The same people who apologized for Bush are deranged about Obama, and vice versa.

The best case for voting for Democrats? Cheap gas, baby. Enjoy it while you can.

Monday, September 29, 2014

We Have Been Conditioned to Respect Wealth

Paul Krugman has been on a tear lately. He has torn David Brooks into shreds and he is expanding on his usual portfolio, which is to explain why people are broke and can't get ahead anymore.

Luke Brinker adds:

It’s a persuasive analysis. Even though Americans appear to believe that the CEO-worker pay ratio is roughly where it stood in the 1960s, they still express indignation at the level of income inequality in the country — and want policymakers to do something about it. AJanuary poll by Gallup found that 67 percent of Americans were dissatisfied with the distribution of wealth and income in the U.S., while a February CNN poll found that 66 percent of Americans want the government to take action to narrow the income gap between rich and poor. But 68 percent favored such action in 1983, and that wasn’t enough to stop four decades of neoliberal economic policy. That sobering statistic stresses the importance of bringing the full extent of income and wealth inequality to light.

We have been taught to respect wealth and that we are wrong to "envy" or "condemn" the rich for being successful. A pervasive myth running from the Reagan Years until now is that anyone in America can be rich so, you know, don't hate on the players. 

Somehow, it became inserted into the national consciousness that the act of criticizing a rich person was akin to eating a bucket of communism and dressing up in socialist rags. Somehow, it became cool to accept the idea that the wealthy were actually deserving of their status, smarter than everyone else, and capable of guiding America to a shining new future. What we now know is that our elites are a tremendous failure, benefiting from nepotism and ignorance all at the same time.

The problem with our culture of inequality is that we don't understand the ramifications of not holding the wealthy accountable. They're ruining the country. They are confiscating vast amounts of wealth and pushing it into a pile that no one can touch. They're consuming the labor of others and they're not producing anything that resembles a societal benefit--witness the need for our government to beat the hell out of the Swiss for years just to get a hold of the untaxed holdings of America's elite.

It was no mean trick for the rich to convince us all that we could "join" them one day. It allowed millions of Americans to vote against their economic self-interest and to accept a super-wealthy class of Americans that would, ultimately, destroy the American middle class dream. Somewhere, a marketing idea took hold and it became impossible to hate the rich. Maybe it was TV or the movies, but we are desperate for something authentic right now. We are right on the edge of swinging back the other way, to a society that condemns greed and avarice.

Are we going to start to do something about inequality? Or will we be tricked into misunderstanding what it's all about? Don't look to the media to help.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Unemployment is Now 6.1% Because of the Worst President Ever

Despite a long, proud history of doing whatever it can to tank the American economy--government shutdown anyone? forty attempts at repealing Obamacare and no jobs bills anyone?--the Republican Party woke up to bad new today.

Unemployment has fallen to 6.1% in the United States. This is devastating news for the people who hate America.

The worst President ever, in the history of everything forever, just won the morning.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Look What Happens When You Ruin the Economy

We have not recovered from the financial crisis of the late 2000s because nobody has any money:

U.S. fertility is not recovering from the financial crisis — and demographers aren’t sure why.

The fertility rate fell to a record low 62.9 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 2013, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

The total number of births, at 3.96 million, inched up by a mere 4,000 from 2012, the first increase since the financial crisis. But the total fertility rate, or TFR, the average number of children a woman would have during her child-bearing years, fell to just 1.86, the lowest rate in 27 years. TFR is considered the best metric of fertility. A TFR of 2.1 represents a stable population, with children replacing parents as they die off.

Demographers expected the fertility rate to fall during recession, as financially strapped families put off childbearing. But what has surprised some demographers is both the depth of the decline and the fact that fertility has continued to drop even over the course of the country's five years of slow but steady recovery. The rate has fallen steadily each year since 2007, when it stood at 2.1 percent.

Wages have not kept up with this soft "recovery" and we still have far too many people who are unemployed. Couple that with the fact that your average job is rapidly becoming a two year temp-to-hire position paying less than what you made before and you have the recipe for a sharp demographic shift. Women would have more children if this were a more secure economy, and it isn't secure enough right now.

The very same people terrified of a foreign invasion of anchor babies have perpetrated this situation by ruining the economy, confiscating the wealth and assets of the Middle Class, and paying CEOs ridiculous amounts of money. Thomas Piketty scared the crap out of them because he was right--we have far too much inequality in America.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

James Poulos Does Not Understand the Danger of Inequality

The glib libertarianism of James Poulos is on display today:

So far, so good. But then Hacker and Pierson go off the rails: “another Frenchman with a panoramic vista—and far more precise evidence—wants us to think anew about the progress of equality and democracy. Though an heir to Tocqueville’s tradition of analytic history, Thomas Piketty has a message that could not be more different: Unless we act, inequality will grow much worse, eventually making a mockery of our democratic institutions.” 

