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May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
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(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

Chronic Unemployment

Neoliberalism as the Cause of Chronic, Structural Unemployment in the USA

News Over 50 and unemployed Recommended Links Chronic stress Computers eat people Underemployment Eroding Western living standards
The neoliberal myth of human capital Perma Temps Adverse Selection Scapegoating and victimization of poor Productivity Myth and "Rising labor costs" hypocrisy Neoliberalism and Christianity The problem of inequality
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Corporatism Casino Capitalism If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths Toxic Managers Office Stockholm Syndrome Learned helplessness
Unemployment after graduation Fake Employment Statistics Destructiveness of GDP Mania   Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability

Economics Pseudo Theories

Notes on Republican Economic Policy
John Kenneth Galbraith Invisible Hand Hypothesis Inflation vs. Deflation Lysenkoism Financial Humor Humor  Etc

Unemployment offices, homeless shelters,  hospitals, prisons and casinos. and are the only real growth industries of Obama Administration. In Jan 2010 35 millions, or one in eight Americans, were on food stamps.

Obama's  biggest — and only major — jobs program is the U.S. military


When I was a kid they told us that automation would "free" us from working long hours. What they didn't tell us what that they weren't going to pay us for all this leisure time we'd get.

Mass unemployment is the primary indication of the collapse of a given form of society -- James Burnham


Introduction


"Unemployment" statistics has been the political advertising media for every Administration in modern times

From comment in
The Rise of Invisible Unemployment
 The Atlantic, Nov 9, 2014

 

Chronic unemployment is an immanent feature of neoliberalism, which requires the army of unemployed to suppress wages in order to increase share of profits for the top 1$ and, especially, the top 0.01%.  Another problem is secular (long-term) stagnation of the economy due to destruction of consumer demand, which comes with the deterioration of the standard of living and high level of unemployment.  As Pope Francis noted:

...Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

... ... ...

One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

The institutions of neoliberal capitalism, while promoting an expanded role in the economy for "market forces" (read "financial oligarchy")  simultaneously transform labor relations. The “market” under neoliberalism certainly no longer refers to competition as a form of the production and distribution goods and services. Instead, it means something more along the lines of international financial monopolies protected by collusion between captured vassal state institutions (including neoliberal fifth column domination in the all major branches of government, especially executive and  legislative branches, educational institutions and media) and multinationals, which pay money to sustain this social order. The term “Free markets” under neoliberalism means letting rich people do what they want, not promoting efficient allocation of resources through competition and the price mechanism. The core of the fifth column are local oligarchs and so called "Chicago boys": sons and daughters of local elite who are trained for and indoctrinated for this purpose in Western universities. As aptly noted Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems ( The Guardian,  April 15, 2016)

We internalize and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don't have a job it's because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you're feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it's your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.

Under neoliberalism labor relations assumes the form of full domination of labor by capitalists. Unions are officially suppressed and large part of middle class is brainwashed to hate using set of propaganda stories about unions corruption, welfare quinsy, lack of competitiveness in unionized industries (with Detroit as a prime story), etc.  In this sense crushing by Reagan of the strike of air controllers was one of the first manifestation of this dominance. Workers again are downgraded to the role of debt slaves, who should be glad to get subsistence wages. And, for example, wages in Wal-Mart are really on subsistence level, no question about it (Making Change at Wal-Mart » Fact Sheet – Wages):

Wal-Mart jobs are poverty-level jobs.
Wal-Mart's average sale Associate makes $8.81 per hour, according to IBISWorld, an independent market research group. This translates to annual pay of $15,576, based upon Wal-Mart's full-time status of 34 hours per week1. This is significantly below the 2010 Federal Poverty Level of $22,050 for a family of four. The Wall Street Journal reported that the average Wal-Mart cashier makes just $8.48 an hour, far below the $11.22 national average for all cashiers.

This contrasts with the capital-labor compromise that characterized the state capitalism that existed several post-WWII decades and that was crushed by neoliberalism in 1970th. Neoliberalism also brought change in the relation between financial and non-financial capital: financial capital now again like in 1920th plays a dominant role dictating the rules of the game to manufacturing sector and controlling it via banks.

Under neoliberalism the wealthy and their academic servants, see inequality as a noble outcome. University professors of economics form the most corrupt part of intellectual elite – they are nothing more than employees of the financial oligarchy paid to administer intellectual anesthetic to those among debt slaves, who still have enough time to ask what’s going on. They want to further enrich top 1%, shrink middle class making it less secure, and impoverish poor.  That's an officially state goal. Then in 1992, when asked what Iran-Contra was really all about, Bush I replied that it was done for "...the continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands."

The upward redistribution of wealth requires high unemployment to weep prols into unconditional obedience.  In other words neoliberalism and high unemployment are twins.

Under the disguise of "free market" Newspeak  neoliberals promote a type of economy which is often called a plantation economy. In this type of the economy all the resources and power are in the hands of a wealthy planter class who then gives preference for easy jobs and the easy life to their loyal toadies. The wealthy elites like cheap labor: it's much easier to  dictate their conditions of employment when unemployment is high.

Keynesian economics values the middle class and does not value unemployment or cheap labor, so it is incompatible with neoliberal ideology and needs to be suppressed.  Neoliberals created the system which richly reward stooges of neoliberalism for their loyalty to the top 1%  bestowing on them an easier life than they otherwise merit. In a meritocracy where individuals receive public goods and services that allow them to compete on a level playing field, many neoliberal academic toadies would be losers who cannot compete.

One of the most important measures of the health of an economy is the following criteria: how many fulfilling, living-wage jobs are created or destroyed (most other economic factors can be distilled to this.). For example, widely used measure of economic growth, GDP is too influenced by financial masturbation and does not distinguish useful activity from harmful or irrelevant. 

Under neoliberalism the elite revived Roman emperor Septimius Severus advice to his sons before he died at Eboracum (York) on  February 4, 211:

"Avoid infighting, pay well the soldiers, and ignore everybody else" . 

So during the Great Recession Congress simply tuned backs to unemployed. With the implicit message you just need to die out folks ;-).

Military budget at the same time was greatly expanded and several unnecessary wars were launched.  Brainwashed American public eats all those neoliberal policies like real lemmings, demonstrating the level of groupthink and lack of critical thinking that is typical for high demand cults. So the myth about highly conscious "proletariat" that Marxists cherished remains a myth. Moreover quite opposite tendencies to creation of "enlightened lower classes" show their ugly face (Chris Hedges America is a Tinderbox naked capitalism):

ictus92, July 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm

To paraphrase Madeline Albright: “What’s the point of creating a totalitarian police state if you’re not going to use it?”

So where is the American totalitarian state going? If you look at the NDAA and the discussion around repealing the Posse Comitatus Act, the key words include quelling “domestic civil unrest”… So what are the “deep government” types anticipating so hysterically?

Well, the financial crisis keeps grinding away and is about to enter another phase of collapse as “quantitative easing” has run its course. Interest rates are rising, posing “technical insolvency” of the Federal Reserve itself. What this means is that time’s up for the 46 million in the Food Stamp Supplemental Program; 56 million getting Social Security retirement or disability benefits; and at least 20 million more needing full time employment. Obviously there’s some overlap, but the total number of people living on the margins of subsistence pushes 30% of the population.

For these, they face an immediate “Final Solution”… not exactly direct extermination, but death by deprivation, illness etc. Can work camps be far off for these tens of millions and the many millions more living paycheck to paycheck? This population and their sympathizers comprise the tinder for “civil unrest”. Hence the corollary to the famous “Collect it all” (communications) is “control it all” (civil disorder following further economic collapse).

Furthermore, prolonged neglect of key infrastructure will lead inevitably to severe food, water and electric power access shortages — another source of civil unrest potential.

Of course, overseas the totalitarian police state eliminates all expression of opposition that can change policies in the quest for “Permanent War” and “full spectrum” military dominance. This ends in global military confrontation… just as the financial crisis of the 30’s gave rise to another World War… only this time around world war will pitch towards thermonuclear war in short order. That’s how totalitarian regimes collapse into catastrophe, dragging the rest of us to an unpleasant demise.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a damn thing any of us can do to arrest this beserk Levithan…

tongorad, July 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm

This is America, not Denmark. In this country, tens of millions of people choose to watch FoxNews not simply because Americans are credulous idiots or at the behest of some right-wing corporate cabal, but because average Americans respect viciousness.

They are attracted to viciousness for a lot of reasons. In part, it reminds them of their bosses, whom they secretly adore. Americans hate themselves for the way they behave in public, always smiling and nodding their heads with accompanying really?s and uh-huhs to show that they’re listening to the other person, never having the guts to say what they really feel. So they vicariously scream and bully others into submission through right-wing surrogate-brutes. Spending time watching Sean Hannity is enough for your average American white male to feel less cowardly than he really is.

The left won’t accept this awful truth about the American soul, a beast that they believe they can fix “if only the people knew the Truth.”

But what if the Truth is that Americans don’t want to know the Truth? What if Americans consciously choose lies over truth when given the chance–and not even very interesting lies, but rather the blandest, dumbest and meanest lies? What if Americans are not a likeable people? The left’s wires short-circuit when confronted with this terrible possibility; the right, on the other hand, warmly embraces Middle America’s rank soul and exploits it to their full advantage. The Republicans know Americans better than the left. They know that it’s not so much Goering’s famous “bigger lie” that works here, but the dumber and meaner the lie, the more the public wants to hear it repeated.”

“We, The Spiteful” by Mark Ames

http://exiledonline.com/we-the-spiteful/

Dave, July 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Please consider that the “right” is far more realistic in their assessment of human nature. The “left” wants things to be according to what they think it should be, mostly because of their left wing educators. The majority of humans are not perfectible.

Even Asians, with their highly socialized societies, have behaved very badly towards those outside their country.

This tendency of self-deception of "blue color America" and resonating of Republican Party ideas within "working poor" and lower middle class, two strata of the US society that typically votes against its own economic interests is analyzed in   What's the matter with Kansas  And to fight neoliberal machine is not easy as media dominance is total, and on a new technological level, which does not require silencing of opponents, just ignoring them, approach the level typical for the USSR or Nazi Germany.  And even if some people question the system, like (at the very beginning) Tea Party did, or later "Occupy Wall Street" movement did, they are mercilessly co-opted or crashed by well paid guard labor. The latter is one of the few  types of employment which prospers under neoliberal empire. See  The Rise of Guard Labor (dollarsandsense.org)

The reality is that many rich countries including the USA now face two problems. One is a shortage of jobs, especially middle class jobs.  The other is stagnant (or falling) wages for those outside top 1%.  This is not a temporary problem. Despite all the propaganda smoke this is an immanent feature of neoliberal regimes that now dominate in the USA and most other countries.  Neoliberalism requires high unemployment as a way to keep workers in check and prevent attempts to slow down redistribution of wealth toward the top.

As George Bush Sr . noted in November 1992 neoliberalism is "the continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands". The essence is  the consolidation of money and power to the top 0.1% or even 0.01%.  In a very deep sense our new lords from financial and political oligarchy are not that different from feudal aristocracy, may be only less educated, more prone to avoid military service and much more greedy. 

Unlike Keynesian economy which put middle class in the center of society serving a buffer between rich and poor,  under neoliberalism  middle class is no longer needed as a buffer between aristocracy and proles, as repressive power of the state and regime of total surveillance (National Security State) makes an organized opposition practically impossible. The fate of "Occupy Wall Street" movement is nice illustration here.

On the other hand neoliberalism as an ideology, while discredited by event of 2008 still does not have any viable alternative.  Socialism was discredited by collapse of the USSR (which in reality was a neoliberal counterrevolution by Soviet nomenklatura including part of KGB).  Authoritarian versions of state capitalism does not look too attractive, despite being quite effective as was proven by economic progress of "Asian tigers".

Other important factors are also in play. Technology has stripped away the ability for many to hold a job and the trend continues.  In other words automation eats jobs. Outsourcing eats jobs too. Between those two trends almost no job growth left. This is a structural situation, not transitional caused by recession due to aftermath of 2008 financial bubble bust.  In other words jobs that disappeared will never return. And jobs in construction sector and finance were artificial and unsustainable in any case, crisis or no crisis (as in "what can't last forever eventually stops." )

We are in the midst of slow motion employment collapse. Eurozone unemployment recently reached 12%. The US has probably 20% rate of involuntary unemployment now. The official unemployment "rate" is lower, but that is because both 60-65 years old and 20 to 24 year olds are dropping out of the wage force.

Add to this "peak energy" problem and the situation looks really bleak. That's the funny thing about oil and modern civilization -- almost everybody in large western urban centers is dependent on mass produced technology (much of which was invented before we were born) and cheap oil (and generally cheap energy), Those who live in those urban centers no longer have any direct control or ability to produce own food or transportation energy or heating. those three activities are completely outsourced. See Peak Oil Demand is Already a Huge Problem.

Globalization is yet another problem. I was actually surprised by how many jobs large corporations managed to shred during 2008-2013 without negatively affecting  profitability.  The impression is that it is no low limit.  Usual wisdom is that if you shred too much, this labor shortage will bite you in a couple of years. This is no longer the case in the USA. No visible backlash at all.  Even consumption that should be suffering due to destruction of middle class in this process is no suffering much, because it was already mostly top 1% game and, as such, is recession proof. Here is one interesting comment form Krugman column Globalization and Macroeconomics - NYTimes.com

Floxo Australia

The analysis is flawed. The issue is not goods trade - on its own, this is relatively benign. The real problem is the associated capital drain. Owners of capital will transfer productive capital abroad for better returns. This process creates deep structural problems for all developed economies. Here are some basic predictions:

Recessions are difficult to manage and may become protracted. In a downturn, capital formation dries up but the capital drain continues. This erodes the output gap. A fiscal stimulus now has less headroom for expansion. On top of that, an increase in domestic demand may be met by investment in productive capital abroad; the domestic investment response is missing. This may even cause a fall in labor productivity ( UK productivity puzzle?).

In short, globalization IS the problem.

Unemployment and well being

Recessions generate inequality in both income and well-being: people who lose their jobs bear a disproportionate burden of the recession.  As Kathleen Geier noted the impact of unemployment on well-being it’s even worse than you thought

While reading this odd and meandering New York Times op-ed this morning, I stumbled upon a link to a fascinating study from last year on the impact of unemployment on non-monetary well-being. It was conducted by Stanford sociologist Cristobal Young, who discovered that unemployment has an even more catastrophic effect on personal happiness that we thought.

The study produced three major findings. The first is the devastating impact job loss has on personal well-being. Job loss, says Young, “produces a large drop in subjective well-being”:

Job loss into unemployment, however, is a different matter; this brings on deep distress that is greater in magnitude than the effect of changes in family structure, home-ownership or parental status. The distress of job loss is also hard to ameliorate: family income does not help, unemployment insurance appears to do little and even reemployment does not provide a full recovery [italics mine].

The second finding is that while unemployment insurance (UI) is successful as a macroeconomic stabilizer, it doesn’t make unemployed people any happier. UI, says Young:

is not central to their sense of well-being… [Snip] …[ I]t does little to support their identity, sense of purpose or self-regard.

Third, job loss has a strong, lasting negative impact on well-being that may persist for years:

[J]ob loss has consequences that linger even after people return to work. Finding a job, on average, recovers only about two thirds of the initial harm of losing a job. It is not clear how long it takes for the nonpecuniary effect of unemployment to heal.

Other research suggests that what Young refers to as “the scarring effect” of job loss can last from three to five years, or even longer. He also notes that “the more generalized fear of becoming jobless” may persist.

Young’s discussion of these findings stresses the inequality theme. He points out that “recessions generate inequality in both income and well-being: people who lose their jobs bear a disproportionate burden of the recession.” He suggests job-sharing as a way to reduce the concentrated misery of unemployment. That’s a great idea that unfortunately never seems to go anywhere. Employers today seem more interested in squeezing as much labor out of employees as possible for the lowest cost. They’re looking to shrink their payroll rather than expand it. And unfortunately, there are very few public policies that promote job-sharing, let alone do it effectively.

The sheer human misery created by the economic downturn has been stunning. The economic damage is, in some ways, the least of it. Another study shows that the long-term unemployed experience shame, loss of self-respect, and strained relationships with friends and family. They even suffer significantly higher rates of suicide.

Yesterday, Paul Krugman and others discussed the impact of economic inequality vs. unemployment on income. Krugman argued that inequality has had the greater impact, and I agree. Among other things, inequality is also the root cause of the unemployment problem. Special interests which have disproportionate power in our political system prevented more stimulus and inflicted an austerity agenda, which has had a disastrous effect on employment. Enacting an economic equality agenda will be huge political challenge, but it’s the only way I can see of ultimately resetting the priorities of our government so that it starts working on behalf of ordinary Americans again.

Official measures of unemployment

There are two popular unemployment measured U3 (commonly cited as "official unemployment rate", which dramatically understates real unemployment) and U6, which is close to actual unemployment rate as was measured during the Great Depression. U3 is often as low as half of U6 (that's why it sometimes called 50 cents unemployment rate). As The Big Picture note in the entry Unemployment Reporting

Its been pretty obvious for sometime that the Financial Media are doing a disservice to their readers by only reporting U3, given how dramatically it understates Unemployment. Indeed, consumer sentiment reports are at deep negative levels that only occur when Unemployment is much than what U3 has been saying. It is painfully obvious that U3 does not paint an accurate view of the Employment situation.

Here's the experiment I propose: Let's start reporting both, with appropriate descriptions of each. Report U3, add U6, provide monthly and year over year changes. Let the reader see the full picture, via BLS data.

See Table A-12. Alternative measures of labor underutilization

Factors that make the current unemployment structural

I would like to stress it again: many factors point to the fact that the current level of unemployment is mostly structural. In other words jobs eliminated will not be coming back. Among the most important factors we can mention:

  1. Neoliberal ideology, which prevents strong government action and direct employment by government on infrastructure projects like during New Deal. Related to the dominance of neoliberalism the hypertrophy of financial sector lead to games with "Main street" after which high, self-sustainable (aka structural) unemployment for in now a destiny for millions. Making the whole society sick.
     
  2. Outsourcing (which partially is due to much better communication channels available and computerized navigation)
     
  3. Computerization (which directly "eats jobs" much like during industrial revolution in the UK).
     
  4. High price of energy, which serves as strong depressing factor. If I remember correctly, a decade ago price of oil above $100 was considered an equivalent to permanent recession. This is never mentioned today, but still might be as true today as it was ten years ago: with the high price of oil the economic recovery is simply impossible. The only option, the only trajectory for economy is permanent stagnation.
     
  5. Growth of "lumpen-proletariat". Narcoaddicts, alcoholics, single mothers from poor families with just high school diplomas,  people with "generosity-based" high school (considerable part of Afro-Americans) and university diplomas from "diploma mills" (essentially fake diplomas),  various categories of handicapped, people with criminal records (substantial part of Afro-American male population), etc.  

The first three factors changed the distribution of power between labor and capital in favor of capital; and those guys are not inclined to take prisoners, when there is a chance to fatten their pockets.  None of the first three factors will probably be reversed soon, although neoliberal ideology is after 2008 entered a zombie state.

Also computerization and Internet allowed capital and political forces behind it much better organize politically. So like in in previous human history well organized and wealthy minority dictates its will less-organized poor majority.

I think that financial capital might eventually experience some setbacks. This bacchanalia of greed with those hedge fund  which hack financial system left and right  might come to an abrupt end with the rise of the price of oil. Even now price of oil indirectly pressure "masters of the universe".  And remember famous slogan of 2008 "Jump suckers" ;-). It reflects the society attitude to financial oligarchy and as such entail certain dangers of "blowback" for all those derivatives games.

Not under Obama watch as he is essentially a sock puppet of financial oligarchy. But eventually setback for "big finance" can happen. At the end of the day it is oil that is the real convertible currency and when oil production is diminishing or flat,  financial oligarchy will be pushed back. 

Measures taken by political elite to save financial institutions after 2008 collapse means that unemployment is a part of a general political problem with neoliberalism as a social system. Under neoliberal regime the elite can't care less about long term unemployment. National Security State ensures the security of the neoliberal elite. Elections in the USA are a sham as two party system effectively blocks candidates outside the list approved by the current elite.  The latter might even see sharp division of the society into "have" and "have nots"  as a solution of oil depletion problem (Economist's View):

bakho:

Exactly.

Monetary policy does not operate in a vacuum. Monetary policy operates in an economic system that includes fiscal and regulatory tools. It is a mistake to lock the fiscal and regulatory tools in a shed.

Fiscal policy ALWAYS operates in a recession, at least in the form of automatic stabilizers, (UI, etc.) and sometimes in the form of additional stimulus.

The meagre automatic stabilizers currently in place are enough for a mild recession, but are woefully short of what is needed in a recession like the recent one.

The primary objection to fiscal policy manipulations is that fiscal policy is more easily politicized. This overlooks the fact that monetary policy is not only political, but bankers (who constitute a wealthy special interest) have an agenda that tilts monetary policy to their own self interests.

The primary objection to using fiscal stimulus to address our unemployment crisis is POLITICAL. Wealthy special interests want pay less taxes and short term stimulus would interfere with their political agenda to roll back spending and reduce spending as a percent of GDP.

Wealthy special interests have the upper hand at the moment because enough politicians are dependent on their campaign donations. However, this politicalization of fiscal policy, doing too little to address unemployment, is the prime force behind the Fed keeping interest rates low. If enough fiscal stimulus was enacted to quickly return to full employment and inflation at or slightly above the target, the Fed would not have to consider extraordinary measures.

Anyone unhappy about extraordinary monetary measures should be urging Congress to fix unemployment now. This is not what our elites are doing. They are complaining about extraordinary monetary measures AND about additional stimulus. This suggests that these policy elites care nothing about social problems of long term unemployment, are content to have the US become a divided nation between haves and have nots and are content to oversee the creation of an underclass in order to concentrate wealthy upward.

When one is saying that unemployment became a structural problem that means that it is immune to the business cycle. For example, during the last economic expansion (Jan 2002 -Dec 2007), the median US household income dropped by $2,000. In other words many Americans were worse off at the end of an economic cycle as jobs went outsourced to low wage countries due to wage arbitrage... 

Collapse of Casino Capitalism and unemployment

The collapse of “casino capitalism” model in 2008-2009 was so profound that all sectors of the economy became depressed. As securitization mess exploded in the face of their creators as it became clear to everybody that the king is naked. Debt overhand of financial industry is tremendous and it was just socialized, not removed. Essentially it became the problem of the USA government debt. In many ways problems the USA faces now are more serious then the problems the country faced during Great Depression because economic crisis doubles as the crisis of dominant ideology -- the ideology of neoliberalism.  And the Great Recession, despite Economic Cycle Institute premature desire to bury it, is still with us. Five years in the making as of 2013.

Ideology on which FIRE sector dominance was based is now questioned and that creates additional problems both nationally and internationally, much more internationally. Internationally it means a substantial loss of the USA "soft power", the factor that played tremendous role in the decade of 1990-2000.  When other country laugh at the US financial oligarchy tribulations it is difficult to open new markets selling old neoliberalism doctrine. due to debt overhand the US dollar is replaced by currency swaps in national currency for several major trading partners of China such as Brazil and Russia.   First of all that makes the crisis even deeper and analogies between the USSR and the USA more sinister. As with Stalinists in USSR who destroyed the country economically, there is a powerful block of republican dead enders and democratic supporters of financial oligarchy (blue dogs) who  will continue to promote the current neoliberal course with its deification of "free markets" (free as in "free shooting zone"), oblivious to consequences of neoliberal policies which eat the society and protected by the size of their accounts. There is nothing new here. Oligarchic  democracies can commit suicide. Actually none lasted long. And with such a formidable political wrecking crew in action and gridlock in Congress even over minor reforms that became less probable.

For all practical purposes two party system actually works like one-party system: democrats were also captured by FIRE industries to the extent that they should not be considered an independent party, but as a slightly more moderate wing of the Republican Party. Similarly by all accounts Obama is a moderate Republican with the policies to the right of such Republican Presidents as Dwight Eisenhower and Theodore Roosevelt. In a way, Democratic Party perform the role of spoiler: it exists for the sole purpose of attracting disgruntled left-wing electorate away from more radical parties. Republicans play symmetrical role for right wing crazies. None can or want to became the agent of change. In this sense Obama electoral slogan "change we can believe in" was a nasty, cruel joke of political insiders over political outsiders.  Note how unceremoniously Obama dumped labor after his reelection, while courting it during his reelection campaign.

As private sector is still downsizing, and government can't be the employer of last resort due to dominance of neoliberal ideology, the whole situation looks more and more like Japanese lost decade. The only area where government can expand workforce are defense contractors (military keysianism):

Minsky, however, argued for a “bubble-up” approach, sending money to the poor and unskilled first. The government - or what he liked to call “Big Government” - should become the “employer of last resort,” he said, offering a job to anyone who wanted one at a set minimum wage. It would be paid to workers who would supply child care, clean streets, and provide services that would give taxpayers a visible return on their dollars. In being available to everyone, it would be even more ambitious than the New Deal, sharply reducing the welfare rolls by guaranteeing a job for anyone who was able to work. Such a program would not only help the poor and unskilled, he believed, but would put a floor beneath everyone else’s wages too, preventing salaries of more skilled workers from falling too precipitously, and sending benefits up the socioeconomic ladder.

It is important to understand that the USA is not just coping with the largest financial crisis in history, the USA is also going through a major restructuring of the American economy as well as the world economy due to plato in oil extraction. This transformation, which was postponed by two decades due the collapse of the USSR (which gave the USA companies half billion of new consumers and huge area to dollarize and buy assets for pennies on a dollar), will be very long, very painful and very slow. One additional factor that complicates the picture of "peak oil", is that it is  more properly can be called "end of cheap oil", as at higher prices more oil became economically available. So this is  not a peak but long plato.

As GDP is highly correlated with the energy consumption, the side effect of peak oil will probably be stagnant (close to zero after inflation) growth and with it speed up in permanent decline of the standard of living for middle class 

Also complicating the situation is the status of baby boomers which lost significant part of their savings during last two bubble bursts and now need to retire or will be pushed out of workforce. Pensions are already cuts either directly or indirectly (via inflation). For example, defined benefit pensions almost disappeared outside of government job force. After housing crash middle class no longer has a realistic prospect to fund their retirement and need to work longer: that increases competition for jobs. For middle aged professionals who are unemployed now the odds of finding reasonably paid work are low and they create additional competition for young people entering work force from universities. People over 50 now face especially poor job prospects.

At the same time corporate executives became corporate aristocracy (with differences in pay raising from 10-20 to 100-200 more of average corporate salary; this is the differences close to what used to exist in feudal societies). Most corporations are taking a lazy way out of the crisis with relentless cost-cutting.  This is a self-defeating strategy as cost cuttings eventually returns back via supply chain and bite the corporation which performs it. But so far this did not happened.

In addition productive sectors of economy are now under pressure of rampant financial speculation which serves as a huge tax on productive sectors of economy. Financial system is controlled by small number of large firms that permanently shifted their main activity into gambling and hacking of the financial system. There is some justice that computers which fueled all this crazy gambling on the strength of global reserve currency led to outsourcing of IT professionals to the extent that this part of US economy was destroyed and became a shadow of its former self in just ten years (2000-2010).

Another important sign of stagnation is that new college graduates face extremely bad job market which squeezes out anybody without substantial experience so for them it's Catch 22. Only graduates form Ivy League colleges has real prospect to get a job after graduation. Plus those with good family connections. In a way education is no longer a guarantee for better paying job, the same situation what was typical for the USSR and other countries of Eastern block during Brezhnev's stagnation.

There is also an interesting transformation of the quality of the education that also parallel transformation  experienced by the USSR in post-war period, but in especially acute form, three decades before the collapse. Private education became more like subprime lending.  It's quality became fake, as the term "diploma mills" suggests.  This rat rate to the lowest possible quality (quality instead of quality) was the central tendency in Brezhnev's USSR. 

In the USA in addition to devaluation of education caused by low quality "everything passes, everybody graduates, just pay" modus operandi of diploma mills, graduates from lower middle class families are now overloaded with debt, which creates for them really difficult situation and push many of them into low level service jobs like waiting. In other words excessive debt after college make getting into workforce using acquired specialty even more difficult as there is no space for long job search, relocation is more difficult and so on and so forth. 

There is also huge criminal industry that flourished around people desperate attempts to find well paying jobs. Many educational scams like "we will make you an ultrasound technician in six month; 90% of our graduates found jobs that pay over $60K in the first month after graduation"  or " software tester in four month; 100% of our graduates find jobs" are trying to capitalize of people desperate to find job, any job and getting into crushing debt trying to improve their chances in job market. Those criminals are not prosecuted.  For more information see:

The main source on new jobs is service sector and the lion share of new positions are McJobs

The employment growth comes mainly from the service sector which feeds off of consumer spending. It was hit by outsourcing especially in such areas as IT. Manufacturing no longer create jobs – outsourcing and computers eat them and you no longer need more people to make more stuff. 

Peter Dornan at EconoSpeak has the following comment which perhaps looks deeper at why the elite is so indifferent to mass unemployment and growing poverty in the U.S.

“…The process is more complicated: where one sits in society and the kinds of problems one typically has to solve leads to a way of thinking, and this manner of thinking then informs politics.

For centuries, the finance perspective has played a central role in economic theorizing, and there is ordinarily a body of research to support it. What I am proposing is this: economic orthodoxy is regaining control over policy because it reflects the outlook of those who occupy the upper reaches of government and business….”

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2010/05/a-political-economy-moment.html

IMHO to get the economy out of this mess, government should concentrate on direct job creation (like was the case with Roosevelt administration), not on propping zombie banks hoping that they will generate credit necessary for creation o new jobs. Growth of credit will not happen and if it will happen it will not generate new jobs: most of it  is pushed into speculation.  Spectacular rise of S&P500 in first half of 2013 is a pretty good illustration of the process.

Long term high unemployment is a disaster for the country and disaster for the people, despite the fact that it is irrelevant for banksters, too busy playing in the huge casino they created. Failure to address this problem directly by Obama administration (which in economic terms is the second Summers-Bush administration making a joke in the slogan "change we can believe in") make Obama a real serial betrayer of people who elected him, the role he seems enjoy playing. 

Additional factors the complicates the picture

There are several additional factors that makes addressing the problem of chronic, structural unemployment even more difficult:

  1. The economic crisis coincides with deep ideological and political crisis.

    One can't solve the current problems the US are facing without the reform of the political system and institutions. Power of lobbyists need to be curtailed. Senate needs to be reformed.  Republican Party probably should be dissolved or temporary prohibited like Communists after the dissolution of the USSR as it is unable to reform. As there is no political will for political changes the crisis is structural and little people have to suffer.
     

  2. Real economy was damaged by excessive growth of  FIRE sector and associated "fictional" economy.  Real economy can't support the current size of FIRE sector and it needs now to downsized. There is no smooth, painless route back to the easy-money based false prosperity of Reagan-Clinton-Bush era (age of leveraging). A new economy needs to be created for sustainable recovery because the old, FIRE-based was unsustainable. In 2010 housing probably will decline further. Both commercial and residential construction continues to decline. States continue to cut back budgets creating negative feedback loop. Personal bankruptcies are up, more defaults are on the horizon. The U.S. economy needs to be re-structured, both on the "technical" and inter-sectoral level. That amounts to a collective, system-wide Chapter 11 re-organization. Obama administration has totally failed to sell the public on the validity of "stimulus", however named. Suspicion that this administration is a puppet of big banks had grown sharply. Trying to kick the can down the road will yield Republican Congressional majorities in both houses.
  3. The USA is experiencing the process of separation of workforce into two-tiers, with an elite class of highly paid employees at top companies and a subclass of minimal wage and part time laborers who work for less pay, have less job security and receive fewer benefits.
  4. Foreign wars have substantial financial costs and are an important drag on the USA economy. In the book True Cost of the Iraq Conflict, Joseph Stiglitz was estimated he cost at three trillion dollars of which probably only one trillion was offset by looting of Iraq resources. Afghanistan is about  $2 billion a week, and unless all heroin trade is controlled by CIA there is little that can offset those costs. This is the longest ongoing conflict in U.S. history.  And since Joseph Stiglitz book was written things became worse.

    The disability rates are higher. The cost of caring for the disabled are higher. Almost one out of two people coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan are disabled. This is an unfunded liability of—we calculate now to be almost a trillion dollars, over $900 billion. So, one of the big ways of reducing our deficit is a—is cut back some expenditures....

    With Libya and Syria added to the list, the hidden costs of foreign wars will weight on weakened economics more heavily. Annual cost per soldier oversees is approximately $1 Million per year.
  5. Rent that hypertrophied financial sector  extracts from the rest of the society continues to be a serious drag on the economy. This drag adds to substantial drag caused by foreign wars and military bases as well as huge military industrial complex. While parasites are omnipresent in nature, two large parasites instead of one might spells trouble for the host. Moreover the ascendancy of the financial sector and the decline of manufacturing in the U.S. ("Casino Capitalism" ) has implications similar to consequences of an organized crime running the country.  The creation of tangible products whose utility/quality can be more or less objectively measured were phased out in favor of "financial products," whose utility/quality is much easier to conceal behind legal/technical jargon and junk economics. That created a huge new class of white collar criminals. While Blankfein is out claiming that GS is doing God’s work, the reality is quite different: it became a training ground for new type of ruthless criminals, much more dangerous then bank robbers. Killing of Glass-Steagall by Clinton and leverage obtained by financial sector operating without regulatory limit created prerequisites to the financial panic of 2008. Glass-Steagall enshrined two principles that were abandoned:

    The violation of the second principle directly leads to a regulatory capture in which anything goes and a corresponding observed "need" to accommodate indiscretions, as with the Greenspan/Bernanke put. It perhaps should be identified as THE primary cause, since it left Wall Street with the well-founded (LTCM, Latin America debt crisis, etc. ) and since-proved belief that prudence and capital were quite unnecessary, and that reckless, sociopathic deal making is profitable. Four examples :

  6. Capture of the government and the media by financial sector makes the necessary reforms unlikely. “Failed Regulatory Oversight” is a politically correct term for corruption. The latter was probably the second reason of the current high unemployment . See Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry by John C. Stauber
  7. Effects of coming CRE crash on unemployment and economy in general might be underestimated of official forecasts.  The occupancy rate is the malls and commercial buildings is still declining. Many strip malls in the country are still are empty. Nice office buildings with signs "for rent" are feature of landscape in 2013. Many buildings, even large well designed buildings with datacenter infrastructure are vacant for years and eventually are demolished.  A full scale commercial real-estate crash can also hurt the economy in a way similar to residential home estate crash. Loans that were made in 2005-2007 were refinanced for three years in 2009-2011. And again in 2012-2013. But eventually they will be coming home to roost.  This also affects the construction  sector.  Only $400 billion of loans came due by the end of 2009, but nearly $2 trillion was refinanced by 2012.  

    The collapse in the U.S. commercial real estate market is fought by the government will maximum force but government resources to fight the crisis are diminishing too. in 2011 state financial crises led to cuts in state budget. In addition, in June 2013 municipal bonds came under fire, making financing more costly.  Commercial debt is approximately one third of the size of the total residential debt and it is concentrated in the same places creating double whammy. In Florida commercial loans, broadly defined, are bigger then residential. Unlike residential real estate, problem with commercial real estate are not solved by growth of population and creation of new families.

    Retail and white-collar positions will be directly impacted by CRE crash. As stores and offices close, mall and office building owners suffer from cuts in cash flow and severely limited prospects for new tenants. Insurance companies, hedge funds and regional banks are heavily invested in CRE and are next in line so some financial jobs will be lost too. Extend and pretend might work but the question is if there is enough liquidity to stretch loans.
     

  8. Computers eat people jobs. Automation and the recent advances in robotic and computers make more and more workers redundant.  The latest victims are cashiers in supermarkets. Manufacturing jobs continue to disappear not only due to outsourcing, but also due to new computerized technologies. The reality is that manufacturing employs a mere 11.5 million workers in the U.S.A., or 9% of the workforce and this percentage will never increase substantially.

    My feeling is that even in corporate IT after drastic cuts that were the standard game for large corporations in 2008-2009, additional cuts are possible. But the situation on the ground is somewhat paradoxical as real cuts runs deeper that you would assume from headcount: a lot of current IT personnel belongs to "untouchable" caste -- wives of somebody higher up in this or linked by the supply chain company, sons of somebody important and so on. I can't give you percentage, but probably 10%-20% of "untouchables" would be an educated guess. So removing of at least 10% of the current IT workforce means removal of 12% or more those who do actual work. 

    Another factor is that cuts in IT are one way street as they stimulate replacing of people with technology and there are still tremendous potential for computerization of many areas including first of all IT itself.

    For example all this cloud initiatives are in disguise politically correct way to move things in the direction of higher automation and outsourcing because under the surface there is not much innovation in those "new" technologies.
     

  9. Oil prices despite coming down in September 2011 are back to $85-$90 level.  That level is putting additional stress on manufacturing, transportation and agriculture. Solid US growth of the past decade and earlier was dependent on two factors:

    With the rising oil all bets for re-inflating the economy (aka kicking the can down the road) are off.
     

  10. Indirect job creation strategies via stimulus to businesses seized to produce meaningful job generation. Reaganomics has put the U.S. economy into a high-unemployment equilibrium when the high-rate of labor unemployment is reinforced by the shortage (or absence) of idle, but useful capital stock due to offshoring and  outsourcing as well as chronically low consumer demand due to high level of debt. Only service sector and financial jobs can be generated with minimum capital infrastructure (for financial jobs internet connection and computer are almost all that needed). Automation of production lead to less and less workers.
     
  11. Confidence is really low.  Businesses have no confidence that customers ever return, therefore are not hiring much and scaling down the production. This chicken-egg-chicken-egg cycle has to be broken, but I am really puzzled how that is going to happen without large government role in the economy, which is big no-no for ideological consideration (the USA preaches neoliberalism as a "civil religion" similarly like USSR and other "communist" countries preached Marxism). Without large government projects employees have no confidence in their jobs, therefore are not consuming much.
     
  12. In the face of growing unemployment the current administration proved to be as incompetent as Bush administration in case of Hurricane Katrina. And that means totally incompetent.

Effects on population

Unemployment is a very harsh condition, that traumatize the workers greatly (Sliding into the Great Depression)

At first the unemployed searched eagerly and diligently for alternative sources of work. But if four months or so passed without successful reemployment, the unemployed tended to become discouraged and distraught.

After eight months of continuous unemployment, the typical unemployed worker still searches for a job, but in a desultory fashion and without much hope.

And within a year of becoming unemployed the worker is out of the labor market for all practical purposes: a job must arrive at his or her door, grab him or her by the scruff of the neck, and through him or her back into the nine-to-five routine if he or she is to be employed again.

The USA as a whole is facing the worst labor market prospects since 1929. In terms of duration of elevated unemployment we already rival the early 80s. But in no way we can expect a steep decline in the rate of unemployment in the way that happened in 1983 when unemployment declined at a brisk 2%. And permanent high unemployment creates economic conditions that feel like the USA brought back slavery. The new reserve army of the unemployed drives wages down, while average productivity continues to rise, as a way to generate surpluses to be channeled into executive bonuses. The whole sectors like IT were decimated by outsourcing. Unfortunately given the current overcapacity and ample supply of qualified job seekers in many occupations, I certainly don't expect labor arrangements and employment conditions to become more favorable.

Looks like 7% unemployment is going to become the "new normal". In any case government statistics is very suspect (see Fake Employment Statistics) and actually unemployment is higher. For example, the declining participation in work force means that actual unemployment rate is higher then reported.

Obama-Bush administration saved banks waiting most of taxpayers money and piling up debt in hopes that they restore credit flow in the economy. But this was a fallacy: banks aren’t lending to prospective home buyers, small businesses and real estate developers because bankers recognize the obvious — many of those loans won’t get repaid. Of course, as bankers refuse to lend, the stagnation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But since society is burdened with too much debt, piling on more debt would not be the solution in any case.

There is no smooth, painless route back to the easy-money based false prosperity of Reagan-Clinton-Bush era (age of leveraging). We entered the age of deleveraging. Obama’s “you owe us” message to the banks is the height of naļveté’ and tells us a lot about him. In 2013 our problems are worse than they were in 2007 before the crisis. Peak credit is as dangerous for the economy as peak oil...

Corruption of economic profession

The inability of the economics profession to forecast unemployment in the short, medium, or long run would be downright comical, if not for the human tragedy involved. While the Occam Razor approach suggests incompetence as a culprit, I think it's a manifestation of the corruption of the profession by financial interests (with some "don't rock the boat" variations).  First of all, economists much like elected officials and Wall Street executives have a vested interest in keeping the perception of a robust economy. The employment data announced each month are critical to this perception. That's why government "prints up jobs out of thin air" the same way the Federal Reserve prints money. This is economic propaganda and as such it is not that much different from the over-stated earnings practiced by companies of all striped and colors.

The second problem is that fiscal policy cannot solve the problem of job creation in all circumstances, especially in deleveraging environment. Position of people like The Fed Can Help, But Fiscal Policy Is The Key To Job Creation ) is a step in right direction. But without something like Jobs Corps to get out of the current situation is very difficult. In 1982 SETH S. KING wrote in NYT (PROPOSAL FOR JOB CORPS RECALLS ROOSEVELT PLAN):

Few of this city's recent celebrations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 100th birthday have passed without nostalgic references to the Civilian Conservation Corps, that President's cherished vehicle for getting thousands of jobless, hungry youths off the streets and putting them to work refurbishing the nation's parks and forests.

With today's unemployment rate nearing a postwar high and new thousands of young people again unable to find work, Congress is preparing to wrestle with the Reagan Administration for money to start a new youth job training program and reconstitute the Job Corps, the pale copy of the old C.C.C. that emerged in the Carter days.

But there is little in these plans that is likely to reproduce those Depression era pictures of sturdy, bare-chested young men planting trees, building bridges and saving the nation's battered farmlands.

Nor is today's procedure-encumbered Washington, where a year usually elapses between idea and action, likely to duplicate the astonishing start on the C.C.C., which four months after being conceived had been approved by Congress and had more than 300,000 young men being clothed, housed, fed and paid $30 a month while they breathed all that fresh air.

In this crisis the main lesson was that theologically captured by free market fundamentalism government can destroy economy at a really staggering rate. This is "Back in the USSR" situation. Eight years of Clinton and eight years of Bush administration (see The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush, by Joseph E. Stiglitz) are as good proof of this as one can ever get. Clinton and Bush regimes (especially Rubin-Greenspan alliance and "vice president from an undisclosed location" activities)  proved to be a real wrecking crew. But that does not mean that government cannot put it weight on easing the unemployment burden. Incentives such a investment tax credit matters. Not tax cuts for the rich, but direct investment credit. direct job creation which is anathema to market fundamentalism would be even better and less costly. Roosevelt administration did it, so why not capitalize on positive experience and develop it further ?

In this crisis the main lesson was that theologically captured by free market fundamentalism government can destroy economy at a really staggering rate.

In any case socializing losses and privatizing gain (crony capitalism) should be downsized. Insurance for gambling by big banks should be cut.

As long as economists believe their report card is the rise in GDP (GDP Mania), we will remain in a failure mode. A country is not defined by GDP but by the quality of life of its citizens. And quality of life cannot be assessed by a simplistic, one-dimensional metric such as GDP. The key dimensions for well-being are: employment, earnings, wealth, health, infrastructure, and living conditions. In that particular order. With employment as the critical factor: the USA looks like an underdeveloped banana republic by the current measure of unemployment and in many respect has became such.

It looks like high persistent unemployment became the defining feature of this recession. Jobs creation prospect in 2014 look pretty grim -- there is no sector other then government that can absorb redundant workforce and automation in manufacturing makes sure that those who are unemployed right now will stay unemployed in the foreseeable future. Most jobs cut are permanent, not temporary, especially in such sectors as IT (structural shift). As Robert Reich noted:

...The basic assumption that jobs will eventually return when the economy recovers is probably wrong. Some jobs will come back, of course. But the reality that no one wants to talk about is a structural change in the economy that's been going on for years but which the Great Recession has dramatically accelerated.

Under the pressure of this awful recession, many companies have found ways to cut their payrolls for good. They’ve discovered that new software and computer technologies have made workers in Asia and Latin America just about as productive as Americans, and that the Internet allows far more work to be efficiently outsourced abroad.

This means many Americans won’t be rehired unless they’re willing to settle for much lower wages and benefits. Today's official unemployment numbers hide the extent to which Americans are already on this path. Among those with jobs, a large and growing number have had to accept lower pay... Or they've lost higher-paying jobs and are now in a new ones that pays less.

The current crisis also means that financial services and real estate (FIRE) economy, this gigantic casino that the US government was trying to build for the last 25 years is now in trouble and shed workers in vast numbers (although working condition in financial industry are still good or very good depending on your position in the food chain). But the profitability of large banks and can achieved only by oversees expansion and derivatives games with foreign assets. The most profitable essentially converted themselves into hedge funds, getting most profits from trading operations, not from the traditional banking activities.

The simplest and the most obvious solution in the current situation is to cut work week and hours of work (4 days six hours a day). That will put enough people to work to make unemployment bearable and it might slightly help entertainment and hospitality industries which now is suffering more that others. From the other point of view if lower standard of living is inescapable, why not to make the transition smoother and more fun by cutting work hours.

Military Keynesianism no longer works

But that's not enough. The USA needs drastically cut military budget. Military Keynesianism no longer works as expected.  As John Maudin in his e-letter proposed (see Thoughts on the Economy- Problems and Solutions):

Mauldin: Unemployment is likely to continue to rise and last longer than ever before. We have to take care of the basic needs of those who want work but can't find it. Unemployment insurance should be extended to those who are still looking for work past the time for benefits to expire, and some program of local volunteer service should be instituted as the price for getting continued benefits after the primary benefits time period runs out. Not only will this help the community, but it will get the person out into the world where he is more likely to meet someone who can give him a job. But the costs of this program should be revenue-neutral. Something else has to be cut.

Mish: Can we deal with 15 million volunteers? Somehow I doubt it.

Mauldin: We have to re-think our military costs (I can't believe I am writing this!). We now spend almost 50% of the world's total military budget. Maybe we need to understand that we can't fight two wars and support hundreds of bases around the world. If we kill the goose, our ability to fight even one medium-sized war will be diminished. The harsh reality is that everything has to be re-evaluated. As an example, do we really need to be in Korea? If so, why can't Korea pay for much of the cost? They are now a rich nation. There are budgetary fiscal limits to being the policeman for the world.

Mish: Bingo. We can easily slash our military budget by 70% and still be the most powerful nation in the world. Moreover, it is time to declare the war in Iraq and Afghanistan over, pack our bags and leave. Gradually, over the next 5-8 years we should bring home all our troops from literally every county they are stationed.

This chart shows the absurdity of our spending.

Chart courtesy of Global Issues - World Military Spending.

By the way that chart does not include the latest increase in the US military budget. Please consider US lawmakers pass 680-billion-dollar defense budget bill

The US House of Representatives passed a 680-billion-dollar defense authorization bill on Thursday that includes funds to train Afghan security forces and more mine-resistant troop carriers.

Lawmakers defied President Barack Obama's veto threat and approved 560 million dollars to continue work on an alternative engine for the F-35 fighter jet built by General Electric and British manufacturer Rolls-Royce.

The compromise legislation would also raise military pay by 3.4 percent -- half a percentage point higher than Pentagon recommendations -- and assign 6.7 billion dollars for mine-resistant armored vehicles known as MRAPs, which is 1.2 billion dollars more than the administration had proposed.

Nearly $700 billion dollars of "defense" spending. The amount needed for actual defense is 20% of that at most, and more likely 5%. Balancing the budget is easy if you start here.

Mauldin: Glass-Steagall, or some form of it, should be brought back. Banks, which are subject to taxpayer bailouts, should not be in the investment banking and derivatives-creating business. Derivatives, especially credit default swaps, should be on an exchange, and too big to fail must go. Banks have enough risk just making loans. Leverage should be dialed down, and hedge funds selling what amounts to naked call options in any form, derivative or otherwise, should be regulated.

Mish: What we need to do is get rid of the Fed, FDIC, and fractional reserve lending. Regulation has failed every step of the way. Regulation created Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Fed. Regulation by the SEC anointed Moodys, Fitch, and the S&P as debt rating companies. We do not need more regulation, we need less regulation, a sound currency, and no Fed. Regulation is clearly the problem, yet the cries for still more regulation come from nearly every corner save the Austrian economists.

Mauldin: Let me see, is there any group I have not offended yet? But something like I am suggesting is going to have to be done at some point. There is no way we can continue forever on the current path. At some point, we will hit the wall. The fight between the bug and the windshield always ends in favor of the windshield. The bond market is going to have to see a credible effort to get back to a reasonable deficit, or we risk a very difficult economic environment. The longer we wait, the worse it will be.

Mish: "Is there any group I have not offended yet?" Yes. You failed to offend those on public pension plans. Not to fear, I did that myself in Five Major Pension Problems - One Simple Solution.

Unsolvable Problems


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[Jul 21, 2021] U.S. Life Expectancy Fell by 1.5 Years in 2020, the Biggest Decline in Generations by Betsy McKay

Neoliberalism is the key reason fro the drop in life expectancy
Notable quotes:
"... Declines or stagnation in longevity can signal catastrophic events or deep problems in a society, researchers say. ..."
"... More deaths from homicide, diabetes and chronic liver disease -- which is related to heavy alcohol use -- also contributed to last year's life expectancy drop, the CDC said ..."
"... The declines were largest for Hispanic and Black people, who as population groups were disproportionately affected by the pandemic . The largest drop for any cohort was 3.7 years, for Hispanic men, bringing their life expectancy to 75.3 years of age. ..."
Jul 21, 2021 | www.wsj.com

Life expectancy in the U.S. fell by 1.5 years in 2020, the biggest decline since at least World War II, as the Covid-19 pandemic killed hundreds of thousands and exacerbated crises in drug overdoses , homicides and some chronic diseases.

... ... ...

The full toll of the pandemic has yet to be seen, doctors and public-health officials said. Many people skipped or delayed treatment last year for conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure and endured isolation, stress and interruptions in normal diet and exercise routines.

"That has led to intermediate and longer-term effects we will have to deal with for years to come," said Donald Lloyd-Jones, chair of the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and president of the American Heart Association.

Life expectancy is a measure of a nation's well-being and prosperity, based on mortality in a given year. Declines or stagnation in longevity can signal catastrophic events or deep problems in a society, researchers say. Life expectancy fell in the U.S. by 11.8 years in 1918, during a world-wide flu pandemic. Many victims were young.

... ... ...

More deaths from homicide, diabetes and chronic liver disease -- which is related to heavy alcohol use -- also contributed to last year's life expectancy drop, the CDC said ...

Life expectancy would have fallen even more, the CDC said, if not for decreases in mortality due to cancer, chronic lower-respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, emphysema and asthma, and other factors.

The declines were largest for Hispanic and Black people, who as population groups were disproportionately affected by the pandemic . The largest drop for any cohort was 3.7 years, for Hispanic men, bringing their life expectancy to 75.3 years of age.

U.S. longevity had been largely stagnant since 2010, even declining in three of those years, due in part to an increase in deaths from drug overdoses , rising death rates from heart disease for middle-aged Americans and other public health crises. "Getting back to where we were before the pandemic is a very bad place," said Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and author of a recent study comparing the effects of the pandemic on life expectancy in the U.S. and other high-income countries. "We've got a larger problem here."

... ... ...

Drug-overdose deaths rose nearly 30% last year, driven by a proliferation of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl as well as stress, isolation and reduced access to treatment during the pandemic, public-health experts said. One study published this month found a 28.3% decline in initiation of addiction treatment in California from March through October 2020..... ...

Life expectancy for white people dropped 1.2 years to 77.6 years in 2020, the lowest level since 2002.

R

Roger Guttentag SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago

What is missing from this article is a comparison of the US with other advanced economies in Europe and Asia. What is disturbing is how the US spends the most and achieves less than our economic peers starting with expected average longevity. We had the lowest longevity averages pre-pandemic and now we have dropped further. This is happening despite the fact that our health care spending is twice the per capita of other advanced economies (Approx. $11K in the US vs. $6K based on 2019 data). Contributing to our dismal longevity statistics, with respect to other wealthy economies, are the highest rates of drug overdose deaths and suicides by gun. This is just the tip of a long list of sad statistics where we are unfortunately number 1 or close to it. The usual (partisan) response is to claim its government's fault or the fault of a greedy healthcare system or just say the data is wrong. So far, none of these strategies is working very well.
Dave Berg SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago
Life expectancy is the wrong phrase. It's current average life duration. COVID will have no impact on the life expectancy of babies being born right now. I have two new grandchildren, their life expectancy will be impacted by things we don't even know about yet.

[Jul 15, 2021] Many Jobs Lost During the Coronavirus Pandemic Just Aren't Coming Back by Lauren Weber

when the tax rates increase even more, it just encourages automation or DIY (bring your own sheets to avoid paying the cleaning fee), which just grinds down growth rather than accelerates it.
Notable quotes:
"... Applebee's is now using tablets to allow customers to pay at their tables without summoning a waiter. ..."
Jul 15, 2021 | www.wsj.com
Companies see automation and other labor-saving steps as a way to emerge from the health crisis with a permanently smaller workforce
PHOTO: JIM THOMPSON/ZUMA PRESS

... ... ...

Economic data show that companies have learned to do more with less over the last 16 months or so. Output nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2021 -- down just 0.5% from the end of 2019 -- even though U.S. workers put in 4.3% fewer hours than they did before the health crisis.

... ... ...

Raytheon Technologies Corp. RTX 0.08% , the biggest U.S. aerospace supplier by sales, laid off 21,000 employees and contractors in 2020 amid a drastic decline in air travel. Raytheon said in January that efforts to modernize its factories and back-office operations would boost profit margins and reduce the need to bring back all those jobs. The company said that most if not all of the 4,500 contract workers who were let go in 2020 wouldn't be called back.

... ... ..

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. HLT -0.78% said last week that most of its U.S. properties are adopting "a flexible housekeeping policy," with daily service available upon request. "Full deep cleanings will be conducted prior to check-in and on every fifth day for extended stays," it said.

Daily housekeeping will still be free for those who request it... Unite Here, a union that represents hotel workers, published a report in June estimating that the end of daily room cleaning could result in an industrywide loss of up to 180,000 jobs...

... ... ...

Restaurants have become rapid adopters of technology during the pandemic as two forces -- labor shortages that are pushing wages higher and a desire to reduce close contact between customers and employees -- raise the return on such investments. ... Applebee's is now using tablets to allow customers to pay at their tables without summoning a waiter. The hand-held screens provide a hedge against labor inflation, said John Peyton, CEO of Applebee's parent Dine Brands Global Inc.

... ... ...

The U.S. tax code encourages investments in automation, particularly after the Trump administration's tax cuts, said Daron Acemoglu, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies the impact of automation on workers. Firms pay around 25 cents in taxes for every dollar they pay workers, compared with 5 cents for every dollar spent on machines because companies can write off capital investments, he said.

... ... ...

-- Heather Haddon contributed to this article. D


DANIEL WEBER

A lot of employers were given Covid-aid to keep employees employed and paid in 2020. I assume somebody has addressed that obligation since it wasn't mentioned.

But, what happens to the unskilled workers whose jobs have been eliminated? Do Raytheon and Hilton just say "have a nice life on the streets"?

No, they will become our collective burdens.

I am all for technology and progress and better QA/QC and general performance. But the employers that benefit from this should use part of their gains in stock valuation to keep "our collective burdens" off our collective backs, rather than pay dividends and bonuses first.

Maybe reinvest in updated training for those laid off.

No great outcome comes free. BUT, as the article implies, the luxury of having already laid off the unskilled, likely leaves the employer holding all the cards.

And the wheel keeps turning...

Jeffery Allen
Question! Isn't this antithetical (reduction of employees) to the spirit and purpose of both monetary and fiscal programs, e.g., PPP loans (fiscal), capital markets funding facilities (monetary) established last year and current year? Employers are to retain employees. Gee, what a farce. Does anyone really care?
Philip Hilmes
Some of this makes sense and some would happen anyway without the pandemic. I don't need my room cleaned every day, but sometimes I want it. The wait staff in restaurants is another matter. Losing wait staff makes for a pretty bad experience. I hate having to order on my phone. I feel like I might as well be home ordering food through Grubhub or something. It's impersonal, more painful than telling someone, doesn't allow for you to be checked on if you need anything, doesn't provide information you don't get from a menu, etc. It really diminishes the value of going out to eat without wait staff.
al snow
OK I been reading all the comments I only have a WSJ access as the rate was a great deal.
Hotel/Motel started making the bed but not changing the sheets every day for many years I am fine as long as they offer trash take out and towel/paper every day
and do not forget to tip .
clive boulton
Recruiters re-post hard to fill job listings onto multiple job boards. I don't believe the reported job openings resemble are real. Divide by 3 at least.

[Jul 04, 2021] The most bitterly funny story of the week is that a defector from North Korea thinks that even her homeland is 'not as nuts' as the indoctrination now forced on Western students

Jul 04, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com


As Peter Hitchens noted recently "the most bitterly funny story of the week is that a defector from North Korea thinks that even her homeland is 'not as nuts' as the indoctrination now forced on Western students."

One of Yeonmi Park's initial shocks upon starting classes at Colombia University was to be met with a frown after revealing to a staff member that she enjoyed reading Jane Austen. "Did you know," Ms. Park was sternly admonished, "that those writers had a colonial mind-set? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you."

But after encountering the new requirement for the use of gender-neutral pronouns, Yeonmi concluded: "Even North Korea is not this nuts North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy." Devastatingly honest, but not exactly a compliment to what once might have been the land of her dreams.

Sadly, Hitchens reports that her previous experience served Yeonmi well to adapt to her new situation: "She came to fear that making a fuss would affect her grades and her degree. Eventually, she learned to keep quiet, as people do when they try to live under intolerant regimes, and let the drivel wash over her."

Eastern European readers will unfailingly understand what it is that Hitchens meant to say.

[Jul 03, 2021] Coalition policies and corporatization of universities are premised on shifting costs to students and staff. Part 2 - Pearls by Adam Lucas

Jun 17, 2021 | johnmenadue.com

Australia's tertiary education system is large, complex, and poorly regulated. Its government funding sources, governance structures and annual reporting requirements lack transparency and are inconsistent between and within jurisdictions. Distorted government priorities and discredited ideological fixations have created a dysfunctional system that devalues the work of academics and professional staff while imposing ever higher burdens on students to pay more for less.

Since it was returned to power in 2019, the Federal Coalition Government has made clear its determination to transform Australia's higher education system into a commercially focused entity whose primary function is the generation of economic growth through patents and intellectual property .

On the research front, Liberal Senator Jane Hulme recently summarised the Coalition's policy as 'patents, not publications'. On the teaching front, federal education minister Alan Tudge told delegates to a Universities Australia conference that he wants 10 million foreign students enrolled in Australian universities within a decade. He proposes this should be done through a mixture of online, hybrid and on-campus models that will create 'new revenue streams' at 'different price points for different customer segments'.

These statements and others like them reinforce a widely held perception that the Coalition is focused solely on higher education's economic contribution to the nation. At the same time as it has raised its expectations of commercial outcomes from higher education, it has imposed a wide range of additional funding cuts to teaching and research.

https://johnmenadue.com/adam-lucas-covid-cuts-highlight-intellectual-bankruptcy-of-coalition-higher-education-policies-part-1/embed/#?secret=XEievzqjRy

It is therefore clear that it is not the Federal Government that will primarily bear the burden of its tertiary education ambitions. That burden will continue to fall squarely upon Australian academics, students and professional staff. The ways governance and funding are currently structured virtually guarantees such an outcome.

The governance and funding of higher education are split between state and federal governments. The states are responsible for the governance provisions, constitutions and auditing of public universities as well as TAFE colleges . The Federal Government, on the other hand, imposes a wide range of legislative controls over public universities, including tuition fee-setting , ' quality assurance ', research grant funding , and the number of students universities are permitted to enrol .

Both federal and state governments provide funding for the TAFE system , around half of which comes from the states and territories. The largest proportion of public university funding comes from the Commonwealth .

However, the overall contribution to the higher education system from the Federal Government has halved over the last thirty years, from around 80% to less than 40% . It has been able to do this by clawing back a much higher proportion of universities' teaching costs from domestic students. Most of this transfer of the cost burden to students has happened under the Coalition.

Even though total government funding for the higher education system grew 114% in real terms since 1989, increasing from $5.6 billion to $12 billion in 2018-19 , the number of domestic students in the system grew by 165%, increasing from around 410,000 in 1989 to 1,087,850 in 2019 .

In 2017-18, total operating revenue for public universities was $31.5 billion, while total Federal Government expenditure on higher education was $13.86 billion . According to Universities Australia, total government outlays in higher education rose from $6.7 billion in 1989 to $18.4 billion in 2018-19 . It is important to note that most of that growth was in HECS-HELP loans (formerly known as HECS), which students are required to repay through progressive taxation upon graduation. Student loans increased as a share of total government outlays from less than 16% in 1989 to almost 40% in 2017.

Allocated funding for higher education in the 2019‒2020 Federal Budget was $17.7 billion. But again, this included funding of $5.8 billion for HECS-HELP loans. Therefore, actual government funding was only $11.9 billion out of total revenue for the higher education system of $36.73 billion for that financial year. In other words, less than a third of the system's total revenue was provided by the Commonwealth that year, yet it continues to behave as though its contribution is far higher.

Between 2011 and 2017, the overall contribution from domestic and international students went up, from 23% to 29%. In the wake of the Coalition's latest 'reforms' of student tuition fees, cost-shifting from the Government to students has become even more egregious. As of this year, the average student contribution to course-related revenue has been increased from 42% to 48% , while the contribution from the Commonwealth has been reduced from 58% to 52% .

The ongoing effects of COVID on student enrolments are mixed. While domestic student enrolments have seen a nationwide increase of around 6% in 2021, international student commencements across Australia are down around one-third, while re-enrolments have reduced by an average of 16% . Across the board, the March 2021 higher education commencement figures were down 21%, while total enrolments were down 12% . Preliminary data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed that international tuition fees totalled $3.3 billion in 2020 : approximately the same level as ten years earlier , but one-third of their 2019 peak .

The combination of reduced revenue from domestic tuition fees due to government funding cuts and from international students due to COVID has inevitably forced all of Australia's public universities to cut expenditure over the last twelve months.

The majority initially responded by reducing spending on capital works, significant projects, travel, consultancies and marketing, all of which have seen major increases over the last decade. Several also pressured staff to accept wage freezes and reduced leave conditions for two years as job protection measures .

By late March 2020, however, cost savings in the core functions of teaching and research were being sought by university executives, even though the full financial implications of the pandemic were still far from clear.

COVID has subsequently been used as a pretext for further 'rationalisation' of the number of staff, faculties, schools, courses , subject offerings and programs . The stated reasons for these moves have ranged from the obvious downturn in international student revenue to government funding cuts for local students . However, vice-chancellors have also drawn on more traditional, managerial justifications, such as 'too complex' , ' too niche ' or ' not financially viable ' to axe that which has been deemed surplus to requirements.

It is nevertheless ironic that the same standards of performance and budgetary rectitude are rarely applied reflexively by executives and senior management . On the contrary, they have grown significantly in numbers while awarding themselves enormous salary increases and shielding themselves from accountability to staff, students and the public .

Because labour costs have sat at around 57% of total university expenditure for the last decade, they are always at the top of managerial priorities for cost-cutting, rather than their own inflated wages or latest pet projects . Executives have imposed early retirement and redundancies on thousands of staff with little or no consultation. Many more casual and contracted staff have been laid off or had their positions terminated at the end of their contracts. All the indications from university executives are that many more jobs are on the chopping block .

Universities made at least 17,000 full-time equivalent positions redundant in 2020 . This constitutes around 13% of the total tertiary workforce. However, given that around half of that workforce is employed casually or on contract , and has been for at least a decade, the total job losses probably translate to around 50-60,000 in total. In other words, these job cuts need to be grasped in the context of the massive casualisation of university teaching and administration over the last few decades.

The academic workforce has been casualised to such an extent that casuals now do more than 70% of teaching at some of our universities . In 2010, just over half of all university employees (51.4%) had continuing employment on an equivalent full-time basis. That situation has continued to worsen over the last decade. It has encouraged the worst kinds of management excesses. For example, at least ten Australian universities have been engaged in wage theft from casuals, and have recently been forced to repay what they had stolen.

According to Universities Australia (UA), there was 130,000 full-time equivalent staff directly employed in the system in 2017 . However, like the universities themselves, UA is unwilling to publicly acknowledge the number of casuals working in the system. In 2018, there were 94,500 people employed on a casual basis at Australian universities . It would seem reasonable on that basis to conclude that as many as half of all casuals have either totally lost any work they had, or have had their work hours significantly reduced. However, most universities steadfastly refuse to make employee headcount data public, so the data we do have is inaccurate.

This has been borne out by a recent study of Victorian public university job losses in 2020 published by accounting professors James Guthrie and Brendan O'Connell. They have found that even in Victoria, where universities are obligated to publish their casual workforce figures, universities used inconsistent terminology and different techniques for recording their staffing numbers at the end of 2020 . One estimate from early May that 7,500 university employees in Victoria lost their jobs in 2020 is therefore almost certainly an underestimate. Guthrie and O'Connell also found that universities are using accounting losses to justify reducing employment.

The release of twenty-one university annual reports over the last few weeks strongly reinforces their observations. UTS professor John Howard argues that the figures reported in these annual reports raise serious questions about the extent to which the financial crisis of the tertiary system has been exaggerated . He points out that all but one of these universities recorded cash surpluses, which averaged around 3% of total revenue. However, eight of them posted deficits after they included 'non-cash' expenses such as depreciation, amortisation and changes in investment valuations: none of these categories of 'expenses' constitute tangible revenue losses. The bulk of university 'losses' were in decreased returns on investments (around $600 million) and the depreciation of assets, which totalled more than $1.4 billion.

Howard also points out that Australian universities had accessible cash or cash equivalent reserves of $4.6 billion at the beginning of the pandemic . Their own estimates indicate revenue losses in 2020-21 of $3.8 billion. In other words, most of Australia's public universities have ample financial assets at their disposal to offset any short- to medium-term loss of revenue.

However, rather than focusing on their core business of teaching and research, and saving operating surpluses for contingencies such as COVID, university executives have engaged in imprudent expenditure on new buildings and facilities, and the creation of offshore and satellite campuses. At the same time, they have poured vast financial resources into international marketing and public relations efforts to improve their universities' international rankings . Many universities have leveraged high debt levels to fund these activities and are already being forced to unload some of their property assets due to liquidity problems from reduced international student revenue.

Depreciation, amortisation and finance costs have seen the most significant growth in 'expenses' over the last decade. According to Deloitte, this category of expenses has seen the highest growth, at 7.5% as a year-on-year average . Universities' adoption of accrual accounting has enabled them to write off the value of fixed assets more quickly to inflate their expense claims every year. These inflated expenses are used as an excuse to sack staff and cut programs. Howard argues that if public universities did not use this business accounting convention, none of the twenty-one universities he studied would have recorded any earnings deficit in 2020 .

It should therefore be clear that the main problem public universities face is not a lack of revenue, or a lack of disposable assets to ride through a crisis. Their main problem is a lack of transparency and accountability at the executive level which has enabled them to misallocate financial resources, together with a corporate governance regime that has empowered executives to behave in this fashion. These two issues need to be front and centre of reform of the Australian higher education system.

This will be the topic of my third contribution.

Adam Lucas

Dr Adam Lucas is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Wollongong. Adam's contemporary research focuses on energy policy responses to anthropogenic climate change and obstacles to a sustainable energy transition.

[Jul 03, 2021] The authoritarian academy- corporate governance of Australia's universities exploits staff and students and degrades academic standards. Part 3 by Adam Lucas

Jun 18, 2021 | johnmenadue.com

The corporatization of Australia's public universities has been driven by government funding cuts and regressive changes to how universities are governed. The rationale for corporatization was that it would encourage universities to become more entrepreneurial by turning vice-chancellors into CEOs and governing bodies into corporate boards. The resulting hybrid has been very successful at promoting university 'brands' to international students but has utterly failed to maintain a supportive and collegial work environment for staff and students on university campuses.

Pandemic-related border closures have forced an abrupt reassessment of universities' internationalization ambitions . But they have not yet led to any acknowledgement that the exploitative culture that now dominates the management and organization of Australian universities also needs to change.

In the wake of the current crisis, university leaders have, on the whole, demonstrated no willingness to question any aspect of the dysfunctional forms of funding and governance that have been imposed on Australia's higher education system over the last three decades. They have been almost totally silent in response to the Coalition's latest efforts to reshape higher education and the commercialization of research . They have likewise shown very little willingness to question or criticize the additional funding cuts to the system announced in last month's Federal Budget .

While it is indisputable that most Australian universities have experienced huge growth in international student revenues over the last decade, the billions of dollars in 'operating surpluses' that have flowed through the system during this time have not been invested in expanding and developing academic workforces, or lowering staff-student ratios , or increasing teaching and learning support for students. Instead, those responsible for making these decisions have spent billions of dollars on construction and marketing programs that laud their institutions' world-class status (usually in the techno-sciences), while systematically degrading the working conditions of academic and professional staff and the quality of education received by students.

High levels of casualization , widespread wage theft , less face-to-face time between academics and students, and steadily increasing workloads for academic and professional staff characterize the contemporary Australian university . A constant churn of pseudo-consultations, new bureaucratic procedures and online administrative platforms maintain employee compliance.

Resources critical to the performance of a wide range of tasks and initiatives are regularly withheld for no good reason. Hiring freezes and the imposition of annual staff performance assessments further contribute to the general atmosphere of fear and anxiety promoted by senior management, who never appear to have the same performance metrics applied to them. Student and staff services that had previously been free or subsidized have been monetized and privatized. Professional services and expertise that could easily be sourced 'in-house' are routinely outsourced to external consultants.

In the Brave New World of 'digitally-enhanced learning', online delivery and 'new revenue streams' not only has there been more casualization of teaching over the last decade , but academics are also being required to teach larger classes over fewer weeks in each semester. They are also being forced to move lectures, tutorials and seminars online, not just during COVID, but permanently .

Few of these negative trends are captured in the metrics senior management regularly deploy to spruik the virtues of their universities to students, parents and potential donors. Preoccupied with 'cost recovery', 'performance metrics' and 'efficiency dividends', senior managers and executives have reconstructed staff and students as revenue-generators who are surplus to requirements if not producing financial surpluses and/or 'measurable outcomes' that contribute to improved university rankings. International league tables, performance monitoring, teaching and research excellence awards, and all the other 'metrics of excellence' with which university executives and managers are currently obsessed are means to these ends.

At least ten public universities failed to put aside sufficient reserves in the event of an external crisis and are now highly vulnerable financially. At least twenty others achieved modest operating surpluses at the end of 2020 , if the inclusion of depreciation, amortization and employee redundancy costs is omitted.

It has become very clear from the operating results that even those universities with adequate reserves to ride through the loss of revenue from international students still made cuts to staff levels, degree programs and coursework offerings .

In the wake of COVID, most universities, including those that were not struggling financially have combined or dissolved a number of their own faculties, departments and schools. Hundreds of programs, courses and subjects have been or will be deleted . A number of university executives and senior managers have nevertheless seen fit to further inflate their already excessive salaries while subjecting their employees to the harshest of austerity measures.

It is therefore inaccurate and misleading to describe the current situation as a financial crisis, when it is, in fact, a governance crisis.

But what few people realize is that the secretive, punitive and authoritarian management culture that now dominates most contemporary universities has been nurtured and institutionalized through a series of legislative changes by state and federal governments over the last thirty years .

These legislative changes have been primarily motivated by a long-held belief within the Coalition and certain elements of the Labor Party that universities should be run like corporations. Those who have embraced this belief are convinced that business and industry provide the best models for university governance because they always perform better than public sector institutions.

Following the Dawkins reforms of Australia's higher education system in the early 1990s, this item of faith has been progressively embedded in all of the administrative and managerial functions of universities. As successive state and federal governments have continued to reduce funding to the system they have sought to graft an increasingly Frankensteinian model of 'corporate governance' onto Australia's public universities.

Under the traditional collegial model of university governance , which still operates in many European universities , academics and students are democratically elected by their peers to represent the common interests of the university, while also fulfilling the institution's broader responsibilities to improve society and enrich culture . But according to the main architects of the current higher education system, John Dawkins and Brendan Nelson , academics are too 'self-interested' to govern universities sensibly. They argued that, under the old collegial model, the parochial interests of individuals, disciplines and schools too often conflicted with the broader goals of the university.

Consequently, one of the unspoken goals of the enabling legislation incorporated into state-based university acts has been to reduce elected staff and student representation on university governing bodies . These bodies, generally known as university councils, are supposed to exercise scrutiny over executive proposals and decisions. In practice, executives have played a major role in selecting and appointing most members of council , who therefore have no incentive to disagree with executive decisions, and who are more often than not given insufficient information about major decisions by their executives to make informed judgements.

The vast majority of corporate appointees to most of Australia's current governing bodies have no history of working in tertiary education and no experience in teaching or research . The Coalition has been particularly active over the last decade in undermining a diversity of representation on academic boards.

For example, in 2012 the NSW Coalition Government inserted specific clauses in the enabling NSW legislation concerning university governance and finances which specify that appointed members require financial and management experience, while those sub-clauses specifying requirements for tertiary, professional and community experience have been removed. Similar changes to university acts were made by the WA Coalition Government in 2016 .

Corporatization is primarily aimed at empowering university leaders with the autonomy to run universities like corporate CEOs. These changes continue to be justified on the basis that the vice-chancellors of Australia's largest universities run enormous, multi-billion dollar enterprises that involve tens of thousands of people. Granted they now have to raise half of their operating costs due to government funding cuts, but their remuneration is not benchmarked to their performance . Furthermore, Australian vice-chancellors earn twice the average salaries of their UK counterparts . Many of those currently in office are originally from the UK.

In a public corporation, the executive is accountable to shareholders and the board of directors. Poor performance is questioned, and senior executives and managers can be removed if the board or shareholders are unhappy with that performance. However, unlike corporate boards, which are answerable to their shareholders, and to some extent, the public as 'clients' or 'consumers' of their goods and services, the accountability of university governing bodies is effectively restricted to financial issues.

The auditors-general of each state and territory are empowered to annually scrutinize the financial accounts of all universities under their jurisdiction . Even so, it is highly unusual for them to call universities to account for anything other than minor infringements of accounting rules and standards. They have rarely shown any willingness to delve deeply into university finances under their jurisdiction, despite some clear cases of maladministration, mismanagement and even corruption . There is no evidence that any audits have ever uncovered wrongdoing, conflicts of interest, or incidents of malfeasance, even though we know from our own colleagues in administrative positions at multiple universities that such behaviour is not at all uncommon.

Likewise, state tertiary education ministers are able to fall back on the 'autonomous institution' argument when quizzed about their knowledge of such practices and the lack of accountability of university leaders . This is because the legislation – which in many cases they helped to create – enshrines both university autonomy and restricted external accountability.

Universities, therefore, have the worst of both worlds as far as their governance is concerned. Staff and students have little or no say over how priorities are set and strategies are pursued. They are subject to the whims of management, who generally regard academics as an obstacle to the efficient running of 'their' universities, and who have no legitimate contributions to make as far as they are concerned. They rarely admit to having made mistakes or demonstrate any willingness to learn from them.

To illustrate this point, in the wake of COVID, it would make sense to proportionally cut back on staffing and resources in those areas that had the highest proportions of international students, and those related to their support and recruitment. However, there is no evidence from any decisions made to date by university executives that these disciplines or activities have borne the brunt of 'cost savings'. On the contrary, even prior to the current pandemic, the arts, humanities and social sciences have been targeted for job cuts, including non-replacement of tenured academics that have retired or resigned. In most of these instances, the financial cases for these cuts have been based on decisions that have little or no evidence to support them.

Many academics and students feel that senior managers target disciplines in these fields because those who work and study in them are willing to speak out against management and executive excesses. Critical thinking, teaching and research is deemed by university leaders to be acceptable within those contexts, but not when reflexively applied to their decision-making .

Academics who dare to call out lax admission standards for international students and other questionable practices which undermine academic integrity are punished with litigation and threats of termination . Not only does such behaviour constitute an attack on academic freedom , it indicates that those who initiate such measures are deluded if they believe they are acting in the best interests of the institutions employing them.

All of the distorted priorities that universities manifest today are an outcome of the inappropriate and dysfunctional corporate governance and reporting models that successive governments have imposed on universities throughout the country over many years. It is noteworthy that Coalition governments throughout the country have made successive changes to university acts that have the clear intention of disenfranchising staff and students from any meaningful input into university governance.

It should be abundantly clear from all this that the existing legislation concerning university governance is deeply flawed. It is an obstacle to better university governance and degrades the value and quality of education for our young people and the next generation of professionals. It also devalues the work of academic and professional staff and demonstrates no capacity for critical self-reflection. It is therefore completely inadequate to the task of confronting the enormous challenges that humanity faces in the twenty-first century.

We need to start a national conversation about the kinds of changes that are needed to bring about genuine reform of Australia's higher education system. A good start would be to focus on the ways in which university governing bodies are organized and constituted, with a particular focus on how and why different categories of members are selected and represented.

Democratic accountability and transparency should be embedded in every new process and structure.

These three articles are the product of many discussions, comments and feedback from colleagues at more than a dozen universities over the last several years. They are intended to provide background for a national campaign for reform of Australia's higher education system involving Academics for Public Universities , the Australian Association of University Professors , the National Higher Education Action Network and the National Tertiary Education Union . Please feel free to contact any of these organizations if you are interested in becoming involved.

Adam Lucas

Dr Adam Lucas is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Wollongong. Adam's contemporary research focuses on energy policy responses to anthropogenic climate change and obstacles to a sustainable energy transition.

[Jul 02, 2021] Number Of US Truck Drivers Sidelined Due To Substance Abuse Violations Has Surpassed 60,000 by John Gallagher

Jul 02, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Originally from: FreightWaves

Banned drivers matches shortfall in CDL holders needed to meet freight demand. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The number of U.S. truck drivers sidelined due to substance abuse violations has surpassed 60,000 and continues to climb by roughly 2,000-3,000 per month, according to federal data. The latest monthly report by the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration since January 2020, revealed that 60,299 CDL holders have a drug or alcohol violation recorded in the clearinghouse as of June 1, up from 57,510 as of May 1 and up from 18,860 recorded in the clearinghouse as of May 1, 2020.

Drivers with at least one substance abuse violation are barred from operating a commercial truck until they complete a return-to-duty process, which includes providing a negative follow-up test result. The percentage of drivers who are completing the RTD process has steadily increased over the past year, however, from 5.2% as of May 1, 2020, to 22.1% as of May 1, 2021.

Marijuana consistently tops the list of substances identified in positive drug tests, far outpacing cocaine and methamphetamine, the second- and third-highest drug violations, respectively, among CDL holders.

The number of violations now recorded in the clearinghouse stands out for another reason: It's coincidentally just a few hundred shy of an estimated number of drivers needed to fill a shortfall of commercial drivers to keep pace with freight demand.

"According to a recent estimate, the trucking industry needs an additional 60,800 truck drivers immediately -- a deficit that is expected to grow to more than 160,000 by 2028," testified American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear at a Capitol Hill hearing on freight mobility in May.

"In fact, when anticipated driver retirement numbers are combined with the expected growth in capacity, the trucking industry will need to hire roughly 1.1 million new drivers over the next decade, or an average of nearly 110,000 per year."

Scopelitis Consulting Co-Director Sean Garney pointed out that the growing number of prohibited drivers is not a bad thing from a safety standpoint.

"The database is doing what it's supposed to do, which is identify those who should not be driving," Garney told FreightWaves. "Losing drivers due to positive drug tests may not necessarily be a good thing for truck capacity, but I think what many others in this industry also care about is safety."

[Jul 02, 2021] More Than 72 Million Americans Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck

The problem is that many people face long term unemployment without substantial emergency funds, which further complicates already difficult situation.
Notable quotes:
"... More than 2K adults to were interviewed to try and ascertain how long they could survive without income. It turns out that approximately 72.4MM employed Americans - 28.4% of the population - believe they wouldn't be able to last for more than a month without a payday. ..."
Jul 02, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Imagine you lost your job tomorrow. How long would you be able to sustain your current lifestyle? A week? A month? A year?

As we await Friday's labor market update, Finder has just published the results of a recent survey attempting to gauge the financial stability of the average American in the post-pandemic era.

More than 2K adults to were interviewed to try and ascertain how long they could survive without income. It turns out that approximately 72.4MM employed Americans - 28.4% of the population - believe they wouldn't be able to last for more than a month without a payday.

Another 24% said they expected to be able to live comfortably between two months and six months. That means an estimated 133.6MM working Americans (52.3% of the population) can live off their savings for six months or less before going broke.

On the other end of the spectrum, roughly 8.7MM employed Americans (or 3.4% of the population) say they don't need to rely on a rainy day fund since they have employment insurance which will compensate them should they lose their job.

Amusingly, men appear to be less effective savers than women. Some 32.4MM women (26.7% of American women) say their savings would stretch at most a month, compared to 40MM men (29.9% of American men) who admit to the same. Of those people, 9.7MM women (8% of American women) say their savings wouldn't even stretch a week, compared to 15.5MM men (11.6% of American men) who admit to the same.

A majority of employed Americans over the age of 18 say their savings would last six months at most. About 70.7MM men (52.8% of American men) and 62.8MM women (51.8% of American women) fear they'd be in dire straits within six months of losing their livelihood.

Unsurprisingly, younger people tend to have less of a savings buffer - but the gap between the generations isn't as wide as it probably should be.

While increasing one's income is perhaps the best route to building a more robust nest egg, Finder offered some suggestions for people looking to maximize their savings.

1. Create a budget and stick to it

Look at your monthly income against all of your monthly expenses. Add to them expenses you pay once or twice a year to avoid a surprise when they creep up. After you know where your money is going, you can allot specific amounts to different categories and effectively track your spending.

... ... ...

* * *

Source: Finder

[Jun 26, 2021] There Is No Labor Shortage, Only Labor Exploitation and burning desire not to spend money on training by Sonali Kolhatkar

Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, economists and analysts have gotten used to presenting facts from the perspective of private employers and their lobbyists. The American public is expected to sympathize more with the plight of wealthy business owners who can't find workers to fill their low-paid positions, instead of with unemployed workers who might be struggling to make ends meet. ..."
"... West Virginia's Republican Governor Jim Justice justified ending federal jobless benefits early in his state by lecturing his residents on how, "America is all about work. That's what has made this great country." Interestingly, Justice owns a resort that couldn't find enough low-wage workers to fill jobs. Notwithstanding a clear conflict of interest in cutting jobless benefits, the Republican politician is now enjoying the fruits of his own political actions as his resort reports greater ease in filling positions with desperate workers whose lifeline he cut off. ..."
Jun 12, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

For the past few months, Republicans have been waging a ferocious political battle to end federal unemployment benefits, based upon stated desires of saving the U.S. economy from a serious labor shortage. The logic, in the words of Republican politicians like Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, goes like this: "the government pays folks more to stay home than to go to work," and therefore, "[p]aying people not to work is not helpful." The conservative Wall Street Journal has been beating the drum for the same argument, saying recently that it was a " terrible blunder " to pay jobless benefits to unemployed workers.

If the hyperbolic claims are to be believed, one might imagine American workers are luxuriating in the largesse of taxpayer-funded payments, thumbing their noses at the earnest "job creators" who are taking far more seriously the importance of a post-pandemic economic growth spurt.

It is true that there are currently millions of jobs going unfilled. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just released statistics showing that there were 9.3 million job openings in April and that the percentage of layoffs decreased while resignations increased. Taking these statistics at face value, one could conclude this means there is a labor shortage.

But, as economist Heidi Shierholz explained in a New York Times op-ed , there is only a labor shortage if employers raise wages to match worker demands and subsequently still face a shortage of workers. Shierholz wrote, "When those measures [of raising wages] don't result in a substantial increase in workers, that's a labor shortage. Absent that dynamic, you can rest easy."

Remember the subprime mortgage housing crisis of 2008 when economists and pundits blamed low-income homeowners for wanting to purchase homes they could not afford? Perhaps this is the labor market's way of saying, if you can't afford higher salaries, you shouldn't expect to fill jobs.

Or, to use the logic of another accepted capitalist argument, employers could liken the job market to the surge pricing practices of ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft. After consumers complained about hiked-up prices for rides during rush hour, Uber explained , "With surge pricing, Uber rates increase to get more cars on the road and ensure reliability during the busiest times. When enough cars are on the road, prices go back down to normal levels." Applying this logic to the labor market, workers might be saying to employers: "When enough dollars are being offered in wages, the number of job openings will go back down to normal levels." In other words, workers are surge-pricing the cost of their labor.

But corporate elites are loudly complaining that the sky is falling -- not because of a real labor shortage, but because workers are less likely now to accept low-wage jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce insists that "[t]he worker shortage is real," and that it has risen to the level of a "national economic emergency" that "poses an imminent threat to our fragile recovery and America's great resurgence." In the Chamber's worldview, workers, not corporate employers who refuse to pay better, are the main obstacle to the U.S.'s economic recovery.

Longtime labor organizer and senior scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies Bill Fletcher Jr. explained to me in an email interview that claims of a labor shortage are an exaggeration and that, actually, "we suffered a minor depression and not another great recession," as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In Fletcher's view, "The so-called labor shortage needs to be understood as the result of tremendous employment reorganization, including the collapse of industries and companies."

Furthermore, according to Fletcher, the purveyors of the "labor shortage" myth are not accounting for "the collapse of daycare and the impact on women and families, and a continued fear associated with the pandemic."

He's right. As one analyst put it, "The rotten seed of America's disinvestment in child care has finally sprouted." Such factors have received little attention by the purveyors of the labor shortage myth -- perhaps because acknowledging real obstacles like care work requires thinking of workers as real human beings rather than cogs in a capitalist machine.

Indeed, economists and analysts have gotten used to presenting facts from the perspective of private employers and their lobbyists. The American public is expected to sympathize more with the plight of wealthy business owners who can't find workers to fill their low-paid positions, instead of with unemployed workers who might be struggling to make ends meet.

Already, jobless benefits were slashed to appallingly low levels after Republicans reduced a $600-a-week payment authorized by the CARES Act to a mere $300 a week , which works out to $7.50 an hour for full-time work. If companies cannot compete with this exceedingly paltry sum, their position is akin to a customer demanding to a car salesperson that they have the right to buy a vehicle for a below-market-value sticker price (again, capitalist logic is a worthwhile exercise to showcase the ludicrousness of how lawmakers and their corporate beneficiaries are responding to the state of the labor market).

Remarkably, although federal jobless benefits are funded through September 2021, more than two dozen Republican-run states are choosing to end them earlier. Not only will this impact the bottom line for millions of people struggling to make ends meet, but it will also undermine the stimulus impact that this federal aid has on the economies of states when jobless workers spend their federal dollars on necessities. Conservatives are essentially engaged in an ideological battle over government benefits, which, in their view, are always wrong unless they are going to the already privileged (remember the GOP's 2017 tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy?).

The GOP has thumbed its nose at federal benefits for residents before. In order to underscore their ideological opposition to the Affordable Care Act, recall how Republican governors eschewed billions of federal dollars to fund Medicaid expansion. These conservative ideologues chose to let their own voters suffer the consequences of turning down federal aid in service of their political opposition to Obamacare. And they're doing the same thing now.

At the same time as headlines are screaming about a catastrophic worker shortage that could undermine the economy, stories abound of how American billionaires paid peanuts in income taxes according to newly released documents, even as their wealth multiplied to extraordinary levels. The obscenely wealthy are spending their mountains of cash on luxury goods and fulfilling childish fantasies of space travel . The juxtaposition of such a phenomenon alongside the conservative claim that jobless benefits are too generous is evidence that we are indeed in a "national economic emergency" -- just not of the sort that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants us to believe.

West Virginia's Republican Governor Jim Justice justified ending federal jobless benefits early in his state by lecturing his residents on how, "America is all about work. That's what has made this great country." Interestingly, Justice owns a resort that couldn't find enough low-wage workers to fill jobs. Notwithstanding a clear conflict of interest in cutting jobless benefits, the Republican politician is now enjoying the fruits of his own political actions as his resort reports greater ease in filling positions with desperate workers whose lifeline he cut off.

When lawmakers earlier this year debated the Raise the Wage Act , which would have increased the federal minimum wage, Republicans wagged their fingers in warning, saying higher wages would put companies out of business. Opponents of that failed bill claimed that if forced to pay $15 an hour, employers would hire fewer people, close branches, or perhaps shut down altogether, which we were told would ultimately hurt workers.

Now, we are being told another story: that companies actually do need workers and won't simply reduce jobs, close branches, or shut down and that the government therefore needs to stop competing with their ultra-low wages to save the economy. The claim that businesses would no longer be profitable if they are forced to increase wages is undermined by one multibillion-dollar fact: corporations are raking in record-high profits and doling them out to shareholders and executives. They can indeed afford to offer greater pay, and when they do, it turns out there is no labor shortage .

American workers are at a critically important juncture at this moment. Corporate employers seem to be approaching a limit of how far they can push workers to accept poverty-level jobs. According to Fletcher, "This moment provides opportunities to raise wage demands, but it must be a moment where workers organize in order to sustain and pursue demands for improvements in their living and working conditions."

Sonali Kolhatkar is the founder, host and executive producer of "Rising Up With Sonali," a television and radio show that airs on Free Speech TV and Pacifica stations. She is a writing fellow for the Economy for All project at the Independent Media Institute. This article was produced by Economy for All , a project of the Independent Media Institute.

[Jun 18, 2021] Corporate elites are loudly complaining that the sky is falling -- not because of a real labor shortage, but because workers are less likely now to accept low-wage jobs

In IT corporate honchos shamelessly put more then a dozen of very specific skills into the position rescription and want a cog that hit that exactly. they are not interested in IQ, ability to learn and such things. that want already train person for the position to fill, so that have zero need to train this persn and they expect that he will work productively from the day one.
Jun 14, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Hayek's Heelbiter , June 12, 2021 at 7:50 am

But corporate elites are loudly complaining that the sky is falling -- not because of a real labor shortage, but because workers are less likely now to accept low-wage jobs.

Duh. This is so blindingly obvious, but NC is the only place that seems to mention this fact.

Here in the UK, the outmigration of marginally paid workers from Eastern Europe and the resultant "labour shortage" triggered by Brexit has made it abundantly clear that Blair's change to open borders was not from any idealistic considerations but as a way of importing easily exploited labor.

Business leaders quoted in the the tsunami of hand-wringing MSM articles about the current catastrophe are offering such helpful solutions as allowing housekeepers to use pools and gyms in off hours, free meals to waiters, etc. Anything but a living wage.

Dr. R.k. Barkhi , June 12, 2021 at 5:57 pm

" I don't actually see any untruths to the GOP talking points. "
"" Workers are less likely to accept a job while receiving Gov't benefits" and "workers are less likely to accept low wage crappy jobs ".