The apparent ignorance behind this thesis is so extreme that it causes Hacker and Pierson to see Piketty as the real genius—while even an undergraduate level of engagement withDemocracy in America would reveal, in virtually every chapter, that Piketty is not only wrong but glibly and perilously so.

Poulos is out of his depth, but you already knew that. Praise for Piketty's work is being heard far and wide.

Of course, there's no proof that Piketty is wrong, just snide bullshit operating as rhetoric. It reads better when you can ignore every single indicator that we are entering a new Gilded Age and come up with a jarring bit of Slate-inspired contrarianism. Or something like that. It's as if Poulos hasn't been told that corporations are people and that a billionaire can buy anyone or anything he wants, especially the United States Senate or the governor of Wisconsin.

Poulos, you see, is operating under the impression that it is 1994 and not 2014. We are in the midst of a new Gilded Age, and it's worse than the last one because, well, there is no organized labor movement anymore and political corruption is seen as a character building exercise in getting away with it rather than the shameful, money-grubbing excess it used to be.

You can follow the link and see the other four reasons yourself. I think the fifth one is good enough. What you are paid is indicative of what you own; the ever-increasing gap between now and the time of Alexis de Tocqueville is readily apparent--the equality of early America, where men owned their land because the government gave it to them for improvement has been replaced by a world of renters and urban dwellers. It's one thing to have a nation of yeomen farmers who are building the agricultural infrastructure of early America; it's another to have apartment blocks full of people paying Too Damn High of rent.

This is why I think the comparison to what Piketty is saying to de Tocqueville is not relevant. The transition of America from an agricultural power to a manufacturing power and now to a debt-repackaging power took place while the upper and bottom rungs of society struggled for control over who controlled the government and how it was wielded. Ronald Reagan was the verdict on this struggle, and the American labor movement was destroyed and the power of the CEO was established as a national birthright for the lucky few. A hundred years ago, you could mock the rich and powerful openly and with great gusto (see Finley Peter Dunne, et al). Now, you have inflamed butthurt feelings whenever someone makes a rich man sad by writing down what he actually said in public on purpose.

Poulos is dead wrong if he thinks that American democracy somehow has a remedy for all of this--it does not. It has not prevented this development and now, thanks to the ability of the wealthy to use money as speech, it is now much less likely that politicians will bite the hand that feeds them and cut off the main source of their power, which is not the votes of the populace but the money that allows them to manipulate voters into believing they are living in an actual democracy.

Income inequality is the disaster on the horizon. When the wealthy have everything, society falls into revolution and "distributes" the wealth. Tocqueville, knowing the causes of the French Revolution, would more clearly see this issue and the dangers of concentrating wealth in the hands of a small elite empowered with the permission of the law to buy their power without fear of legal consequences.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Destruction of the Middle Class Continues

I would have to agree with the premise of this article--the Middle Class in the United States has been hammered by the economy and the economic policies that were put into place at the end of the Clinton Administration. With the repeal of Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, the seeds were placed to go after the one thing that made the Middle Class seem wealthy--the value of a decent home.

If you can extrapolate from the destruction of home values two main points--the Middle Class was cheated and that millions of Americans were denied entry into the Middle Class--then you can see where this is headed. Unless and until real reform is enacted to prevent another Real Esate bubble, what little equity still exists out there is going to continue to shrink and lenders are going to continue to be evasive and predatory.

You absolutely cannot have a Middle Class without a real estate market that reflects actual growth in terms of the sales of existing homes. Your typical Middle Class family lost value in their major asset five years ago, their home, and that value simply hasn't come back. Their value went into the pocket of someone who thought it would be clever to ride a manufactured real estate bubble out into the middle of nowhere and then just abandon people to their fate. Untold numbers of communities have been blighted ever since, littered with homes that used to house Middle Class families.

Now, we have shells in this country. Decaying shells full of miserable failure. Real reform can't come soon enough.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Getting Rid of Dollar Bills is an Idea I Can Support

This is actually a very good idea. And, this is also why it'll never happen.

If you have any experience dealing with euros, and with the one and two euro coins, then I would imagine that you would have a pretty good feeling about ditching the $1 dollar bill entirely; if not, then you don't know what you're missing.

One of the few really advanced and intelligent things that happened with Europe's conversion to the euro was the elimination of the paper single in favor of the one and two euro coin. When you have a handful of two euro coins, you've got money.