Well,if u can survive on a $300/week program that ends after several weeks pass,bless u. No one else in America can. That's a $7.50 hr full time "summer job" with no pension or medical benefits that teenagers with no dependents,few bills n maintenance issues might be interested in; adults with adult responsibilities,no way. That so called RepubliCons, the "economics experts", can make such a fraudulent claim n anyone out of elementary school believes it has a quantum particle of reality or value is . well I'll just say a sad n unbelievable situation.

Now the rest of your comments are laudable.

Objective Ace , June 13, 2021 at 11:57 am

They get 300 dollars plus regular UI. They can also get Medicaid and CHIP, or if they are still making too much they are eligible for Obamacare exchange. Plus they're eligible for SNAP and housing vouchers

Equitable > Equal , June 13, 2021 at 4:38 am

There is one significant fallacy in this article: The author conflates Republican opposition to enhanced benefits with opposition to unemployment benefits overall.

I very much stand with labour over business on most (probably all) points, but the Republican argument is to end the enhanced benefits in most cases – Not to abolish unemployment assistance. They believe the role of government is to step in to help pay basic bills in the event of unemployment, but oppose the current higher level of benefit due to the market distortions it causes (Hence the appearance of the term 'labour shortage'.)

I agree that it basically forces mcdonalds et al to up their wages if they want to do business, which should be a positive for society, but I find it unlikely that the author could have unintentionally mistunderstood the argument on such a fundamental level, and all it does is try to drive a wedge further between each side of the argument.

Sierra , June 12, 2021 at 3:46 pm

Hayek,

Sonali Kohatkar is pro open borders and has the nerve to complain about wage arbitrage?
https://freespeech.org/stories/prop-287-immigration-ca/

Anyone that believes that workers supported their jobs being sent overseas is either demented or delusional or suffers from a mental hernia. The same goes for the common working stiffs supporting massive immigration to help drive down their ability to demand a livable wage.

American labor has been sold down the river by the International Labor Leaders, politicians and the oligarchy of US corporate CEO's.
======

Got a new hip recently. Do your P.T., take it easy, follow the warnings of what not to do until you heal and you should discover that decades feel like they are lifted off your shoulders.

Hayek's Heelbiter , June 13, 2021 at 12:16 pm

Sierra,
You've made a very interesting point that actually never occurred to me and one in which I never seen fully examined.
Exploiting labour and outsourcing it are two sides of the same coin with the same goal in mind, diverting revenue streams into the C-suite and rentier class.
Obviously you cannot outsource most of the workers in the hospitality industry or the non-virtual aspects of world's oldest profession, but a lot of the tech industry and the virtual aspects of the latter are very amenable to being shipped overseas.
Immigrants are extremely visible and an easy target, while outsourcing is essentially an impossible to contain concept that creates real world hardship.
Dear NC readers, do you know of any studies comparing and contrasting the economic impact of immigration and/or limiting it and outsourcing?

sierra , June 12, 2021 at 3:51 pm

Those hip words were meant for Yves of course

Fazal Majid , June 12, 2021 at 8:46 am

Indeed, economists and analysts have gotten used to presenting facts from the perspective of private employers and their lobbyists.

You are acting if economists and lobbyists are separate groups, as opposed to largely a subset thereof. Funny how a field entirely based on the study of incentives claims incentives don't distort their policy prescriptions, isn't it?

As for low-paid jobs, they are traditionally the last resort of immigrants and other marginalized populations, but the anti-immigration push that began under Obama, and enthusiastically continued by Trump and Biden, has perfectly predictable consequences.

One factor not mentioned is many free-riding businesses refuse to pay for training, then wonder why there are no trained workers to hire.

Now, there are definitely fields where there is a genuine and deliberate labor shortage. Usually white-collar credentialed professions like medical doctors and the AMA cartel.

Yves Smith , June 12, 2021 at 8:51 am

Economics is not based on incentives. That's behavioral economics. I hate to quote Larry Summers, but this is Summers on financial economics:

Ketchup economists reject out of hand much of this research on the ketchup market. They believe that the data used is based on almost meaningless accounting information and are quick to point out that concepts such as costs of production vary across firms and are not accurately measurable in any event. they believe that ketchup transactions prices are the only hard data worth studying. Nonetheless ketchup economists have an impressive research program, focusing on the scope for excess opportunities in the ketchup market. They have shown that two quart bottles of ketchup invariably sell for twice as much as one quart bottles of ketchup except for deviations traceable to transaction costs, and that one cannot get a bargain on ketchup by buying and combining ingredients once one takes account of transaction costs. Nor are there gains to be had from storing ketchup, or mixing together different quality ketchups and selling the resulting product. Indeed, most ketchup economists regard the efficiency of the ketchup market as the best established fact in empirical economics.

Howard Beale IV , June 12, 2021 at 9:22 am

Happy to see you back at a keyboard, and hoping your recovery is progressing well. I had the misfortune of spending two days in the hospitals while they got my blood chemistry strightened out. Here's the kicker; the hospitalist, who I saw 3 times, submitted a bill for a whopping $17,000. Just yesterday, the practice she works for submitted a bill that was one-tenth her charges for the work she did, yet her bill is still sitting waiting to be processed.

Yves Smith , June 12, 2021 at 9:53 am

OMG, how horrible. HSS is a small hospital for a big city like NYC, only 205 beds and 25 operating rooms. No emergency room. They are not owned by PE and so I don't think play outsourcing/markup games (they are very big on controlling quality, which you can't do if you have to go through middlemen for staffing). Some of the MDs do that their own practices within HSS but they are solo practitioners or small teams, which is not a model that you see much of anywhere outside NYC

Howard Beale IV , June 12, 2021 at 12:05 pm

The last time I was hospitalized, all the hospitalists were in the employ of the hospital, now they are in the employ of a nationwide hospitalist practice, which has all the smell of private equity around it. I'm really beginning to think that a third party focusted on healthcare might have a real shot at upsetting the political order – maybe it's time to drag out your skunk party for 2024.

Arizona Slim , June 12, 2021 at 1:22 pm

How are you feeling? We miss you around here.

tegnost , June 12, 2021 at 10:25 am

As for low-paid jobs, they are traditionally the last resort of immigrants and other marginalized populations, but the anti-immigration push that began under Obama, and enthusiastically continued by Trump and Biden, has perfectly predictable consequences.

Well I'm sorry you can't find easily exploitable labor, except I'm not immigrants face the same ridiculous costs, and weren't hispanic workers more heavily impacted by covid due to those marginal jobs (I'll switch your dynamic to low wage workers , and marginal jobs, thanks), so by your logic more should have been let in to die from these marginal jobs? but yeah we need more PMC except we don't
Now, there are definitely fields where there is a genuine and deliberate labor shortage. Usually white-collar credentialed professions like medical doctors and the AMA cartel."
Last I checked it was private equity, wall st and pharmaceutical companies and their lobbyists that drive up costs so labor needs to charge more.
Wake up and smell the coffee.

Bill Smith , June 12, 2021 at 9:24 am

How much of this is over specification on the part of employers in the ad for the job? We want the perfect candidate who can do the job better than we can with no training .

Yves Smith , June 12, 2021 at 9:48 am

OMG this is such a long-standing pet peeve! We've commented on this nonsense regularly. Companies took the position that they don't have to train and now they are eating their cooking.

Bill Smith , June 12, 2021 at 10:30 am

Exactly.

The mismatch between job openings and job applicants is not just about wages.

In fact, if companies were willing to take a chance on people who didn't exactly match the job requirements, the likely effect would be to raise the wages some of those that did not qualify under the over exacting job requirements. [And likely paying these new employees less than they had contemplated paying the perfect candidate.]

But that seems like someone making the hiring decision might, just possibly, be seen as taking a risk.

Howard Beale IV , June 12, 2021 at 2:55 pm

At my empolyer we know we can't find any colleges that teach mainframe skills, so we bring in graduates who are willing to learn those skills – we submit them to a 3-month bootcamp and then there's a long period of mentorship under a senior person to their group that has an opening. Since everybody and their dog are now moving headfirst into DevOps, where all the tooling is in somewhat less ancient software, they get exposed using those Eclipse/VScode-based tools and are able to come up to speed somewhat quicker. Still, no one in corporate America dares to bite the bullet and re-platform their core systems with few exceptions (SABRE) for fear of losing all the institutional knowledge that's in software, rather than wetware (humans).

Howard Beale IV , June 12, 2021 at 3:03 pm

Just think what is happening right now with everyone holding an Indian outsourcing contract. You don't have individual's cellphone numbers over in India, which would cost you an arm and a leg to call, never mind what's going on in their facilities.

Mike Elwin , June 13, 2021 at 2:27 pm

On the other hand, there's something to be said for employers not training their staffs. In the SF Bay Area computer industry, employees and independent contractors alike continually race to train themselves in the new technologies that seem to crop up like mushrooms after a rain. Many companies train their customers–and charge them for it–before they'll train their staffs. This is a principal reason there's a market for contractors. Training oneself in new technologies lays a base for opportunities that don't appear if you spend a decade in the same job (unless, like mainframe programming, your job is so old it's new). I suppose this is a beneficial side of capitalism?

Lambert Strether , June 13, 2021 at 2:37 pm

> continually race to train themselves in the new technologies that seem to crop up like mushrooms after a rain

And what, one might ask, do mushrooms grow best in .

Louis , June 12, 2021 at 10:38 am

I get that you want experience for mid to senior level jobs but the experience requirements for what are ostsensibly entry-level jobs have gotten absurd. The education requirements have also gotten out of hand in some cases.

That being said, a lot of the shortages are in low-wage, part-time jobs so the issue isn't necessarily ridiculous requirements, like you sometimes see for entry level white collar jobs, but wages that are too low and awful working conditions.

How many people want to be treated like dirt–be it by customers, management, or both–for not much more than minimum wage if they have other options?

A wage increase will help fill these jobs but there also needs to be a paradigm shift in how employees are treated–the customer is not always right and allowing them to treat employees in ways that would not be tolerated in other businesses, and certainly not in many white-collar workplaces is a huge part of the problem and why these jobs have long had high-turnover.

TomDority , June 12, 2021 at 9:51 am

It never ends – when it was about immigrant labor under George B junior – I think – the call was
-- - They do jobs that Americans won't -- or something to that effect.
It always bothered me that the sentence was never, in my mind, completed. It should have been said
-- They do jobs that Americans won't do at that pay level. --
The tax system, economic system and higher education departments have been perverted by the continuous bribery and endowments by the rentier class to our elected law makers and dept heads for decades –
The creditor, debtor relationships distorted for eons.
The toll takers have never, in history, been in any higher level of mastery than they are now.
It is not to throw out the constitution but, to throw out those who have perverted it.

Oh , June 12, 2021 at 12:23 pm

The construction industry knows how to exploit immigrant labor, documented as well as undocumented. I'm sure most peole born here refuse to work for the same wages.

chris , June 12, 2021 at 6:14 pm

The exploitation occurs on many levels. For small residential jobs, a lot of wage theft occurs. For larger jobs, a lot of safety regs get ignored. When you have a population that won't use the legal avenues available to other citizens to push back against abuse you can get a lot done :/

King , June 12, 2021 at 10:04 am

When I go looking for a job if a degree isn't required I am very unlikely to pursue it further. Same if the list of 'required' is overly detailed. I'm making assumptions in both of these cases (that might not be correct) about pay, benefits, work environment, etc. and what is actually going on with a job listing. Why? Chiefly my likelihood of actually getting a reasonable offer. I expect either being seen as overqualified in the first case or the job only being listed because of some requirement in the second.

I have to wonder if many places know how to hire. This is made much more difficult by years of poorly written (maybe deceptive) job postings. You probably know many of the phrases; flexible schedule, family ___, reliable transportation required, and so on. Its no surprise if puffery doesn't bring back the drones.

Noone from Nowheresville , June 12, 2021 at 10:07 am

If we're playing with statistics. How many of these posted job openings, how many interviews did the companies offer v. how many offers were made until the position was filled? If position remains open, has the company increased the base pay offer? guaranteed an increased min. number of weekly hours? offered bonuses or increased benefits? How many times has this same job opening using the original posting criteria been re-posted? Is this a real single job opening that the company plans to fill in real time or just a posting that they keep opening because they have high turnover? etc., etc., etc.

The real problem with this workers are lazy meme is that it is repeated and repeated all year long on the local news from the viewpoint of business. It has filtered down to local people. I hear them repeating what the local news said without giving it any critical thought. Even those who say that we need unions and believe themselves to be on the side of workers.

Ear wigs are good for businesses. Insidious for workers.

synoia , June 12, 2021 at 12:03 pm

In the UK, in the days of Labor Strive, before Neo-liberalism , there was always newspaper reports about "Labor Strife" and "bolshy workers." Never once did the press examine Management had behaved and caused the workers to become "bolshy" – a direct reaction to Management's attitudes and behavior, probably based on the worst attributes of the UK's class system.

Definition: A bolshy person often argues and makes difficulties.
Management get the workers (Their Attitudes) it deserves.
I recommend reading "The Toyota Way" to explore a very successful management style.

tegnost , June 12, 2021 at 10:40 am

This song is getting a probably getting more hits these days
Take this job and Shove It
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIjEauGiRLo
But I hear lots of businesses will close to to no labor, so when they close they can go work for 7.25 an hour for one of their competitors who also needs laborors Solidarinosc!

tegnost , June 12, 2021 at 11:40 am

Geez this song is probably getting more hits these days due to no laborors? hmmm.it must mean something, like proof read your posts .,

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , June 12, 2021 at 10:43 am

If businesses are suffering, it's restaurants and small scale enterprise. The Covid response was tailored to the needs of economy of scale mega biz. They likely knew multitides of mom-n-pops would go away- and they have. But that's fine.

Susan the other , June 12, 2021 at 11:24 am

So if state governments can turn down federal unemployment supplements because they want labor to go back to work for unlivable wages this means the federal government can do nothing about it. When push comes to shove the question that must be settled is, Is it a human right to receive employment assistance until a job is found that pays a livable wage? (Not even a republican will actually say No). So then that puts all the stingy states on notice that there is a human rights issue here. States will have the choice to either let businesses shut down for lack of workers, or states can subsidize minimum wages and benefits. If states choose, in desperation, to subsidize minimum wages, then the states can apply to the feds to be compensated. The thing that is needed in the interim, between when the real standoff starts and ends, is a safety net for workers who are being blocked by the state from receiving unemployment benefits. I say call in the national guard. This is a human rights issue.

Dr. R.k. Barkhi , June 12, 2021 at 6:08 pm

Great point. Im appalled at the RepubliCon governers responses. And they call themselves Christians?

Imo Profitism (or Crapitalism if u pref2) is a Rights issue.

jim truti , June 12, 2021 at 11:45 am

The real exploitation happened when we allowed companies to delocalize, manufacture product in China and sell it here with no strings attached.
James Goldsmith seems like a prophet now, he was so absolutely right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwmOkaKh3-s

eg , June 12, 2021 at 11:45 pm

He sure does

Tom , June 13, 2021 at 5:34 pm

Wow. The Clinton flack was insufferable. AND WRONG about pretty much everything. Goldsmith was brilliant. I wasn't paying enough attention at he time, but how many high profile people were making the arguments he was making?

Michael Hudson , June 12, 2021 at 12:23 pm

I'm surprised that nobody has taken the opportunity to comment on how this discussion shows how hypocritical Biden and the democrats were not to press for raising the minimum wage.
The pretense (which they must have coached the "Senate scholar" on) was that raising the minimum wage was not related to revenue (i.e., a revenue bill). But of course it is! Right now, paying below-poverty wages enabled Walmart and other employers to make the government pay part of their wage bill. Higher minimum wages would raise these government aid recipients out of the poverty range, saving public revenue.
That is so obvious that the failure of the Democrats to make the point shows that they really didn't want to raise wages after all.

Nikkikat , June 12, 2021 at 1:40 pm

I didn't expect much from Biden but he's even worse than I thought. Along with those bought senators hiding behind Joe Manchin. Depressing to think how much worse everything will become for working people here.

Lambert Strether , June 12, 2021 at 1:48 pm

> the Democrats to make the point shows that they really didn't want to raise wages after all.

Come on, man. They're "fighting for" it.

chris , June 12, 2021 at 6:41 pm

This all day long and twice on Sunday

When I think about how they're complaining about Manchin now when there was a serious primary challenge against him last year, and how the Democrat organization rallied around Manchin and not his challenger, it is disgusting to see Slate/The Guardian/NYT/other "Blue no matter who" mouth breathers write articles asking what can be done to salvage a progressive agenda from the curse of bipartisanship.

I had given up on national politics long before the 2020 election circus but this latest has confirmed my resolve. The destruction of the Democrat party can't come soon enough.

Noone from Nowheresville , June 12, 2021 at 5:25 pm

If I call them Hypocritics, when I never believed them in the first place, will they feel any shame at all? Or must I be part of their class for them to feel even the tiniest of niggles?

Perhaps they'll feel ashamed once they cut the check for the $600 they shorted us this winter. Or maybe that they are reneging on the extended unemployment benefits early or

One side makes you sleep on a bed of nails and swear allegiance.The other side generously offers to help you out, no strings attached, but you might bleed out from the thousands of tiny means-testing cuts. Each side want the lower tiers to face the gauntlet and prove one's worthiness, hoping to convince us that a black box algorithm is the same thing as a jury of peers.

Telee , June 12, 2021 at 9:30 pm

Exactly right! And keep in mind deluge of op-eds telling us that Biden is a transformational president! The same authors presented a deluge of op-eds telling us how Senator Sanders was to radical for the American people after he did well in early primaries. That the reforms he supported like Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage, lowering drug costs, help with daycare, doing something about climate change etc. were reforms that the people would never accept because the people value their freedom and don't want to live in a socialistic country.
It looks like none of the promises Biden made during the campaign will be implemented by President Biden. That why he is in the White House.

rowlf , June 12, 2021 at 12:38 pm

Would a lot of these positions be filled if the US had single payer healthcare or similar? Would workers accept low paying positions if they didn't have to lose so much of their pay to crappy health insurance?

Nikkikat , June 12, 2021 at 1:31 pm

At our local Petsmart they cut staff during the pandemic. They laid off all full time workers
And are only hiring back part time. I knew several of the laid off people and they are not coming back. Two of the people that worked full time have found other jobs one with slightly better pay the other with slightly better benefits. We are in California where rent is very high so another person we know decided to use this as a chance to relocate to another state where housing is less expensive. Our older neighbor retired, although vaccinated now, he decided it just wasn't safe and after the CDC told everyone to take off their mask off. He is glad he just decided to live on a little less money. I suspect there are a lot of reasons as Yves stated above for a lack of workers, but this "they are lazy" trope is capitalistic nonsense.

Petter , June 12, 2021 at 4:53 pm

This "they are lazy" trope has a long history. Yasha Levine wrote about it for the Exiled and it was reposted here at NC.
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/04/yasha-levine-recovered-economic-history-everyone-but-an-idiot-knows-that-the-lower-classes-must-be-kept-poor-or-they-will-never-be-industrious.html

Some highlights:
>> everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.
-- Arthur Young; 1771
>>Even David Hume, that great humanist, hailed poverty and hunger as positive experiences for the lower classes, and even blamed the "poverty" of France on its good weather and fertile soil:
'Tis always observed, in years of scarcity, if it be not extreme, that the poor labour more, and really live better.

>>Poverty is therefore a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society It is the source of wealth, since without poverty, there could be no labour; there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.

athingtoconsider , June 12, 2021 at 1:38 pm

I'll just point out, per the Old Testament, that wage, debt and rent slavery were the exception, not the norm (as they are in the US) for citizens (Hebrews) in ancient Israel/Judah.

That's because the assets in ancient Israel/Judah were roughly equally owned by all citizens with provisions in the OT Law (eg. Leviticus 25, eg. Deuteronomy 15, eg. Deuteronomy 23:19-20) to keep it that way in the long run (but less than 50 years).

Contrast that to US where we have privileges for a private credit cartel, aka "the banks", and no limits to the concentration of land ownership and the roots of our problems are evident.

So begging for better jobs for citizens is, in the Biblical context, pathetically weak tea indeed.

Amateur Socialist , June 12, 2021 at 1:53 pm

On a personal note I had a great job interview Thursday at the local food co-op. This is my first in person interview since I was terminated without cause by IBM (after almost 24 years there in a server development job) almost a year ago. Despite applying for over 100 positions. I'm over 60 and haven't worked in a year so I admit I'm grateful to even get the chance.

I have another interview with them next week and hoping to start soon as a produce clerk making $13.50 an hour. If I can get on full time they offer a decent insurance plan including dental. The HR person acknowledged that I was "wildly overqualified" but encouraging. The possibility of getting health care is key; my IBM Cobra benefits will start costing me almost $1400/monthly for myself and my husband in September after the ARA subsidy expires.

I've adjusted my expectations to reinvent myself as a manual laborer after decades in fairly cushy corporate life. I've managed to keep my health and physical capacity so somewhat optimistic I can meet the job requirements that include lifting 50 lb boxes of produce. But we'll see.

athingtoconsider , June 12, 2021 at 2:52 pm

and haven't worked in a year Amateur Socialist

You mean you haven't had a job in a year since it's highly doubtful that you have not done any work in a year; eg. cooking, cleaning, shopping, car maintenance, gardening, chauffeuring, mowing the lawn, home maintenance and caring for others count as work.

We need to stop conflating work (good) with wage slavery as if the former necessarily requires the latter.

Amateur Socialist , June 12, 2021 at 3:57 pm

Okay sure. I haven't earned in a year. But it's still a problem I'm trying to sort out best as I can.

Since I still live in the US where earning is highly correlated with insurance coverage, and I still have about 5 years until we're both qualified for Medicare this may turn out to be a great thing that has happened.

And since I don't see a path out of wage slavery today I'll be happy to accept almost any offer from the food co-op. It's a union job with decent pay and benefits and may offer other opportunities in the future. They mostly buy and sell products that are locally made so that makes it easier too. The money we are all enslaving each other over is staying around here as much as possible. Okay.

Arizona Slim , June 12, 2021 at 4:32 pm

A former neighbor worked in our local food co-op and loved her job. At the co-op, she was a cashier. She also was a retired attorney.

Dr. R.k. Barkhi , June 12, 2021 at 6:25 pm

Good luck! Fyi i strongly suggest u look into taking your IBM pension asap as 1. It will minimally impact your taxes as u r now earning less n 2. How many more years do u think it will be there? ( I usually recommend most people take their social security at 62 for similar reasons but in your case I'd do your research b4 making any move like that. ) Take a blank state n Fed tax form n pencil in the new income n see what the results are.
Btw truly wonderful people are involved in food co-ops,enjoy!

Eudora Welty , June 12, 2021 at 3:17 pm

Good luck! I will be thinking of you next week.

Sound of the Suburbs , June 12, 2021 at 2:52 pm

No one really questions the idea of maximising profit.
How do you maximise profit?
You minimise costs, including labour costs, i.e. wages.

Where did the idea of maximising profit comes from?
It certainly wasn't from Adam Smith.

"But the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with the prosperity and fall with the declension of the society. On the contrary, it is naturally low in rich and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin." Adam Smith
Exactly the opposite of today's thinking, what does he mean?
When rates of profit are high, capitalism is cannibalising itself by:
1) Not engaging in long term investment for the future
2) Paying insufficient wages to maintain demand for its products and services
Today's problems with growth and demand.
Amazon didn't suck its profits out as dividends and look how big it's grown (not so good on the wages).

The benefits of the system can be passed upwards in dividends or downwards in wages.
Both actually detract from the money available for re-investment as Jeff Bezos knows only too well.
He didn't pay dividends, and paid really low wages, to maximise the amount that he could re-invest in Amazon and look how big it's grown.
The shareholders gains are made through the value of the shares.
Jeff Bezos hopes other people are paying high enough wages to buy lots of stuff from Amazon; his own workers don't have much purchasing power.

Where do the benefits of the system go?
Today, we pass as much as possible upwards in dividends.
In the Keynesian era they passed a lot more down in wages.

cnchal , June 12, 2021 at 10:34 pm

> Jeff Bezos hopes other people are paying high enough wages to buy lots of stuff from Amazon; his own workers don't have much purchasing power.

You are missing the tree in the forest. Jeff hopes other people will pay a high enough price for Amazon stawk. We already know Jeff doesn't give a shit about the stuff he sells, or the inhumane working conditions that go along with the low pay and short "career". I mean, not even the nastiest farmer would treat his mules like that, even if mules were easy and cheap to come by.

So far, Mr Market says beating workers, good.

Sound of the Suburbs , June 12, 2021 at 2:55 pm

We don't think people should get money when they are not working.
Are you sure?

What's the point in working?
Why bother?
It's just not worth all the effort when you can make money doing nothing.
In 1984, for the first time in American history, "unearned" income exceeded "earned" income.
They love easy money.

With a BTL portfolio, I can get the capital gains on a number of properties and extract the hard earned income of generation rent at the same time.
That sounds good.
What is there not to like?

We love easy money.

You've just got to sniff out the easy money.
All that hard work involved in setting up a company yourself, and building it up.
Why bother?
Asset strip firms other people have built up, that's easy money.

People do love easy money.

Sound of the Suburbs , June 12, 2021 at 3:45 pm

"West Virginia's Republican Governor Jim Justice justified ending federal jobless benefits early in his state by lecturing his residents on how, "America is all about work. That's what has made this great country."
Have you had a look around recently?

In 1984, for the first time in American history, "unearned" income exceeded "earned" income.
America is not about work at all.

athingtoconsider , June 12, 2021 at 5:44 pm

America is not about work at all. SoS

The US is largely about exploiting or being exploited with most of US doing both.

We should resent an economic system that requires we exploit others or be a pure victim ourselves.

That said and to face some truths we'd rather not, the Bible offers some comfort, eg:

Ecclesiastes 7:16
Do not be excessively righteous, and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?

Ecclesiastes 5:8-9
If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight; for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them. After all, a king who cultivates the field is beneficial to the land.

Nonetheless, we should support economic justice and recognize that most of us are net losers to an unjust economic system even though it offers some corrupt compensation* to divide and confuse us.

*eg positive yields and interest on the inherently risk-free debt of a monetary sovereign.

KLG , June 12, 2021 at 6:54 pm

Jim Justice made his money the old fashioned way, he inherited it:

From Wiki: James Conley Justice II (born April 27, 1951) is an American businessman and politician who has been serving as the 36th governor of West Virginia since 2017. With a net worth of around $1.2 billion, he is the wealthiest person in West Virginia. He inherited a coal mining business from his father and built a business empire with over 94 companies, including the Greenbrier, a luxury resort.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Justice

chris , June 12, 2021 at 6:31 pm

I wonder how much of this is also related to a change in the churn we assume existed pre-pandemic? For example, the most recent JOLTS survey results from April 2021 show the total number of separations hasn't really changed but the number of quits has increased.

So, one possible interpretation of that would be employers are less likely to fire people and those who think they have skills in demand are more interested in leaving for better opportunities now. That makes intuitive sense given what we've been through. If you had a good gig and it was stable through 2020 you had very little reason to leave it even if an offer was better with another company. That goes double if you were a caregiver or had children. Which of course is why many women who were affected by the challenges of balancing daycare and a career gave up.

This is also my experience lately. While it's only anecdotal evidence, we're having a hard time hiring mid career engineers. Doesn't seem like pay is the issue. We offer a ton of vacation, a separate pool of sick time, decent benefits, and wages in the six figures with a good bonus program. We're looking to hire 3 engineers. We can't even get people to apply. In 2019 we could be sure to see a steady supply of experienced candidates looking for new opportunities. Now? If you have an engineering position and your company is letting you work from home it seems you don't have a good reason to jump.

Buckeye , June 12, 2021 at 10:47 pm

Look no further than Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. They had only half the staff they normally need at $10 an hour. So they double the wage to $20 an hour and filled every job in less than a week. The Conservaturds will never admit they are lying.

DWoolley , June 13, 2021 at 3:24 pm

As a small business owner providing professional services I am grateful for the comment section here.

I have called professional peers to get a behind the corporate PR perspective of their businesses. Although anecdotal, the overall trend in our industry is to accept the labor shortage and downsize. Most firms have a reliable backlog of work and will benefit from an infrastructure bill. Our firm has chosen to downsize and close vacant positions.

Remote work, although feasible, has employees thinking they are LeBron James, regardless of their skill set. Desperate employers are feeding their belief. Two years from now it will be interesting to see if these employees they fail forward. Company culture minimized employee turnover pre-covid. This culture has little meaning to an employee working in his daughter's playroom.

For context, in California, I believe the median income for licensees is approximately $110,000 with lower level technicians easily at $75k in the urban areas.

Lastly, the "paltry" $300 per week is in additional to the state unemployment checks and is not subject to taxes. As stated previously, $300 is equal to $7.50 per hour. Federal minimum wage is $7.25 and is adopted by many states minimum, for what it's worth.

Thanks again for the forum.

JBird4049 , June 13, 2021 at 6:32 pm

With respect, I do not see any there there in the comment. Adjusted for inflation the minimum wage at its height in 1968 at 1.60, would be just under $13 per hour today. However, even at $15 in California, it is inadequate.

Anyone making anything like the minimum wage would not be working from home, but would be working in some kind of customer service job, and would find paying for adequate food, clothing, and shelter very difficult. Not in getting any extras, but only in getting enough to survive. People, and their families, do need to eat.

If the response of not paying enough, and therefore not getting new hires, is to downsize, perhaps that is good. After all no business deserves to remain in business, especially if the business model depends on its workers being unable to survive.

Sue inSoCal , June 13, 2021 at 4:13 pm

I am also fed up with the "lazy worker" meme. Or rather, propaganda. People are literally exhausted working 2 or 3 lousy jobs and no real healthcare. Equally irritating to me is a misguided notion that we have some magically accessible generous safety net in the US. As though there aren't thousands and thousands on waiting lists for government subsidized housing. Section 8 vouchers? Good luck.

https://homesnow.org/short-history-of-public-housing-in-the-us-1930s-present/

We've ended "welfare as we [knew] it" (AFDC) thanks to Bill Clinton and then the screw was turned tightly by Junior Bush (no child care, but go to work.) The upshot was bad news for kids.

https://www.economist.com/democracy-in-america/2019/02/25/how-welfare-reform-has-had-a-negative-effect-on-the-children-of-single-mothers

Seems to me one of the few things left is the food stamp program, and I can't imagine how that's been reconfigured. Whomever gave that fantastic list of goodies people can get in the US with a mere snap of the fingers isn't in the real world, imho.

Ok! Yves, lovely to see you again, my friend! (Cue the Moody Blues ) Get well!

10 legged shadow , June 13, 2021 at 4:54 pm

Here is my story.
I am 56 years old, on dialysis and I was collecting SSI of 529 a month.
I was living with and taking care of my mother in her home because she had dementia.
She died in December and I had to start paying the bills. In March I inherited her IRA which I reported to SS. I was able to roll it over into my own IRA because I am disabled, due to the Trump tax law changes.
I reported the changes in a timely manner and because I couldn't afford to live here without a job, I took a part time job for 9 an hour.
So now, because I inherited my mother's IRA and have too much resources I no longer qualify for SSI and have been overpaid to the tune of almost 2 grand, which I am assuming I will have to pay back. I have no idea how that works either. Do they just grab money out of your account? Anyone who knows please tell me.

JBird4049 , June 13, 2021 at 11:35 pm

I would run, run, run to the nearest public assistance counselor or lawyer. In the San Francisco Bay Area, it is should not be too hard to find one. They saved me. There are also in California several state websites. There was a useful to me benefits planning site (It only covers nine states though).

The rules for SSI (Supplemental Security Income), SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), Social Security, Medi-Cal or Medicaid, and Medicare are each different. Each state has its own modifications as well, so that is fifty additional sets of modified rules especially for the medical benefits. If they are determined to claw back the money, how it is done might depend on the individual state. It is truly a maze of flycatchers and trapdoors out for you and your money.

The overworked benefits clerks often do not have the knowledge to deal with anything even slightly unusual and are not encourage or at least discouraged from finding out due to the never shrinking pile, not from anyone's malice. This means you could lose benefits because they did not know what they were doing or just by mistake. So, it is up to you to find those nonprofit counselors or the for profit lawyer to help you through the laws, rules, and whatever local regulations there are. Hopefully, you will not have to read through some of the official printed regulations like I did. If wasn't an experience paper pusher.. The average person would have been lost. Intelligence and competence has nothing to do with. Hell, neither does logic, I think.

In my case, when I inherited a retirement account, SSDI was not affected, because of how the original account was set up. However, SSDI is different from SSI although both have interesting and Byzantine requirements. I guess to make sure we are all "deserving" of any help.

So don't ask anonymous bozos like me on the internet and find those local counselors. If it is nonprofit, they will probably do it completely free. If needed, many lawyers, including tax lawyers, and CPAs will offer discounted help or will know where you can go.

Sound of the Suburbs , June 14, 2021 at 12:03 pm

What is the floor on wages?
Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)
Set disposable income to zero.
Minimum wages = taxes + the cost of living
So, as we increase housing costs, we drive up wages.

The neoliberal solution.
Try and paper over the cracks with Payday loans.
This what we call a short term solution.

Someone has been tinkering with the economics and that's why we can't see the problem.
The early neoclassical economists hid the problems of rentier activity in the economy by removing the difference between "earned" and "unearned" income and they conflated "land" with "capital".
They took the focus off the cost of living that had been so important to the Classical Economists as this is where rentier activity in the economy shows up.
It's so well hidden no one even knows it's there and everyone trips up over the cost of living, even the Chinese.

Angus Deaton rediscovers the wheel that was lost by the early neoclassical economists.
"Income inequality is not killing capitalism in the United States, but rent-seekers like the banking and the health-care sectors just might" Angus Deaton, Nobel prize winner.
Employees get their money from wages and the employers pay the cost of living through wages, reducing profit.
This raises the costs of doing anything in the US, and drives off-shoring.

The Chinese learn the hard way.
Davos 2019 – The Chinese have now realised high housing costs eat into consumer spending and they wanted to increase internal consumption.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNBcIFu-_V0
They let real estate rip and have now realised why that wasn't a good idea.

The equation makes it so easy.
Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)
The cost of living term goes up with increased housing costs.
The disposable income term goes down.
They didn't have the equation, they used neoclassical economics.
The Chinese had to learn the hard way and it took years, but they got there in the end.

They have let the cost of living rise and they want to increase internal consumption.
Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)
It's a double whammy on wages.
China isn't as competitive as it used to be.
China has become more expensive and developed Eastern economies are off-shoring to places like Vietnam, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

[Jun 12, 2021] Average hourly earnings for workers in leisure and hospitality rose to $18.09 in May by Jonnelle Marte and Ann Saphir

Jun 04, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com

... Average hourly earnings for workers in leisure and hospitality rose to $18.09 in May, the highest ever and up 5% from January alone, according to Labor Department data released on Friday. Pay rose even faster for workers in non-manager roles, who saw earnings rise by 7.2% from January, far outpacing any other sector.

That higher pay could be a sign that companies are lifting wages as they seek to draw people back to work after more than a year at home. Some businesses are struggling to keep up with higher demand as more consumers, now fully vaccinated, get back to flying, staying in hotels and dining indoors. Job gains in leisure and hospitality this year have so far outpaced gains in other sectors.

But it is too soon to know whether the boost will be enough to help speed up hiring at a time when many workers are still facing other obstacles, including health concerns and having to care for children and other relatives.

"The fact of the matter is, the pandemic is still going on," said Daniel Zhao, a senior economist for Glassdoor. "The economy is running ahead of where we are from a public health situation."

Some 2.5 million people said they were prevented from looking for work in May because of the pandemic, according to the Labor Department.


... ... ...


Employment in leisure and hospitality is still in a deep hole when compared with pre-pandemic levels. The industry added 292,000 jobs in May, with about two-thirds of that hiring happening in restaurants and bars. But overall employment is still down 2.5 million jobs, or 15% from pre-pandemic levels, more than any other industry.

... ... ...

Some people who previously worked at hotels or restaurants moved on to other types of jobs during the pandemic, such as packaging goods at a warehouse, and it's too soon to know whether they will switch back as more of the economy reopens, said Zhao.

...About half of states are putting an early end to a $300 federal supplement to weekly unemployment benefits, winding them down as soon as June 12. The supplement expires nationwide on Sept. 6.

(Reporting by Jonnelle Marte and Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

[Jun 12, 2021] Sidewalk Robots are Now Delivering Food in Miami

Notable quotes:
"... Florida Sun-Sentinel ..."
"... [A spokesperson says later in the article "there is always a remote and in-field team looking for the robot."] ..."
"... the Sun-Sentinel reports that "In about six months, at least 16 restaurants came on board making nearly 70,000 deliveries... ..."
Jun 06, 2021 | hardware.slashdot.org

18-inch tall robots on four wheels zipping across city sidewalks "stopped people in their tracks as they whipped out their camera phones," reports the Florida Sun-Sentinel .

"The bots' mission: To deliver restaurant meals cheaply and efficiently, another leap in the way food comes to our doors and our tables." The semiautonomous vehicles were engineered by Kiwibot, a company started in 2017 to game-change the food delivery landscape...

In May, Kiwibot sent a 10-robot fleet to Miami as part of a nationwide pilot program funded by the Knight Foundation. The program is driven to understand how residents and consumers will interact with this type of technology, especially as the trend of robot servers grows around the country.

And though Broward County is of interest to Kiwibot, Miami-Dade County officials jumped on board, agreeing to launch robots around neighborhoods such as Brickell, downtown Miami and several others, in the next couple of weeks...

"Our program is completely focused on the residents of Miami-Dade County and the way they interact with this new technology. Whether it's interacting directly or just sharing the space with the delivery bots,"

said Carlos Cruz-Casas, with the county's Department of Transportation...

Remote supervisors use real-time GPS tracking to monitor the robots. Four cameras are placed on the front, back and sides of the vehicle, which the supervisors can view on a computer screen. [A spokesperson says later in the article "there is always a remote and in-field team looking for the robot."] If crossing the street is necessary, the robot will need a person nearby to ensure there is no harm to cars or pedestrians. The plan is to allow deliveries up to a mile and a half away so robots can make it to their destinations in 30 minutes or less.

Earlier Kiwi tested its sidewalk-travelling robots around the University of California at Berkeley, where at least one of its robots burst into flames . But the Sun-Sentinel reports that "In about six months, at least 16 restaurants came on board making nearly 70,000 deliveries...

"Kiwibot now offers their robotic delivery services in other markets such as Los Angeles and Santa Monica by working with the Shopify app to connect businesses that want to employ their robots." But while delivery fees are normally $3, this new Knight Foundation grant "is making it possible for Miami-Dade County restaurants to sign on for free."

A video shows the reactions the sidewalk robots are getting from pedestrians on a sidewalk, a dog on a leash, and at least one potential restaurant customer looking forward to no longer having to tip human food-delivery workers.

... ... ...

[Jun 10, 2021] Mcjobs increases in May. Good jobs no so much. Labor-force participation dropped

Jun 10, 2021 | www.wsj.com

Job gains in May were led by leisure and hospitality, with the sector adding 292,000 jobs. Payrolls grew by 559,000 last month, the Labor Department reported Friday, up from a revised 278,000 in April, which marked a sharp drop from March's figure.

The labor recovery has slowed from earlier in the year -- in March, the economy added 785,000 jobs

... The labor-force participation rate, the share of adults working or looking for work, edged slightly lower in May to 61.6%, down from 63.3% in February 2020.

M

Michael Quick

Republicans, always eager to snatch the bread from the mouths of the poor, are blaming unemployment benefits for the reluctance of workers to return to jobs. In some red states, they already are snatching it.

But more men are returning to work than are women. Doesn't that prove that unemployment benefits are not holding back former workers?

I'll bet more women will return to work in September, after schools start up in-person classes.

William Lamb
Republican turn a blind on helping people, except themselves. They would rather have one being a slave and get pay less then nothing with little perks in making less then high quality item that will still have defects, even if we pride our workmanship that is suppose to equal to none. It would like being in 1950s, when there was not much world competition, when world economy was still recovering from WW2.

I guessed Republican want American to continue working by low paying wages so they can enrich themselves, and show that America can still produce things with slave wages.

johm moore
Most of the jobs are insufficient to support a reasonable quality of life. A job today is about like a half a job pre-NAFTA and the job export process in terms of the quality of life that it supports.
Bryson Marsh
If UI was holding back employment, then why are we adding so many low wage jobs? The missing jobs are in *middle income* sectors.
David Chait
I wouldn't call people returning to work "new" jobs, that just seems disingenuous.
rich ullsmith
Asset prices rise when the jobs report is lukewarm. Thank you, Federal Reserve. May I have another.
Sam Trotter
It should be made mandatory to publish the offered wage/rate. I see so many fake jobs posted on LinkedIn with no description of bill rate for contract positions or Base+Bonus for Full-Time roles. Too many mass scam messages.

[Jun 09, 2021] Nearly 4 million people quit their jobs in April

Jun 09, 2021 | www.marketwatch.com

The percentage of people quitting their jobs, meanwhile, also rose to a record 2.8% among private-sector workers. That's a full percentage point higher than a year ago, when the so-called quits rate fell to a seven-year low.

...A recent study by Bank of America, for example, found that job switchers earned an extra 13% in wages from their new positions. That's a big chunk of money.

...Normally people who quit their jobs are ineligible for unemployment benefits, but they can get an exemption in many states for health, safety or child-care reasons.

About half of the states, all led by Republican governors, plan to stop giving out the federal benefit by early July to push people back into the labor force. Economists will be watching closely to see how many people go back to work.

[Jun 07, 2021] Meth addiction and overtime work goes hand in hand.

Jun 07, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

EULENSPIEGEL IGNORED 06/07/2021 at 4:10 am

Just to stay at the oil field – Meth addiction and overtime work goes hand in hand.

Meth and it's derivates was the drug of the 50s in Germany during rebuilding from the war (Pervitin, Weckamin). They have been legal until the 70s.

It's the easy way first – just take it and you can work longer. Want to drive a truck 16 hours? Just throw a few Pervitins. Side effects and addiction come later. And the unclean stuff from the black market kills people faster.

[Jun 07, 2021] Average hourly earnings for workers in leisure and hospitality rose to $18.09 in May by Jonnelle Marte and Ann Saphir

Jun 04, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com

... Average hourly earnings for workers in leisure and hospitality rose to $18.09 in May, the highest ever and up 5% from January alone, according to Labor Department data released on Friday. Pay rose even faster for workers in non-manager roles, who saw earnings rise by 7.2% from January, far outpacing any other sector.

That higher pay could be a sign that companies are lifting wages as they seek to draw people back to work after more than a year at home. Some businesses are struggling to keep up with higher demand as more consumers, now fully vaccinated, get back to flying, staying in hotels and dining indoors. Job gains in leisure and hospitality this year have so far outpaced gains in other sectors.

But it is too soon to know whether the boost will be enough to help speed up hiring at a time when many workers are still facing other obstacles, including health concerns and having to care for children and other relatives.

"The fact of the matter is, the pandemic is still going on," said Daniel Zhao, a senior economist for Glassdoor. "The economy is running ahead of where we are from a public health situation."

Some 2.5 million people said they were prevented from looking for work in May because of the pandemic, according to the Labor Department.


... ... ...


Employment in leisure and hospitality is still in a deep hole when compared with pre-pandemic levels. The industry added 292,000 jobs in May, with about two-thirds of that hiring happening in restaurants and bars. But overall employment is still down 2.5 million jobs, or 15% from pre-pandemic levels, more than any other industry.

... ... ...

Some people who previously worked at hotels or restaurants moved on to other types of jobs during the pandemic, such as packaging goods at a warehouse, and it's too soon to know whether they will switch back as more of the economy reopens, said Zhao.

...About half of states are putting an early end to a $300 federal supplement to weekly unemployment benefits, winding them down as soon as June 12. The supplement expires nationwide on Sept. 6.

(Reporting by Jonnelle Marte and Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

[Jun 07, 2021] Sidewalk Robots are Now Delivering Food in Miami

Notable quotes:
"... Florida Sun-Sentinel ..."
"... [A spokesperson says later in the article "there is always a remote and in-field team looking for the robot."] ..."
"... the Sun-Sentinel reports that "In about six months, at least 16 restaurants came on board making nearly 70,000 deliveries... ..."
Jun 07, 2021 | hardware.slashdot.org

18-inch tall robots on four wheels zipping across city sidewalks "stopped people in their tracks as they whipped out their camera phones," reports the Florida Sun-Sentinel .

"The bots' mission: To deliver restaurant meals cheaply and efficiently, another leap in the way food comes to our doors and our tables." The semiautonomous vehicles were engineered by Kiwibot, a company started in 2017 to game-change the food delivery landscape...

In May, Kiwibot sent a 10-robot fleet to Miami as part of a nationwide pilot program funded by the Knight Foundation. The program is driven to understand how residents and consumers will interact with this type of technology, especially as the trend of robot servers grows around the country.

And though Broward County is of interest to Kiwibot, Miami-Dade County officials jumped on board, agreeing to launch robots around neighborhoods such as Brickell, downtown Miami and several others, in the next couple of weeks...

"Our program is completely focused on the residents of Miami-Dade County and the way they interact with this new technology. Whether it's interacting directly or just sharing the space with the delivery bots,"

said Carlos Cruz-Casas, with the county's Department of Transportation...

Remote supervisors use real-time GPS tracking to monitor the robots. Four cameras are placed on the front, back and sides of the vehicle, which the supervisors can view on a computer screen. [A spokesperson says later in the article "there is always a remote and in-field team looking for the robot."] If crossing the street is necessary, the robot will need a person nearby to ensure there is no harm to cars or pedestrians. The plan is to allow deliveries up to a mile and a half away so robots can make it to their destinations in 30 minutes or less.

Earlier Kiwi tested its sidewalk-travelling robots around the University of California at Berkeley, where at least one of its robots burst into flames . But the Sun-Sentinel reports that "In about six months, at least 16 restaurants came on board making nearly 70,000 deliveries...

"Kiwibot now offers their robotic delivery services in other markets such as Los Angeles and Santa Monica by working with the Shopify app to connect businesses that want to employ their robots." But while delivery fees are normally $3, this new Knight Foundation grant "is making it possible for Miami-Dade County restaurants to sign on for free."

A video shows the reactions the sidewalk robots are getting from pedestrians on a sidewalk, a dog on a leash, and at least one potential restaurant customer looking forward to no longer having to tip human food-delivery workers.

... ... ...

[Jun 06, 2021] Rethinking Unemployment- From Adam Smith to Marx -Reserve Army of the Unemployed- to the Neoliberal War on Full Employment -

Jun 06, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Rethinking Unemployment: From Adam Smith to Marx "Reserve Army of the Unemployed" to the Neoliberal War on Full Employment Posted on June 5, 2021 by Yves Smith

Yves here. This post gives a useful, high level view of how the basis for unemployment has changed over time, including under Covid.

By Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst, Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at t he Institute for New Economic Thinking website

Canadian economist Mario Seccareccia, recipient of this year's John Kenneth Galbraith Prize in Economics, says it's time to reconsider the idea of full employment. He spoke to Lynn Parramore of the Institute for New Economic Thinking about why 2021 offers a rare opportunity to rebalance the economy in favor of Main Street.

Once upon a time – not so long ago, really – unemployment was not a thing.

In agricultural societies, even capitalistic ones, most people worked on the land. A smaller number worked in villages and towns – shoemakers and carpenters and so on. Some might go back and forth from the countryside to the town, depending on the availability of work. If your work in town building houses dried up, you might come back to the country for the harvest.

Economist Mario Seccareccia, who loves history, notes that before the Industrial Revolution, it was unthinkable that someone ready and able to work had no job to do.

Questions: If unemployment was once unknown, why do we accept it now?

Where did unemployment come from?

In those pre-Industrial Revolution times, there were paupers, mostly people who could not work for some reason such as a disability. These were deemed deserving of charity. A small number of paupers were considered deviants and treated harshly, perhaps made to labor in public work-houses under vile conditions.

Seccareccia notes that early classical economists like Adam Smith and David Ricardo recognized that able-bodied people could experience temporary joblessness, but not the long-term variety. The word "unemployment" only became widely used in the nineteenth century. As cities grew and manufacturing took off, people living in cities and towns grew apart. Movement between the two places grew less fluid. The agricultural sector of the economy was shrinking.

At first, if you lost your factory job, you could still probably pick up something in the countryside to tide you over. But if you had grown up in the city, as more and more people did, you might not know how to do rural work. By the late nineteenth century, most city dwellers could no longer count on falling back on agricultural work during hard times.

Karl Marx noted that England's enclosure movement, which gained momentum as early as the seventeenth century, had made things hard for agricultural workers as wealthy landowners grabbed up the rights to common lands that workers had traditionally been allowed to use and were a vital part of their sustenance. Uprooting peasants from the land and traditional ways of life, Marx observed, created an "industrial reserve army" – basically a whole bunch of people wanting to work but unable to find a job during times when industrialists held back investment or when machines took over certain jobs.

Marx saw that this new kind of unemployment was a feature of capitalism, not a bug. Still, a lot of mainstream bourgeois economists thought that the market would somehow sort things out and eventually provide enough job openings to prevent mass unemployment.

It didn't turn out that way. Exhibit A: The Great Depression.

Especially after World War I, many later economists, most notably John Maynard Keynes, warned that high rates of unemployment were getting to be the norm in the twentieth century. Keynes predicted that a lot of people would go on being jobless unless the government did something. This was very bad for society.

Keynes emphasized that full employment was never going to just happen on its own. Mainstream economists thought that if wages fell enough, full employment would eventually prevail. Keynes disputed that. As wages fell, demand contracted even further, leading to even less business investment and so forth in a never-ending cycle. No, capitalism, with its business cycles led to involuntary unemployment, according to Keynes.

Seccareccia observes that economist Michał Kalecki agreed that the government could make policies to help more people stay employed at a decent wage, but there was just one problem: wealthy capitalists weren't going to have it. They would oppose state-supported systems to hold demand up so that fear of unemployment checked workers' demands for better pay and improved work conditions.

For a while, after World War II, the capitalists were on the defense. The Great Depression and the Communist threat got western countries spooked enough to go along with Keynes's argument that governments should try to encourage employment by doing things like creating big projects for people to work on. Safety nets were created to keep folks from falling into poverty. The goal of full employment gained popularity and many more workers joined unions.

Capitalists v. Full Employment

Economists have bandied about various definitions of what full employment ought to look like, explains Seccareccia: "A well-known definition came from William Beveridge, who said that what you wanted was as many jobs open as people looking for them – or even more jobs because every person can't take every type of job."

In the mid-twentieth century, with the economy doing well, neoclassical economists like Milton Friedman started to push back against the idea of full employment. He discouraged the use of fiscal and monetary policy to support employment, arguing that attempts to push down unemployment beyond what he insisted was its "natural" rate in the economy would simply lead to inflation.

In the 1960s, some of what Friedman warned about did actually happen. Employment was low and prices started to go up mildly, particularly during the Vietnam War era. However, the biggest boost to the credibility of Milton Friedman came with the OPEC cartel oil-price hikes of the 1970s that pushed the inflation rate to double-digit levels while simultaneously pushing up unemployment. So, in the '70s, western countries started backing off from encouraging full employment and maintaining strong safety nets. Proponents of the new neoliberal framework were in favor of cutting safety nets, shedding government jobs, and leaving it to the market to decide how much unemployment there would be. They said that it had to be this way to keep inflation from rising, even though the cause of that high inflation of the '70s had nothing to do with high public spending and excessive money creation that Friedman and his friends talked about.

Seccareccia points to proof that the neoclassical logic didn't hold up. In the two decades before the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-8, the rate of unemployment went down, but inflation didn't go up. That proved that the neoclassical economists were wrong. But unfortunately, policymakers didn't really digest this before the Great Recession hit. So, they bungled the response badly by putting the brake on public spending too quickly because of fears of excessive budget deficits and potentially higher future inflation that never materialized. They kept insisting that the employment level would return to that "natural" state Friedman had talked about if they just left things to the market.

"But it didn't work out that way," says Seccareccia. "Unemployment skyrocketed and it took a decade to return to pre-crisis levels.

Which brings us to the COVID-19 crisis.

A Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Seccareccia says that we have to understand the difference between the current situation and the Global Financial Crisis. This time, it really is different.

"The earlier crisis started in the financial sector and spread to the real economy," he explains. "But in 2020, when the Coronavirus emerged, the financial and industrial sectors got hammered at the same time." This meant that people in both sectors stopped spending. Households couldn't spend even if they wanted to because traveling, dining out, and other activities were off-limits. Businesses cut investment as uncertainty loomed and exports declined due to restrictions at borders. Unless you were Home Depot or an e-commerce company, you couldn't sell anything.

The COVID-19 crisis also saw workers pulled out of activities thought to be too high risk for spreading the virus. Across the country, non-essential workers were sent home and told to stay there. Most, especially in sectors like leisure and hospitality, can't do their work from home . A lot of these people lost their wages, and because most of them were low-wage to begin with, they could least afford the hit. Many were only able to maintain their incomes through government unemployment insurance. Businesses, meanwhile, were kept afloat with subsidies.

Seccareccia notes that unemployment had an interesting twist in the pandemic because it was both the problem and the initial cure for the health crisis. Unemployment kept the virus from circulating. It saved lives.

Fast-forward to late spring, 2021. As America and other western countries seek to put the pandemic behind them, the economy is opening back up. Employers are wanting to hire, and they are even competing with each other for workers. But many job seekers are waiting to go back to work. There are a lot of reasons why: caregiving for kids is still a huge burden, and people are still worried about getting sick. Transit routes have been disrupted making it harder for people to get to work. It's also possible that some workers may be resisting jobs on offer which come with low pay and inadequate benefits.

Employers have started complaining they can't find workers and blame the social safety net as the problem. Some employers, like those in the hospitality industry, are offering higher pay to lure workers back.

Just as Kalecki predicted, the wealthy capitalists are getting uneasy. The Chamber of Commerce, for example, has pushed the U.S. to stop expanded unemployment insurance benefits so that people will be forced to return to low-wage jobs. Some Republican-dominated states have jumped on board with this idea. Economist Larry Summers, for his part, is warning about inflation and telling the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates so that wages don't go up. He complains that when he walks outside, all he sees are people eager to fill job vacancies . It's unclear where he was living when he said that, or which people he is talking about.

Others argue that expanded unemployment insurance isn't the problem, but the crappy jobs on offer. Seccareccia believes that it's a good thing if employers raise their wages, even if that means a little bit of inflation.

Rising inequality, he emphasizes, is unsustainable in a healthy society, and it's about time ordinary people had a little power to improve their lot. "When employers are worried about people quitting," he says, "that's when you know you're getting close to full employment. And in a capitalist society, it's an extremely rare situation when the number of quits begins to exceed the number of new hires as an economy nears the peak of a business cycle."

In Seccareccia's view, "there's a balancing act between workers 'fearing the sack' and employers 'fearing the quit.'" He observes that capitalists are very good at making sure that the former situation is more common, and they've been spectacularly successful in the last 40 years. "This is why you have flat wages and runaway inequality," says Seccareccia. "Productivity goes up but the workers don't share in it." Profits pile up at the top.

Right now, inflation has been creeping up in some areas. In a couple of sectors, like used cars, it's rising a lot. The question is, beyond a couple of unique cases, what will happen to inflation overall? And will be temporary? A lot of economists think that inflation will be short-lived and will not get very high, so it's nothing to get excited about. Some economists, like Antonella Palumbo, think the worry about inflation is overdone . She notes that with unemployment still high and vast numbers of people who formerly worked but are still out of the labor force, the ranks of the famous reserve army of unemployed are still huge. As the economy restarts, all kinds of short-run bottlenecks are cropping up, but that reserve army is not going anywhere fast and will continue to limit wage increases.

Seccareccia points out that wealthy capitalists trying to stop workers from getting paid better and conservatives complaining about laziness fail to mention that meanwhile, the stock market is soaring, making the rich richer. Plus, the housing market is booming because the more affluent people lucky enough to have kept their jobs over the pandemic now have extra money saved to spend on big-ticket items. "Is it really fair," he asks, "to complain about a few hundred dollars a week received by those at the bottom of the economic ladder? Especially how much the economy is already titled in favor of the haves?"

So, what exactly should the government do about unemployment? Should it do anything at all? For Seccareccia's part, he thinks this is a perfect time to reconsider the idea of full employment, which has been so long abandoned by policymakers in favor of some "natural" unemployment rate. "Policymakers need to understand why COVID may offer a chance not seen since the end of WWII," he says. "We could actually make the economy fairer for ordinary people."


Alice X , June 5, 2021 at 6:02 am

The 1943 Michal Kalecki piece can be found here:

https://mronline.org/2010/05/22/political-aspects-of-full-employment/

EarlyGray , June 5, 2021 at 6:07 am

> So, what exactly should the government do about unemployment?

My favoured solution, and that of other readers of this blog, I suspect, is the Job Guarantee as promoted by MMT.
Because a well designed job guarantee would provide a floor on wages and benefits, the private sector would be forced to match it at the very least. But as has been pointed out on this blog many times before, Kalecki's point that full employment would remove employers ability to effectively threaten workers with the sack, means that it will be very difficult politically to see it implemented.

Mikel , June 5, 2021 at 9:47 am

Still building "houses" with floors only?

I think a definition of "enough" is needed.

Amateur Socialist , June 5, 2021 at 8:07 am

Next week I start my 2nd year of pandemic triggered unemployment after I was terminated without cause. On June 26th my extended UI benefits will be halted by TX Governor Greg Abbot. Okay.

In a year of applying for new positions I have managed to get exactly 1 phone interview after a 40 year career in technology development, ending up with almost 24 years at IBM. In my last year with them I received both a performance bonus and a salary hike. But I'm now over 60 and have been unemployed longer than 3 months so that's probably fairly typical experience. Okay.

The path to full employment is probably going to require the creation of new opportunities in a still contracting economic system. It's not impossible if you're focused on the goal. Here's my shortlist of policy initiatives that could dramatically and quickly grow the number of available jobs, particularly for the under employed younger people who are paying off student loans.

Dramatically increase social security and medicare eligibility/benefits to convince older workers to leave the workforce.
Expand paid family leave and vacation policies to align with other industrialized nations in order to require businesses to hire to cover needed absences.
Drop the number of hours that define full time work to allow more workers to get full benefits.

Yeah, I'd like to be considered for another good paying job in a still viable industry. I spent decades developing skills that are still relevant and valuable. But I'm old and I'm expensive because I have expectations based on my own employment history that 40 years of neoliberal policies have rendered obsolete. Okay.

I'm close enough to retirement and lucky enough in my ability to save and plan that this won't wreck us. I try to imagine my pandemic inspired involuntary retirement as an opportunity to become a labor rights activist. It helps.

Rolf , June 5, 2021 at 9:23 am

My situation is virtually the same, although in academia as research scientist at major US university, with last 6 years as invited scientist at German research institute. Returned to US to the nightmare of Trump at 63, but fully (and naively) intending to continue working. I've lost count of how many job applications I've tendered, with only one interview in two years, then COVID. Now resigned to the fact that work for me from here on out will be different. I continue to write papers with colleagues at university to maintain a reputation in my field. Now recognize that people take one look at my CV, and think: "Old! Expensive!" -- but the truth is I would be willing to work for little just to stay active in a field applying expertise I've spent decades acquiring. I've since met many, many seniors in the same boat: trained professionals with lots of experience who still want to work (and, in my case, need at least some income).

But at least I had a career. I can't imagine the hopelessness of people 35-40 years my junior, with huge debt from college, grad school, and unable to find a decent job.

Something must change. The situation as it exists is unsustainable. One bright light seems to be increasing recognition of the way the economy actually functions, the role of public spending, and the real limits to growth, prosperity.

Amateur Socialist , June 5, 2021 at 9:40 am

Appreciate your commiseration Rolf. I expect there is an army of people like us who are in this situation or about to be.

Fwiw (maybe not much), I'm actively trying to get hired full time at the food coop near my house. The workers there are represented by a union and get full insurance benefits including dental with a 40 hour work week. The Vt minimum wage of $11.75/hr doesn't matter as much as those insurance benefits do; we're still in that 5 year gap between age 60 and age 65 where you are on your own if you need healthcare.

And I've pretty much decided to laugh off Beaux Jivin's campaign promise to drop the medicare eligibility age to 60 etc. It's abandoned along with many other campaign promises. Okay.

Rolf , June 5, 2021 at 12:18 pm

Thanks, A/S, for your kind words. Yes, benefits are key. I really am increasingly worried that Biden, and the Democratic Party in general, don't seem the grasp the fact that the GOP is absolutely committed to recovering control of Congress and the White House by *any* means necessary. Biden in particular seems to entertain the notion that he can bring the right wing to his way of thinking by conciliation, negotiation, compromise, and good performance. But the GOP is not interested in Dem's performance or compromise -- McConnell has made this quite clear. So Dems have an opportunity to make significant history, a true course correction, but only this once. To pursue "bipartisanship" with a party that has no interest in compromise is hugely naïve -- I can't imagine Biden is that foolish, except that he did begin his campaign with the promise that "nothing would fundamentally change".

The food coop gig sounds like a good, sound shot -- all the best to you.

Left in Wisconsin , June 5, 2021 at 1:32 pm

Fellow army member, age 61. Lucky to have health care via spouse but definitely not enough wealth to retire. Two interviews in last two years, both in retrospect clearly designed to fill out an interview field when preferred (much younger) hire had already been identified. The canard about atrophied skills might apply in the occasional instance but IMO is just more bullsh1t in defense of existing social order.

Dem obliviousness to the reality all around us is truly horrifying. I used to argue that the big sort would result in fenced "progressive" enclaves in which all parties – those inside and those outside – would be thrilled to not have to interact with each other. But it's clear to me now that progressives don't need physical separation to avoid seeing what they don't want to; they are completely able to not see the world right in front of them.

Rod , June 5, 2021 at 10:52 am

I spent decades developing skills that are still relevant and valuable .

Well, you agree. And I agree with you, though I don't know you.
But Obviously the 'Market' does not.
Whose right here, and why?? is the issue.

Amateur Socialist , June 5, 2021 at 12:29 pm

I guess I should include this post script regarding my IBM termination:

After I'd been unemployed for about 90 days I was contacted by a recruiter working on behalf of IBM and my former managers. They were looking for people with exactly my skills and experience to come back to work at IBM as temporary contractors. I agreed to a short phone interview to learn more about the opportunity.

Once the recruiter verified my experience and contacts at IBM, I managed to confirm that they expected to bring me back on at about 80% of my former salary. With no benefits and zero job security. I laughed out loud at this acknowledgment of their duplicity but agreed to let myself be considered and provided a resume. Never heard back which is probably okay.

Carla , June 5, 2021 at 8:29 pm

Amateur Socialist, Rolf and Left in Wisconsin -- I take my hat off to all of you. Work left both my partner and me a number of years ago, and we quickly learned that we had aged out of the market and were useless to society as we thought of it. Fortunately, we relatively quickly became eligible for Medicare, which even in its steadily diminishing state was (and is) a significant help.

Good luck to all of you, and A/S, please let us know the outcome of your pursuit of the job with benefits at your local Food Co-op.

Objective Ace , June 5, 2021 at 5:39 pm

I think your experience demonstrates the problem with defining full Employment as, "anyone who wants a job has one". Using this definition, the simple way to get the economy to FE then is to just make all the jobs so terrible and low paying that no one wants them. You dont need a job, and you dont want just any old crappy job. You want one similiar to your old one, If that doesnt exist anymore, one would reasonably say you dont want a job, since what you want doesn't exist, hence we're at full employment

All of this is to say, we shouldnt necessarily just encourage the government to get us to FE. Capitalists by themselves are quite capable of getting us there, as I'd argue they did in the 19th century. Its government interventions like minimum wage and basic safety protocols that keep us from reaching FE since that's what makes people actually want a job

Rod , June 5, 2021 at 9:08 am

Interesting overview.

it was unthinkable that someone ready and able to work had no job to do.

I think there is a conflation of the language terms bandied about–work-v-jobs-v-employment are all couched in the concept of a Consumption Based Economy. I am tired of this.

weeding the garden is work–unless I'm paying you then it becomes a job. In both instances, however, you are employed in the endeavor. This is grooming behavior using language, imo, and needs to stop.

I think this muddle is a componant of the current 'Jobs Discussion".

Covid has rattled generations coming out of Displacements following the very unequal GFC, and an undefined(maybe) examination of Meaning and Place within the current state of the world and the Economy that has been chosen to fulfill the needs of that Economy (Societal and Personal). More Intuitive than cognitive to many.

Selling Plastic bric-a-brac for the Man, to make the rent in an endless cycle, may have lost its cache' subconsciously, to the 'common man' in this time of apparent Climate Crises et al.

There is still plenty to do, and little time for Idleness( itself a "reward' promoted as a 'something' by the Consumptive Economy).

Rod , June 5, 2021 at 9:19 am

There is still plenty to do , like this(and all it encompasses)

Hero rat that sniffed out over 70 landmines retires The Hill

Mikel , June 5, 2021 at 9:41 am

"Proponents of the new neoliberal framework were in favor of cutting safety nets, shedding government jobs, and leaving it to the market to decide how much unemployment there would be. They said that it had to be this way to keep inflation from rising,"

"The market" – that's the first con people have to get over. There is.no "the market" like there it is something like nature.
It's system of intentional, changeable human decisions backed by beliefs and emotions of all kinds now matter how many theories or quantifications occur. And a corporate beuracracy is still a beuracracy.

And actually this neoliberal thinking of letting some imaginary entity "the market" "decide" (we should be lughing at this silliness!) to keep people unemployed to avoid "inflation" only makes sense if it actually meant to signify "avoid inflation of the population."

Phil in KC , June 5, 2021 at 9:44 am

The modern police force is a consequence of idle and unemployed city dwellers. Idled workers don't just sit down and die from malnutrition. Instead, they roam around looking for food, or opportunities that would lead to procuring food. Hungry, impoverished mobs are never a good idea: Ask Czar Nicholas, Kaiser Wilhelm, or the French aristocrats of the 1780's (rather, interrogate their ghosts) how idle, hungry crowds furthered their reigns. For all that, look to the unrest of the 1930's in the US.

Given this reality–that unemployed and starving people refuse to sit down and die peacefully–what will happen as automation starts to rob routine jobs? Already we are seeing robots prowling the Walmart aisles, driverless vehicles delivering pizzas, and self-checkout lines in big box stores. We who work are losing the war on unemployment, which leads to a question: Who is the winner?

Almost as an afterthought, one wonders how much in contributions to Social Security and Medicare have been lost because of automation. Robots don't pay taxes.

Jesper , June 5, 2021 at 10:21 am

Maybe Keynes had an idea what to do?
https://www.openculture.com/2020/06/when-john-maynard-keynes-predicted-a-15-hour-workweek-in-a-hundred-years-time-1930.html

After the achievement of the 40-hour workweek, paid vacations, and other labor concessions, many influential figures believed that egalitarian access to leisure would only increase in the 20th century. Among them was economist John Maynard Keynes, who forecast in 1930 that labor-saving technologies might lead to a 15-hour workweek when his grandchildren came of age. Indeed, he titles his essay, "Economic Possibility for our Grandchildren."

The benefits of labour-saving technologies have mostly been taken as money instead of time and by doing so the capitalist class kept power thereby leading to them getting the lions-share of the benefits of the labour-saving techologies.
The political class could, and still can, side with people and decide that labour-saving technologies is to be taken out as reduced amount of hours spent working for someone else. As is the politcal class have bought the 'lump of labour'-fallacy-fallcy hook, line and sinker so what we see is increased pension-age etc

Vicotria H , June 5, 2021 at 10:31 am

I tried out retirement for a few months. I'm 62 and got SS and a very small pension. It's not enough so I went back – temping. The jobs I can get as a paralegal/admin person don't pay a lot but there seem to be quite a few of them based on companies that are merging or have merged and have a huge mess to clean up. So they hire you for a few months to slog through chaos and fix it. Then on to the next one. I'll keep doing this until I can move to a cheaper part of the U.S. Remote helps in that if I don't have a Zoom interview they can't tell how old I am. I feel for everyone who can't even get tedious work. If my SS was higher I would stop working. If my salary had matched that of the male co-workers that had the exact same job as me, my pension would be higher. Retiring in America for many people is part nomadic as you have to move out of your area to survive after you leave your regular job, or it gets rid of you and the other part is being extremely frugal. Woohoo what a life after over 40 years of helping companies make money.

Rod , June 5, 2021 at 11:00 am

If my SS was higher I would stop working

Is this a complete and true statement, or a shortcut to meaning something else?
No criticism, just looking for the clarity.

Victoria H , June 5, 2021 at 11:20 am

Yes a totally true statement. For it to be higher I would have had to wait until almost 67 to take it. It will go up a tad from my additional employment – maybe. Anyway it's a mostly a set amount. I make as a temp in 2 weeks (take home) what I get in SS once per month. If I make over about $19k annually while taking the SS, the US gov will begin to reduce the SS payment.

John Zelnicker , June 5, 2021 at 1:22 pm

@Victoria H
June 5, 2021 at 11:20 am
-- -- -

Social Security takes the highest 40 quarters (10 years) of your earnings to calculate your benefit. If your current work results in higher numbers than are being used currently, the higher numbers will be used and your benefit will increase.

Victoria H , June 5, 2021 at 11:40 am

I tried to reply to your question – yes it is a true statement. What I wrote additionally may have been moderated out for some reason so I won't repeat it. It only mentioned dollar amounts and the US gov so maybe that was bad – not sure!

Rod , June 5, 2021 at 2:06 pm

Victoria H
and I thank you for that.
But I think you, and I will 'work' until we die–

What does work mean?
noun. exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil. productive or operative activity. employment, as in some form of industry, especially as a means of earning one's livelihood: to look for work. the result of exertion, labor, or activity; a deed or performance.

Work | Definition of Work at Dictionary.comhttps://www.dictionary.com › browse › work

I am personally familiar with what you are going through and My wife is there right now.

I waited till full retirement at 66 to collect–not being able to leave 2k on the table(diff btwn 62 and 66 for me). I cannot describe the amount of effort and gyration I needed to extend to achieve that– which may explain why I am the only one in my 'Friend Circle' to actually accomplish it.

Trigger Warning

I thought the coup de grace was when I had to sign up for–and Pay For, with cash, Quarterly–Medicare without a SS check to have it automatically deducted from. Because of my birthday I needed to pony up about 5 months worth of premiums(but i had 3 months to save up for the next Q pymt). I doubt you've ever been curbed at the end of a physical altercation, but that is what it felt like to me. Best think about all that.
Good news–do your own taxes for your enlightenment and you will see that the SS Income Worksheet provides a path to structuring your Income to counter-balance additional Income.
Discalimer–I am in no way an Acc'tant or Tax Man or even giving Advice. I am a Carpenter–but Written Instructions are Written Instructions and Numbers are Numbers and I made a paid living following both–so it's understandable enough to give you some options to ponder.

And to Rolf/AmSoc and all the others -- IMNSHO(the first ever time I have used this phrase) the most dispiriting element about 'Retirement' in America is the Stranding of So Many Valuable Assets embodied in the Retired when the world desperatly needs "All Hands On Deck" to resist the Man Made Extinction looming.

Rolf , June 5, 2021 at 3:22 pm

the most dispiriting element about 'Retirement' in America is the Stranding of So Many Valuable Assets embodied in the Retired when the world desperately needs "All Hands On Deck" to resist the Man Made Extinction looming.

These are true words, Rod. I think catastrophic changes (no hyperbole) lie ahead, for which there is little precedent. Many make absurdly blithe assumptions, thinking they won't be affected, or that wealth will insulate them. This is arrogant folly, and we will need everyone to row in the same direction.

Carla , June 5, 2021 at 9:32 pm

The man who owns the Heating and Air Conditioning company I have been using for the last decade lives in the neighborhood and is 88 years old. After his brother had health problems, and the young nephew he employed left for greener pastures,he now does pretty much all the work himself, and let me tell you, he knows his stuff. I know I should have a back-up in mind, just in case, but so far, haven't found anyone else I can trust.

Dr. R.k. Barkhi , June 5, 2021 at 5:49 pm

Well said. I took retirement at 62 for several reasons,number 1 being i didn't believe it would be around long enough to pay me back.

"All hands on deck" is imo exactly what is needed,but the mostly planned divisiveness (fake right vs fake left aka RepubliCons vs Dumbocrats) will help ensure that never occurs,to someone's benefit.

redleg , June 5, 2021 at 12:20 pm

Just think how many people would quit working, or enter self-employment, if they weren't dependent on employer providedmedical insurance. I don't know the answer/estimate; it would have to be a large number, enough to significantly raise wages across the board.

Amateur Socialist , June 5, 2021 at 11:29 am

Retiring in America for many people is part nomadic

This observation made me remember a critical scene from the excellent oscar winner last year, Nomadland . Frances McDormand's character meets a friend who explains why she took to the road: "Five hundred forty dollars a month from Social Security. After working non stop for over 40 years. How am I supposed to live on that".

I'm paraphrasing possibly badly from memory; it's a very short scene that isn't really pursued farther in the script. But I do remember thinking "Aha! This is the root cause of all this misery and despair "

We moved to southern Vermont from Texas just prior to the pandemic believing we had relocated to a cheaper part of the US as you also mentioned. But Vermont's strong public health track record during the pandemic has unleashed a huge real estate boom here so who knows We may end up priced out of Vermont eventually too.

Rolf , June 5, 2021 at 12:29 pm

Real estate is still relatively cheap in Texas (at least around Houston), with the caveat that Republicans don't always keep the power on or the water pressure up in the middle of winter.

Amateur Socialist , June 5, 2021 at 12:34 pm

Unfortunately our place was in the Austin exurb of Bastrop. Which is now part of the Austin insane real estate boom. And yes Houston can be cheap but only if you don't mind living near a refinery. Or in the path of many future hurricanes. Hard pass.

Pelham , June 5, 2021 at 11:11 am

I keep seeing references to "flat wages." While it's technically true, I suspect it's enormously deceptive.

Yes, we have flat wages. But the cost of necessities that add little or no value to people's lives but which they're FORCED to pay for have shot up far, far beyond the pace of inflation. Think medical care, housing and education, to name just three, all of which are somehow ignored or slighted in official inflation stats.

Susan the other , June 5, 2021 at 11:54 am

Right now the best transition is for the government to regulate capitalism in the direction the future (sustainability) dictates. The problem with regulating capitalism is that most capitalists think it is already too regulated; taxes are too high, etc. They are on the edge of revolution themselves. And regulated capitalism is almost an oxymoron to most Americans. It's just business as usual to a European because they have better social spending and blablablah. The statistic I remember is that the EU spends about 45% of its revenue on social stuff; the US spends a little less than 35%. The problem, as I see it, is this: If we in the US do not achieve adequate social spending we create the perfect breeding ground for exploitation of the environment. People will be desperate for a job – any job. Which will not only cause worse CO2 problems, it will poison off, or starve off, many many species now living on the edge. We will further pollute the oceans and waterways. And we will not only stick with our sick and poisonous agricultural practices, we will exponentiate them – precluding all efforts to fix these unsustainable things. Capitalism as we have known it must change. So, even the great idea of capitalism must adapt to reality. Somebody please tell Larry. At this point "inflation" is an absolutely meaningless word. It would be a very good thing if we followed Eisenhower's advice to LBJ and began to create social structures that are fair to all of society – to the capitalists whose current mandate of voracious profiteering is clearly unsustainable, as well as to "labor" – as we see it evolving – and now, most importantly, we must include the rights of the planet itself and all of our fellow travelers. We won't last very long if we kill them all off and trash the Earth. The race to the bottom that all privateering capitalism eventually creates is the most absurd thing in the history of civilization.

Rod , June 5, 2021 at 2:12 pm

Always with the Big Picture and the Clear Eyes.
Thanks

Carla , June 5, 2021 at 9:35 pm

Indeed.

redleg , June 5, 2021 at 12:13 pm

A good start would be breaking up all of the ubiquitous monopolies/monopsonies/cartels, that have taken over every sector of the economy, from food processing to entertainment to banking to manufacturing to politics to (ad infinitum/nauseum).

John Zelnicker , June 5, 2021 at 1:27 pm

I went to Firehouse Subs yesterday there was a whiteboard inside on a table, facing into the restaurant, that said they were hiring and offered starting pay of $9.00 for crew members and $12.00 for shift managers.

Just inside the door, facing out, was a whiteboard offering starting pay of $11.00 for crew members and $14.00 for shift managers. Seems like they're getting the message.

As an aside, I'd like to give props to Firehouse Subs for using pressed paper clam boxes and paper bags.

LawnDart , June 5, 2021 at 6:47 pm

The average mortgage payment in USA is $1158mo.

Using the 28/36 rule, how much should employers be paying hourly if their employees are valued enough to be able to afford a home?

[Jun 01, 2021] California's Controversial Math Overhaul Focuses on Equity; computer science is next

May 31, 2021 | news.slashdot.org

Money quote from comments: "When news of this proposed standard came out, I read the actual standard because I wanted to see if it really was that bad. Things were reported like, "Saying an answer is 'wrong' is racist. There is no right and wrong in math, just shades of truth." These kinds of things are worrisome. So I read a good chunk of the proposal, and I couldn't find anything like that. Instead, I found their point was that anyone has the capability of learning math, and so we should be teaching it to everyone. If people aren't learning it, then that's a problem with our teaching methods.

Not sure Google and Apple will be happy. Clearly programming languages are racists as almost all of them were created by white guys and they disproportionally punish poor coders...

A plan to reimagine math instruction for 6 million California students has become ensnared in equity and fairness issues -- with critics saying proposed guidelines will hold back gifted students and supporters saying it will, over time, give all kindergartners through 12th-graders a better chance to excel. From a report: The proposed new guidelines aim to accelerate achievement while making mathematical understanding more accessible and valuable to as many students as possible, including those shut out from high-level math in the past because they had been "tracked" in lower level classes. The guidelines call on educators generally to keep all students in the same courses until their junior year in high school, when they can choose advanced subjects, including calculus, statistics and other forms of data science.

Although still a draft, the Mathematics Framework achieved a milestone Wednesday, earning approval from the state's Instructional Quality Commission. The members of that body moved the framework along, approving numerous recommendations that a writing team is expected to incorporate. The commission told writers to remove a document that had become a point of contention for critics. It described its goals as calling out systemic racism in mathematics, while helping educators create more inclusive, successful classrooms. Critics said it needlessly injected race into the study of math. The state Board of Education is scheduled to have the final say in November.

2+2=5 if we say it is ( Score: 4 , Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 31, 2021 @03:06PM ( #61440248 )

People learn at different rates. Lowest common denominator serves no one. Reply to This
Re:2+2=5 if we say it is ( Score: 2 ) by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday May 31, 2021 @03:28PM ( #61440308 )

And War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.

Report to Room 101 for remedial math. Reply to This Re:I can't believe this white supremacy ( Score: 5 , Informative) by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday May 31, 2021 @03:41PM ( #61440352 ) Journal

When news of this proposed standard came out, I read the actual standard because I wanted to see if it really was that bad. Things were reported like, "Saying an answer is 'wrong' is racist. There is no right and wrong in math, just shades of truth." These kinds of things are worrisome.

So I read a good chunk of the proposal, and I couldn't find anything like that. Instead, I found their point was that anyone has the capability of learning math, and so we should be teaching it to everyone. If people aren't learning it, then that's a problem with our teaching methods.

I also found that instead of getting rid of calculus, they are suggesting that you learn calculus as a Junior or Senior in high school. This seems fine to me.

The only thing I wish they'd put more emphasis on is statistics, because if you don't understand statistics, the modern world is a very confusing place. Reply to This Parent Share Flag as Inappropriate Re:

Does the curriculum for grades 1-10 have the appropriate foundational education for kids in grades 11-12 to actually succeed in a calculus class? Because if not, then the notion that any significant portion of juniors and seniors will be able take a calculus class is just a fantasy. Re:

That is the goal, but I am not enough of an expert to know whether they reached their goal or not. Re:

Reading (mostly skimming) through chapter 8 (about grades 9-12), a couple things stick out:

First off, they define three different possible "pathways" for grades 9-10, which seems completely in opposition to goal of a "common ninth- and tenth- grade experience." It sounds like they envision that some high schools will only provide a single pathway while others will provide multiple ones -- but it seems incredibly obvious that that's going to put students on different tracks.

I did not dig into what was inclu In Australia, the course hasn't changed ...

in 40 years since I did it. (I have been helping my kids.)

Which is a problem, because the world has changed with the advent of computers.

So they work on quite difficult symbolic integrations. But absolutely nothing on numerical methods (and getting the rounding errors correct) which is far more useful in the modern world.

For non-specialist students, there is almost nothing on how to really build a spreadsheet model. That again is a far more useful skill than any calculus or more advanced algebra.

And then Re: I can't believe this white supremacy I doubt they could get AP Calculus to work. It's going to have to be an easier version of pre Calculus. Because of how they schedule the classes today, some kids take summer courses so that they can get the prerequisites in time. Keeping everyone at the same slow pace is painful for the stronger students. I'm wondering if they are having trouble finding teachers who are qualified to teach math. Kumon The ones whose parents can send them to Kumon or Russian Math after school, will have the capacity. Those who cant even if they were smart enough for the accelerated program under current system wont. With any law follow the money- see who will make money from this. Re:I can't believe this white supremacy ( Score: 4 , Insightful) by CrappySnackPlane ( 7852536 ) on Monday May 31, 2021 @04:14PM ( #61440460 )

Which planet did you go to school on?

Here on Earth, here's how "everyone learns calculus in 11th grade" works:

The entire class has to stop and wait for the kids who are genuinely overwhelmed - be it because they're smart-but-poor-and-hungry or, you know, because they're just fucking dumb , both types exist, it doesn't matter - to catch up, because the teacher's job rests on whether 79% or 80% of their students score a passing grade on the statewide achiev^H^H^H^H^H^H (whoops, can't have achievements, that's ableist) "performance" tests. The teacher, being a rational creature who understands how to make sure their family's bread remains buttered, spends the bulk of their time helping along little Jethro and Barbie.

The bright kids are left bored out of their minds, and the "solution" presented by these absolute shitstains is to suggest the bright kids do after-school activities if they want to actually learn. Like, that's great for the 1% who genuinely love math the way some kids love music or acting or sports, but what about the 25% or so who are really gifted at math and would like to do more with it, but aren't so passionate about it that they want to give up more of their precious dwindling free time to pursue it? What about the 50% who aren't necessarily great at math but could certainly learn a lot more if the class wasn't being stopped every two minutes to re-re-remind little Goobclot that "x" was actually a number, not just a letter?

Look, I absolutely agree that it's bad to write kids off as dumb. But Harrison Bergeron is not included in the "Utopian Literature of the 20th Century" curriculum for a reason. There's a flipside, and none of these "one size fits all" proposals does anything to convince me that the proponents have actually seriously considered the other side of the coin. Reply to This Parent Share Flag Re:I can't believe this white supremacy ( Score: 2 ) by systemd-anonymousd ( 6652324 ) on Monday May 31, 2021 @06:26PM ( #61440894 )

My local school district is removing all AP math courses because they believe a disparity in race in the students represents racism, and/or they just don't want to have to look at the situation. I know the precursors to this sort of racist policy when I see it, and documents that espouse a trifecta of equity, inclusivity, and diversity are fully intended to pull crabs back down into the boiling bucket. Re:final countdown ( Score: 2 ) by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Monday May 31, 2021 @05:31PM ( #61440734 )

Next step is mandatory lobotomies for smarter kids or something like it. Because they obviously violate the dumber ones by setting an example the dumber ones can never hope to reach. See also "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut. Reply to This Parent Share

[May 30, 2021] Andrew Yang: The War on Normal People The Truth About America s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future

Looks like this guys somewhat understands the problems with neoliberalism, but still is captured by neoliberal ideology.
Notable quotes:
"... That all seems awfully quaint today. Pensions disappeared for private-sector employees years ago. Most community banks were gobbled up by one of the mega-banks in the 1990s -- today five banks control 50 percent of the commercial banking industry, which itself mushroomed to the point where finance enjoys about 25 percent of all corporate profits. Union membership fell by 50 percent. ..."
"... Ninety-four percent of the jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were temp or contractor jobs without benefits; people working multiple gigs to make ends meet is increasingly the norm. Real wages have been flat or even declining. The chances that an American born in 1990 will earn more than their parents are down to 50 percent; for Americans born in 1940 the same figure was 92 percent. ..."
"... Thanks to Milton Friedman, Jack Welch, and other corporate titans, the goals of large companies began to change in the 1970s and early 1980s. The notion they espoused -- that a company exists only to maximize its share price -- became gospel in business schools and boardrooms around the country. Companies were pushed to adopt shareholder value as their sole measuring stick. ..."
"... Simultaneously, the major banks grew and evolved as Depression-era regulations separating consumer lending and investment banking were abolished. Financial deregulation started under Ronald Reagan in 1980 and culminated in the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 under Bill Clinton that really set the banks loose. The securities industry grew 500 percent as a share of GDP between 1980 and the 2000s while ordinary bank deposits shrank from 70 percent to 50 percent. Financial products multiplied as even Main Street companies were driven to pursue financial engineering to manage their affairs. GE, my dad's old company and once a beacon of manufacturing, became the fifth biggest financial institution in the country by 2007. ..."
Apr 27, 2019 | www.amazon.com

The logic of the meritocracy is leading us to ruin, because we arc collectively primed to ignore the voices of the millions getting pushed into economic distress by the grinding wheels of automation and innovation. We figure they're complaining or suffering because they're losers.

We need to break free of this logic of the marketplace before it's too late.

[Neoliberalism] had decimated the economies and cultures of these regions and were set to do the same to many others.

In response, American lives and families are falling apart. Ram- pant financial stress is the new normal. We are in the third or fourth inning of the greatest economic shift in the history of mankind, and no one seems to be talking about it or doing anything in response.

The Great Displacement didn't arrive overnight. It has been building for decades as the economy and labor market changed in response to improving technology, financialization, changing corporate norms, and globalization. In the 1970s, when my parents worked at GE and Blue Cross Blue Shield in upstate New York, their companies provided generous pensions and expected them to stay for decades. Community banks were boring businesses that lent money to local companies for a modest return. Over 20 percent of workers were unionized. Some economic problems existed -- growth was uneven and infla- tion periodically high. But income inequality was low, jobs provided benefits, and Main Street businesses were the drivers of the economy. There were only three television networks, and in my house we watched them on a TV with an antenna that we fiddled with to make the picture clearer.

That all seems awfully quaint today. Pensions disappeared for private-sector employees years ago. Most community banks were gobbled up by one of the mega-banks in the 1990s -- today five banks control 50 percent of the commercial banking industry, which itself mushroomed to the point where finance enjoys about 25 percent of all corporate profits. Union membership fell by 50 percent.

Ninety-four percent of the jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were temp or contractor jobs without benefits; people working multiple gigs to make ends meet is increasingly the norm. Real wages have been flat or even declining. The chances that an American born in 1990 will earn more than their parents are down to 50 percent; for Americans born in 1940 the same figure was 92 percent.

Thanks to Milton Friedman, Jack Welch, and other corporate titans, the goals of large companies began to change in the 1970s and early 1980s. The notion they espoused -- that a company exists only to maximize its share price -- became gospel in business schools and boardrooms around the country. Companies were pushed to adopt shareholder value as their sole measuring stick.

Hostile takeovers, shareholder lawsuits, and later activist hedge funds served as prompts to ensure that managers were committed to profitability at all costs. On the flip side, CF.Os were granted stock options for the first time that wedded their individual gain to the company's share price. The ratio of CF.O to worker pay rose from 20 to 1 in 1965 to 271 to 1 in 2016. Benefits were streamlined and reduced and the relationship between company and employee weakened to become more transactional.

Simultaneously, the major banks grew and evolved as Depression-era regulations separating consumer lending and investment banking were abolished. Financial deregulation started under Ronald Reagan in 1980 and culminated in the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 under Bill Clinton that really set the banks loose. The securities industry grew 500 percent as a share of GDP between 1980 and the 2000s while ordinary bank deposits shrank from 70 percent to 50 percent. Financial products multiplied as even Main Street companies were driven to pursue financial engineering to manage their affairs. GE, my dad's old company and once a beacon of manufacturing, became the fifth biggest financial institution in the country by 2007.

Nolia Nessa , April 5, 2018

profound and urgent work of social criticism

It's hard to be in the year 2018 and not hear about the endless studies alarming the general public about coming labor automation. But what Yang provides in this book is two key things: automation has already been ravaging the country which has led to the great political polarization of today, and second, an actual vision into what happens when people lose jobs, and it definitely is a lightning strike of "oh crap"

I found this book relatively impressive and frightening. Yang, a former lawyer, entrepreneur, and non-profit leader, writes showing with inarguable data that when companies automate work and use new software, communities die, drug use increases, suicide increases, and crime skyrockets. The new jobs created go to big cities, the surviving talent leaves, and the remaining people lose hope and descend into madness. (as a student of psychology, this is not surprising)

He starts by painting the picture of the average American and how fragile they are economically. He deconstructs the labor predictions and how technology is going to ravage it. He discusses the future of work. He explains what has happened in technology and why it's suddenly a huge threat. He shows what this means: economic inequality rises, the people have less power, the voice of democracy is diminished, no one owns stocks, people get poorer etc. He shows that talent is leaving small towns, money is concentrating to big cities faster. He shows what happens when those other cities die (bad things), and then how the people react when they have no income (really bad things). He shows how retraining doesn't work and college is failing us. We don't invest in vocational skills, and our youth is underemployed pushed into freelance work making minimal pay. He shows how no one trusts the institutions anymore.

Then he discusses solutions with a focus on Universal Basic Income. I was a skeptic of the idea until I read this book. You literally walk away with this burning desire to prevent a Mad Max esque civil war, and its hard to argue with him. We don't have much time and our bloated micromanaged welfare programs cannot sustain.

[May 30, 2021] The Twilight of Equality: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy by Lisa Duggan

This is a very short book, almost an essay -- 136 pages. It was published in October 2004, four years before financial crisis of 2008, which put the first nail in the coffin of neoliberalism. It addresses the cultural politics of neo-liberalism ("the Great Deception")
Notable quotes:
"... By now, we've all heard about the shocking redistribution of wealth that's occurred during the last thirty years, and particularly during the last decade. But economic changes like this don't occur in a vacuum; they're always linked to politics. ..."
"... Ultimately, The Twilight of Equality? not only reveals how the highly successful rhetorical maneuvers of neoliberalism have functioned ..."
"... The titles of her four chapters--Downsizing Democracy, The Incredible Shrinking Public, Equality, Inc., Love AND Money--summarize her argument. ..."
"... Her target is neoliberalism, which she sees as a broadly controlling corporate agenda which seeks world domination, privatization of governmental decision-making, and marginalization of unions, low-income people, racial and sexual minorities while presenting to the public a benign and inclusive facade. ..."
"... Neo-liberalism seeks to upwardly distribute money, power, and status, she writes, while progressive movements seek to downwardly distribute money, power, and status. The unity of the downwardly distribution advocates should match the unity of the upwardly distribution advocates in order to be effective, she writes. ..."
"... "There is nothing stable or inevitable in the alliances supporting neoliberal agendas in the U.S. and globally," she writes. "The alliances linking neoliberal global economics, and conservative and right-wing domestic politics, and the culture wars are provisional--and fading...." ..."
"... For example, she discusses neoliberal attempts to be "multicultural," but points out that economic resources are constantly redistributed upward. Neoliberal politics, she argues, has only reinforced and increased the divide between economic and social political issues. ..."
"... Because neoliberal politicians wish to save neoliberalism by reforming it, she argues that proposing alternate visions and ideas have been blocked. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

By now, we've all heard about the shocking redistribution of wealth that's occurred during the last thirty years, and particularly during the last decade. But economic changes like this don't occur in a vacuum; they're always linked to politics.