Will Americans be able to handle such a concept? Maybe gradually, but not at first. The problem, of course, comes from the popularity of the quarter and the fact that dollar coins have failed because they were too much like the quarter.

But, anyway--yes. Get rid of the dollar bill. Save the money. It would be a smart thing to do.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Wrong Kind of Need, Fulfilled

This story feeds into the idea that everyone has to have a college degree in order to be a part of the emerging economy. The fact of the matter is, not everyone needs a degree, but a lot of people need more skills than they already have.

College degrees don't come with skills; they come with the ability
to get skills in some cases or, in many other cases, they come with a validation stamp that says "this person can be educated further."

The problem is, we are short of manufacturing job skills and I'm not sure which degree program listed above is really going to fix that problem. The people who get college degrees nowadays are usually women, and they are usually not interested in manufacturing positions. There are exceptions, but, by and large, they're graduating with degrees in business or psychology and are not looking for factory jobs.

We initiated a mindset several generations ago that linked factory work with failure and doom, and now we're paying the price for that.

Texas should focus on training people for jobs that actually exist in Texas instead of trying to ram more college graduates into an economy that needs something else.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Devastating Ad That Explains Bain Capital Better Than Anything Else

When you ask people, "What is Bain Capital?" more often than not, you're going to get puzzled stares. That's because much of the defining and explaining that went on happened in the early summer.

Bain Capital was Mitt Romney's version of predatory capitalism. It bought companies, it sold companies, it rearranged them, and it tore them apart to make profits. And while Republicans claim that Bain created jobs, here's a testimonial as to what the tearing apart looked and sounded like.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Are You Kidding Me?

These numbers, via 538, are astonishing.

Given the state of the American economy, the massive effort to destroy President Obama, and a lengthy political season, it's no wonder the Republicans are flailing about like a drunk in an aisle full of non-alcoholic beer.

Each and every time Romney speaks, tries to get on message, and make his case to the American people, people run for the exits and express their support for the President.

It is certainly going to be closer in November, and this is by no means "locked up," but, wow. There is no popular support for a Republican for President, is there?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Food Stamps and the Debacle of Modern Economics

This sort of thing should get people motivated to do something about our economy, but it doesn't.

If you don't get people working, you won't get the number of people using foodstamps to go down. And the economic benefits of getting people back to work are staggering--more money to support state and local governments, more money paid into the system through sales taxes, and more people contributing to the economy in positive ways. This should be the number one goal of government.

Instead, we have lethargy and obstructionism. It's ridiculous. How anyone could vote Republican is beyond me.

The Obama Administration is the only hope for recovery. The Republicans want to throw people to the wolves.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paul Rahe is a Terrified Old Man

Poor Paul Rahe. He's terrified of the future and he doesn't have any idea how to process the information that he's being given.

In the case of Nate Silver, in particular, the act of equating his work with the CIA during the Cold War, and how they missed the collapse of the Soviet Union, is laughable. Silver does not prognosticate with anything other than sheer raw data to back him up. He doesn't "wing" it and throw wild predictions around. He has been elevated to the position he's in solely because his methodology is extremely sound and is based on statistical models which produce excellent results. Silver works those models, and acknowledges his mistakes as well as his achievements with the data; he deals with things that exist in the real world, in other words, and Rahe cannot fathom anything like this.

Rahe is looking at Mitt Romney's prospects and he's using inductive, not deductive, reasoning to argue that Romney is going to win in a landslide.

Which polls does he see? Who's data is he using? Which model shows Romney winning the Electoral College by a wide margin? Everyone else is using data that is many times more sophisticated and accurate than the famous "Dewey Beats Truman" data of yesteryear. That data breaks down the states by polls that are rigorously compared with other polls; the accuracy of a pollster's previous work is also factored in. This is some serious math we're talking about.

But math doesn't tell the whole story; trends and demographics do. The information used by the people Rahe dismisses is pretty damned good. If the polls were going the other way, would Rahe disagree with them as well?

Here's what he actually thinks is going to give Romney a landslide:
Romney can go on to speak of Obamacare. He can point to the corruption that Barack Obama brought from Chicago to Washington. He need only mention Solyndra and sound the theme of crony capitalism. Romney can also point to the President’s systematic misuse of the executive power – to defraud the salaried employees of Delphi and the bondholders of General Motors and Chrysler, to gut the welfare reform passed by New Gingrich and adopted by Bill Clinton, to let school systems out of No Child Left Behind, to sick the IRS on political enemies, to force people into unions, to encourage voter fraud, to deprive Catholics and other Christians of the free exercise of their religion. The list is long.
I'm not aware of anyone who even remotely believes that Romneycare, I mean, Obamacare is a loser; far from it--Romney cannot bring it up and, when one of his spokespeople does, all hell breaks loose.