The Twilight of Equality? searches out these links through an analysis of the politics of the 1990s, the decade when neoliberalism-free market economics-became gospel.

After a brilliant historical examination of how racial and gender inequities were woven into the very theoretical underpinnings of the neoliberal model of the state, Duggan shows how these inequities play out today. In a series of political case studies, Duggan reveals how neoliberal goals have been pursued, demonstrating that progressive arguments that separate identity politics and economic policy, cultural politics and affairs of state, can only fail.

Ultimately, The Twilight of Equality? not only reveals how the highly successful rhetorical maneuvers of neoliberalism have functioned but, more importantly, it shows a way to revitalize and unify progressive politics in the U.S. today.

Mona Cohen 5.0 out of 5 stars A Critique of Neoliberalism and the Divided Resistance to It July 3, 2006

Lisa Duggan is intensely interested in American politics, and has found political life in the United States to have been "such a wild ride, offering moments of of dizzying hope along with long stretches of political depression." She is grateful for "many ideas about political depression, and how to survive it," and she has written a excellent short book that helps make sense of many widely divergent political trends.

Her book is well-summarized by its concluding paragraph, which I am breaking up into additional paragraphs for greater clarity:

"Now at this moment of danger and opportunity, the progressive left is mobilizing against neoliberalism and possible new or continuing wars.

"These mobilizations might become sites for factional struggles over the disciplining of troops, in the name of unity at a time of crisis and necessity. But such efforts will fail; the troops will not be disciplined, and the disciplinarians will be left to their bitterness.

"Or, we might find ways of think, speaking, writing and acting that are engaged and curious about "other people's" struggles for social justice, that are respectfully affiliative and dialogic rather than pedagogical, that that look for the hopeful spots to expand upon, and that revel in the pleasure of political life.

"For it is pleasure AND collective caretaking, love AND the egalitarian circulation of money--allied to clear and hard-headed political analysis offered generously--that will create the space for a progressive politics that might both imagine and create...something worth living for."

The titles of her four chapters--Downsizing Democracy, The Incredible Shrinking Public, Equality, Inc., Love AND Money--summarize her argument.

She expected upon her high school graduation in 1972, she writes, that "active and expanding social movements seemed capable of ameliorating conditions of injustice and inequality, poverty, war and imperialism....I had no idea I was not perched at a great beginning, but rather at a denouement, as the possibilities for progressive social change encountered daunting historical setbacks beginning in 1972...."

Her target is neoliberalism, which she sees as a broadly controlling corporate agenda which seeks world domination, privatization of governmental decision-making, and marginalization of unions, low-income people, racial and sexual minorities while presenting to the public a benign and inclusive facade.

Neo-liberalism seeks to upwardly distribute money, power, and status, she writes, while progressive movements seek to downwardly distribute money, power, and status. The unity of the downwardly distribution advocates should match the unity of the upwardly distribution advocates in order to be effective, she writes.

Her belief is that all groups threatened by the neoliberal paradigm should unite against it, but such unity is threatened by endless differences of perspectives. By minutely analyzing many of the differences, and expanding understanding of diverse perspectives, she tries to remove them as obstacles towards people and organizations working together to achieve both unique and common aims.

This is good book for those interested in the history and current significance of numerous progressive ideological arguments. It is a good book for organizers of umbrella organizations and elected officials who work with diverse social movements. By articulating points of difference, the author depersonalizes them and aids in overcoming them.

Those who are interested in electoral strategies, however, will be disappointed. The interrelationship between neoliberalism as a governing ideology and neoliberalism as a political strategy is not discussed here. It is my view that greater and more focused and inclusive political organizing has the potential to win over a good number of the those who see support of neoliberalism's policy initiatives as a base-broadening tactic more than as a sacred cause.

"There is nothing stable or inevitable in the alliances supporting neoliberal agendas in the U.S. and globally," she writes. "The alliances linking neoliberal global economics, and conservative and right-wing domestic politics, and the culture wars are provisional--and fading...."

Reading this book adds to one's understanding of labels, and political and intellectual distinctions. It has too much jargon for my taste, but not so much as to be impenetrable. It is an excellent summarization and synthesis of the goals, ideologies, and histories of numerous social movements, both famous and obscure.

S. Baker 5.0 out of 5 stars Summary/Review of Twilight of Equality November 27, 2007

Duggan articulately connects social and economic issues to each other, arguing that neoliberal politics have divided the two when in actuality, they cannot be separated from one another.

In the introduction, Duggan argues that politics have become neoliberal - while politics operate under the guise of promoting social change or social stability, in reality, she argues, politicians have failed to make the connection between economic and social/cultural issues. She uses historical background to prove the claim that economic and social issues can be separated from each other is false.

For example, she discusses neoliberal attempts to be "multicultural," but points out that economic resources are constantly redistributed upward. Neoliberal politics, she argues, has only reinforced and increased the divide between economic and social political issues.

After the introduction, Duggan focuses on a specific topic in each chapter: downsizing democracy, the incredible shrinking public, equality, and love and money. In the first chapter (downsizing democracy), she argues that through violent imperial assertion in the Middle East, budget cuts in social services, and disillusionments in political divides, "capitalists could actually bring down capitalism" (p. 2).

Because neoliberal politicians wish to save neoliberalism by reforming it, she argues that proposing alternate visions and ideas have been blocked. Duggan provides historical background that help the reader connect early nineteenth century U.S. legislation (regarding voting rights and slavery) to perpetuated institutional prejudices.

[May 28, 2021] Despite Initial Claims Drop, Almost 16 Million Americans Remain On Government Dole

For April 2021 the official Current Unadjusted U-6 unemployment rate was 9.9% down from 10.9% in March, and 11.6% in February, January was 12.0%. It was also 11.6% October "" December 2020. But It was 18.3% in June, 20.7% in May, and 22.4% in April. It is still well above the 8.9% of March 2020 when unemployment rates started jumping drastically due to massive shutdowns due to the Coronavirus.
May 27, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Initial Jobless Claims tumbled (positively) to their lowest since the pandemic lockdowns began, adding just 406k Americans last week (well below the 425k expected). This is still double the pre-pandemic norms

y_arrow 1
Truthtellers 11 hours ago (Edited) remove link

Companies laid off an additional 400K people last week and they actually think we are dumb enough to believe there is a labor shortage? That line of crap is obviously just a ploy to get employee's to accept lower salaries.

I'll believe there is a labor shortage after 16 million jobs have been added and the weekly initial claims number is zero.

Until then, I guess if you have a "labor shortage" you better get that pay up.

AJAX-2 13 hours ago (Edited)

Another 400K+ applying for 1st time unemployment benefits and yet they piss on my leg, tell me it's raining, while proclaiming there is a labor shortage. Bu!!****.

PerilouseTimes 9 hours ago

Close to a million people a week were signing up for unemployment for a year and unemployment has been extended. Wouldn't that mean at least 40 million Americans are on unemployment not to mention all the people on welfare and disability? I think the number is closer to 100 million Americans on the government dole and that doesn't count all the worthless government jobs out there.

Normal 12 hours ago remove link

I'm on unemployment except California seems to have quit paying people on unemployment. I tried every-which-way to contact them but there is no way in hell to get through to a live person. I went and typed in how to speak with a real person at the EDD, and hundreds of people have posted that they haven't been paid in 12 weeks. I spoke with their Cal-Jobs representative and she said that many people haven't been paid since March of last year. I think they are forcing the so-called unemployed to their Cal-Jobs site by not paying them.

ay_arrow
NEOSERF 13 hours ago

Worst month during the GFC appears to be about 650K...we are only 50% below that....with 21 states preparing to end the extension, things will be fantastic in these numbers shortly if not the real world...waiting for all the cold/flu season coughing and cold weather in November...

[May 28, 2021] American Lysenkism in academis: These lowlife parasites sit on their asses and talk shi*. They produce nothing and make a living by spreading nonsense.

May 23, 2021 | www.unz.com

Priss Factor , says: Website May 21, 2021 at 4:44 am GMT • 2.9 days ago

I can understand the frustrations and rage of certain folks.

If you're a worker on an oil rig, a truck driver, a policeman, or some such jobs, there's bound to be moments when you're angry as hell. So, even though such people say crazy things once a while, I can understand where they're coming from. They need to blow off steam.

But the professor class? These lowlife parasites sit on their asses and talk shi*. They produce nothing and make a living by spreading nonsense. And yet, they act like they are soooooooooo angry with the way of the world. If they really care about the world, why hide in their academic enclaves?
Academia needs a cultural revolution, a real kind, not the bogus 'woke' kind made up of teachers' pets.

[May 28, 2021] Redditors Aim to 'Free Science' From For-Profit Publishers

May 25, 2021 | yro.slashdot.org

A group of Redditors came together in a bid to archive over 85 million scientific papers from the website Sci-Hub and make an open-source library that cannot be taken down. Interesting Engineering reports:

Over the last decade or so, Sci-Hub, often referred to as "The Pirate Bay of Science," has been giving free access to a huge database of scientific papers that would otherwise be locked behind a paywall.

Unsurprisingly, the website has been the target of multiple lawsuits, as well as an investigation from the United States Department of Justice. The site's Twitter account was also recently suspended under Twitter's counterfeit policy, and its founder, Alexandra Elbakyan, reported that the FBI gained access to her Apple accounts .

Now, Redditors from a subreddit called DataHoarder, which is aimed at archiving knowledge in the digital space, have come together to try to save the numerous papers available on the website. In a post on May 13 , the moderators of r/DataHoarder, stated that "it's time we sent Elsevier and the USDOJ a clearer message about the fate of Sci-Hub and open science.

We are the library, we do not get silenced, we do not shut down our computers, and we are many." This will be no easy task. Sci-Hub is home to over 85 million papers, totaling a staggering 77TB of data . The group of Redditors is currently recruiting for its archiving efforts and its stated goal is to have approximately 8,500 individuals torrenting the papers in order to download the entire library. Once that task is complete, the Redditors aim to release all of the downloaded data via a new "uncensorable" open-source website.

[May 28, 2021] Cheating at School Is Easier Than Ever and It s Rampant

Notable quotes:
"... "Consider hiring me to do your assignment,"¯ reads a bid from one auction site. "I work fast, pay close attention to the instructions, and deliver a plagiarism-free paper."¯ ..."
"... ... For the final exam, Mr. Johnson, a course coordinator, said he used a computer program that generated a unique set of questions for each student. Those questions quickly showed up on a for-profit homework website that helped him to identify who posted them. ..."
"... About 200 students were caught cheating -- one-fourth of the class. Overall, cases of academic dishonesty more than doubled in the 2019-20 academic year at NC State, with the biggest uptick as students made the transition to online learning, according to the school. ..."
"... Surprised that the use of apps like Photomath and mathway weren't mentioned. Students can just take a photo of a math problem, specify the directions and copy the steps. ..."
"... I've taugh at the high school and college level. I recently taught engineering at a NC high school. Within a couple months of Zoom teaching, I realized that cheating was rampant. I had numerous blatant examples of straight copy-and-paste cheating. ..."
"... The colleges have been cheating students for decades selling worthless programs and false information to students at exorbitant rates. So who is surprised that the students learned to cheat themselves. ..."
"... What the article needs to cover is the enormous amount of cheating done on SATs, GREs, LSATs, etc. to get into prestigious universities -- especially by prospective students who'll be here on an F1 visa. ..."
"... Such cheating is legendary among some cultures but the PC crowd won't want to hear about that, will they. We need their electronics and their widgets and such best not to rock that boat. P ..."
May 12, 2021 | www.wsj.com

A year of remote learning has spurred an eruption of cheating among students, from grade school to college. With many students isolated at home over the past year""and with a mass of online services at their disposal""academic dishonesty has never been so easy.

Websites that allow students to submit questions for expert answers have gained millions of new users over the past year. A newer breed of site allows students to put up their own classwork for auction.

"Consider hiring me to do your assignment,"¯ reads a bid from one auction site. "I work fast, pay close attention to the instructions, and deliver a plagiarism-free paper."¯

... For the final exam, Mr. Johnson, a course coordinator, said he used a computer program that generated a unique set of questions for each student. Those questions quickly showed up on a for-profit homework website that helped him to identify who posted them.

About 200 students were caught cheating""one-fourth of the class. Overall, cases of academic dishonesty more than doubled in the 2019-20 academic year at NC State, with the biggest uptick as students made the transition to online learning, according to the school.

Texas A&M University had a 50% increase in cheating allegations in the fall from a year earlier, with one incident involving 193 students self-reporting academic misconduct to receive lighter punishment after faculty members caught on, a university official said. The University of Pennsylvania saw cheating case investigations grow 71% in the 2019-20 academic year, school data shows.

Dozens of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point were caught cheating on an online calculus exam last year, sharing answers with each other from home. The school said in April it was ending a policy that protected cadets who admitted honor code violations from being kicked out.

... ... ...

In February, auction website homeworkforyou.com featured one student post looking for someone willing to do weekly school assignments, exams and a project for a business class at York College in Queens, N.Y., over a two-month span. The winning bidder would also need to pose as the student and respond to classmates in a group assignment. The student specified that an "A"¯ was the desired outcome, and that the "willing to pay"¯ fee was $465.

By the next day, 29 bids had come in. The average was $479.41.

... Other popular websites that students use to get help""by submitting a question for an expert to quickly answer, or by searching a database of previous answers""include Chegg and Brainly, which said they have seen a big increase in users during the pandemic.

Mr. Piwnik said world-wide users grew to 350 million monthly in 2020, from about 200 million in 2019. The basic service is free, while a $24 annual subscription is ad-free and gives access to premium features.

Chegg, a publicly held company based in Santa Clara, Calif., prides itself on a willingness to help institutions determine the identities of those who cheat. It allows educators to report copyright information found on the site. The company saw total net revenue of $644.3 million in 2020, a 57% increase year over year. Subscribers hit a record 6.6 million, up 67%.


Cheating at School Is Easier Than Ever""and It's Rampant - WSJ

A year of remote learning has spurred an eruption of cheating among students, from grade school to college. With many students isolated at home over the past year and with a mass of online services at their disposal academic dishonesty has never been so easy.

Websites that allow students to submit questions for expert answers have gained millions of new users over the past year. A newer breed of site allows students to put up their own classwork for auction.

"Consider hiring me to do your assignment,"¯ reads a bid from one auction site. "I work fast, pay close attention to the instructions, and deliver a plagiarism-free paper."¯

... For the final exam, Mr. Johnson, a course coordinator, said he used a computer program that generated a unique set of questions for each student. Those questions quickly showed up on a for-profit homework website that helped him to identify who posted them.

About 200 students were caught cheating -- one-fourth of the class. Overall, cases of academic dishonesty more than doubled in the 2019-20 academic year at NC State, with the biggest uptick as students made the transition to online learning, according to the school.

Texas A&M University had a 50% increase in cheating allegations in the fall from a year earlier, with one incident involving 193 students self-reporting academic misconduct to receive lighter punishment after faculty members caught on, a university official said. The University of Pennsylvania saw cheating case investigations grow 71% in the 2019-20 academic year, school data shows.

Dozens of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point were caught cheating on an online calculus exam last year, sharing answers with each other from home. The school said in April it was ending a policy that protected cadets who admitted honor code violations from being kicked out.

... ... ...

In February, auction website homeworkforyou.com featured one student post looking for someone willing to do weekly school assignments, exams and a project for a business class at York College in Queens, N.Y., over a two-month span. The winning bidder would also need to pose as the student and respond to classmates in a group assignment. The student specified that an "A"¯ was the desired outcome, and that the "willing to pay"¯ fee was $465.

By the next day, 29 bids had come in. The average was $479.41.

... Other popular websites that students use to get help "by submitting a question for an expert to quickly answer, or by searching a database of previous answers" include Chegg and Brainly, which said they have seen a big increase in users during the pandemic.

Mr. Piwnik said world-wide users grew to 350 million monthly in 2020, from about 200 million in 2019. The basic service is free, while a $24 annual subscription is ad-free and gives access to premium features.

Chegg, a publicly held company based in Santa Clara, Calif., prides itself on a willingness to help institutions determine the identities of those who cheat. It allows educators to report copyright information found on the site. The company saw total net revenue of $644.3 million in 2020, a 57% increase year over year. Subscribers hit a record 6.6 million, up 67%.

C C Cook SUBSCRIBER 13 minutes ago
Colleges administrators and professors ban speakers with opinions that differ from their narratives, pull books they don't like and can claim to be 'racist', and hire based solely on ethnic background.

But. the are SHOCKED when student cheat the system.

S 18 minutes ago

Surprised that the use of apps like Photomath and mathway weren't mentioned. Students can just take a photo of a math problem, specify the directions and copy the steps.

Unfortunately for the students, the apps will solve problems in peculiar ways that stand out to the teacher. I've never had so many students cheat of quizzes or tests. With most of them fully virtual even still, or home often because of hybrid, it's almost impossible to get fairly produced student work. E

SUBSCRIBER 40 minutes ago

Lazy, lazy test makers. Write new questions (and please check them through a simple search first to make sure the answer isn't readily available), timed testing, and assume the test takers all have full access to the internet. Stop assuming the test taking conditions haven't changed. They have.

SUBSCRIBER 44 minutes ago

Back in the 1980's when I went to College there was a big uproar over Cliff Notes. Students copying word for word... But it was known you could buy test questions, hire note takers for class, buy essays. The Frat boys had a well developed system! J

SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago (Edited)

The cheating isn't limited to students.

Look at how our Congressional representatives behave in office!

Look at how career bureaucrats behave!

is it any wonder that cheating is so rampant? honesty and integrity are for suckers.

why worry about your conscience? there is no Deity, there is no higher moral law. All ethics are relative. As long as I get ahead, what's the big deal?

There's no afterlife anyway, so what do I have to worry about? G

SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago

Maybe they're studying to be our future national-level political leaders. G

SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago

Call me old-fashioned, naive or worse but I always saw homework or studying for an exam as the mental counterpart to physical exercise.

Sure, you can cheat.

But you cheat yourself in the long term when you don't develop the intellectual "muscles" that you need to compete and succeed in adult life.

And you or your parents paid good money to get that degree and you bypassed four or more years of earning potential by attending school.

Sounds like a pretty poor tradeoff to me. B

SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago (Edited)

I've taugh at the high school and college level. I recently taught engineering at a NC high school. Within a couple months of Zoom teaching, I realized that cheating was rampant. I had numerous blatant examples of straight copy-and-paste cheating.

I confronted each student and most of them either played dumb, or denied it. I separately showed them each the website and documents they stole from and told them this was their one and only freebie. A few parents confronted me but after showing them the evidence they either dropped it or confronted their own child. A few parents thanked me for holding their kid accountable, but most just complained or dropped it altogether.

After a couple more months of it continuing, and not getting enough support from the administrators, I quit, without yet having secured a new job. I'll say this, it's worse than you think, and your child likely does it too, or knows of those who do. It's become acceptable to them bc of pressure to get into college. M

SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago

It is not new. Twenty-five years ago, my wife, a ranked academic, was given a paper supposedly written by one of her students. She recognized it because she typed it after I wrote it ten years before.

When she confronted the student he admitted to buying it from a paper mill. Apparently the prof I wrote it for sold his "collection" on retirement. Sadly, even then, the student got little more than a slap on the wrist once outed.

SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago

The colleges have been cheating students for decades selling worthless programs and false information to students at exorbitant rates. So who is surprised that the students learned to cheat themselves. M

SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago

This is just a manifestation of the bankruptcy of our education system. Let's face it, for most students from kindergarteners to PhD post grads, it is not about gaining knowledge, learning how to think or even mastering skills. It is about checking blocks to build a resume. What does a diploma really mean? A checked block.

The system has known and participated in this for decades. What does it really matter how that block got checked?

SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago

What the article needs to cover is the enormous amount of cheating done on SATs, GREs, LSATs, etc. to get into prestigious universities -- especially by prospective students who'll be here on an F1 visa.

Such cheating is legendary among some cultures but the PC crowd won't want to hear about that, will they. We need their electronics and their widgets and such best not to rock that boat. P

SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago

I'm a lecturer at a Canadian university and am quite troubled by the use of textbook publisher's test banks in exam prep. Students easily find the keys on line. Some students have stopped attending class. They know what will be on the exam. Of course they learn nothing. Admin, faculty and students love the easy inflated grades. Academic wheels turn but there is no learning. It's not a student problem, it's a bone lazy faculty problem. I write my own exams but many refuse. E

SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago

Wonderful. Just what I want. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, urban planners, nurses, mechanics, dentists, and other professionals who need to cheat to graduate.

SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago

Hey you forgot another sizable group that will provide US with 'professionals' of questionable quality the AA crowd that gets placed into universities based upon what?

[May 10, 2021] The Feds history of jawboning and deceiving the market players, except large banks

History repeats and the repetition is coming with some minor variations.
Notable quotes:
"... "Corporate bond rates have been rising steadily since May. Yellen is not doing what Greenspan did in 2004." ..."
"... There isn't much of a difference between signaling tighter money to a market that is skeptical of Fed forecasts and actually tightening. ..."
"... While at 5.0 percent, the unemployment rate is not extraordinarily high, most other measures of the labor market are near recession levels. The percentage of the workforce that is involuntarily working part-time is near the highs reached following the 2001 recession. The average and median duration of unemployment spells are also near recession highs. And the percentage of workers who feel confident enough to quit their jobs without another job lined up remains near the low points reached in 2002. ..."
"... While wage growth has edged up somewhat in recent months by some measures, it is still well below a rate that is consistent with the Fed's inflation target. Hourly wages have risen at a 2.7 percent rate over the last year. If there is just 1.5 percent productivity growth, this would be consistent with a rate of inflation of 1.2 percent. ..."
"... One positive point in today's action is the Fed's commitment in its statement to allow future rate hikes to be guided by the data, rather than locking in a path towards "normalization" as was effectively done in 2004. ..."
Dec 17, 2015 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... December 17, 2015 at 10:12 AM
"Corporate bond rates have been rising steadily since May. Yellen is not doing what Greenspan did in 2004."

There isn't much of a difference between signaling tighter money to a market that is skeptical of Fed forecasts and actually tightening.

http://cepr.net/press-center/press-releases/statement-on-fed-and-interest-rates

Washington, D.C.- Dean Baker, economist and a co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) issued the following statement in response to the Federal Reserve's decision regarding interest rates:

"The Fed's decision to raise interest rates today is an unfortunate move in the wrong direction. In setting interest rate policy the Fed must decide whether the economy is at risk of having too few or too many jobs, with the latter being determined by the extent to which its current rate of job creation may lead to inflation. It is difficult to see how the evidence would lead the Fed to conclude that the greater risk at the moment is too many jobs.

"While at 5.0 percent, the unemployment rate is not extraordinarily high, most other measures of the labor market are near recession levels. The percentage of the workforce that is involuntarily working part-time is near the highs reached following the 2001 recession. The average and median duration of unemployment spells are also near recession highs. And the percentage of workers who feel confident enough to quit their jobs without another job lined up remains near the low points reached in 2002.

"If we look at employment rates rather than unemployment, the percentage of prime-age workers (ages 25-54) with jobs is still down by almost three full percentage points from the pre-recession peak and by more than four full percentage points from the peak hit in 2000. This does not look like a strong labor market.

"On the other side, there is virtually no basis for concerns about the risk of inflation in the current data. The most recent data show that the core personal consumption expenditure deflator targeted by the Fed increased at just a 1.2 percent annual rate over the last three months, down slightly from the 1.3 percent rate over the last year. This means that the Fed should be concerned about being below its inflation target, not above it.

"While wage growth has edged up somewhat in recent months by some measures, it is still well below a rate that is consistent with the Fed's inflation target. Hourly wages have risen at a 2.7 percent rate over the last year. If there is just 1.5 percent productivity growth, this would be consistent with a rate of inflation of 1.2 percent.

"Furthermore, it is important to recognize that workers took a large hit to their wages in the downturn, with a shift of more than four percentage points of national income from wages to profits. In principle, workers can restore their share of national income (the equivalent of an 8 percent wage gain), but the Fed would have to be prepared to allow wage growth to substantially outpace prices for a period of time. If the Fed acts to prevent workers from getting this bargaining power, it will effectively lock in place this upward redistribution. Needless to say, workers at the middle and bottom of the wage distribution can expect to see the biggest hit in this scenario.

"One positive point in today's action is the Fed's commitment in its statement to allow future rate hikes to be guided by the data, rather than locking in a path towards "normalization" as was effectively done in 2004. If it is the case that the economy is not strong enough to justify rate hikes, then the hike today may be the last one for some period of time. It will be important for the Fed to carefully assess the data as it makes its decision on interest rates at future meetings.

"Recent economic data suggest that today's move was a mistake. Hopefully the Fed will not compound this mistake with more unwarranted rate hikes in the future."

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to Peter K....

I like Dean Baker. Unlike the Fed, Dean Baker is a class warrior on the side of the wage class. He makes the point about the path to normalization being critical that I have been discussing for quite a while. Let's hope this Fed knows better than Greenspan/Bernanke in 2004-2006. THANKS!

likbez said in reply to RC AKA Darryl, Ron...

Very true !

pgl said in reply to RC AKA Darryl, Ron...

"Longer-term bond rates barely moved, showing that there was very little news." This interest rate rose from 4.45% to 5.46% already. So the damage was already done:

https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/BAA

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to pgl...

"... This interest rate rose from 4.45% to 5.46% already..."

Exactly! Corporate bond rates have been rising steadily since May. Yellen is not doing what Greenspan did in 2004. Yellen's Fed waited until the bond rate lifted off on its own (and maybe with some help from policy communications) before they raised the FFR.

So far, there is no sign of their making a fatal error. They are not fighting class warfare for wage class either, but they seem intent on not screwing the pooch in the way that Greenspan and Bernanke did. No double dip thank you and hold the nuts.

[May 07, 2021] U.S. job growth disappoints in challenge to economic recovery - BNN Bloomberg

May 07, 2021 | www.bnnbloomberg.ca

6h ago

U.S. job growth disappoints in challenge to economic recovery

Olivia Rockeman , Bloomberg News

https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.455.0_en.html#goog_688272017 U.S. jobs data in April disappoints

U.S. job growth significantly undershot forecasts in April, suggesting that difficulty attracting workers is slowing momentum in the labor market and challenging the economic recovery.

Payrolls rose 266,000 from a month earlier, according to a Labor Department report Friday that represented one of the largest downside misses on record. Economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a 1 million hiring surge in April.

The unemployment rate edged up to 6.1 per cent, though the labor-force participation rate also increased.

... The disappointing payrolls print leaves overall employment more than 8 million short of its pre-pandemic level and is consistent with recent comments from company officials highlighting challenges in filling open positions.

... While job gains accelerated in leisure and hospitality, employment at temporary-help agencies and transportation and warehousing declined sharply.

...

Labor force participation, a measure of the percentage of Americans either working or looking for work, rose to 61.7 per cent in April from 61.5 per cent, likely supported by increased vaccinations that helped fuel the reopenings of many retail establishments, restaurants and leisure-facing businesses.

Average weekly hours increased to match the highest in records dating back to 2006. The gain in the workweek, increased pay and the improvement in hiring helped boost aggregate weekly payrolls 1.2 per cent in April after a 1.3 per cent gain a month earlier.

Workforce participation for men age 25 to 54 increased last month, while edging lower for women.

[May 04, 2021] Nuances of discrimination: a t Citi it was very obvious any remotely competent black was promoted way beyond there competency, although that was largely limited to back and middle office roles

Neoliberals policies for minority students in education can be called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
Racists want discrimination based on race; wokesters want discrimination based on race too. One in the name of bigotry, one in the name of “tolerance.” Does the motive really matter if the outcome is the same?
Notable quotes:
"... the ONS dataset is A09, Labour Market status by ethnic group, is testament to white folks ingenuity to overcome such discrimination ..."
May 03, 2021 | www.unz.com

LondonBob , says: April 26, 2021 at 10:49 am GMT • 6.6 days ago

@dearieme

My uncle did admissions at Cambridge and he actively discriminated against Public School boys, despite being one himself. He was actually involved in hiring that black woman to be the Master at Christ's College.

Similarly at Citi it was very obvious any remotely competent black was promoted way beyond there competency, although that was largely limited to back and middle office roles.

Still the ONS dataset is A09, Labour Market status by ethnic group, is testament to white folks ingenuity to overcome such discrimination and the free market at work.

[May 04, 2021] Fake CVs, fake results, by James Thompson

Notable quotes:
"... Hiring is a lot more complex and constrained, than this writeup suggests. In stacks of resumes that I used to review, I found almost all applicants exaggerate or lie. ..."
"... Employers (or the ones the future worker will work directly "" like local manager) are in the majority of cases DO NOT hire directly. ..."
"... There is either a staffing firm/ recruitment firm between, often also a different websites (for job seekers) which only redirects towards those. ..."
"... The problem with the HR/ recruitment firms/ jobseeker websites themselves. They dictate who will work somewhere. ..."
"... It's a new world of fraud, total fraud. Biden is an absurd fraud. They are all frauds, because actual accomplishments, real work, are so very much more difficult than lies. ..."
"... There's nothing new under the sun. It's always been fraud, flimflam and bamboozle. Somebody once said, you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. But, then again, he could have just been fooling around. ..."
May 03, 2021 | www.unz.com

ruralguy , says: April 24, 2021 at 8:54 pm GMT "¢ 8.2 days ago

Hiring is a lot more complex and constrained, than this writeup suggests. In stacks of resumes that I used to review, I found almost all applicants exaggerate or lie. That was very problematic, because once you hire a person, it's hard to get rid of them, even with "at-will" employment.

... ... ...

Reaper , says: May 2, 2021 at 11:19 am GMT "¢ 14.8 hours ago

There is a major problem with the article/ whole employment process:

Employers (or the ones the future worker will work directly "" like local manager) are in the majority of cases DO NOT hire directly.(Respect for the ones, who do.)

There is either a staffing firm/ recruitment firm between, often also a different websites (for job seekers) which only redirects towards those.

Also many company have a HR department, etc... The problem with the HR/ recruitment firms/ jobseeker websites themselves. They dictate who will work somewhere.

Wish to be workers should meet directly with the ones they supposed to work for.

Vojkan , says: May 2, 2021 at 11:34 am GMT "¢ 14.6 hours ago

To see whether racial discrimination exists, researchers send the same CV to employers with the same level of qualifications but different names attached, to see if the foreign-sounding names lead to a greater degree of rejection. They often find that to be the case.

Given that British blacks most often bear British sounding names and that foreign whites too bear foreign sounding names, I don't see how the difference in treatment can be put down to racial bias. Moreover, I don't see anything wrong in giving precedence to compatriots over foreigners. It is the opposite that is unsound.

As a French national with a foreign sounding name, I never expected to be given precedence over native French candidates and always counted solely on my competence to get a position. If the world we live in were still normal, that would be the normal attitude because in a normal world people are allowed to prefer their kin vs folks they don't know from Adam. It is the opposite that isn't normal.

Discard national preference and you get foreign tribes' nepotism.

Sick of Orcs , says: May 2, 2021 at 12:41 pm GMT "¢ 13.5 hours ago

researchers send the same CV to employers with the same level of qualifications but different names attached, to see if the foreign-sounding names lead to a greater degree of rejection. They often find that to be the case.

Because it's a lose-lose to hire a Tyrone or Abdul. Even if they're the most qualified, they're "high-maintenance," arriving with extra-legal protections and considerations. Down the road they can always hide behind the specter of racism if their performance is found lacking.

Just another serf , says: May 2, 2021 at 6:28 am GMT "¢ 19.7 hours ago

It's a new world of fraud, total fraud. Biden is an absurd fraud. They are all frauds, because actual accomplishments, real work, are so very much more difficult than lies.

Indians are fantastic fraudsters. Africans are fraud specialists. Many Asians are not so much CV fraudsters as they are test cheaters.

Reaper , says: May 2, 2021 at 1:38 pm GMT "¢ 12.5 hours ago
@Vojkan foreigners."

Agreed as they do it in Swiss. They prefer to employ their folk, if find a suitable person and wait up to 6 months before consider an outlander. Only then ready to employ someone else.

BUT: Will not employ a dullard just because they share a citizenship/ ancestors. About 20% are foreigners among the employed, in Geneva probably most of the employed.

And this is strictly the opposite what is common in many place (and self-appointed "nationalists" demand): No matter how incompetent but employ the dullard native, while send home the competent/ hardworking.

Against meritism/ competition and bad for business.

Ghost of Bull Moose , says: May 2, 2021 at 2:38 pm GMT "¢ 11.5 hours ago

There are plenty of dishonest Europeans, but honesty as a high value seems Western. Subcons caught in a lie will grin and do a head waggle something between a nod and a shake. Blacks will insist the lie is true. East Asians will lie until you demonstrate they cannot get away with it. Latin Americans only lie when they speak.

HallParvey , says: May 2, 2021 at 3:27 pm GMT "¢ 10.7 hours ago
@Just another serf

It's a new world of fraud, total fraud.

There's nothing new under the sun. It's always been fraud, flimflam and bamboozle. Somebody once said, you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. But, then again, he could have just been fooling around.

[May 03, 2021] Bullying Epidemic - Facts, Statistics and Prevention

May 03, 2021 | www.educationcorner.com

by Becton Loveless

Bullying is an epidemic. It is rampant, widespread, pervasive and the effects can be catastrophic. It occurs in our communities, in our schools – and sadly – even in our homes. Bullying statistics are staggering, scary and merit serious consideration and immediate action. Consider the following:

Facts and Statistics

2 National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics

Types of Bullying

When most people think about bullying they envision some kind of physical intimidation. However, bullying can take on many forms which are just as emotionally and psychologically damaging as physical intimidation and harassment. There are four general forms of bullying. These include:

https://e591c5ed6f38711a3115f71a47fa9434.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Where Does Bullying Occur?

The majority of bullying occurs at school, outside on school grounds during recess or after school, and on the school bus – or anywhere else students interact unsupervised. Bullying may also occur at home between siblings or in the community where kids congregate. Cyberbullying takes place online and via digital communication devices.

me title=

According to one statistically significant study, middle school age students experienced bullying on school grounds in the following locations:*

https://e591c5ed6f38711a3115f71a47fa9434.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

* Bradshaw, C.P. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. 36(3), 361-382.

Anti-bullying Laws and Policies

Currently, there aren't any Federal anti-bullying laws. However, state and local lawmakers have taken steps to prevent bullying and protect the physical, emotional and psychological well being of children. To date, 49 states have passed anti-bullying legislation. When bullying moves into the category of harassment, it then becomes a violation of Federal law. Criminal code as it relates to bullying by minors varies from state to state. The map below shows the states that have established anti-bullying laws, anti-bullying policies, and both anti-bullying laws and policies.

[May 03, 2021] Freightwaves claims that companies pay $70,000 For A Part-Time Drivers, which is questionable

Probably $25 an hour or $50K a year is more realistic. Part time jobs are even better to hem to avoid money crunch and at the same time continue to look for an IT job. Might be a viable option for younger healthy IT specialists. CDL course from a reputable truck driving school is around $3500 and they provide you a truck for the DMV exam, but you can try self-study and might pass written exam from a second try as there is nothing complex in the test, saving half of those money.
Notable quotes:
"... What's happening, he said, is that drivers are looking at the fact that they can make $70,000 'and stay home a little more.' ..."
"... To put the numbers in perspective, Todd Amen, the president of ATBS, which prepares taxes for mostly independent owner-operators, said in a recent interview with the FreightWaves Drilling Deep podcast that the average tax return his company prepared for drivers' 2020 pay was $67,500. He also said his company prepared numerous 2020 returns with pay in excess of $100,000. ..."
May 02, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

By John Kingston of Freightwaves,

David Parker is the CEO of Covenant Logistics and he was blunt with analysts who follow the company on its earnings call Tuesday.

'How do we get enough drivers? ' he said in response to a question from Stephens analyst Jack Atkins. 'I don't know.'

Parker then gave an overview of the situation facing Covenant, and by extension other companies, in trying to recruit drivers. One problem: With rates so high, companies are encountering the fact that a driver doesn't need to work a full schedule to pull in a decent salary.

'We're finding out that just to get a driver, let's say the numbers are $85,000 (per year) ,' Parker said, according to a transcript of the earnings call supplied by SeekingAlpha. ' But a lot of these drivers are happy at $70,000. Now they're not coming to work for me, unless it's in the ($80,000s), because they're happy making $70,000.'

Seasonally adjusted long distance truck drivers. Source: BLS To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, please go here.

What's happening, he said, is that drivers are looking at the fact that they can make $70,000 'and stay home a little more.'

The result is a tightening of capacity. Parker said utilization in the first quarter at Covenant was three or four percentage points less than it would have as a result of that development. ' It's an interesting dynamic that none of us have calculated,' he said.

To put the numbers in perspective, Todd Amen, the president of ATBS, which prepares taxes for mostly independent owner-operators, said in a recent interview with the FreightWaves Drilling Deep podcast that the average tax return his company prepared for drivers' 2020 pay was $67,500. He also said his company prepared numerous 2020 returns with pay in excess of $100,000.

Parker was firm that this was not a situation likely to change soon. 'There's nothing out there that tells me that drivers are going to readily be available over the medium [term in] one to two years,' he said. 'And that's where I'm at.'

Paul Bunn, the company's COO and senior executive vice president, echoed what other executives have said recently: Additional stimulus benefits are making the situation tighter. He said that while offering some hope that as the benefits roll off, 'that might help a bit.'

But what the government giveth the government can sometimes taketh away. Bunn expressed another familiar sentiment in the industry today, that an infrastructure bill adding to demand for workers would create more difficulty to put drivers behind the wheel. Construction, Bunn said, is 'a monster competitor of our industry' and if the bill is approved, 'that's going to be a big pull.'

Labor is going to be a 'capacity constraint' through the economy, Bunn said, while conceding that trucking is not unique in that. And because of that labor squeeze, capacity in many fields is going to be limited. ' The OEMs, the manufacturers are limited capacity ,' Bunn said. 'They're not ramping up in a major, major way because of labor, because of commodity pricing, because of the costs.'

All that means is that capacity growth is going to be 'reasonable,' Bunn said. 'It's not going to be crazy, people growing fleets [by] significant amounts.'

'It's all you can do just to hold serve, ' he added.

... ... ...

[May 03, 2021] Note on colledge entrance discrimination

May 03, 2021 | www.unz.com

,

LondonBob , says: April 26, 2021 at 10:49 am GMT • 6.6 days ago
@dearieme

My uncle did admissions at Cambridge and he actively discriminated against Public School boys, despite being one himself. He was actually involved in hiring that black woman to be the Master at Christ's College. Similarly at Citi it was very obvious any remotely competent black was promoted way beyond there competency, although that was largely limited to back and middle office roles.

Still the ONS dataset is A09, Labour Market status by ethnic group, is testament to white folks ingenuity to overcome such discrimination and the free market at work.

[May 03, 2021] Neoliberals inflated education costs in the USA top colleges to the level at which it now is totally oriented on rich and foreigners; it reached the stage when it is not worth the money for the common folk

Community colleges are still holding at the level when it makes sense to spend money. Selected state colleges too.
May 03, 2021 | www.wsj.com

In fall 2011 the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that higher education enrollment was slightly more than 20.5 million students. By fall 2019 that figure had dropped to about 18.2 million, a decline of slightly over 11%. During those eight years the number of 18- to 24-year-olds remained roughly constant.

We have long had a social consensus that it's worth four years of our children's lives and very large sums of their parents' money to see their knowledge, mental capacity, and career prospects greatly expanded by going to college. Attitudes and habits formed by this consensus were bound to lag behind the reality of academia as it now is. Yet the NSCRC numbers show that already about 1 in 9 have mustered the courage and independence of thought to face reality and stop wasting time and money.

This illicit conversion of a vital social institution to an alien use deprives all Americans of the benefits of a properly functioning system of higher education. It also means that a destructive and long since discredited political ideology is now using colleges and universities to gain a degree of influence over society that it could never have achieved at the ballot box. That's election interference on a scale not remotely matched by anything that was alleged in the 2020 election.

When academia's astonishing message to society is, "We'll take your money, but we'll do with it what we want, not what you want," the response ought to be simple: "No you won't." The question is, can the millions of people who make up that wonderful abstraction called "society" act in a way that is sufficiently concerted and organized to deliver the message effectively? Many have already made a good start. But the rest need to join if we are ever again to have college campuses that aren't as academically incompetent as they are politically malevolent.

Mr. Ellis is a professor emeritus of German literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz and author of "The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be Done."

[May 02, 2021] Biden dares Democrats to shift tax burden to wealthy Americans - BNN Bloomberg

May 02, 2021 | www.bnnbloomberg.ca

Joe Biden took the riskiest step of his presidency with a call for higher taxes on the wealthy to fund a massive investment in the nation's social safety net, betting he could sell the American public on sweeping change following a pandemic that exacerbated economic and social divides.

Biden devoted his first address to a joint session of Congress to a call for a "a once-in-a-generation investment in our families," prescribing trillions of dollars in new spending for infrastructure, child care, paid leave, community college tuition, and a bevy of subsidies for working class families.

And in a full-throated confrontation of Wall Street, Biden said the nation's wealthiest taxpayers and companies should foot the bill. He declared investors "didn't build this country" and said the wealthy had lined their pockets during the pandemic without paying their fair share.

"I stand here tonight before you in a new and vital hour of life and democracy of our nation," Biden said.

The speech was delivered to a House chamber where heightened security and social distancing measures underscored the disease and division still confronting the nation. It amounted to an audacious gamble that Biden can harness public support not only for trillions of dollars in new federal programs for lower- and middle-income Americans, but the biggest tax hikes in decades.

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But his ambitions rest on a narrow Democratic majority in the Senate, where the defections of only a single moderate or two would mean failure.

Biden painted the deadly course of the virus as embodying and exaggerating the inequalities that have broadened in recent decades, with working class Americans shouldering economic and health insecurity while the wealthiest flourished. At risk is not only his vision for rebuilding the economy, but the razor-thin advantage his party holds in Congress ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, when Republicans are well positioned to retake the majority at least in the House.

"Doing nothing is not an option," the president implored.

Unattainable Wealth

Biden's effort was in many ways a break from the cautious center-left triangulation that has defined Democratic presidential politics since the Reagan Revolution. His calculation is that voters battered by the virus just a decade after a painful recession are no longer as concerned about deficit spending or retaining low tax rates for a tier of wealth that seems increasingly unattainable.

And Biden used one of the biggest bully pulpits he's provided to offer a presidential validation of the growing influence of the progressive left, pitching at least US$3.8 trillion in new spending, sweeping new changes to the health care system, and substantial gun control measures.

Biden's own tendencies are more conciliatory, and he's likely to ultimately jettison some of the more ambitious proposals as he seeks to navigate legislation through Capitol Hill -- particularly with moderate Democrats already expressing skepticism about new taxes and spending. He took pains to caveat his broadsides against the nation's wealthiest, saying he was "not out to punish anyone" and, in a line improvised from the prepared text, acknowledged the "good guys and women on Wall Street."

But he left little room for critics within his party to argue he lacked ambition, and his presidential legacy will now be defined by his ability to deliver a once-in-a-generation suite of new government investments, services, and programs.

The forum for Biden's call for structural economic change itself seemed designed to underscore the unprecedented moment. Because of coronavirus precautions, only about 200 lawmakers were invited to attend the speech in person, and some of the Senate's most powerful moderates -- including West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Utah Republican Mitt Romney -- were relegated to seats in the upper balcony.

The president's tone and tenor suggested that even if ordinary Americans weren't in the room, he felt emboldened by polls that suggest his proposals are popular – and that he himself has been buoyed by a largely successful vaccine campaign that's administered more than 315 million shots and a stimulus program that provided more than 160 million checks to taxpayers.

The president's approval rating is at 57 per cent, according to a Gallup poll released Friday, matching his post-inauguration high. And seven in 10 Americans favored Biden's initial US$1.9 trillion stimulus bill, with only around a third of those surveyed by the Pew Research Center earlier this month saying it spent too much.

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His new US$1.8 trillion families plan and the US$2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal – which he christened a "blue-collar blueprint to build America" -- directly targeted two key constituencies: suburban moms and the White working class of the Rust Belt.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index erased its losses as of 12:00 p.m. in Hong Kong, as traders who were betting on a bigger spending plan from Biden cut back on currency risk positions. Treasury futures were little changed and U.S. equity futures maintained their gains.B

Pandemic Disparities

There's reason for Biden to direct his appeal to those he said "feel left behind and forgotten."

The pandemic ushered in not only disproportionate health outcomes -- a recent study by Ball State University showed a higher death rate among counties with higher poverty levels -- but deepened disparate economic trends.

While the richest 1 per cent in the U.S. saw their wealth increase by US$4 trillion, the bottom half of Americans shared just a US$471 billion increase. Female participation in the labor force has slipped to 57 per cent -- the lowest level since 1988 – and a half million more women exited the workforce than men during a crisis that saw 10 million jobs disappear.

White House advisers have made no secret about the opening they see.

Chief of Staff Ron Klain has spent recent weeks promoting stories that bluntly describe Biden's plans to hike taxes on the wealthy in a flurry of social media posts.

Economic adviser Brian Deese declined to publicly address any element of Biden's families plan ahead of its rollout Wednesday – except a provision to hike capital gains taxes on Americans making over US$1 million a year. And political adviser Anita Dunn on Tuesday penned a memo to "interested parties" pointing to recent Fox News polling that showed 56 per cent of respondents backed paying for infrastructure through increased taxes on corporations and 63 per cent supported raising income taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

"We need to make the case, but the American people seem very supportive of the idea that when it comes to longstanding challenges in this country, we need to come together and make the investments we need in order to address them," said White House economic adviser David Kamin.

Congressional Difficulties

Still, the success of Biden's effort will hinge on parlaying that popular support into votes in a narrowly divided Congress, where Republicans remain loathe to offer any assistance and without them, moderate Senate Democrats like Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema and Manchin can scuttle any piece of legislation single-handedly.

Both have already voiced skepticism about Biden's proposed tax increases, leaving open the question of how the White House's proposals can proceed. And Republicans looked to fan that uncertainty, painting the president's vision as excessive and ineffective.

"Our best future won't come from Washington schemes or socialist dreams," Senator Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, said in the GOP rebuttal to Biden's address. "It will come from you -- the American people."

Biden, for his part, said that big investments in jobs and infrastructure "have often had bipartisan support" and looked to win skeptics by adopting rhetoric more familiar to Republicans and painting his plans as essential to winning a global battle for the future.

"We have to prove democracy still works," the president said. "That our government still works -- and can deliver for the people."

--With assistance from Jennifer Epstein and Tan Hwee Ann.

[May 02, 2021] Wealthiest Americans get US$195 billion richer in Biden's first 100 days - BNN Bloomberg

May 02, 2021 | www.bnnbloomberg.ca

Apr 30, 2021

Wealthiest Americans get US$195 billion richer in Biden's first 100 days

Simon Hunt and Ben Steverman , Bloomberg News

https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.453.0_en.html#goog_1563483815 Getting Biden's capital gains tax through congress is slim to none: Federated Hermes' Orlando

Joe Biden's election has done little to slow the inexorable surge of wealth among U.S. billionaires.

In the president's first 100 days in office, against a drumbeat of calls for the rich to pay more in taxes, the 100 wealthiest Americans added a combined US$195 billion to their fortunes, according to a Bloomberg analysis.

The most recent gains have been fueled by the continued rise of the stock market since Biden was sworn in Jan. 20, along with the vaccination program's fast rollout and a US$1.9 trillion government stimulus package. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes have both climbed more than 10 per cent during that time.

Attempts such as Biden's to refloat the economy can boost incomes and wealth at the very top, said Mike Savage, a sociology professor at the London School of Economics.

"We've seen that paradox since the 2008 financial crash with quantitative easing, which has mostly benefited people with assets, inflating their value significantly,'' Savage said.

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The richest 100 made a further US$267 billion between the 2020 election and Biden's inauguration, amounting to a total gain of US$461 billion since Nov. 4. From Donald Trump's 2017 inauguration to last fall's election, those billionaires got about US$860 billion richer.

The combined fortunes of the richest 100 Americans have reached US$2.9 trillion, greater than the combined US$2.5 trillion wealth of the bottom 50 per cent of the U.S. population, according to data from the Federal Reserve.

The rise has been driven by an explosion of wealth among a handful of ultra-billionaires. The 10 wealthiest Americans have added US$255 billion since election day, bringing their combined net worth to US$1.2 trillion.

The biggest driver of this wealth surge has been tech companies like Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google, bolstered by increased online and stay-at-home activity during the coronavirus pandemic. The FANG stocks index has climbed 94 per cent in the past 12 months compared with the 45 per cent advance of the S&P 500.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, has gotten US$11.7 billion richer this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, adding to about US$120 billion of wealth gains during the Trump presidency. Mark Zuckerberg's net worth rose US$8.1 billion yesterday alone on the strength of Facebook's first-quarter results.

Google's Larry Page has added US$26.6 billion this year after the California-based company posted record profit last year, while the wealth of Tesla Inc.'s Elon Musk has grown US$5.1 billion since January.

Finance billionaires such as Warren Buffett and Blackstone Group Inc.'s Stephen Schwarzman have also been major beneficiaries of stock market rises.

Embedded Image

In his first 100 days, Biden has moved quickly to propose sharp tax hikes for the rich and programs to funnel trillions of dollars to middle- and lower-class Americans in the form of new infrastructure, social spending and stimulus checks. He laid out those policies in his first address to Congress on Wednesday.

"Sometimes I have arguments with my friends in the Democratic Party," Biden said. "I think you should be able to become a billionaire or a millionaire. But pay your fair share."

Under his "American Families Plan" announced Wednesday, the top rate of personal income tax would increase to 39.6 per cent for the highest 1 per cent of earners from the current 37 per cent, while the capital gains rate would be raised to the same level for those earning above US$1 million, wiping out the discrepancy between income and capital gains tax rates that has benefitted many of the ultra-rich.

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The wealthiest 1 per cent currently pay 40 per cent of all federal income taxes, according to Internal Revenue Service data, an amount that doesn't include payroll taxes.

"When you ask the American people what they want, they want corporations and millionaires and billionaires to pay higher taxes," said Erica Payne, founder of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group of progressive high-net-worth individuals. "It is politically a winner, it is economically the right thing to do and it is morally a no-brainer."

Corporate tax hike

The White House has also proposed a plan to hike corporate taxes to fund infrastructure spending. In a surprise this month, Bezos issued a statement saying he supports the general idea. "We look forward to Congress and the administration coming together to find the right, balanced solution that maintains or enhances U.S. competitiveness," he said.

Conservatives say boosting spending by adding a greater burden on the wealthy can backfire.

"Government investments are often sold to the public with the promise that they will improve lives and improve the economy," Scott Hodge, president of the Tax Foundation, argued in testimony before Congress this week. "In every case, the economic harm caused by the taxes would swamp any of the benefits from the new spending, leaving taxpayers and the economy worse off."

Despite the pandemic, Fed data show all groups gained wealth last year. The top 1 per cent did best, however, adding US$4 trillion in 2020 and bringing their total net worth to almost US$39 billion, more than the bottom 90 per cent of Americans combined. Personal incomes in the U.S. jumped a record 21 per cent in March, surging after households received a third round of relief checks.

In his speech to Congress, Biden emphasized his efforts to create good-paying jobs, especially those that don't require a college degree. The increasing dominance of tech giants, however, won't necessarily help middle-class Americans. As a proportion of their market capitalization, most technology companies employ relatively few Americans compared with their older listed peers, concentrating wealth in the hands of a select few.

"The whole retail distribution system is changing," said Robert Miller, professor of economics and statistics at Carnegie Mellon University. "Recent technology has been hollowing out some parts of middle management, so you can see parts of the middle class slipping away."

Tax loopholes

Democrats in Congress are pushing other plans to close loopholes and tax wealth. To claw back gains made by America's richest during the pandemic, Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, proposed an Ultra Millionaire tax, a new version of the wealth tax she floated as a presidential candidate. Under her proposal, those with fortunes exceeding US$50 million would face a 2 per cent tax on their wealth, increasing to 3 per cent for those worth more than US$1 billion. The plan is unlikely to become law, given opposition from Biden and other Democrats.

Higher taxes aren't "going to have very much effect in the long term on redistributing wealth," Carnegie Mellon's Miller said. "This focus on how we're going to get the money is a bit misplaced – we should be thinking more about how we want to help the people that need help."

[Apr 29, 2021] After thirteen months, the BLS still cannot count the Unemployed

Apr 29, 2021 | www.shadowstats.com

After thirteen months, the BLS still cannot count the Unemployed. Headline U.3 Unemployment also remained deep in non-recovery territory. The BLS acknowledged continuing misclassification of some "unemployed" persons as "employed," in the Household Survey. Where the count of the understated unemployed had an "upside limit" of 636,000 persons in March 2021, the February 2021 upside estimate of understated unemployed was 756,000. The difference would be a potential headline U.3 of 6.44% instead of today's headline 6.05%, which was down from a headline 6.22% in February. Fully adjusted for COVID-19 disruptions, based on BLS side-surveys of Pandemic impact, and with more than six million people missing from the headline U.S. labor force, actual headline U.3 unemployment still should be well above 10%, the highest unemployment rate since before World War II, outside of the Pandemic and possibly at the trough of the 1982-1983 recession. Broader March 2021 headline U.6 unemployment [including some decline in short-term discouraged workers and those employed part-time for economic reasons] eased to 10.71% from 11.07% in February. Including long-term discouraged/ displaced workers, the March 2021 ShadowStats Alternate Measure –- moving on top of the decline in U.6 –- notched minimally lower to 25.7%, from 25.8% in February 2021, reflecting some modeled transition of "short-term" to "long-term" discouraged workers, with the Pandemic having passed its 12-month anniversary. The latest Unemployment Rates are posted on the ALTERNATE DATA tab (above).

[Apr 20, 2021] How slogans "Diversuty, inclution and equity" are abused on campuses

Apr 20, 2021 | www.wsj.com

B

Brian N SUBSCRIBER 4 hours ago

With politics leaning ever more left on university campuses, I hope Dr Ladapo doesn't lose his job at UCLA for writing a cogent and concise opinion piece.
RICHARD SANDOR SUBSCRIBER 3 hours ago
Brian : Yes, an expensive university in my largely Democrat-controlled state state has a student group which wants to ' censor ' the university president for not being focused enough on ' diversity, inclusiveness and equity . ' Hope the parents realize the high price they are paying for this left wing indoctrination. mrs

[Apr 19, 2021] British liberal journalist and academic George Monbiot has written about his own experiences being dragged away from his family at the tender age of 8 to be 'educated', that is emotionally crippled, in an elite British private boarding school (primary stage prep-school).

Apr 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

ftmntf , Apr 18 2021 14:33 utc | 122

See: https://www.monbiot.com/2008/01/22/unsentimental-education/

"British private schools create a class culture of a kind unknown in the rest of Europe. The extreme case is the boarding prep schools, which separate children from their parents at the age of eight in order to shape them into members of a detached elite. In his book The Making of Them the psychotherapist Nick Duffell shows how these artificial orphans survive the loss of their families by dissociating themselves from their feelings of love(14). Survival involves "an extreme hardening of normal human softness, a severe cutting off from emotions and sensitivity."(15) Unable to attach themselves to people (intimate relationships with other children are discouraged by a morbid fear of homosexuality), they are encouraged instead to invest their natural loyalties in the institution.

This made them extremely effective colonial servants: if their commander ordered it, they could organise a massacre without a moment's hesitation (witness the detachment of the officers who oversaw the suppression of the Mau Mau, quoted in Caroline Elkins's book, Britain's Gulag(16)). It also meant that the lower orders at home could be put down without the least concern for the results. For many years, Britain has been governed by damaged people.

I went through this system myself, and I know I will spend the rest of my life fighting its effects. But one of the useful skills it has given me is an ability to recognise it in others. I can spot another early boarder at 200 metres: you can see and smell the damage dripping from them like sweat. The Conservative cabinets were stuffed with them: even in John Major's "classless" government, 16 of the 20 male members of the 1993 cabinet had been to public school; 12 of them had boarded(17). Privately-educated people dominate politics, the civil service, the judiciary, the armed forces, the City, the media, the arts, academia, the most prestigious professions, even, as we have seen, the Charity Commission. They recognise each other, fear the unshaped people of the state system, and, often without being aware that they are doing it, pass on their privileges to people like themselves.

The system is protected by silence. Because private schools have been so effective in moulding a child's character, an attack on the school becomes an attack on all those who have passed through it. Its most abject victims become its fiercest defenders. How many times have I heard emotionally-stunted people proclaim "it never did me any harm"? In the Telegraph last year, Michael Henderson boasted of the delightful eccentricity of his boarding school. "Bad work got you an 'order mark'. One foolish fellow, Brown by name, was given a double order mark for taking too much custard at lunch. How can you not warm to a teacher who awards such punishment? Petty snobbery abounded," he continued, "but only wets are put off by a bit of snobbery. So long as you pulled your socks up, and didn't let the side down, you wouldn't be for the high jump. Which is as it should be."(18) A ruling class in a persistent state of repression is a very dangerous thing."

See also

https://www.monbiot.com/2012/04/23/dark-hearts/

And

https://www.monbiot.com/2012/10/08/the-empire-strikes-back/

[Apr 09, 2021] Ethnicity Is a Bad, Often Destructive, Reason to Hire

Highly recommended!
Apr 08, 2021 | www.wsj.com

Judge James C. Ho is absolutely correct to imply it is profoundly offensive to be offered opportunity based on race rather than merit (" Notable & Quotable: Judges ," March 27).

When I was approaching graduation and beginning my job search, a friend of the family, who was Jewish himself, approached me with an opportunity. His accounting firm, one of the "Big Eight" firms, had inquired if he knew any young Jewish accountants it could hire because it didn't have any Jews working in the firm. The family friend told me this was a wonderful opportunity and that I would be made partner and become prosperous. He was shocked when I responded no, and asked why. I told him if I accepted this offer, I would never know if I was successful because I was Jewish or because I was talented and skilled.

I have never once regretted my decision.

[Apr 05, 2021] Only the Retired Professors Dare to Speak Out Freely

Apr 05, 2021 | www.wsj.com

Over the months there have been letters to the editor regarding academia. April 4, 2021 2:59 pm ET

Listen to this article 1 minute 00:00 / 00:37 1x

Over the months there have been letters to the editor regarding academia, "Academic Freedom Long Ago Withered Away" (Letters, March 5) being a case in point. I find it interesting that for the most part they are written by professors emeriti or retired academics, not active ones with a job to lose. This is very telling in and of itself.

Kenneth White

Chicago


[Apr 02, 2021] Under neoliberalism there is little different between waitress and teacher

Notable quotes:
"... America does not have any teachers ? America has information transfer agents ! ..."
"... It that regard what is the diff between waitress and teacher [under neoliberalism] ? NOTA ! ..."
Apr 02, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Mrcool PREMIUM 17 minutes ago

America does not have any teachers ? America has information transfer agents !

It that regard what is the diff between waitress and teacher [under neoliberalism] ? NOTA !

[Apr 02, 2021] Who's Hiring And Who's Firing

Apr 02, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Not only was the March payrolls report a blockbuster, golidlocks number, much higher than expected but not too high to spark immediate reflation/hike fears thanks to subdued wage inflation, job growth in March was also widespread unlike February, where 75% of all new jobs were waiters and bartenders . By contrast, in March the largest gains occurring across most industries with the bulk taking place in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, and construction.

Here is a full breakdown:

It's hardly a surprise that with the US reopening, the one industry seeing the biggest hiring remains leisure and hospitality where jobs rose by 280,000, as pandemic-related restrictions eased in many parts of the country, with nearly two-thirds of the increase in "food services and drinking places", i.e., waiters and bartenders, which added +176,000 jobs in March.

And another notable change was in the total number of government workers, which surged by 136K in March, reversing the 90K drop in February, as a result of 49.6K state education workers and 76K local government education workers added thanks to the reopening of schools around the country.

Here is a visual breakdown of all the March job changes:

Finally, courtesy of Bloomberg , below are the industries with the highest and lowest rates of employment growth for the most recent month.


7 play_arrow


Jack Offelday 1 hour ago

The "V" recovery. Where Food Service jobs are the new "Golden Age".

Creamaster 47 minutes ago (Edited)

My wife is a nurse in an outpatient office under a large hospital umbrella here. Normally these outpatient spots go within days to a week.

Currently they have 2 openings they have been trying to fill for a few months now. Combine that with the fact my wife got 3 years worth of raises in a single shot, recently and out of the blue for no reason, tells me the hospitla is really screwed trying to fill nursing spots.

After this pandemic crap, it has likely scared alot of people away from entering healthcare, and if a nurse was on the fence about retirement , likely decided to call it quits after all this BS.

newworldorder 45 minutes ago

There are an estimated, 30 million illegals currently in the USA waiting legalization.

WHEN legalization happens, they will bring into the USA (by historical averages,) another 60 to 90 million of their family members in 10 years.

And all of them US Minority workers, by current US Diversity Laws, - same as all Black Americans.

[Apr 02, 2021] 'The world will never be the same-' Coursera CEO on learning post pandemic

Apr 02, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com

'The world will never be the same:' Coursera CEO on learning post pandemic Reggie Wade · Writer Fri, April 2, 2021, 12:43 PM More content below More content below ^IXIC +1.76% COUR +1.73%

The online learning platform Coursera ( COUR ) saw a big pop following its Nasdaq ( ^IXIC ) debut this week. Coursera revenue was up 60% last year, and CEO Jeff Maggioncalda predicts online learning is here to stay even after the pandemic eventually winds down.

"The world needs more access to high-quality learning. ... There will be a new normal that emerges. We don't know what that will look like either in terms of how we work remotely versus in an office and how we will learn online and also on campus. But it's pretty clear that the world will never be the same again and that online learning will be a big part of it," he told Yahoo Finance Live.

"So we really think about the long term, all the structural reasons why people will need to learn continuously through their lives to learn new skills as the world goes more digital," he said.

Dec 27, 2019 Mountain View / CA / USA - Coursera headquarters in Silicon Valley; Coursera is an American online learning platform that offers massive open online courses, specializations, and degrees

One area that Coursera is looking to expand is its degree and certification programs. Maggioncalda tells Yahoo Finance that the company can use technology to shake up traditional degree offerings.

"What we've seen for centuries is that college degrees are the most meaningful, recognized learning credential that there is, and the credential type hasn't really innovated that much over the last period of history. We think with technology, the ability to create not only degrees but other types of credentials," he said.

"It will be a portfolio of credentials. We believe that will serve lifelong learning needs in a world where people need to keep learning, even as they're working," he added.

[Mar 28, 2021] Medicaid Enrollment Grew -30% Year-Over-Year

Mar 28, 2021 | angrybearblog.com

run75441 | March 27, 2021 7:55 pm

HEALTHCARE

Medicaid expansion enrollment grew nearly 30% year-over-year in 19-state sample, Andrew Sprung, XPOSTFACTOID, March 17, 2021

An update on Medicaid expansion enrollment growth since the pandemic struck. Below is a sampling of 19 expansion states through January of this year, and 14 states through February.

Maintaining the assumption, explained here , "relatively slow growth in California would push the national total down by about 2.5 percentage points." These tallies still point to year-over-year enrollment growth of approximately 30% from February 2020 to February 2021.

If that's right, then Medicaid enrollment among those rendered eligible by ACA expansion criteria (adults with income up to 138% FPL) may exceed 19 million nationally and may be pushing 20 million. Assuming the sampling of a bit more than a third of total expansion enrollment represents all expansion states more or less and again accounting for slower growth in California.

[Mar 28, 2021] One year later, unemployment insurance claims remain sky-high

Notable quotes:
"... Last week was the 53rd straight week total initial claims were greater than the second-worst week of the Great Recession. (If that comparison is restricted to regular state claims -- because we didn't have PUA in the Great Recession -- initial claims are still greater than the 14th worst week of the Great Recession.) ..."
Mar 28, 2021 | www.epi.org

One year ago this week, when the first sky-high unemployment insurance (UI) claims data of the pandemic were released, I said " I have been a labor economist for a very long time and have never seen anything like this ." But in the weeks that followed, things got worse before they got better -- and we are not out of the woods yet. Last week -- the week ending March 20, 2021 -- another 926,000 people applied for UI. This included 684,000 people who applied for regular state UI and 242,000 who applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the federal program for workers who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance, like gig workers.

Last week was the 53rd straight week total initial claims were greater than the second-worst week of the Great Recession. (If that comparison is restricted to regular state claims -- because we didn't have PUA in the Great Recession -- initial claims are still greater than the 14th worst week of the Great Recession.)

Figure A shows continuing claims in all programs over time (the latest data for this are for March 6). Continuing claims are currently nearly 17 million above where they were a year ago, just before the virus hit.

FIGURE A Continuing unemployment claims in all programs, March 23, 2019–March 6, 2021 *Use caution interpreting trends over time because of reporting issues (see below)*
Date Regular state UI PEUC PUA Other programs (mostly EB and STC)
2019-03-23 1,905,627 31,510
2019-03-30 1,858,954 31,446
2019-04-06 1,727,261 30,454
2019-04-13 1,700,689 30,404
2019-04-20 1,645,387 28,281
2019-04-27 1,630,382 29,795
2019-05-04 1,536,652 27,937
2019-05-11 1,540,486 28,727
2019-05-18 1,506,501 27,949
2019-05-25 1,519,345 26,263
2019-06-01 1,535,572 26,905
2019-06-08 1,520,520 25,694
2019-06-15 1,556,252 26,057
2019-06-22 1,586,714 25,409
2019-06-29 1,608,769 23,926
2019-07-06 1,700,329 25,630
2019-07-13 1,694,876 27,169
2019-07-20 1,676,883 30,390
2019-07-27 1,662,427 28,319
2019-08-03 1,676,979 27,403
2019-08-10 1,616,985 27,330
2019-08-17 1,613,394 26,234
2019-08-24 1,564,203 27,253
2019-08-31 1,473,997 25,003
2019-09-07 1,462,776 25,909
2019-09-14 1,397,267 26,699
2019-09-21 1,380,668 26,641
2019-09-28 1,390,061 25,460
2019-10-05 1,366,978 26,977
2019-10-12 1,384,208 27,501
2019-10-19 1,416,816 28,088
2019-10-26 1,420,918 28,576
2019-11-02 1,447,411 29,080
2019-11-09 1,457,789 30,024
2019-11-16 1,541,860 31,593
2019-11-23 1,505,742 29,499
2019-11-30 1,752,141 30,315
2019-12-07 1,725,237 32,895
2019-12-14 1,796,247 31,893
2019-12-21 1,773,949 29,888
2019-12-28 2,143,802 32,517
2020-01-04 2,245,684 32,520
2020-01-11 2,137,910 33,882
2020-01-18 2,075,857 32,625
2020-01-25 2,148,764 35,828
2020-02-01 2,084,204 33,884
2020-02-08 2,095,001 35,605
2020-02-15 2,057,774 34,683
2020-02-22 2,101,301 35,440
2020-02-29 2,054,129 33,053
2020-03-07 1,973,560 32,803
2020-03-14 2,071,070 34,149
2020-03-21 3,410,969 36,758
2020-03-28 8,158,043 0 52,494 48,963
2020-04-04 12,444,309 3,802 69,537 64,201
2020-04-11 16,249,334 31,426 216,481 89,915
2020-04-18 17,756,054 63,720 1,172,238 116,162
2020-04-25 21,723,230 91,724 3,629,986 158,031
2020-05-02 20,823,294 173,760 6,361,532 175,289
2020-05-09 22,725,217 252,257 8,120,137 216,576
2020-05-16 18,791,926 252,952 11,281,930 226,164
2020-05-23 19,022,578 546,065 10,010,509 247,595
2020-05-30 18,548,442 1,121,306 9,597,884 259,499
2020-06-06 18,330,293 885,802 11,359,389 325,282
2020-06-13 17,552,371 783,999 13,093,382 336,537
2020-06-20 17,316,689 867,675 14,203,555 392,042
2020-06-27 16,410,059 956,849 12,308,450 373,841
2020-07-04 17,188,908 964,744 13,549,797 495,296
2020-07-11 16,221,070 1,016,882 13,326,206 513,141
2020-07-18 16,691,210 1,122,677 13,259,954 518,584
2020-07-25 15,700,971 1,193,198 10,984,864 609,328
2020-08-01 15,112,240 1,262,021 11,504,089 433,416
2020-08-08 14,098,536 1,376,738 11,221,790 549,603
2020-08-15 13,792,016 1,381,317 13,841,939 469,028
2020-08-22 13,067,660 1,434,638 15,164,498 523,430
2020-08-29 13,283,721 1,547,611 14,786,785 490,514
2020-09-05 12,373,201 1,630,711 11,808,368 529,220
2020-09-12 12,363,489 1,832,754 12,153,925 510,610
2020-09-19 11,561,158 1,989,499 10,686,922 589,652
2020-09-26 10,172,332 2,824,685 10,978,217 579,582
2020-10-03 8,952,580 3,334,878 10,450,384 668,691
2020-10-10 8,038,175 3,711,089 10,622,725 615,066
2020-10-17 7,436,321 3,983,613 9,332,610 778,746
2020-10-24 6,837,941 4,143,389 9,433,127 746,403
2020-10-31 6,452,002 4,376,847 8,681,647 806,430
2020-11-07 6,037,690 4,509,284 9,147,753 757,496
2020-11-14 5,890,220 4,569,016 8,869,502 834,740
2020-11-21 5,213,781 4,532,876 8,555,763 741,078
2020-11-28 5,766,130 4,801,408 9,244,556 834,685
2020-12-05 5,457,941 4,793,230 9,271,112 841,463
2020-12-12 5,393,839 4,810,334 8,453,940 937,972
2020-12-19 5,205,841 4,491,413 8,383,387 1,070,810
2020-12-26 5,347,440 4,166,261 7,442,888 1,450,438
2021-01-02 5,727,359 3,026,952 5,707,397 1,526,887
2021-01-09 5,446,993 3,863,008 7,334,682 1,638,247
2021-01-16 5,188,211 3,604,894 7,218,801 1,826,573
2021-01-23 5,156,985 4,779,341 7,943,448 1,785,954
2021-01-30 5,003,178 4,062,189 7,685,857 1,590,360
2021-02-06 4,934,269 5,067,523 7,520,114 1,523,394
2021-02-13 4,794,195 4,468,389 7,329,172 1,437,170
2021-02-20 4,808,623 5,456,080 8,387,696 1,465,769
2021-02-27 4,457,888 4,816,523 7,616,593 1,237,929
2021-03-06 4,458,888 5,551,215 7,735,491 1,207,201

Other programs (mostly EB and STC) PUA PEUC Regular state UI Jul 2019 Jan 2020 Jul 2020 Jan 2021 0 10,000,000 20,000,000 30,000,000 40,000,000 Chart Data Caution: Trends over time in PUA claims may be distorted because when an individual is owed retroactive payments, some states report all retroactive PUA claims during the week the individual received their payment.

Click here for notes.

Source: U.S. Employment and Training Administration, Initial Claims [ICSA], retrieved from Department of Labor (DOL), https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/docs/persons.xls and https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf , March 25, 2021. Share Tweet Embed Download image

The good news in all of this is Congress's passage of the sweeping $1.9 trillion relief and recovery package. It is both providing crucial support to millions of working families and setting the stage for a robust recovery. One big concern, however, is that the bill's UI provisions are set to expire the first week in September, when, even in the best–case scenario, they will still be needed. By then, Congress needs to have put in place long-run UI reforms that include automatic triggers based on economic conditions.

[Mar 28, 2021] Need Amid Plenty- Richest US Counties Are Overwhelmed by Surge in Child Hunger

Mar 28, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The financial fallout of covid-19 has pushed child hunger to record levels. The need has been dire since the pandemic began and highlights the gaps in the nation's safety net.

While every U.S. county has seen hunger rates rise, the steepest jumps have been in some of the wealthiest counties, where overall affluence obscures the tenuous finances of low-wage workers. Such sudden and unprecedented surges in hunger have overwhelmed many rich communities, which weren't nearly as ready to cope as places that have long dealt with poverty and were already equipped with robust, organized charitable food networks.

Data from the anti-hunger advocacy group Feeding America and the U.S. Census Bureau shows that counties seeing the largest estimated increases in child food insecurity in 2020 compared with 2018 generally have much higher median household incomes than counties with the smallest increases. In Bergen, where the median household income is $101,144, child hunger is estimated to have risen by 136%, compared with 47% nationally.

That doesn't mean affluent counties have the greatest portion of hungry kids. An estimated 17% of children in Bergen face hunger, compared with a national average of around 25%.

But help is often harder to find in wealthier places. Missouri's affluent St. Charles County, north of St. Louis, population 402,000, has seen child hunger rise by 69% and has 20 sites distributing food from the St. Louis Area Foodbank. The city of St. Louis, pop. 311,000, has seen child hunger rise by 36% and has 100 sites.

"There's a huge variation in how different places are prepared or not prepared to deal with this and how they've struggled to address it," said Erica Kenney , assistant professor of public health nutrition at Harvard University. "The charitable food system has been very strained by this."

Eleni Towns, associate director of the No Kid Hungry campaign , said the pandemic "undid a decade's worth of progress" on reducing food insecurity, which last year threatened at least 15 million kids.

And while President Joe Biden's covid relief plan, which he signed into law March 11, promises to help with anti-poverty measures such as monthly payments to families of up to $300 per child this year, it's unclear how far the recently passed legislation will go toward addressing hunger.

"It's definitely a step in the right direction," said Marlene Schwartz , director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut. "But it's hard to know what the impact is going to be."


Randall Flagg , March 28, 2021 at 8:12 am

Let's just keep spending all that money on our misadventures around the world though. I believe in a strong defense but just that, defense. I would like to hear the warmongers justify the ridiculous amounts of money spent on that, yet we can take care of our own to a basic minimum. What the hell happened to this country over the years

Massinissa , March 28, 2021 at 8:30 am

"What the hell happened to this country over the years "

4 to 5 decades of neoliberalism will do that. Its like the nation-state equivalent of being addicted to a drug. Makes you feel better in the short term: Reagan America worked great! In the 80s. Long term everything gets screwed over, health wise.

JBird4049 , March 28, 2021 at 5:36 pm

Ronnie Raygun was patriotic meth. The only good thing he did as the President was getting the number of American and Soviet nuclear warheads reduced.

mrsyk , March 28, 2021 at 8:34 am

Nothing says "Third World!" like 25% child food insecurity rate.

roxan , March 28, 2021 at 8:44 am

Typical banana republic, spending on war and ridiculous, dysfunctional but grandiose weapons, usually shown off in parades – lorded over by a rich oligarchy – while people starve and live in hovels. However, a healthy well-fed population is the source of a nation's strength, so we are well on the way to fading into a has-been.

Bob Hertz , March 28, 2021 at 9:14 am

Here is the real problem .

"Sierra had to leave her Amazon warehouse job when the kids' school went remote, and Morales stopped driving for Uber when trips became scarce and he feared getting covid on top of his asthma".

In other words, our skimpy unemployment insurance systems in man states, plus gaps in the pandemic special relief, plus the insufferable arrogance of closing the schools with no financial relief for parents, and here we are.

Thanks for posting, this is indeed a tragedy.

The Rev Kev , March 28, 2021 at 10:21 am

Sorry guys but this is Failed Nation stuff. I am one of those that happen to believe that it is the most fundamental duty of a State to protect children and pregnant women. Anything after that is a bonus if not an embellishment. America is not only the wealthiest country in the world but is also the wealthiest in history. And yet child hunger is tolerated. And just to add the bread slices to this s*** sandwich, there are about 800 billionaires in the US at the moment. How many of them could wake up one day and say to themselves: 'You know what? I am going to abolish child hunger in America with my money and be remembered forever and even have statues raised to myself!' But it never happens.

tegnost , March 28, 2021 at 11:01 am

America's incredible success is going to require americans to have a vastly reduced standard of living to the point that they are equally as poverty stricken as the poors the world over. Globalisation really makes any other out come unfair, and we must globalize. Everyone being a poverty stricken gig worker is the plan. Here in this case an amazon worker and an uber driver, on the dole. In reality, I think the biden admin has just dusted off the plans that were to be unleashed under hillary, that's one of the reasons it all seems so ham handed. The TPP was going to keep the world in our orbit and create supra national barriers to autonomy in order to stop what is in fact happening now where they are free to choose between china/russia and the US. From this perspective trump really screwed the plans of the despicables.

Synoia , March 28, 2021 at 11:56 am

America's incredible past success .

1. It in the past
2. It was built on predation against the British Empire

Who needs a German Enemy with friends who help with lend-lease, Cancel the German War debt, and not their "allies." Combined with subverting the British Empires rule with a twisted version of self-rule – Governance dependent on not having US Sanctions, aka imperialism absent responsibility.

This after dispossession the local US natives of the ancestral lands by force, and tricky legalities.

tegnost , March 28, 2021 at 12:10 pm

I agree that it's in the past but people ordering their entire life from amazon that I know think this is the beginning of our incredible greatness.

The S , March 28, 2021 at 1:45 pm

It's not a failed nation, it's how the US was always designed to work. It might have had some good years of P.R. and marketing after WWII but it was always a lie. The Constitution was written by a bunch of wealthy slavers that hated commoners and feared economic democracy and popular governance. The US became the wealthiest country by starving kids and killing people the world over; it was forced into a bit of wealth distribution for a few decades by multi-state steel strikes, the Bonus Army, armed miners unions, tenants unions, the Farmers Holiday movement, and the contrast of a Soviet Union that was advancing by leaps and bounds economically while the US festered in a depression. But whether it was the indigenous, the slaves, the Filipinos, the Haitians, the Chinese, the Nicaraguans, the Mexicans, the Hondurans, the Iranians, the Guatemalans, the Chileans, the Koreans, the Vietnamese, the Laotians, the Cambodians, the Russians, the Iraqis, the Libyans, the Syrians, or it's own citizens, the US has always killed for money. If it runs out of places to take over and expand it'll just starve the kids at home to make a buck. It'll charge the poor overdraft fees for having no money then chalk that up as a financial service. It'll have its state security forces kill you for a traffic stop and then beat every citizen en masse that dares to object. It'll cannibalize the very infrastructure and fabric of society and hand it over to oligarchs and private equity. It'll give all the wealth to people who charge usury and own embroidered pieces of paper but who don't actually do anything useful or necessary. And the marks that watch US movies and television and news will believe that the US is somehow benevolent and that they can somehow bend the will of the rapacious through the very electoralism that the wealthy designed to keep the poor from having a say.

Starving children. Children in concentration camps. Children forced into schools during a plague. These aren't 'oopsies.' This is how the country is set up to run. Look at how much money the wealthy gained by letting a pandemic run wild. Look at how the entire investment class should have gone bankrupt in 2008 but instead workers were fired from jobs and cast out of their homes by the millions. Now the kids of those sacrificed are starving right next to the wealthy that should have gone bust. The affluent are literally taking food out of kids mouths because they won't let their precious stocks or real estate go down in price one iota. The only good thing about kids starving in wealthy districts is that a Robin Hood won't have to go to far to find money to give to those kids.

drumlin woodchuckles , March 28, 2021 at 4:50 pm

The 800 billionaires consider child hunger in America to be one of their greatest achievements.

The child hunger in America problem won't be solved until the 800 billionaires and all their ideological supporters and economic servants have been " rounded up and exterminated", so to speak.

Maritimer , March 28, 2021 at 4:19 pm

Thank you, Palaver. All "food" is not equal. Nutrition should be the emphasis.

In my jurisdiction, the Food Bank Industry encourages donations of packaged, processed, industrialized "food". For example, fifty pounds of oats gives much more nutrition bang for the buck than the equivalent $$$ amount of Conglomerate Cereals.

At my Conglomerate Stupormarket, they have a bin for unthinking donors to drop in "food" that was bought in the Stupor. I've seen poptarts, jars of frosting, jello, etc. all sorts of "food". And why do I think the Stupormarket just recycles a lot of this stuff back onto their shelves, making a huge profit?

Next time you donate, check out what your Food Bank is actually peddling and who runs it. Food Banks have become a huge Industry and we know what happens to huge Industries.

Louis Fyne , March 28, 2021 at 4:47 pm

My mother gives rides to some of her friends (without expectation of any compensation cuz friendship). In return, some of the friends give random items from their weekly food bank allotment.

the food is shelf-stable processed items with produce and baked goods nearing expiration from the local gourmet independent chain and the local Whole Foods.

Manslow's hierarchy of needs applies obviously and the food banks do truly heroic deeds daily, but long-term people can't live healthy lives eating boxed Mac 'n Cheese, PBJ sandwiches and organic cookies every single day.

I say expand WIC spending and eligibility, but as I'm not too familiar with that program, dunno if that'll do any good.

[Mar 28, 2021] In the USA, the top one percent of household net worth starts at $11,099,166

Mar 28, 2021 | www.unz.com

J , says: March 27, 2021 at 6:23 am GMT • 1.6 days ago

@anonymous

In the USA, the top one percent of household net worth starts at $11,099,166.

It is seems improbable that the commenter achieved that goal. May be he is thinking of 1% of Indonesia or Philippines. The reference to tenant farmers also appears to indicate a country like that. Retiring to live in the Indonesian countryside is not my idea of a good old age. Correct me please if I am wrong.

[Mar 28, 2021] D.C. spent around $30,115 per pupil in 2016-17, while in 2017-18, nearby Arlington County was expected to spend $19,340,

Mar 28, 2021 | www.unz.com

Seamus , says: March 25, 2021 at 8:32 pm GMT • 2.8 days ago

"Underfunded" is a euphemism for "have students with low test scores." E.g., "Washington D.C.'s underfunded schools."

D.C. spent around $30,115 per pupil in 2016-17, while in 2017-18, nearby Arlington County was expected to spend $19,340, the City of Falls Church to spend $18,219; the City of Alexandria, $17,099; Montgomery County, $16,030; Fairfax County, $14,767; Prince George's County, $13,816; Loudoun County, $13,688; City of Manassas, $12,846; City of Manassas Park, $11,242; and Prince William County, $11,222.

But I suppose those are hate facts.

https://townhall.com/columnists/terryjeffrey/2020/09/16/washington-dc-public-schools-spend-30k-per-student-23-of-8th-graders-proficient-in-reading-n2576265

https://www.insidenova.com/news/arlington/for-good-or-ill-arlington-per-student-spending-again-tops-region/article_0f441fe4-cef5-11e7-b4d4-cf5ac038e374.html

[Mar 28, 2021] Rudy Acu a on neoliberalism

Mar 28, 2021 | www.msn.com

In 2015, you wrote extensively about your concerns over neoliberalism in academia, calling it the worst threat to education. You wrote: "In order to offset the lack of public funding, administrators have raised tuition with students becoming the primary consumers and debt-holders. Institutions have entered into research partnerships with industry shifting the pursuit of truth to the pursuit of profits." To accelerate this "molting," they have " hired a larger and larger number of short-term, part-time adjuncts ."

This has created large armies of transient and disposable workers who "are in no position to challenge the university's practices or agitate for "democratic rather than monetary goals."

Yes, neoliberalism is hegemonic. It affects all minority communities...

[Mar 28, 2021] You know how we raised black test scores to the level demanded? We fudged the numbers

Mar 28, 2021 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [369] Disclaimer , says: March 25, 2021 at 11:18 am GMT • 3.2 days ago

"Underfunded" is a euphemism for "have students with low test scores." E.g., "Washington D.C.'s underfunded schools." Presumably, it means "underfunded relative to some theoretical amount of money, such as a gajillion dollars, that would be sufficient to raise these students' test scores to average."

My dad was a school administrator in one of the top county public school systems in the country. A politically deep-blue part of the country. He retired in the early '80's. I remember him telling me once after he retired that his school(s) would get constant demands from the school board to raise black (not many Hispanics then) test scores. He said the school(s) focused all kinds of resources on black students which yielded no appreciable results. He then said, "You know how we raised black test scores to the level demanded? We fudged the numbers."

[Mar 27, 2021] I have been surprised by the explosion in the numbers of people locally living in cars and vans lately

Notable quotes:
"... freedom is material: a human being must be free from material privation, here and now, in life (and not in the mythical afterlife of reincarnation) in order to be really free. In other words, freedom from need is true freedom. ..."
Mar 27, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Mar 24 2021 17:07 utc | 3

Health is primary indicator of people's happy life: Xi

Marx's concept of freedom is completely different from the liberal or pre-liberal concepts of freedom. For Marx, freedom is material: a human being must be free from material privation, here and now, in life (and not in the mythical afterlife of reincarnation) in order to be really free. In other words, freedom from need is true freedom.

Human beings can only be materially free. Don't fall for the moral victories of liberalism, the snake oil salesmen's promise of a spot in Paradise from the Abrahamics or the nihilist bullshittery from the Buddhists et al.


William Gruff , Mar 24 2021 17:47 utc | 6

vk @3

Excellent point by vk here. Despite sometimes pretending to myself that I am a Buddhist (I am really good at meditating!), real freedom is being free from need. Abstract and metaphysical "freedoms" are luxuries of the wealthy that few under the thumb of the empire can afford.

I have been surprised by the explosion in the numbers of people locally living in cars and vans lately. I guess from my Buddhist perspective they have been freed from the attachment to a residence. Who could have guessed that capitalism would be such a good teacher of the path to enlightenment?

karlof1 , Mar 24 2021 21:30 utc | 50

John @44--

It's freedom from Want. The Four Freedoms as articulated by FDR in 1941 were:

1.Freedom of speech
2.Freedom of worship
3.Freedom from want
4.Freedom from fear

Earlier this year on the 80th anniversary of FDR's speech, I wrote a series of comments on the topic. They remain the four main tasks needing to be accomplished for the Common Man to be genuinely free. At the time, they were to be the main goals of WW2; goals that were further articulated by Henry Wallace in 1942 & '43 in his speeches and writings. Currently, several nations have accomplished those four goals; none of them is a NATO/Neoliberal nation however.

[Mar 22, 2021] I am a teacher in Australia's oldest university whose new vice-chancellor (CEO) is a pure technocrat without academic background or a PhD.

Mar 22, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Patroklos , Mar 21 2021 18:58 utc | 34

In the Spectator article linked -- thank you b and all -- Kimball quotes a canny friend who said "I'd rather be ruled by the Chinese than the Yale faculty". Yes, I thought, that is how the west is now.

I am a teacher in Australia's oldest university whose new vice-chancellor (CEO) is a pure technocrat without academic background or a PhD.

This is the strange norm now: grey neoliberal managers are rushed into areas that require specialists in order to 'streamline' or 'set up structures of accountability' or simply hollow out the joint. This guy sees 'tech' as the answer, so will accelerate the pedagogical catastrophe taking place across the world (Zoom-'teaching') whose implications are dystopian, psychologically alienating and frankly depressing.

He is the Yale faculty at the local level; Blinken is the Yale faculty on the diplomatic stage: a recognisable and familiar type of manager from no particular background whose career is made leap-frogging from bureaucratisation process to bureaucratisation process.

He berates the Chinese thinking that they are the old faculty resisting the newspeak of neoliberal managerialism, an empty meaningless feedback loop of tickboxing. The 'rules-based order' is some imaginary thing produced in the mind of grey men to obscure their self-aggrandisement in a vacuum; zero time has been invested in any thought about it. The 'Biden-Doctrine' is a vacuum of intellectual reflection. In short, Blinken simply doesn't care about his job, he just cares about ticking a box on his CV as he sets himself up for the promotion/next job. Where once we had career specialists dedicated to the actual job (like Chas Freeman) now the whole world is run by these empty people. The consequences are very depressing.


Fyi , Mar 21 2021 19:54 utc | 44

Mr. Patroklos

University administrators need not have doctoral or other academic achievements. What is needed, in any enterprise, is the commitment to the health and to prosperity of that enterprise.

In America, they promoted men who promised lower taxes and easier money. Men with dubious loyalty to the long term health and well being of that country or her population. The results is there for the world to see. Same in Italy; Mr. Berlusconi would promise to cut taxes, and would omit to also mention that he would also cut state services. And foolish plebians would vote for him.

When the late Mr. Khomeini came to power in Iran, one of his observations was that he could not find enough men with integrity to put them in executive positions.

I would like to respectfully suggest to try to preserve what you can but do not try to be a lean department or program. Maintain the "fat" so that you van save as much of the scholarly muscle as you can when the cutting times come.

Also, reach out to the public and the alumni and ask for whatever help you can obtain. Use Kung-Fu approaches, never attack directly. Keep trying to find alternative careers for your older or newer faculties. Take any and all positive action and try to preserve Learning and Scholarship for the future generations.

The late Joseph Stalin observed: "Cadres decide everything."

May be you cannot stop this, but you can delay and dlelay and derail, thus buying time for people to adjust to their new circumstances.

lysias , Mar 21 2021 19:59 utc | 45

That would be Mark Scott as Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney? What a decline from when Enoch Powell was Professor of Greek at Sydney. I greatly admire Powell's scholarly work on Herodotus and his edition of Thucydides (one of my set texts when I was at Oxford). How much of that work did he do at Sydney?

[Mar 15, 2021] Custom Degrees Help Grads and Employers

This is about neoliberlization of education. Early over-specialization essentially is detrimental to professional development. this is clearlly a neoliberal approach -- to get ready cogs into the machinery that does not reuare any additional trianing to be productive and save on training.
Like Knuth said on a different potic "Premature optimization is the root of al evil"
Mar 14, 2021 | www.wsj.com

Why has it taken so long for professional-services firms in the U.S. to adopt a bespoke graduate-degree approach ( "Employers Customize Business Degrees," Business News, March 5)?

The former president of the University of Limerick, Edward Walsh, was way ahead of the game in this regard. Dr. Walsh arguably created a new norm in Irish third-level education back in the early 1970s, from the university's modest beginnings in the "White House" as the building was and is still known, to a now very impressive campus with a proud record of innovation in education and excellence in research and scholarship. Dr. Walsh customized our degrees to match the requirements of Irish companies and industry.