Solyndra, Delphi, and welfare reform are not on the lips of voters. Crony capitalism is, and the word is Bain. People are vaguely aware that the auto company bailout worked and saved millions of jobs. People probably don't remember how the Bush Administration sent the U.S. Attorneys after voter fraud (another issue no one cares about because it doesn't exist) and the political enemies of George W. Bush; I don't think they see the Obama Administration in any such light. People are also vaguely aware that the Catholic Church has a tendency to change the subject so that people stop talking about all those kids who were raped. Newt and Gingrich are words so poisonous that the man is literally and figuratively bankrupt because people in his own party rejected his candidacy. And Bill Clinton is pretty popular right now.

In short, Paul Rahe has no idea what he's talking about because things like fact don't matter to him. Winning does. And his guy is the worst presidential candidate since whenever.

When you're old, that's gotta hurt. That's gotta hurt like a son of a bitch. But, the facts remain. Which poll shows a Romney landslide? So far, the data simply isn't there.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Perfect Way to Change the Subject

American workers aren't all bad, of course. We have plenty of highly skilled people. What we lack are ethical capitalists who actually want to produce things and take measured risks. And, when you think about it, why should they do the right thing? This notion that they can't find workers is yet another wingnut myth--it has no basis in reality.

The current system rewards cutting workers, shedding overhead, and taking a short-term gain instead of investing and growing companies over the long haul. Nobody cares what the profits might be in two or three years; American companies live or die by the next quarter. If the choice is to keep profits flat or cut a thousand workers and see a jump in the value of the stock, guess who's going to be looking for work? The CEO or the thousand workers sacrificed to make things look profitable? It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, until, of course, there's no one left to fire.

If we had a tax policy that rewarded job creation and investment, you might see a change in this outlook. But, instead, you have a corporate culture which worships at the altar of cutting, not investing.

One of the biggest enablers of this outright theft of productivity is Tom Friedman. How many times do we need to hear that American workers have no skills? Well, that's all dashed to pieces now, isn't it? The problem is, no one cares.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Want More Time Off? Sorry, Can't Help You

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I realize that this is about "elite" workers, but, really, the statistics cover ALL workers, and when we talk about the benefits enjoyed by workers, once it becomes fashionable to take them away from some, the employers will reduce them for all. Yes, even pesky lawyers.

Our Galtian overlords think we are lazy, indolent, overfed, and underworked. That's why they are destroying public sector unions--those people sometimes get as much as six weeks off per year. Since the late 1970s what has happened? Private section union membership has decreased while most of the union membership has stayed in public sector unions. So, the only thing standing in the way of reducing the amount of time off, on average, that the American worker enjoys is the size of the public sector unions. Once they are destroyed, it's over.

The elimination of benefits for workers begins with those who have no voice. Once they see their benefits reduced or eliminated, it becomes easier to chip away at the benefits enjoyed by others. If American workers at all levels remain in a "I've got mine, screw the other guy" tribal mentality, then there's very little left for anyone to wish for. This really is one of those situations where we're all in it together. The people at the very top are hoping on division and strife to destroy huge chunks of the American workforce, and public sector unions are under siege right now. After them, the fatter benefits enjoyed by workers depicted above are next.

If you want to argue that people should have more time off, fine. But don't pretend that employers are going to give that away. They might negotiate with employees for more time off, but unless you are organized, forget about it.

With over 8% unemployment, they're not going to give anyone anything unless it is pried from their greedy, chubby little fingers. And, of course, people hate unions, unions are corrupt, unions are full of mafia members, unions destroyed America five times before Ronald Reagan saved us all, blah, blah, blah...

The simple fact is, tribalism is bringing down America, and our elites couldn't be more pleased with that.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brad DeLong Buries Austerity

The move to austerity crippled Europe; I don't think there is a sane person who would argue otherwise. But, austerity in America has been a huge bust, and you have to champion those who called it for what it was--stupid, irresponsible, and utterly, utterly ruinous.

One quibble--when DeLong celebrates Larry Summers, I know he's praising him in the big picture sense. In the small picture, however, it was Summers who argued against using TARP funds to aid small businesses.

I would argue that America's problem, economically, stems from the fact that not enough was done, or is being done, to stimulate small business activity.

This is the sort of madness that true economists face.

How much faith would you put in that nonsense? And yet, I can guarantee you that far too many decision-makers follow the line of thinking espoused by Pethokoukis rather than Krugman, et al.