My bespoke electronics-production degree was customized because the electronics industry in Ireland at the time found that many electronic-engineering grads applying for production-oriented positions weren't suitably qualified. As a graduate in engineering, I believe it made my finding a job much easier than some of my counterparts in other universities, both in Ireland and abroad. Our degrees opened many doors for my class in a lot of different industries, and I believe they still hold us in good stead today when changing our careers or setting up indigenous businesses.

me title=

Maurice D. Landers

Since inception in 2011, the Commercial Banking Program in the Mays Business School of Texas A&M University has joined with the banking industry in implementing and teaching a required commercial-banking curriculum that is designed to position our graduates for successful careers in commercial banking. The banking industry provides us with valuable input on essential training and skills they require of our students to be considered for employment. In addition, selected parts of the program curriculum are taught by senior banking executives from our advisory board of directors. Students receive current, relevant banking-industry training taught by banking executives positioning them for successful careers in commercial banking. Banks find our graduates are trained according to industry requirements and are productive sooner than their peers, and the Commercial Banking Program is helping alleviate the shortage of trained talent within the banking industry.

W. Dwight Garey

Texas A&M University

College Station, Texas

[Mar 12, 2021] The US economy still has almost 10 million fewer jobs than it did before the coronavirus pandemic took hold

Mar 12, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com

The jobs picture overall has been improving with 379,000 workers added in February , although the U.S. economy still has almost 10 million fewer jobs than it did before the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Economists have been revising their employment and GDP forecasts are higher.

Goldman Sachs Chief Economist Jan Hatzius, for example, wrote in a report this week that the jobless rate would fall to 4.1% by the end of 2021, from 6.2% last month.

Hyams has been seeing similar encouraging signs on Indeed, with postings on the site already lapping where they were pre-pandemic. "On Indeed, when we look at new job postings and our benchmark pre-pandemic of February 1, 2020, at the end of this February we were up 5% year-over-year. That's still with entire sectors completely shut down," he said.

As for where the hottest demand lies for new jobs, Hyams pointed to e-commerce-related occupations including logistics, warehousing and delivery, as well as jobs in health care and pharmacy.

While some of those openings may require showing up regularly in-person, many will not, which again feeds into Hyams' thesis that interviews will remain virtual.

"If you're going to be a remote worker, interviewing over video actually makes a whole lot more sense. It's more convenient. It will cut down on travel," he said.

That means many interviewees can continue to pull their blazers and ties out of the closet -- along with their sweatpants.

[Mar 12, 2021] The pandemic 'will change how hiring is done forever,' says CEO of jobs website Indeed

Mar 12, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com

Remember job interviews pre-pandemic? The jitters, the choosing of just the right suit, the race to get there early, maybe even the drive across town or flight across the country for a shot at a new opportunity?

Like most everything else, the pandemic changed that dynamic. The jitters may remain, but in-person meetings are largely off the table, interviews among them. The CEO of one of the most-trafficked jobs websites says it's likely to stay that way even after people get back to the office.

"People being able to conduct an interview from the safety and convenience of their own home is going to change hiring forever," said Chris Hyams, Indeed CEO, in an interview with Yahoo Finance Live. "We believe this is the beginning of a massive secular shift."

"In April, we saw the number of requests for interviews to happen over video shoot up by 1,000%. Even as things have started to stabilize and the economy has opened up over the last 11 months, we've seen that continue to grow," Hyams said.

The jobs picture overall has been improving with 379,000 workers added in February , although the U.S. economy still has almost 10 million fewer jobs than it did before the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Economists have been revising their employment and GDP forecasts are higher. Goldman Sachs Chief Economist Jan Hatzius, for example, wrote in a report this week that the jobless rate would fall to 4.1% by the end of 2021, from 6.2% last month.

Hyams has been seeing similar encouraging signs on Indeed, with postings on the site already lapping where they were pre-pandemic. "On Indeed, when we look at new job postings and our benchmark pre-pandemic of February 1, 2020, at the end of this February we were up 5% year-over-year. That's still with entire sectors completely shut down," he said.

As for where the hottest demand lies for new jobs, Hyams pointed to e-commerce-related occupations including logistics, warehousing and delivery, as well as jobs in health care and pharmacy.

While some of those openings may require showing up regularly in-person, many will not, which again feeds into Hyams' thesis that interviews will remain virtual.

"If you're going to be a remote worker, interviewing over video actually makes a whole lot more sense. It's more convenient. It will cut down on travel," he said.

That means many interviewees can continue to pull their blazers and ties out of the closet -- along with their sweatpants.

[Mar 05, 2021] The Feedback Loop Between The Fed The Elite

Mar 05, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

More Evidence Of The Loop

The New York Times recently went further into the numbers:

"America's economy has almost doubled in size over the last four decades, but broad measures of the nation's economic health conceal the unequal distribution of gains. A small portion of the population has pocketed most of the new wealth, and the coronavirus pandemic is laying bare the consequences of the unequal distribution of prosperity."

Of course, a significant contributor to the "wealth gap" was the rise in the stock market fostered by trillions of liquidity injected by the Federal Reserve. As NYT noted:

"The affluent, of course, do tend to own stock, and the median net worth of the richest 10 percent of households rose 13 percent from 2007 to 2016 (the last year for which the Fed has released data).

Another way to view this issue is by looking at household net worth growth between the top 10% and everyone else.

"Wealth disparities have widened over time. In 1989, the bottom 90 percent of the U.S. population held 33 percent of all wealth. By 2016, the bottom 90 percent of the population held only 23 percent of the wealth. The wealth share of the top 1 percent increased from about 30 percent to about 40 percent over the same period." – Equitable Growth

Such is more visible when you see that since 2007, the ONLY group has seen an increase in net worth in the top 10% of the population. Such is also the group that owns 90% of the stock market as discussed in "How The Fed Made The Top 10% Richer."

" That is not economic prosperity. It is a distortion of economics."

An Elite Club

Central Bank's globally sought to stoke economic growth by inflating asset prices. Unfortunately, the consumption of the benefit was only those with savings and discretionary income to invest.

In other words, the stock market became an "exclusive" club for the elite.

While monetary policy increases the wealth of those that have wealth, the Fed mistakenly believed the "trickle-down" effect would be enough to stimulate the entire economy.

It hasn't.

The sad reality is that these policies only acted as a transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy. Such created one of the largest "wealth gaps" in human history. Via Forbes :

"'The top 10% of the wealth distribution hold a large and growing share of U.S. aggregate wealth, While the bottom half hold a barely visible share.' Fed economists wrote in a paper outlining the new data set on inequality. The charts show that 'while the total net worth of U.S. households has more than quadrupled in nominal terms since 1989, that increase accrued more to the top than the bottom.'"

A recent report from BCA Research confirms the same showing the increase in wealth of the top 10% as compared to everyone else.

Lack Of Capital

The current economic expansion is already the longest post-WWII expansion on record. Of course, that expansion came from artificial interventions rather than stable organic economic growth. As noted, while the financial markets have soared higher in recent years, it bypassed a large portion of Americans. Such was NOT because they were afraid to invest, but because they had NO CAPITAL with which to invest.

The ability to "maintain a certain standard of living" remains problematic for many forcing them further into debt.

"The debt surge is partly by design. A byproduct of low borrowing costs the Federal Reserve engineered after the financial crisis to get the economy moving. It has reshaped both borrowers and lenders. Consumers increasingly need it. Companies increasingly can't sell their goods without it. And the economy, which counts on consumer spending for more than two-thirds of GDP, would struggle without a plentiful supply of credit." – WSJ

I often show the "gap" between the "standard of living" and real disposable incomes. In 1990, incomes alone were no longer able to meet the standard of living. Therefore, consumers turned to debt to fill the "gap."

However, following the "financial crisis," even the combined income and debt levels no longer filled the gap. Currently, there is almost a $2150 annual deficit facing the average American. (Note: this deficit accrues every year, which is why consumer credit keeps hitting new records.)

The Rest Have Debt

The debt-to-income problem keeps individuals from building wealth, and government statistics obscure the fundamental reality. We discussed this point in detail in the " Illusion Of Soaring Savings."

" The median net worth of households in the middle 20% of income rose 4% in inflation-adjusted terms to $81,900 between 1989 and 2016. That is the latest available data. For households in the top 20%, median net worth more than doubled to $811,860. And for the top 1%, the increase was 178% to $11,206,000.

The value of assets for all U.S. households increased from 1989 through 2016 by an inflation-adjusted $58 trillion. A full 33% of that gain -- $19 trillion -- went to the wealthiest 1%, according to a Journal analysis of Fed data." – WSJ

Of course, if the Fed's actions to inflate asset prices worked, then wealth distribution would be more even. Importantly, we wouldn't see more than 50% of Americans unable to meet a $500 emergency.

The single truth of a decade of monetary and fiscal interventions is this:

"The top 10% of the economy has assets, the bottom 90% has the debt."

The Fed Does Have A Choice

The Fed does have a choice that could alter the current wealth inequality dynamic:

  1. Allow capitalism to take root by allowing corporations to fail and restructure. A needed process after spending a decade leveraging themselves to the hilt, buying back shares, and massively increasing executive wealth while compressing workers' wages. Or,

  2. Continue to bailout "bad actors" and further forestall the "clearing process" that would rebalance the economy and allow for increased future organic economic growth.

As the Fed's balance sheet rises past $7-Trillion, they chose to impede the "clearing process" once again. By not allowing for debt to fail, corporate restructuring, and "socializing the losses," they removed the risk of speculative practices.

Such has ensured the continuation of "bad behaviors."

Unfortunately, given we have a decade of experience watching the "wealth gap" grow, the next decade will only see the "gap" worsen.

The obvious question we should be asking is:

"If we are in a booming economy, as supposedly represented by surging asset prices, then why are Central Banks globally acting to increase financial stimulus for the market?"

The trap the Fed has fallen into is that markets are predicated on ever-cheaper cash being freely available. Even the faintest threat that the cash might become more expensive or less available causes shock waves.

Such was seen in late 2018 when the Fed signaled it might increase the pace of normalizing monetary policy. The markets imploded, and the Fed halted its plan of shrinking its balance sheet. Then, during the pandemic, the Fed flooded the system with liquidity to halt a market crash.

Equality In Misery

The reality is the Fed has left unconventional policies in place for so long after the "Financial Crisis," the markets can no longer function without them. Risk-taking, and the build-up of financial leverage, have removed any ability to "normalize" monetary policy. At least not without triggering violent market convulsions.

Given there is too much debt, too much activity predicated on ultra-low interest rates, and confidence hinging on inflated asset values, the Fed has no choice but to keep pushing liquidity until something eventually "pops."

Of course, it will be the bottom 90% that absorbs the losses. As noted by Sven Henrich previously:

"In a world of measured low inflation and weak wage growth easy central bank money creates vast price inflation in the assets owned by the few making the rich richer, but also enables the taking on ever higher debt burdens leaving everyone else to foot the ultimate bill."

" That is the measured outcome of the central bank easy money dynamic. After decades, it has now taken on new obscene forms in the past 10-years with absolutely no end in sight."

For the world's elite, their view of the world is far different than the reality the rest face.

Of course, this also explains much of the recent election outcomes.

When "capitalism" isn't allowed to work for the "equality" of the whole, the populous will "vote" themselves "equality in misery."


Lordflin 11 hours ago remove link

The so called market has become nothing more than an open vein... draining the life's blood of civilization down the maws of lifeless parasites...

They are killing the host...

2banana 11 hours ago

In the era of insanely cheap and easy money, those closest to the money spigot get insanely wealthy for doing nothing.

Those in the back of the line get $75,000 communications degrees, and 27% credit cards.

Nothing explodes "wealth inequality" like cheap and easy money.

TreeTopSlick 11 hours ago remove link

The Cantillon Effect in action. Never been so obvious in America than today.

2banana 10 hours ago

Great analogy.

Cantillon's original thesis outlines how rising prices affect different sectors at different times and suggests that time difference effectively acts as a taxing mechanism. In other words, the first sectors to receive the newly created money enjoy higher profits as their pay increases, but general costs are still low. On the other hand, the last sectors in which prices rise (where there is more economic friction) face higher costs while still producing at lower prices.

Alice-the-dog 11 hours ago

The "monetary policy that created a feedback loop between the Fed and the elite" isn't a by product, it's a design feature.

Crow-Magnon 11 hours ago

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

~ Thomas Jefferson

Famous Quote by Thomas Jefferson - Liberty Quotes (libertytree.ca)

GSD 11 hours ago remove link

The elite literally have their own $$ printer

Shemp 4 Victory 11 hours ago remove link

Here are the political affiliations of America's 50 richest families

You've both been bamboozled. The richest people in the country may pretend to have political affiliations, but it's just a distraction. The Capitol Hill Whores are bought off very cheaply, which is why the wealthy spend their money on both D-whores and R-whores.

It is in the interest of the very wealthy to keep the D/R, left/right, red/blue charade going because it keeps peoples' anger focused on the paid actors instead of looking for who is really screwing the country. They've got nothing to worry about as long as they can keep the unwashed rabble fighting against each other.

Mary Jane 10 hours ago remove link

99% of Americans can't hold that thought in their heads. They can only hold the left/right, red/blue understanding in their heads. One is their team, just as in Sports, and their team must win. It doesn't matter that they just shelled out money to the owner of the stadium, and the franchises, who could care less who won as long as the money keeps coming in. Very similar, to the bread and circus routines of the Roman Empire's Coliseum, no one ever looked at the wealth of the Emperor.

Apocalypse2020 8 hours ago

"The super-rich will have to keep up the pretense that national politics might someday make a difference. Since economic decisions are their prerogative, they will encourage politicians of both the Left and the Right, to specialize in cultural issues. The aim will be to keep the minds of the proles elsewhere – to keep the bottom 75 percent of Americans and the bottom 95 percent of the world's population busy with ethnic and religious hostilities, and with debates about sexual mores. If the proles can be distracted from their own despair by media-created pseudo-events the super-rich will have little to fear."

Richard Rorty, 1998

Sound of the Suburbs 7 hours ago remove link

What has happened to inequality?

Pretty much what you would expect really.

Mariner Eccles, FED chair 1934 – 48, observed what the capital accumulation of neoclassical economics did to the US economy in the 1920s.

"a giant suction pump had by 1929 to 1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing proportion of currently produced wealth. This served then as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied themselves the kind of effective demand for their products which would justify reinvestment of the capital accumulation in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When the credit ran out, the game stopped"

With the capital accumulation of neoclassical economics wealth concentrates at the top.

A few people have all the money and everyone else gets by on debt.

Keynes added some redistribution to stop all the wealth concentrating at the top, and developed nations formed a strong healthy middle class.

The neoliberals removed the redistribution.

With the capital accumulation of neoclassical economics wealth concentrates at the top.

A few people have all the money and everyone else gets by on debt.

It wasn't even hard.

Let it Go 10 hours ago

Things are really messed up. This gives credence to the idea we might soon be witness to the first global inflationary depression. As investors shift into assets that do well during times of inflation, it is possible they may set in motion a self-feeding loop or cycle. More about this in the following article.

https://The First "Global Inflationary Depression" Is Very Possible.html

[Feb 21, 2021] It doesn't matter if we die of freezer burn sleeping on cardboard after we've been laid-off, evicted, and starved.

Feb 21, 2021 | www.unz.com

obwandiyag , says: February 12, 2021 at 5:10 am GMT • 8.8 days ago

Don't you know that whining about race, from the racist or the anti-racist side, doesn't matter, is more important than billionaires fucking us over. It's more important than anything. It doesn't matter if we die of freezer burn sleeping on cardboard after we've been laid-off, evicted, and starved. It doesn't matter if we die in a nuclear war that the billionaires started because they think it would be a good idea.

Nope. All that matters is whining about race. That's the most important thing. All else is trivial.

Ray Caruso , says: February 12, 2021 at 5:39 am GMT • 8.8 days ago

Didn't American people suffer from the disease? Yes, the US government is "grotesquely and manifestly incompetent" and they were likely to expect "a massive coronavirus outbreak in China would never spread back to America".

The crucial factor here is that the US is not a nation per the most basic definition of the word, "a group of people born of a common ancestry". Consequently, as illustrated by job-killing "trade deals" and in countless other ways, there are plenty of "Americans" who don't care a whit about the fate of Americans. That makes it entirely plausible that the Deep State and/or one or more billionaires would release a virus in China in the full expectation that it would hit the US and that once here it would disrupt, impoverish, and kill millions of Americans. This was a win-win for them. The Deep State and the billionaires don't like China, which is a non-liberal country and curtails their power by restricting the use of US tech products. So if somehow the virus were contained in China it would be okay with them, as it just would be a smaller win. However, what they really wanted was for the virus circle back to the US. They knew that once here the disruption it would cause would further enrich and empower them while giving them a pretext to dump it all on Donald Trump, whom they would accuse of being incompetent and uncaring.

FHTEX , says: February 12, 2021 at 12:06 pm GMT • 8.5 days ago

While full of good insights, the problem with this article as far as COVID is concerned is that it misleads on the main point. COVID is not biowarfare, it is not a pandemic, it's just the flu. The US recorded the same death rate in 2020 as in previous years and, as Dr. Colleen Huber has documented, medical oxygen and supply sales were no different from previous years.

All those COVID-19 deaths were simply deaths of a different name. Of course, we knew from last March's Diamond Princess cruise–still by far the best controlled COVID "experiment"–that the case-fatality rate of COVID-19 for the general public is in the flu range.

But, it never was about COVID-19, which is just a glorified coronavirus of the type seen even before the dawn of humans. Long before the virus even hit the streets, the media and governments and medical establishments had secretly planned to to create a "panic-demic" to scare people into a whole lot of strange and dangerous behaviors–like giving up their liberties and economic futures. COVID-19 is just a medical nothing-burger that convinced a lot of otherwise sane people to scare themselves into oblivion. Or did it? If the post-election analyses are correct, Trump won in a major landslide and even those who voted against him were already suffering from Trump derangement syndrome. So, maybe the people weren't fooled by COVID so much as electorally raped by the vast elite cabal.

Digital Samizdat , says: February 12, 2021 at 12:06 pm GMT • 8.5 days ago

Whatever we say is a fact-based result of diligent research; whatever you say is a conspiracy theory – both the US and China representatives subscribe to this mantra.

Maye both Washington and Beijing are guilty -- of a perpetrating a hoax.

Putin surprised me. He flatly refused the offer of Schwab and his ilk. He condemned the manner of recent pre-Covid growth, for all the growth went into a few deep pockets. Moreover, he noted that digital tycoons are dangerous for the world.

Emslander , says: February 12, 2021 at 12:12 pm GMT • 8.5 days ago

The next strong man we elect must be an actual STRONG man. I salute Trump for his genius in identifying the real majority in this country and for forcing the techno-oligarchs into overdoing their election steal. Now we need someone who is willing to establish real authority on behalf of the un-queer.

[Feb 10, 2021] Are educational disparities a main driver of economic inequality?

Notable quotes:
"... The lower 95 percenters would be better off under the policies of Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy. ..."
Feb 10, 2021 | economistsview.typepad.com

Are "educational disparities a main driver of economic inequality"?:

Rethinking the Rise of Inequality, by Eduardo Porter, NY Times : In a poll conducted last month by the College Board and National Journal : ... "It is absolutely clear that educational wage differentials have not driven wage inequality over the last 15 years," said Lawrence Mishel, who heads the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal-leaning center for economic policy analysis. "Wage inequality has grown a lot over the last 15 years and the educational wage premium has changed little."
The standard analysis of the interplay between technology and education, developed by economists like Lawrence Katz and Claudia Goldin..., and David Autor..., suggests that improvements in technology -- coupled with a college graduation rate that slowed sharply in the 1980s -- have been principal drivers of the nation's widening income gap, leaving workers with less education behind.
But critics like Mr. Mishel point out that this theory has important blind spots. For instance, why have wages for college graduates stagnated over the last decade, even as innovation continues at a breathtaking pace? ...
Most notably, the skills-and-tech story leaves aside one of the most perplexing and important dynamics of the last 30 years: the rise of the 1 percent, a tiny sliver of the population that last year took in almost a dollar out of every $4 generated by the American economy. ...
Mr. Mishel's preferred explanation of inequality's rise is institutional: a shrinking minimum wage cut into the earnings of the nation's least-skilled workers while falling trade barriers, deregulation and the decline of labor unions eroded the income of the middle class. The rise of the top 1 percent, he believes, is mostly about executive pay and the growing footprint of finance. ...

My view is that both the technology and institutional forces are at work, and the question is not which of the two explains growing inequality -- they are not mutually exclusive -- but rather how much each contributed to the growing disparity.

Posted by Mark Thoma on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 08:43 AM in Economics , Income Distribution | Permalink Comments (57)


DrDick -> Second Best... , November 13, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Actually, the problem was created by Reagan's union busting and slashing taxes on the wealthy.

ilsm -> DrDick... , November 13, 2013 at 03:38 PM

And spending the SS surplus on star wars, hiding deficits from too much of GDP going to the pentagon trough.

If the SS surplus were "savings' they were "invested" in war welfare.

ilsm -> Second Best... , November 13, 2013 at 03:39 PM

Note FDR died 3 months after his 4th inaugural. We will never know how he would have managed the peace.

Michael -> Second Best... , November 13, 2013 at 06:16 PM

Actually, That started with the passage of the Great Society program of 1965, under President Johnson. With Great Society, welfare became official, hip, and institutionalize, with the worst affects being the break-up of black and inner city families, and a doubling to tripling of the out-of-wedlock birthrate. The lower 95 percenters would be better off under the policies of Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy.

reason -> Michael... , November 14, 2013 at 01:31 AM

Read the book "The Truly Disadvantaged" about how the break up of inner city families was not to do with welfare but with the lack of jobs for working class men.

The right lives on myths, unsupported by data.

reason -> reason ... , November 14, 2013 at 05:14 AM

That doesn't mean by the way that I am against better micro-economic design of the social security system. A citizen's income (c.f. Friedman's negative income tax) is my preferred welfare system design.

Michael -> reason ... , November 14, 2013 at 08:36 PM

Thomas Sowell has stated that the black family made more progress during the 20 years before Great Society, as opposed to the 20 years after Great Society. Great Society was the first opportunity for mommas to afford to have children, without the benefit of a husband and father to the children, on the taxpayers' dime. Where a birth of a human baby should be a blessed event, it's be cheapened to included the Dept. of Social Services. In my state, in the bigger cities, the out-of-wedlock birthrate pre Great Society was 25%, then by 1975 to current times, the out-of-wedlock birthrate hovers around 75- 80 percent. Black on black crime went up, number of black victims went up, and drug use increased. I don't disagree with the point you are trying to make, but it got much worse at the time of the introduction of Great Society.

Matt Young , November 13, 2013 at 09:37 AM

When we say yields equalize across assets prices, this is natural over the whole economy, including government, given sufficient time to equalize. If rates are low, and price to earnings high, then you can bet your booty that government yields are low also.

And this will be true of any complete, bounded economic model, it is really basic to the concept of a model. So ask youself who or what has driven yields lower over the 40 year period and you can win a banana.

Michael , November 13, 2013 at 09:53 AM

Second Best has it completely backwards! The post-New Deal period saw the strongest economy and most prosperous middle class in American history!

The New Deal came about because the real takers (the wealthy) were taking too much of the pie. Same thing is happening today! But unfortunately we don't have an FDR around to stick up for working men and women. We have the pro-corporate party (Dems) and the ultra-pro-corporate party (GOP).

Darryl FKA Ron -> Michael... , November 13, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Second Best is just pretending to be a reactionary for amusement. Unfortunately some bloggers roll in here occasionally that make roughly the same comments, but are serious. I keep telling him to use emoticons :<)

Michael -> Darryl FKA Ron... , November 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM

I should have known! But so many actually think that way (looking at you, Romney) it's not always easy to spot irony these days.

Watermelonpunch -> Michael... , November 13, 2013 at 01:55 PM

"it's not always easy to spot irony these days"

Very true.
Poe's Law is an epidemic.

LangfordPO -> Watermelonpunch ... , November 13, 2013 at 03:29 PM

So true! The 1st time I saw Anne Coulter on TV I thought she was a comedienne poking fun at the right!

Michael -> Michael... , November 13, 2013 at 06:22 PM

Elizabeth Warren for president. Bill and Hillary are part of the Wall Street crowd.

Michael , November 13, 2013 at 09:59 AM

I wouldn't put any of the blame for rising inequality on technology. We've been replacing workers with machinery for over 200 years!

I think the two principle reasons are low tax rates and low union membership.

Contrary to popular belief, there is very little correlation between tax rates and growth. But there is a very high correlation between low tax rates and increased income inequality.

http://democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/sites/democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/files/Updated%20CRS%20Report%2012%3A13%3A12.pdf

DrDick -> Michael... , November 13, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Pretty much grand theft by capital. Wage theft on an economy wide scale.

Perspective -> Michael... , November 13, 2013 at 02:40 PM

Anecdotal but, when you look at typical office-type work, it's hard to not conclude that technology (computers/software) has killed a ton of middle-income office jobs.

e.g. The typical law firm 10+ years ago might have had 3-4 support staff (secretaries, paralegals, filing clerks) for every attorney. Today, it's more typical to have 2-3 attorneys for every support staff employee. Technology allows this.

cm -> Perspective... , November 14, 2013 at 08:51 AM

I easily believe this for the secretaries and clerical staff, but what happened to the paralegals? Similar trends can/could be observed in other professional fields, but there too, while the clerical and admin staff was trimmed (and to an extent management hierarchies but lately it looks like they have come back), subject matter (of the variety that cannot be automated) work has not been cut a lot. OTOH IT/internet allowed a lot of "commodity" tasks to be outsourced and offshored.

Is it possible that the (newer generation?) attorneys had to take on paralegal tasks as part of their job? That would be in line with other fields where in reality a lot of the "low level" and clerical work that has been ostensibly automated was pushed onto the professional staff. For example, in many places you are supposed to arrange your own business travel (hotel, flights), order office materials, do print/copy work etc. that used to be done by now "automated" clerical staff up to 10-15 years ago. Also when it comes to subject matter work, a lot of work formerly done by techs and other support staff (who were often hourly) has been transferred to the professionals (who are generally salaried and "exempt" from overtime pay), while it is generally swept under the rug in performance evaluations which are about subject matter achievements (research pubs, delivered product features etc.). On the flip side there is now probably more nominally professional staff, some of whom (esp. juniors) are loaded with more tech/support content - but then a lot of them are hired offshore too.

Peter K. , November 13, 2013 at 10:01 AM

"Both sides agree that the overall weakness of the job market since the turn of the millennium is a prime culprit. As Professor Katz noted: "The only moments we've had of broadly shared prosperity have been in tight labor markets.""

This is a problem of demand management policy. Demand can be managed via fiscal, monetary and/or trade/currency policies.

It's also a problem of politics as Krugman says in that the powerful center-right has ignored the recent economic evidence, as have the center-right's academic/media message machine. The center-right has cried wolf over inflation and government deficits all in the name of preventing policies that would help the economy and tighten labor markets.

cawley -> Peter K. ... , November 13, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Nailed it. Can I add labor policy on the supply management side?

Peter K. -> cawley... , November 13, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Yes labor policy is very important as well. I would support pro-union policies - which help politically also - and work-sharing programs during downturns which Germany has and which Dean Baker recommends.

Dan Kervick -> Peter K. ... , November 13, 2013 at 11:35 AM

It's also a problem of a long term decline in federal government consumption and gross investment, and the willingness of macroeconomists to re-define "full employment" as a situation in which lots and lots of people are in fact unemployed. I don't think private enterprise alone will ever be capable of generating full employment and tight labor markets, demand stimulus or no demand stimulus.

Beezer , November 13, 2013 at 10:04 AM

When there is insufficient demand yields drop as capacity is idled. Under conditions of weak demand there is also a drop in investment as new entrepreneurs and established businesses know the deck is stacked against them.

The low yields are a natural symptom of the deficient demand. If you're looking for who to blame, there are several likely suspects.

One is a government indifferent to unemployment that caters almost exclusively to the super rich and the multi national, stateless corporations. The second is a government indifferent to unemployment that caters almost exclusively to the super rich and the multi national, stateless corporations. The third is see one and two.

This is the beginnings of fascism, of course. All we need now is a strong authority figure and a good war.


Peter K. , November 13, 2013 at 10:05 AM

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/us/politics/republicans-target-health-law-before-it-takes-hold.html?ref=us&pagewanted=all

Fighting to Stop an Entitlement Before It Takes Hold, and Expands by John Harwood

November 12, 2013

"WASHINGTON -- Underlying fierce Republican efforts to stop President Obama's health care law and the White House drive to save it is a simple historical reality: Once major entitlement programs get underway, they quickly become embedded in American life. And then they grow.

That makes the battle over the Affordable Care Act more consequential than most Washington political fights. "If it's in place for six months, it will be impossible to repeal it or change it in ways that significantly reduce the benefits," said Robert D. Reischauer, a Democrat who used to lead the Congressional Budget Office.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, another former C.B.O. director, reflects the concern of fellow Republicans in framing the stakes more dramatically. Either the law's health insurance exchanges "can't cut it," he explained, or "it's Katie, bar the door -- we have an explosively growing new program."

Ever since President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal during the Great Depression, the dominant pattern for major entitlements -- the term for government assistance programs open to all who qualify and not subject to annual budget constraints -- has been durability and expansion. That is the record Senator Ted Cruz of Texas refers to in warning Republicans not to allow Americans to become "hooked on the subsidies" -- an argument Mr. Obama sarcastically recast as, "We've got to stop it before people like it too much."

Congress enacted Social Security in 1935 to provide benefits to retired workers. In 1939, benefits were extended to their dependents and survivors. Later the program grew to provide disability coverage, cover self-employed farmers and raise benefit levels.

President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society created Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s to provide health coverage for the elderly and the poor. They followed the same pattern.

In 1972, Congress extended Medicare eligibility to those under 65 on disability and with end-stage renal disease. In 2003, Congress passed President George W. Bush's plan to offer coverage under Medicare for prescription drugs.

Lawmakers initially linked Medicaid coverage to those receiving welfare benefits, but over time expanded eligibility to other "poverty-related groups" such as pregnant women. In 1997, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Children's Health Insurance Program, which now covers eight million children whose families' incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid."
...

Matt Young -> Peter K. ... , November 13, 2013 at 11:14 AM

The old canard, right out of Doonesbury cartoon sociology.

The real issue is discretionary spending. It is gone mainly because of entitlement crowding. The thirty small hoover states find higher multipliers in discretionary spending. It is really a critical political issue, and the thirty hoovers will take the ship down unless they get their discretionaries.

New York, Florida, California and Texas are united against discretionary spending. Both parties are having internal battles on the issue.

Peter K. -> Matt Young... , November 13, 2013 at 12:22 PM

"The real issue is discretionary spending. It is gone mainly because of entitlement crowding."

lolwut?

DrDick -> Matt Young... , November 13, 2013 at 12:48 PM

I want some of what you are smoking!

Watermelonpunch -> Matt Young... , November 13, 2013 at 01:59 PM

Please do expound on this idea of "entitlement crowding".

Because there's entirely not enough Poe's Law on the internet already.

Matt Young -> Watermelonpunch ... , November 13, 2013 at 02:42 PM

Listen to yellens statement on discretionary spending, she likes it. But listen to the House, they sequester it. Whyndid you and i just agree, via our representatives, to cut discretionary spending? Any clue? What did every red blooded american say about the entitlements? No, no.!!. What did we do? Cut discretionary spending to save entitlements. If anyone is capable of any news searching on the topic, i suspect you will find much talk about discretionary vs entitlement spending. We name that, give it an actual semantic. Crowding.

Matt Young -> Matt Young... , November 13, 2013 at 02:52 PM

Right. There wasno sarcasm, i must suddenly be in nutsville. A very good chunk of articles, right here, required reading was about cuts to discretionary spending and saving entitlements. Someone is not doing their homework.

What the complaint was about, in the two posts above, was that the discretionary vs entitlement comment was not framed in some kind of simple minded 'evil tea party'. As if no actual thought may occur on the blog unless it passes some orwellian, straight jacket, nonesense. Seriously, crowding out occurs in the budget all the friggin time and mostly has little to with some bogus script of plastic political analysis.

ilsm -> Matt Young... , November 13, 2013 at 03:49 PM

Entitlement spending does not fund humbug factories. Or PAC's to make sure the pentagon has a 'strategic objective' to keep the defense corporations (aka troughers) healthy.

Entitlements have had little 'crowding' effect on discretionary spending.

Roughly, discretionary to entitlements used to be about 35:65 in 1999, today it is not that different, while the war half of discretionary (19% of outlays in 2012) is nearly 60% too large.

When you take away war and corporate welfare entitlements should be 6 times discretionary spending.

What matters is discretionary spending enriches a few a lot, while entitlements take care of many a little.

Matt Young -> ilsm... , November 13, 2013 at 07:18 PM

Well you have an opinion about entitlements and discretionary spending. You like the former, not the later. We have a name for people like you, Crowders, you crowd out one form of spending vs another form.

So quit bitching and play the game. We are conducting a mass experiment, lead by researcher janet yellen. She is going to test your theory by attempting more discretionary spending. If she screws it up, you win a banana.

Samuel , November 13, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Repeat after me...Robber barons now own us and the economy.

Matt Young , November 13, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Ok, lets review the roosevelt thing.
In 1928, investors believed we were head for a new productivity frontier based on the efficiency of the mass market. They predicted 4% non-inflationary growth for the horizon. What we got in 1948 was exactly that, high growth, low inflation, rising productivity. Between 1928 and 1948, we got social security, progressives taxes, off the gold standard, two major down turns, twenty million dead from WW2, and the cold war.

Thats a twenty year wait, mostly the result of bad and good government depending on how one sorts the events. Ok, you all sort it all out, I am moving on.

anne , November 13, 2013 at 10:44 AM

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/index.html

September 17, 2013

Households with Householder 25 Years Old and Over by Median Income

Median real incomes for those 25 years old and over from 1992 to 2012 increased from $50,667 to $52,119. *


(Educational attainment of householder)

Median real incomes for those with professional degrees from 1992 to 2012 declined from $135,836 to $129,588.

Median real incomes for those with master's degrees from 1992 to 2012 declined from $92,593 to $92,362.

Median real incomes for those with bachelor's degrees or more from 1992 to 2012 declined from $86,458 to $86,419.

Median real incomes for those with bachelor's degrees alone from 1992 to 2012 increased from $79,179 to $80,549.

* Income in 2012 dollars

Darryl FKA Ron , November 13, 2013 at 11:35 AM

The rapid transformation of business processes via the capital formation advantages of robust, diverse, and highly liquid financial markets made it all possible.

Translation: If tax incentives are set to prefer trading equities (relatively low capital gains tax rate) over holding equities (relatively low dividends tax rate) then capital will flow to investments with the fast rather than longest duration returns. Fastest returns for capital will come from mergers and downsizing (i.e, layoffs), outsourcing (narrow specialization), offshoring of production (labor wage arbitrage), and technology asset capital expenditure (automation) will be the preferred uses of capital. With the short term emphasis then training, retention, maintaining internal competency succession, and operational process improvements will undesirable expenses. The preferences quickly become self reinforcing as workforce quality devolves and capital rewards itself more and more.

Steve , November 13, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Immigration is another of the oligarchs tools for suppressing labor.

"do jobs citizens won't do(at the wage on offer)..."can't find skills (at the wage on offer).

Why invest in social capital here when it can always be imported more cheaply?

It is not the immigrants fault but the oligarchs who exploit them.

"it is a real mystery why real wages for unskilled worker keep going down"

bakho , November 13, 2013 at 12:47 PM

These studies need to include interaction terms.

Economic is a quantitative science and economists should understand the statistics and test for interactions. Sometimes, the interactive effects can be greater than major effects.

Justin Cidertrades , November 13, 2013 at 02:03 PM


"
wages for college graduates stagnated over the last decade, even as innovation continues at
"

Tell me something! Does all of innovation come from humans? From Hunans? From automation? From computer hardware? Software? Software with a child process? A child process coded by the parent process? Do you see what is happening?

We are now approaching the moment of singularity. A moment in history, or an epoch of history? Tell me something else!

Do all boomer-s leave the work force simultaneously? Or during a poorly defined epoch? The singularity has already begun but will evolve slowly as the present SE, singularity epoch unfolds. Computer jockey-s first used the word processing feature of computer to code their human imagination. Later assemblers re-coded human source code, checked source for semantics and many other features. Supercomputers now work at unbelievable gigaflops. But if human brain is merely a biological gigaflopper, eventually all its functions will be replaced by semiconductor brains. But so what?

RM, Reverse Migration! As mechanized innovation replaces Americans, Yankee-s will need to migrate to developing countries where the singularity process will be slower and with a phase shift, behind the American Curve.

2 B continued
!

Matt Young -> Justin Cidertrades... , November 13, 2013 at 02:35 PM

But,but...if the computers are smarter they will migrate to developing countries first, and get all the good jobs.

Massimo Mediolanum -> Matt Young... , November 16, 2013 at 08:55 AM


Grazie! Grazie per l'avvertimento! Noi abbiamo espulso i computer vinti. Grazie di nuovo! Distinti saluti, Massimo!

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/13/us-apple-italy-tax-idUSBRE9AC0RW20131113

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:03 PM

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/index.html

September 17, 2013

Median real incomes for those 25 years old and over from 1992 to 2012 increased from $50,667 to $52,119. *

Median real incomes for those with bachelor's degrees or more from 1992 to 2012 declined from $86,458 to $86,419.

* Income in 2012 dollars

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:03 PM

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/index.html

September 17, 2013

Median real incomes for those 25 years old and over from 2000 to 2012 declined from $57,707 to $52,119. *

Median real incomes for those with bachelor's degrees or more from 2000 to 2012 declined from $95,789 to $86,419.

* Income in 2012 dollars

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:05 PM

http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab4.htm

January 4, 2013

Employment-Population Ratio, Bachelor's Degree and Higher, 2000-2013

2000 ( 78.1) *
2001 ( 77.1) Bush
2002 ( 76.3)
2003 ( 75.8)
2004 ( 75.8)

2005 ( 76.1)
2006 ( 76.3)
2007 ( 76.3)
2008 ( 75.8)
2009 ( 73.9) Obama

2010 ( 73.1)
2011 ( 73.1)
2012 ( 72.9)

October

2013 ( 72.2)

* Employment age 25 and over

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:16 PM

"The standard analysis of the interplay between technology and education, developed by economists like Lawrence Katz and Claudia Goldin..., and David Autor..., suggests that improvements in technology -- coupled with a college graduation rate that slowed sharply in the 1980s -- have been principal drivers of the nation's widening income gap, leaving workers with less education behind...."

-- Eduardo Porter

I do not understand this assertion, since what is remarkable about the United States is that the portion of men and women 25 to 34 and 55 to 64 with college degrees is just about the same.

July, 2013

College or university degree attainment by age group, 2011

( Percent of population 25-34 and 55-64)

OECD average ( 39) ( 24)

United States ( 43) ( 41)

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:17 PM

"The standard analysis of the interplay between technology and education, developed by economists like Lawrence Katz and Claudia Goldin..., and David Autor..., suggests that improvements in technology -- coupled with a college graduation rate that slowed sharply in the 1980s -- have been principal drivers of the nation's widening income gap, leaving workers with less education behind...."

-- Eduardo Porter

I do not understand this assertion, since what is remarkable about the United States is that the portion of men and women 25 to 34 and 55 to 64 with college degrees is just about the same.

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:17 PM

http://www.oecd.org/edu/educationataglance2013-indicatorsandannexes.htm

July, 2013

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Education Data

College or university degree attainment by age group, 2011

( Percent of population 25-34 and 55-64)

OECD average ( 39) ( 24)

United States ( 43) ( 41)

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:23 PM

http://g-mond.parisschoolofeconomics.eu/topincomes/

September, 2013

Top .1 Percent Income Share in the United States, 1980-2012

(Including capital gains)

1980 ( 3.41)
1981 ( 3.57) Reagan
1982 ( 4.18)
1983 ( 4.62)
1984 ( 4.98)

1985 ( 5.32)
1986 ( 7.40)
1987 ( 4.90)
1988 ( 6.80)
1989 ( 6.00) Bush

1990 ( 5.82)
1991 ( 5.12)
1992 ( 6.03)
1993 ( 5.73) Clinton
1994 ( 5.70)

1995 ( 6.21)
1996 ( 7.24)
1997 ( 8.18)
1998 ( 9.00)
1999 ( 9.62)

2000 ( 10.88)
2001 ( 8.37) Bush
2002 ( 7.34)
2003 ( 7.87)
2004 ( 9.46)

2005 ( 10.98)
2006 ( 11.59)
2007 ( 12.28) (High)
2008 ( 10.40)
2009 ( 8.30) Obama

2010 ( 9.66)
2011 ( 9.27)
2012 ( 11.33)

-- Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:23 PM

September, 2013

Top .1 Percent Income Share in the United States, 1980-2012

(Including capital gains)

1980 ( 3.41)
1981 ( 3.57) Reagan
1982 ( 4.18)
1983 ( 4.62)
1984 ( 4.98)

1985 ( 5.32)
1986 ( 7.40)
1987 ( 4.90)
1988 ( 6.80)
1989 ( 6.00) Bush

1990 ( 5.82)
1991 ( 5.12)
1992 ( 6.03)
1993 ( 5.73) Clinton
1994 ( 5.70)

1995 ( 6.21)
1996 ( 7.24)
1997 ( 8.18)
1998 ( 9.00)
1999 ( 9.62)

2000 ( 10.88)
2001 ( 8.37) Bush
2002 ( 7.34)
2003 ( 7.87)
2004 ( 9.46)

2005 ( 10.98)
2006 ( 11.59)
2007 ( 12.28) (High)
2008 ( 10.40)
2009 ( 8.30) Obama

2010 ( 9.66)
2011 ( 9.27)
2012 ( 11.33)

-- Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez

anne -> anne... , November 13, 2013 at 04:27 PM

What is importance to notice about increasing income concentration is how much of an increase there has been above the top 1% of families. we find the share of income for the top .1% of families going from 3.41% to 11.33% between 1980 and 2012 for an astonishing gain.

anne -> anne... , November 13, 2013 at 04:29 PM

We find the share of income for the top .01% of families going from 1.28% to 5.47% between 1980 and 2012 for an even more astonishing gain.

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:24 PM

September, 2013

Top 1 Percent Income Share in the United States, 1980-2012

(Including capital gains)

1980 ( 10.02)
1981 ( 10.02) Reagan
1982 ( 10.80)
1983 ( 11.56)
1984 ( 11.99)

1985 ( 12.67)
1986 ( 15.92)
1987 ( 12.66)
1988 ( 15.49)
1989 ( 14.49) Bush

1990 ( 14.33)
1991 ( 13.36)
1992 ( 14.67)
1993 ( 14.24) Clinton
1994 ( 14.23)

1995 ( 15.23)
1996 ( 16.69)
1997 ( 18.02)
1998 ( 19.09)
1999 ( 20.04)

2000 ( 21.52)
2001 ( 18.22) Bush
2002 ( 16.86)
2003 ( 17.53)
2004 ( 19.75)

2005 ( 21.92)
2006 ( 22.82)
2007 ( 23.50)
2008 ( 20.95)
2009 ( 18.12) Obama

2010 ( 19.86)
2011 ( 19.65)
2012 ( 22.46)

-- Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez

mrrunangun , November 13, 2013 at 05:51 PM

Corruption of government at all levels produced a class of plutocratic rent holders in finance and other industries able to buy rents. Citi and Solyndra being outstanding examples on the D side and ADM and the oil companies on the R side.

Abysmal social and economic conditions in African American urban ghettos. These conditions contribute much to the poor conditions in the schools that serve that population. The kids who attend school in these neighborhoods are really up against it. Social arrangements that sort the educated upper middle class into "their"towns by residential pricing and development patterns tend to limit highly advantageous educational opportunities to their children. In the big cities the upper middle class either uses influence to obtain places for their children in desirable public schools or use private schools.

Pressure on wages and employment opportunities for people with low educational attainment due to the development of more efficient production technologies and low wage competition in the global trading system.

Forgive my skepticism that a few billion more federal dollars of stimulus will correct these problems.

anne -> mrrunangun... , November 13, 2013 at 06:49 PM

http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p60-245.pdf

September 17, 2013

Household Median Income by Selected Ethnicity: 2012

Combined ( 51,017) *

Race and Hispanic Origin of Householder

Asian ( 68,636)

White, not Hispanic ( 57,009)

White ( 53,706)

Hispanic, any ethnicity ( 39,005)

Black ( 33,321)

* Income in 2012 dollars

Matt Young , November 13, 2013 at 07:06 PM

http://capoliticalnews.com/2013/11/12/jerry-brown-claims-californias-attractive-poverty-is-why-state-in-depression/

Jerry Brown and California's "Attractive" Poverty

Gov. Jerry Brown, whose pronouncements of California's economic recovery have been criticized by Republicans who point out the state's high poverty rate, said in a radio interview Wednesday that poverty and the large number of people looking for work are "really the flip side of California's incredible attractiveness and prosperity."

The Democratic governor's remarks aired the same day the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 23.8 percent of Californians live in poverty under an alternative calculation that includes the cost of living.

Asked on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" about two negative indicators -- the state's nation-high poverty rate and the large number of Californians who are unemployed or marginally employed and looking for work -- Brown said, "Well, that's true, because California is a magnet.

"People come here from all over in the world, close by from Mexico and Central America and farther out from Asia and the Middle East. So, California beckons, and people come. And then, of course, a lot of people who arrive are not that skilled, and they take lower paying jobs. And that reflects itself in the economic distribution."

----------------


Hmmm. So my claim that the bankruptcy of America is caused by a negative growth black hole in Sacramento was just admitted as true by the Guv of California. Where is my banana?

Gary Rondeau , November 13, 2013 at 08:48 PM

Growing inequality is built into capitalism. There doesn't have to be evil intent, just complacency to do anything about it.


http://squashpractice.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/wealth-and-inequality-pareto-gini-and-contingency/

[Feb 10, 2021] Neoliberals are Enemies of the Poor by Paul Krugman

Jan 13, 2014 | economistsview.typepad.com

Will Republicans ever care about the poor?:

Enemies of the Poor, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times : Suddenly it's O.K., even mandatory, for politicians with national ambitions to talk about helping the poor. This is easy for Democrats, who can go back to being the party of F.D.R. and L.B.J. It's much more difficult for Republicans, who are having a hard time shaking their reputation for reverse Robin-Hoodism, for being the party that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.
And the reason that reputation is so hard to shake is that it's justified. It's not much of an exaggeration to say that right now Republicans are doing all they can to hurt the poor, and they would have inflicted vast additional harm if they had won the 2012 election. Moreover, G.O.P. harshness toward the less fortunate isn't just a matter of spite...; it's deeply rooted in the party's ideology...
Let's start with the recent Republican track record.
The most important current policy development in America is the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare. Most Republican-controlled states are, however, refusing to implement a key part of the act, the expansion of Medicaid, thereby denying health coverage to almost five million low-income Americans. And the amazing thing is that ... the aid through would cost almost nothing; nearly all the costs ... would be paid by Washington.
Meanwhile, those Republican-controlled states are slashing unemployment benefits, education financing and more. As I said, it's not much of an exaggeration to say that the G.O.P. is hurting the poor as much as it can.
What would Republicans have done if they had won the White House in 2012? Much more of the same. Bear in mind that every budget the G.O.P. has offered since it took over the House in 2010 involves savage cuts in Medicaid, food stamps and other antipoverty programs. ...
The point is that a party committed to small government and low taxes on the rich is, more or less necessarily, a party committed to hurting, not helping, the poor. ...
Republicans weren't always like this. In fact, all of our major antipoverty programs -- Medicaid, food stamps, the earned-income tax credit -- used to have bipartisan support. And maybe someday moderation will return to the G.O.P.
For now, however, Republicans are in a deep sense enemies of America's poor. And that will remain true no matter how hard the likes of Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio try to convince us otherwise.

Posted by Mark Thoma on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 12:33 AM in Economics , Politics , Social Insurance | Permalink Comments (69)


elvis , January 12, 2014 at 10:26 PM

GOP = Get Out, Poor!

pgl , January 13, 2014 at 01:42 AM

"We're Broke" is the mantra of the GOP. Yes, the nation with the highest GDP in absolute terms and a very high per capita level of income is "broke". You see this nonsense from Republican leaders at the beginning of a film called "We're Not Broke" which is devoted to the GOP push to have even less taxes on their base - the ultrarich.

ilsm -> pgl... , January 13, 2014 at 01:59 PM

US can afford to spend 4 times the part of GDP that Japan and German spend on warmaking. And a similar amount on crony capital.

US can afford new ships that will not be equipped, star wars missiles that can hit nothing, and a $1500B fighter program which is failing its tests many of which cannot be performed because the thing is unreliable.

Afford to strike Iran...............

bakho , January 13, 2014 at 04:18 AM

Republicans are out of touch. The MinWage is so far below Living Wage that the taxpayers have to subsidize MinWage workers so they can have enough to eat. This is wrong. The system and the employers are exploiting their labor.

Medicaid and Obamacare are a subsidy to the poor workers who can't afford the costs of health care and don't have it provided by employers. A workforce that is not healthy is bad for business: more missed workdays, lower productivity, higher turnover, etc. The single minded focus on cutting social spending is completely wrong.

The question that is not asked: "What services do people need to be functional in our modern economy? What mix of employer benefits, government benefits and wage contribution are required to deliver the services?" For many people, wages are too low to pay for the minimum basic goods and services. How do we make up the difference? Or do we have people do without and erode the health and potential economic output? Republicans have a short sighted focus on cutting spending and investment in the short run and are not considering the long run.

Beezer , January 13, 2014 at 05:55 AM

I don't have the source, but I believe our net worth, nationally, is just north of $74 trillion. And we added more than $1.3 trillion to that amount the past 12 months. This is the figure that deals in assets we know about. Given the loopholes in our tax code that allow the super rich to essentially hide much of their income, here and overseas, that net worth figure is certainly below the real number.

So the statement 'we're broke' borders on the ridiculous. Our cash flow statement is less impressive, but certainly far above adequate. Even here, this is a choice. We could easily return to balance (although that's historically been a very bad idea) just by fixing our tax code so it become more progressive. Today's tax code over taxes the middle class in order to fund tax breaks for the super rich.

EMichael -> Beezer... , January 13, 2014 at 06:02 AM

Yep. The progressiveness of the tax code stops in its track at about the Top 2%. Right about the spot where hiding income becomes easy and makes economic sense.

Someday we will figure out how much income never hits tax returns.

Perspective -> EMichael... , January 13, 2014 at 10:05 AM

It is not possible to hide W2 income (income earned from an employer), so I'm guessing you're talking about other sources of income and wealth.

EMichael -> Perspective... , January 14, 2014 at 06:14 AM

Really?

IRAs?
HSAs?
Employer paid health insurance?

My wife and I had over $30,000 of such income last year. Guaranteed the vast majority of the Top 10% had similar amounts.

However, I really was not talking about W2 income, but rather things like Romney's $20 million IRA. Or hedge fund managers keeping earnings offshore to avoid any taxes (even the reduced scam they receive) and living by borrowing against their offshore holdings at ludicrously low interest rates.

Course, it the case of Romney I repeat myself.

DrDick -> Beezer... , January 13, 2014 at 07:33 AM

Actually, most of us are broke. Almost all of those gains have gone to the top 1% (actually the top 0.01% seized much of that).

DeDude , January 13, 2014 at 06:19 AM

How exactly did we go from a war on poverty to a war on the poor.

Darryl FKA Ron -> DeDude... , January 13, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Maybe it was collateral damage since they live in the same neighborhoods? Probably though it was being fought as a limited war and then there was mission creep.

An all out war on poverty would have transformed the economic battlefield in ways that very few actually wanted.

anne , January 13, 2014 at 06:32 AM

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/13/youre-all-losers/

January 13, 2014

You're All Losers
By Paul Krugman

The other day someone -- I don't remember who or where -- asked an interesting question: when did it become so common to disparage anyone who hasn't made it big, hasn't gotten rich, as a "loser"? Well, that's actually a question we can answer, using Google Ngrams, which track the frequency with which words or phrases are used in books:

[Graph]

Sure enough, the term "losers" has become much more common since the 1960s. And I think this word usage reflects something real -- a growing contempt for the little people.

This contempt surely isn't limited to Republican politicians. Still, it's striking how unable they are to show any empathy for people who are just doing their best to make a modest living. The most famous example, of course, is Mitt Romney, who didn't just disparage 47 percent of the nation; he urged everyone to borrow money from their parents and start a business. I still think the most revealing example to date was Eric Cantor, who marked Labor Day by tweeting:

"Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success."

But Marco Rubio's latest speech deserves at least honorable mention, for the airy way he dismissed the idea of raising the minimum wage: "Raising the minimum wage may poll well, but having a job that pays $10 an hour is not the American dream."

In a sense, he's right: if the American dream means getting rich, then $10 an hour isn't living that dream. But most people aren't and won't get rich. Raising the minimum wage would mean higher incomes for around 27 million people; in many cases the gains would amount to thousands of dollars a year, which is really a lot in low-income families. So what are all these people, chopped liver? Well, yes, at least in the eyes of the GOP -- or maybe make that chopped losers.

OK, I know what the answer will be: conservative policies will lead to economic growth, and that will raise all boats, the way it did in the days of Saint Ronald. Except, you know, it didn't. Here's the real wage of nonsupervisory workers:

[Real wage of production and nonsupervisory workers * ]

Even if you give Reagan credit for the 1982-9 business cycle expansion, which you shouldn't, there's no way to claim that his policies led to higher wages for ordinary workers.

So what is the GOP agenda to help people who aren't going to build businesses and get rich? There isn't one -- partly because they really can't reconcile any real agenda with their overall ideology, but also because, deep in their hearts, they consider ordinary people trying hard to get by a bunch of losers.

* http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=q8T

Julio -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 08:41 AM

"Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success."

Correcting:

"Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned someone else's success."

ilsm -> Julio ... , January 13, 2014 at 02:04 PM

"Today, we celebrate those who have made a bet, exploited others' hard work, built a monoploy and earned someone else's sweat."

That the franchisee can have his employees fed and cared for by the commonwealth is further plundering.

bakho -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 08:57 AM

The agenda is to further the special interests of the wealthy. They are not interested in economics for the masses.

anne -> O.D.K.... , January 13, 2014 at 07:27 AM

Entitlement expansion. See Detroit and Scranton. Coming soon to Chicago.

[ The term "entitlement" is used when a writer wishes to hide the fact the what is being talked about is Social Security or Medicare or a pension program that a worker has contributed to for years and years.

As for the supporting of pension funds, all that has to be understood is how terrific stock and bond markets returns have been these last 30 and more years. Any pension fund manager who simply bought a mix of stock and bond market indexes would have done splendidly for workers and there would be no possible problem now. ]

anne -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 07:32 AM

A portfolio 50-50 mix of American stock and bond market indexes since 1975 through 2013 would have yielded a yearly return over 9.5%.

https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/snapshot?FundId=0040&FundIntExt=INT#hist%3A%3Atab=1&tab=1

Vanguard 500 Stock Index Fund

Average annual returns as of 12/31/2013

08/31/1976 ( 11.04)

Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Bond Fund

Average annual returns as of 12/31/2013

07/09/1973 ( 8.46)

david -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 07:53 AM

The problem has not typically been fund returns. It has been underfunding of the programs by employers, on the assumption that magic market alpha will make up the difference (well, that's the happy spin on it, the truth is most of the funders didn't much care if the difference was made up or not so long as they got theirs.)

The focus on pension fund investing strategies is an important one, but kept distinct from funding levels and political battles it's almost meaningless.

EMichael -> david... , January 13, 2014 at 08:18 AM

Exactly.

Compound interest is a bitch.

Same game played by the auto companies for decades and decades. By the same people.

anne -> david... , January 13, 2014 at 08:46 AM

This needs to be explained, keeping here to employer contributions by government employers.

As to the mention of auto companies and pension contributions, there you have a problem in which employers can estimate a pension fund investment return and contribute according to the estimate so that a higher estimate will mean lower levels of contributions from employers for a time. Nonetheless, ordinary investment returns over long periods of time should have left no pension problem for workers.

Beezer -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 09:10 AM

Once executives realized the raises they could gain by taking deferred comp. in stock, or even in guaranteed return special accounts (Jack Welch at GE-14% annual), corporations couldn't afford much of anything else. Today CEOs make 290 times the average pay of their employees compensation, so in order to cover those outsized gains and still report good profits, companies need to trim budgets anywhere and everywhere. Stable, defined benefit plans, paid for in addition to wages, got tossed and replaced by contribution plans funded by employees themselves.

For more than 35 years in America it's been a time to strip corporate assets and pick the pockets of employees and shareholders in order to pay executives their gargantuan compensation packages.

Thanks to our rigged tax code, ripping off the middle class has become a full time project of the super rich and their paid help in Congress and academia.

david -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Same thing happened in the public as in the private sector funds. Look at Illinois or New Jersey or Detroit. Economic miracles or budget crises lead to underfunding, rolling the dice on investments, and appetites for silver bullet alternative investments that help explain the massive shift to PE and HF despite their fee structures (and can lead to alternatives managers the profits they took off the funds to help subvert the DB system). The push to alpha helps create instability and predation in the markets, goes the theory. But in any case, underfunding by the public sector leads to blame-shifting onto "those workers making bad investments" and leads to pernicious politics around retirement security.

anne -> david... , January 13, 2014 at 11:52 AM

PE = private equity
HF = hedge fund

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_(investment)

Alpha is a risk-adjusted measure of the so-called active return on an investment.

"The push to alpha helps create instability and predation in the markets, goes the theory...."

Meaning there is a push by employers or pension fund managers to take more risks for hopefully higher returns.

DeDude -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Unfortunately the employers (including and perhaps worst public employers) used the upturns in the market as opportunities to reduce what they paid into the funds (as a way to fund tax cuts and get re-elected). Then after severe downturns in the market rather than increase the funding for pensions they argue to take away earned pensions from the workers (or leave the mess to be fixed by federal government).

anne -> DeDude... , January 13, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Nice set of explanations, which leads me to think in the case of public workers in unions there should be a yearly accounting by the union of employer pension contributions along with an allowing for quick contract redress should employer contributions fall short for a given length of time.

James -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 12:37 PM

DeDude is not entirely correct. In the following example, the problem was powerful predators, fraud, and corruption, as there was plenty of money, and plenty of foresight.

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/parskys-party/Content?oid=1083283

Where was Union oversight in this fiasco? Or better yet, fiscal accountability on the part of the Regents for wrongful termination, theft, breach of fiduciary duty? I don't see much hope, because social memory is short, human nature is flawed, and dynastic wealth in the hands of sociopaths seeks to defend its economic position until the population rises up in revolt. Wash, rinse, repeat.

mrrunangun -> James ... , January 13, 2014 at 07:53 PM

In Illinois, public employee union leaders were probably paid off to keep silent about pension underfunding. A couple of union leaders benefited from special legislation that awarded them a nice pension for one day of substitute teaching. The special pension was in a well funded plan, not the state teachers' plan. The legislation doesn't spell out the quid pro quo, but experienced observers connect dots like these. The legislature takes care of public union officials who take care of them.

DrDick -> O.D.K.... , January 13, 2014 at 07:36 AM

Tax cuts for the wealthy, see the entire country. The problem is not excessive spending, but inadequate revenues. The latter as a consequence of unnecessary and destructive tax cuts for the rich. We already had the lowest effective tax rate on the wealthy in the developed world before that.

bakho -> O.D.K.... , January 13, 2014 at 08:58 AM

Not entitlement
Decision was to raise the obligations to the wealthy above the obligations to the workers.

Darryl FKA Ron , January 13, 2014 at 07:31 AM

"...The most important current policy development in America is the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare. Most Republican-controlled states are, however, refusing to implement a key part of the act, the expansion of Medicaid, thereby denying health coverage to almost five million low-income Americans..."

[That is sad on two levels. First it is sad that "The most important current policy development in America is the rollout of the Affordable Care Act" instead of robust policies for creating job and wage growth. Second then of course it is sad "Most Republican-controlled states are.. refusing to implement ... the expansion of Medicaid... denying health coverage to almost five million low-income Americans."

And by sad I mean a sad sorry state of affairs that should have a big effect on the mid-term elections if we get off our duffs and take this to the voting booths.]

EMichael , January 13, 2014 at 07:46 AM

One day someone will point out that the value of a municipal bond or a treasury bond is an "entitlement", just like the value of a pension, SS or Medicare is an "entitlement".


But not today.

Julio -> EMichael... , January 13, 2014 at 08:43 AM

Excellent.

Beezer -> EMichael... , January 13, 2014 at 09:13 AM

The coupon clipping class needs constant feeding. And the super rich coupon clippers need a deep pool of poor people to maintain their comfort. So simple, really.

Perspective -> EMichael... , January 13, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Wow, a post from EMichael I can support...

Matt Young -> EMichael... , January 13, 2014 at 08:52 PM

That has been pointed out many times in the book, This Time is Different where we see defaults on both entitlements. In fact, one of the biggest topics of the post crash era has been when the usa would default in its bond entitlements.

Eric377 -> EMichael... , January 16, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Not too accurate. Bonds and pensions are contracts and sort of can be thought of as entitlements since your benefits can be enforced in court. You are entitled to whatever your counterparty agreed to (so long as you did your part and your counterparty is solvent). SS and Medicare are not contracts. Treasury could have twice the funds needed to pay for SS forever and Congress could decide tomorrow to cut benefits 80%. Same with Medicare. The two programs on your list that people are probably most likely to think of as entitlements are probably the least like entitlements. Your counterparty can change the rules on you tomorrow.

Darryl FKA Ron , January 13, 2014 at 07:53 AM

Will Republicans ever care about the poor?:

[Krugman answers:]

"...The answer, I'm sorry to say, is almost surely no.

First of all, they're deeply committed to the view that efforts to aid the poor are actually perpetuating poverty, by reducing incentives to work..."


"...But our patchwork, uncoordinated system of antipoverty programs does have the effect of penalizing efforts by lower-income households to improve their position: the more they earn, the fewer benefits they can collect. In effect, these households face very high marginal tax rates. A large fraction, in some cases 80 cents or more, of each additional dollar they earn is clawed back by the government..."

"...we could reduce the rate at which benefits phase out..."

[Then Krugman slips away from reality to embrace center aisle politics.}

"...Will this ever change? Well, Republicans weren't always like this. In fact, all of our major antipoverty programs -- Medicaid, food stamps, the earned-income tax credit -- used to have bipartisan support. And maybe someday moderation will return to the G.O.P..."

{Yeah those were the good old days leading up to financialization for M&A anticompetitive consolidation of labor market arbitrage, globalization of wages backed by the abitrage of the exorbitant privilege of US dollar foreign reserves against rising trade deficits, stagnant wages from both consolidation and globalization, and a rising share of capital devouted to speculation on equities and derivatives (e.g, commodity futures bets ARE derivative contracts). Three cheers for center aisle politics. ]

Darryl FKA Ron -> Darryl FKA Ron... , January 13, 2014 at 07:55 AM

"devouted to speculation"

[Was that a spelling error or devine inspiration?]

Julio -> Darryl FKA Ron... , January 13, 2014 at 08:47 AM

"40 million refugees with no place on this earth to call their home
One for every aimless graduate with nothing else to show for it but loans
And those of us who make a mark using someone else's blood
Our western stain won't wash away, won't vanish in the flood
It sets deeper with each hurricane and tidal wave and war:
We want everything we see and once it's gone we just want more."

Kevin Devine

Darryl FKA Ron -> Julio ... , January 13, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Young men without jobs living in the nation with the world's most powerful millitary establishment will not make the world a better place to live for anyone. Might not even make it a place to live.

anne -> Julio ... , January 13, 2014 at 02:32 PM

http://lyrics.wikia.com/Kevin_Devine:Refugees

Kevin Devine – Refugees

anne -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 02:38 PM

From -

Put Your Ghost to Rest:

The Burning City Smoking

2006

Antiderivative , January 13, 2014 at 08:16 AM

"Republicans weren't always like this. In fact, all of our major antipoverty programs -- Medicaid, food stamps, the earned-income tax credit -- used to have bipartisan support."

I agree and disagree to a point. While the Republican party used to be more moderate, as a whole, in the past, there was always a conservative wing in the GOP that opposed these programs.

For example, in 1961, Reagan gave his famous speech on Medicare - declaring that it would be the end of America as we know it. One day we would be telling stories to our grandchildren how America used to be the home to free men.

There has always been in element in the GOP to attack safety nets to the point of hysterical and absurd arguments. Over the years, the conservative wing has grew and become more vocal.

One of the main differences between liberals and conservatives, is that liberals see our weak labor markets, poverty, eroding mobility, and increased economic inequality as a market failure. Conservatives view it as a moral failure.

EMichael -> Antiderivative... , January 14, 2014 at 06:23 AM

The Birchers. Now the Tea Party.

Peter K. , January 13, 2014 at 08:33 AM

It seems to me that the somewhat controversial programs of Obamacare and the Federal Reserve's policies of forward guidance and QE have helped the poor. If Republicans had successfully blocked them, things would be worse. It's difficult to defend these programs against critics on the left and right because of the inherent difficulty in defending public policies given the evidence. It isn't as clear cut as one would like.

Likewise there are the Republicans' austerity policies like the sequester which Obama went along with.

kthomas -> Peter K.... , January 13, 2014 at 08:42 AM

"They both do it!" bs

Peter K. -> kthomas... , January 13, 2014 at 09:50 AM

Maybe I wasn't clear. I think Obamacare and the Fed have helped. I believe fiscal austerity has hurt. A number of smart people agree with these assessments.

kthomas -> Peter K.... , January 13, 2014 at 10:40 AM

much clearer, sir, thank you.

Lafayette , January 13, 2014 at 04:48 PM

INCOME FAIRNESS

First LBJ then Feckless Ronnie, by means of their tax policy to reduce rates at higher levels, visited the present consequences upon the American poor. (See info-graphic here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/97/Historical_Mariginal_Tax_Rate_for_Highest_and_Lowest_Income_Earners.jpg )

Meaning that reduced income taxation means lower overall government revenues, which means reduced means to aid the poor by, for instance, adequate HealthCare or the subsidized housing or paying for postsecondary education that will give them the means to obtain well-paying jobs.

This sad fact is even more difficult to swallow given that DoD-expenditures have doubled in the 40 year period ending in 2012. See info-graphic here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/files/2013/01/defensechart.jpg . Do we really need all that spending to provide a defense of the nation now that the Cold War (extant in the 1960s) is over?

The plutocrats erected a statue to Ronnie for having reversed the good that FDR had wrought by increasing taxation upon them to levels of around 65%, that crept up inevitably to around 90%.

And, of course, the rich are still benefiting from the beneficial taxation (that peaks out at 30% in their level of income).

Are they paying their "fair share"? It depends upon how you pose the question. The CBO shows that the top 20% pay as much as 69% of all taxation revenues. See info-graphic here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2010_US_Tax_Liability_by_Income_Group_-_CBO.png

Yes, that's a lot of money they pay in taxes. But, given that their marginal rates do not exceed more than 30% of all revenues, then the answer seems to be "it's not enough". (See info-graphic here of top rates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:U.S._Federal_Income_Tax_Rates_2013.png )

Besides, if the generally recognized Gini Coefficient depicts Income Disparity across all levels of income, then the US is shown to be the developed country with the worst Income Fairness of any on earth. (See info-graphic here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gini_since_WWII.svg )

MY POINT?

Which means, according to the World Top Incomes Database developed by the Paris School of Economics? the following: 10% of American households garner about 52% of ALL HOUSEHOLD INCOME whilst the rest of us 90Percenters scramble after the remaining 48%.

Does that seem fair to you ... ?

Matt Young -> Lafayette ... , January 13, 2014 at 08:56 PM

No, the history says that reducing taxes on the rich allows you to borrow and spend, laying the cost on the middle class. Note, Clinton's tax hike came with budget cuts. Our 2013 tax hike, though meager, results in sequestering.

The problem here is dumbass economists too stupid to come up with any theory of government that explains supply and demand for government services. So dumbass economists resort to name calling, blaming their own failure of analysis on the other side. Political scientists are much worse, all they do is name calling.

Lafayette -> Matt Young... , January 14, 2014 at 04:40 AM

SERFDOM

{No, the history says that reducing taxes on the rich allows you to borrow and spend, laying the cost on the middle class.}

Can't imagine where you've concocted this notion from my reply. I posited the premise of increasing taxes upon our upper-class financial nobility who have reduced 15% of our people to poverty and serfdom.

{Note, Clinton's tax hike came with budget cuts. Our 2013 tax hike, though meager, results in sequestering.}

Historical fact of no consequence whatsoever.

The point about raising taxes on the rich is not just about reducing their far to easily-gained Net Worth. It is to teach that class a lesson about return-on-investment. For the moment, a level of taxation at only 30% allows them to accumulate vast Net Worth, which is simply reinvested in interest-bearing accounts for the most part.

Increasing taxation on interest-bearing accounts would induce them to place their savings in more economy-friendly investments that create jobs. The revenues would also help reduce deficits and improve government financing of society-friendly policies like a Universal Public HealthCare Option and Tertiary Education for those who cannot afford it.

These are both common policy rudiments of any modern society in this day and age. Except the US, of course ...

Lafayette -> Lafayette ... , January 14, 2014 at 05:57 AM

Moreover, the key point about taxation is this: Whilst an economy should reward risk-taking, there is no need whatsoever for the pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow to be unlimited and growing by leaps and bounds because it is too lowly taxed.

Especially not when 15% of fellow Americans are incarcerated below the Poverty Threshold. That economic fact is unacceptable. And it did not occur because "people are either too stupid or too lazy".

It occurred because of an inept policy as regards both educational level and our inability to prevent unskilled work from dislocation abroad.

mrrunangun , January 13, 2014 at 06:12 PM

The Republicans never did care about the poor and are not about to start. The question that bothers me is when the Democrats will resume working on behalf of the poor.

Lafayette -> mrrunangun... , January 14, 2014 at 06:04 AM

{The question that bothers me is when the Democrats will resume working on behalf of the poor.}

Musing about whether that will or will not happen in a blog will certainly not assist in bringing it about.

Only hard work militating for such an outcome will obtain the necessary results. Which can only happen if more progressives are voted into the HofR. And it will take a good ten years of well-considered legislation to right all the wrong that has occurred since the last War on Poverty in the 1960s.

We are running presently on borrowed time ...

[Feb 03, 2021] Another aspect of neoliberalization of academia -- academic precariat

In neoliberalized universities there are too many PhD degree holders. It is a conveyer to produce them. .And too few real scientists...
Notable quotes:
"... The previous generation of university educators didn't retire on schedule (I can't really blame them, tenure and ridiculously light teaching loads) and that, coupled with the rise of adjuncts and funding siphoned off for administrators, changed the nature of academia and the number of available jobs. ..."
"... I'm sorry for Herring, but she really should have anticipated what happened. I've read probably a dozen articles and essays repeating her exact experience, and none of them less that 15 years old. ..."
Feb 03, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Groves of Academe

"Why I Am Leaving Academia" [ Well-Read Herring ].

"Today, almost a year after I officially became Dr. Herring, I resigned from my postdoc at Ghent University. There are several reasons that motivated this decision but the main one is that I no longer enjoy the work enough to justify how demanding it is .

As I neared the end of my PhD, I worried about my future. It is hard to explain to those who are not in academia just how bad things are for those who are starting out. Say the words "job market" within earshot of a junior researcher and watch fatalistic dread cloud their face.

I was relatively lucky because I secured a research job straight out of my PhD. But despite being somewhat cushy, my position was still fixed-term. To hope to one day obtain an elusive permanent contract, I had to accept that my current job would most likely be the first in a series of short-term contracts in various distant locations.

To succeed in academia, I would have to make a number of sacrifices. The simple truth is that I am no longer willing to make these sacrifices. A great deal of enthusiasm is needed to survive early career academia with its endless applications, rejections and precarity. Sadly, this enthusiasm is too often exploited. For instance, academics are not paid to publish their research in journals. To guarantee the quality of the research being published in these journals, they review the findings of other researchers, also for free.

But journal publishers tend to charge thousands in yearly subscription fees to university libraries. Increasingly, higher education staff suffer casualisation and unreasonable workloads, and the pandemic (or rather, the ways in which governments and university high-ups are dealing with the pandemic) is making things worse.

I do not mean to discourage anyone who is currently working in academia or who might be considering it as a profession. The enthusiasm and persistence of researchers is admirable and important. Their work should be celebrated and their enthusiasm should be nourished rather than exploited. I am proud of my friends who have managed to make things work despite all these obstacles. For my part, I have come to terms with the fact that academia is not for me."

Nakatomi Plaza , February 2, 2021 at 5:57 pm

Regarding "Why I Am Leaving Academia," this has been true for a long time now, maybe twenty years or so.

The previous generation of university educators didn't retire on schedule (I can't really blame them, tenure and ridiculously light teaching loads) and that, coupled with the rise of adjuncts and funding siphoned off for administrators, changed the nature of academia and the number of available jobs.

How did the author not know this?

I was halfway through my MA when I understood that a PhD would likely end in economic and professional disaster, so I gave up my dream (or more accurately, woke up).

I'm sorry for Herring, but she really should have anticipated what happened. I've read probably a dozen articles and essays repeating her exact experience, and none of them less that 15 years old.

[Feb 03, 2021] FTC says Amazon took away $62 million in tips from drivers

Feb 03, 2021 | abcnews.go.com

"The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday that for more than two years, Amazon didn't pass on tips to drivers, even though it promised shoppers and drivers it would do so.

The FTC said Amazon didn't stop taking the money until 2019, when the company found out about the FTC's investigation . The drivers were part of Amazon's Flex business, which started in 2015 and allows people to pick up and deliver Amazon packages with their own cars. The drivers are independent workers, and are not Amazon employees.

The FTC said Amazon at first promised workers that they would be paid $18 to $25 per hour, and also said they would receive 100% of tips left to them by customers on the app .

But in 2016, the FTC said Amazon started paying drivers a lower hourly rate and used the tips to make up the difference. Amazon didn't disclose the change to drivers, the FTC said, and the tips it took from drivers amounted to $61.7 billion."

And a "team" at Amazon reprogrammed the app to steal tips. Managers, programmers, testers, documentation specialists, accountants, database wizards, etc. Nobody said a word. All corrupt to the bone. "Learn to code!"

[Feb 03, 2021] Biden DOJ Drops Yale Discrimination Suit After Trump DOJ Found Whites, Asians Treated Unfairly - ZeroHedge

Feb 03, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

After the Trump Justice Department sued Yale following the results of a 2-year Civil Rights investigation which found "long-standing and ongoing" race-based discrimination, the Biden DOJ just dismissed the case without explanation .

... ... ...

The Trump DOJ had argued that the Ivy League university had violated federal civil rights law for "at least 50 years," by favoring Black and Hispanic students over Whites and Asians, according to The Hill .

The legal battle represented one of the Trump administration's moves to challenge affirmative action programs aimed at increasing diversity on campus, which some conservatives consider unfair and illegal.

Yale, which staunchly defended its admission practices, praised the DOJ's decision to drop the case in a statement, saying it was "gratified" by the decision. - The Hill

"Our admissions process has allowed Yale College to assemble an unparalleled student body, which is distinguished by its academic excellence and diversity," argued the university. "Yale has steadfastly maintained that its process complies fully with Supreme Court precedent, and we are confident that the Justice Department will agree."

The Trump administration notably instituted several measures to prevent universities from considering race as a factor during admissions, even joining a similar lawsuit against Harvard University.

[Feb 02, 2021] We told the people who were already enjoying a prosperous situation that things would be much better for their children and that we would be able to solve the outstanding problems.

Notable quotes:
"... "We told the people who were already enjoying a prosperous situation that things would be much better for their children and that we would be able to solve the outstanding problems. [But the new situation] presents a much more difficult task to fulfill. Because from the moment there is no longer a constant surplus to be distributed, the question of distribution is appreciably more difficult to resolve." ..."
Feb 02, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Left in Wisconsin , January 29, 2021 at 4:03 pm

Highly recommend the Przeworski piece at Phenomenal World.

Most of it is reflections on/by 3 European leftist leaders from the 1970s-80s (German Prime Chancellor Willy Brandt, Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, and Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme) about how the oil shocks and associated economic changes of the era presented a challenge to social democrats – including ending the belief/fantasy that reformism could be system-changing – that they (we) were not then, and I would argue still are not, able to address.

Palme spells out the difficulty:

"We told the people who were already enjoying a prosperous situation that things would be much better for their children and that we would be able to solve the outstanding problems. [But the new situation] presents a much more difficult task to fulfill. Because from the moment there is no longer a constant surplus to be distributed, the question of distribution is appreciably more difficult to resolve."

Brand echoes these concerns, noting that it is essential to prevent inequality from increasing as growth resumes. Eighteen months later, during another in person meeting on 25 May 1975, Kreisky makes the fiscal constraint even more explicit:

"It is precisely now that reforms should be made. It is just a question which. If we strongly develop social policies, we will not be able to finance them."

Also included an amazing graph of declining electoral support for left/SD parties in Europe.

[Feb 02, 2021] The Toxic University -- Zombie Leadership, Academic Rock Stars and Neoliberal Ideology

Jan 27, 2021 | www.amazon.com

This book considers the detrimental changes that have occurred to the institution of the university, as a result of the withdrawal of state funding and the imposition of neoliberal market reforms on higher education. It argues that universities have lost their way, and are currently drowning in an impenetrable mush of economic babble, spurious spin-offs of zombie economics, management-speak and militaristic-corporate jargon. John Smyth provides a trenchant and excoriating analysis of how universities have enveloped themselves in synthetic and meaningless marketing hype, and explains what this has done to academic work and the culture of universities – specifically, how it has degraded higher education and exacerbated social inequalities among both staff and students. Finally, the book explores how we might commence a reclamation. It should be essential reading for students and researchers in the fields of education and sociology, and anyone interested in the current state of university management.

Quotes

If we are to unmask what is going on within and to universities, then we need to look forensically at the forces at work and the pathological and dysfunctional effects that are placing academic lives in such jeopardy -- hence my somewhat provocative-sounding title 'the toxic university 5 .

One of the most succinct explanations of what is animating me in writing this book was put by Lucal (2015) -- echoing arguably the most significant sociologist ever. Charles Wright Mills (1971 [1959]) in his The sociological imagination -- when she said: ...neoliberalism is a critical public issue influencing apparently private troubles of college [university] students and teachers, (p. 3)

... ... ...

Pathological Organizational Dysfunction

Just on 40 years ago, for all of my sins, I studied 'organizational theory and 'management behaviour' as part of my doctorate in educational administration. I cannot remember encountering the term, but in light of mv subsequent four decades of working in universities around the world, I think I have encountered a good deal of what 'pathological organisational dysfunction" (POD) means in practice. I regard it is an ensemble term for a range of practices that fall well within the ambit of the 'toxic university 5 . The short explanation is that what I am calling POD has become a syndrome within which the toxic university has become enveloped in its unquestioning embrace of the tenets of neoliberalism -- marketization, competition, audit culture, and metrification. In other words. POD has become a major emblematic ingredient of the toxic university, which as Ferrell (2011) points out looks fairly unproblematic on the surface:

Higher education on the corporate model imagines students as consumers, choosing between knowledge products and brands. It imagines itself liberating the university from the dictates of the state/tradition/aristocratic self-replication, and putting it in the hands of its democratic stakeholders. It therefore naturally subscribes to the general management principles and practices of global corporate culture. These principles -- transparency, accountability, efficiency -- are hard to argue with in principle.

(p. 166 emphasis in original)

What is not revealed in this glossy reading of neoliberalism is the way in which it does its work, or its effects, as Ferrell (2011) puts it in relation to universities, the way it has 'wrecked something worthwhile" (p. 181).

John Gatto. an award-winning teacher of the year in New York, comes closest to what I mean by POD in his description of'psychopathic 5 organizations. Gatto (2001) says that the term psychopathic, as applied to organizations, while it might conjure up lurid images of deranged people running amuck, really means something quite different; he invokes the term to refer to people 'without consciences' (p. 303). The way he put it is that:

4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for anyone working in a UK university today. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 30, 2019

Reviewers of this book seem to conflate the price of, and access to, this book in an ironic context. This isn't fair as this is very much a book written from a formal academic perspective. In that sense the book is probably priced reasonably.

However, as I don't work in this field I found that I had to read around some of the topics in order to get a deeper understanding of the issues raised by the book. So one thing I think that author could do is to almost re-write the book in a more "journalistic" sense and this would make it more accessible to a wider audience.

As it stands, however, this book is right on the money. Reading almost every page brought from me nods of agreement at familiar practices from university "leaders". This book is therefore absolutely correct in its findings and this then makes it profoundly depressing as the book describes, in my view, the dismantling of the university system as we know it. Every chapter details things I have witnessed or heard about from other universities. The "rock star" academics section, usually focusing on "dynamic" researchers, is the highlight as I know enough people who fit the descriptions given - people who would sell their mothers to get a grant or get slightly higher up the greasy pole.

The critique of university leadership, marketing functions and financial (mis)management are also spot-on.

Overall, get past the formal academic nature of this book (it is not a book designed for a wide audience, which is a pity) and it is excellent, timely and deeply depressing.

PHILIP TAYLOR 5.0 out of 5 stars

Forensic Analysis of The Toxic Neo-Liberal University Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 19, 2019

A brilliant exposition of the toxic neo-liberal University

[Feb 02, 2021] Corruption of IT education under neoliberalism: Schools teach to the test, depriving children of a rounded and useful education.

May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

DrMidnite , 10 Apr 2019 17:04

"Schools teach to the test, depriving children of a rounded and useful education."

Boy do they. I work in Business/IT training and as the years have rolled on I and every colleague I can think of have noticed more and more people coming to courses that they are unfit for. Not because they are stupid, but because they have been taught to be stupid.

So used to being taught to the test that they are afraid to ask questions. Increasingly I get asked "what's the right way to do...", usually referring to situation in which there is no right way...

I had the great pleasure of watching our new MD describe his first customer-facing project, which was a disaster, but they "learned" from it. I had to point out to him that I teach the two disciplines involved - businesss analysis and project management - and if he or his team had attended any of the courses - all of which are free to them - they would have learned about the issues they would face, because (astonishingly) they are well-known.

I fear that these incurious adult children are at the bottom of Brexit, Trump and many of the other ills that afflict us. Learning how to do things is difficult and sometimes boring.

Much better to wander in with zero idea of what has already been done and repeat the mistakes of the past. I see the future as a treadmill where the same mistakes are made repetitively and greeted with as much surprise as if they had never happened before.

We have always been at war with Eastasia...

[Feb 01, 2021] Many neoliberalized US universities and colleges are greedy and have become too dependent on international students and their superior fee-paying ability compared with domestic students to finance bloated administrative staff salaries

Covid-19 exposed some warts of neoliberalism in higher education... They want to keep those lucrative international students flooding in, after all.
Notable quotes:
"... We align our identities with our institutions and think in very a short-term, metric-based fashion, seeing "success" (for instance) in terms of student recruitment (tuition fees paid in). Moreover, we're encouraged above all to be global in outlook: we look forward to our perennially "busy" international conference seasons and we emphasize the global and the transnational over the merely local or national ..."
"... our identities as academics are unavoidably embedded in a form of neoliberal hyperglobalisation. We rely on unrestricted flows of (wealthy) bodies across borders. ..."
"... We see this form of globalisation, and the benefits that accrue to us and our institutions from it, as a form of moral necessity : something it isn't possible even to argue against in good faith. Hence our loud assent to principles like open borders and always-on mass migration. ..."
"... Our commitment to the global as a form of moral mission has left us completely unprepared for what's currently unfolding. We are utterly unused to considering the material constraints of the economy our livelihoods depend on; that globalisation might come back to bite us; that the very aircraft that carry us across the world to conference destinations and field work sites would one day turn off the spigot of endlessly mobile bodies our careers and identities depend on. ..."
"... In this respect, I think of this post over at Crooked Timber, where John Quiggin (an economist I have a great deal of respect for) simply cannot bring himself to confront the possibility that the open borders dream might be dead. ..."
"... But the fact that the "export education" model was a disastrous wrong turn will take much longer to be accepted, I think, because of the widespread commitment I've been talking about here to the principle of the global as a form of moral necessity. ..."
May 22, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Musicismath , April 6, 2020 at 1:04 pm

we've had a Minsky-like process operating on a society-wide basis: as daily risks have declined, most people have blinded themselves to what risk amounts to and where it might surface in particularly nasty forms. And the more affluent and educated classes, who disproportionately constitute our decision-makers, have generally been the most removed.

I see something very similar happening in academia. We align our identities with our institutions and think in very a short-term, metric-based fashion, seeing "success" (for instance) in terms of student recruitment (tuition fees paid in). Moreover, we're encouraged above all to be global in outlook: we look forward to our perennially "busy" international conference seasons and we emphasize the global and the transnational over the merely local or national (denigrated as narrow, provincial, and ideologically suspect).

We like to see ourselves as mobile subjects, bodies in constant motion, our minds Romantically untethered from the confines of any one nation state.

So our identities as academics are unavoidably embedded in a form of neoliberal hyperglobalisation. We rely on unrestricted flows of (wealthy) bodies across borders. Our institutions (or many of them) have become dependent on international students and their superior fee-paying ability compared with merely "domestic students."

We might agree in principle with ideas of a GND, say, or take an ecocritical approach to a novel or a play, but we're certainly not going to cut back on the number of international conferences we attend. Indeed, many of us go further.

We see this form of globalisation, and the benefits that accrue to us and our institutions from it, as a form of moral necessity : something it isn't possible even to argue against in good faith. Hence our loud assent to principles like open borders and always-on mass migration. We have to keep those lucrative international students flooding in, after all. (Not that we'd ever put it in terms as crassly material as that; after all, we don't work in university administration .)

Our commitment to the global as a form of moral mission has left us completely unprepared for what's currently unfolding. We are utterly unused to considering the material constraints of the economy our livelihoods depend on; that globalisation might come back to bite us; that the very aircraft that carry us across the world to conference destinations and field work sites would one day turn off the spigot of endlessly mobile bodies our careers and identities depend on.

Hence the reason why a lot of my colleagues are so lost right now. They're so used to living on a purely symbolic (or moral-symbolic) level that the materiality of this virus and its consequences seems like a crude insult. Many stubbornly hold on to their old commitments, unwilling to admit that the world might have changed.

In this respect, I think of this post over at Crooked Timber, where John Quiggin (an economist I have a great deal of respect for) simply cannot bring himself to confront the possibility that the open borders dream might be dead.

Where we go from here, I have no idea. But the fact that international and Erasmus students might be gone for the foreseeable future, and the major implications this will have for the financial viability or our universities, seems to be slowly sinking in.

But the fact that the "export education" model was a disastrous wrong turn will take much longer to be accepted, I think, because of the widespread commitment I've been talking about here to the principle of the global as a form of moral necessity.

[Jan 29, 2021] Deaths of Despair and the Incidence of Excess Mortality in 2020

Notable quotes:
"... By Casey Mulligan, Professor of Economics, University of Chicago and former Chief Economist of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Originally published at VoxEU ..."
"... The spread of COVID-19 in the US has prompted extraordinary steps by individuals and institutions to limit infections. Some worry that 'the cure is worse than the disease' and these measures may lead to an increase in deaths of despair. Using data from the US, this column estimates how many non-COVID-19 excess deaths have occurred during the pandemic. Mortality in 2020 significantly exceeds the total of official COVID-19 deaths and a normal number of deaths from other causes. Certain characteristics suggest the excess are deaths of despair. Social isolation may be part of the mechanism that turns a pandemic into a wave of deaths of despair; further studies are needed to show if that is the case and how. ..."
"... See original post for references ..."
Jan 29, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. While this paper does a good job of compiling and analyzing data about Covid deaths and excess mortality, and speculating about deaths of despair, I find one of its assumptions to be odd. It sees Covid-related deaths of despair as mainly the result of isolation. In the US, I would hazard that economic desperation is likely a significant factor. Think of the people who had successful or at least viable service businesses: hair stylists, personal trainers, caterers, conference organizers. One friend had a very successful business training and rehabbing pro and Olympic athletes. They've gone from pretty to very well situated to frantic about how they will get by.

While Mulligan does mention loss of income in passing in the end, it seems the more devastating but harder to measure damage is loss of livelihood, thinking that your way of earning a living might never come back to anything dimly approaching the old normal. Another catastrophic loss would be the possibility of winding up homeless, particularly for those who'd never faced that risk before.

By Casey Mulligan, Professor of Economics, University of Chicago and former Chief Economist of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Originally published at VoxEU

The spread of COVID-19 in the US has prompted extraordinary steps by individuals and institutions to limit infections. Some worry that 'the cure is worse than the disease' and these measures may lead to an increase in deaths of despair. Using data from the US, this column estimates how many non-COVID-19 excess deaths have occurred during the pandemic. Mortality in 2020 significantly exceeds the total of official COVID-19 deaths and a normal number of deaths from other causes. Certain characteristics suggest the excess are deaths of despair. Social isolation may be part of the mechanism that turns a pandemic into a wave of deaths of despair; further studies are needed to show if that is the case and how.

The spread of COVID-19 in the US has prompted extraordinary, although often untested, steps by individuals and institutions to limit infections. Some have worried that 'the cure is worse than the disease'. Economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton mocked such worries as a "pet theory about the fatal dangers of quarantine". They concluded in the summer of 2020 that "a wave of deaths of despair is highly unlikely" because, they said, the duration of a pandemic is measured in months whereas the underlying causes of drug abuse and suicide take many years to accumulate (Case and Deaton 2020). With the extraordinary social distancing continuing and mortality data accumulating, now is a good time to estimate the number of deaths of despair and their incidence.

As a theoretical matter, I am not confident that demand and supply conditions were even approximately constant as the country went into a pandemic recession. Take the demand and supply for non-medical opioid use, which before 2020 accounted for the majority of deaths of despair. 1 I acknowledge that the correlation between opioid fatalities and the unemployment rate has been only weakly positive (Council of Economic Advisers February 2020, Ruhm 2019). However, in previous recessions, the income of the unemployed and the nation generally fell.

In this recession, personal income increased record amounts while the majority of the unemployed received more income than they did when they were working (Congressional Budget Office 2020). 2 Whereas alcohol and drug abuse can occur in isolation, many normal, non-lethal consumption opportunities disappeared as the population socially distanced. Patients suffering pain may have less access to physical therapy during a pandemic.

On the supply side, social distancing may affect the production of safety. 3 A person who overdoses on opioids has a better chance of survival if the overdose event is observed contemporaneously by a person nearby who can administer treatment or call paramedics. 4 Socially distanced physicians may be more willing to grant opioid prescriptions over the phone rather than insist on an office visit. Although supply interruptions on the southern border may raise the price of heroin and fentanyl, the market may respond by mixing heroin with more fentanyl and other additives that make each consumption episode more dangerous (Mulligan 2020a, Wan and Long 2020).

Mortality is part of the full price of opioid consumption and therefore a breakdown in safety production may by itself reduce the quantity consumed but nonetheless increase mortality per capita as long as the demand for opioids is price inelastic. I emphasise that these theoretical hypotheses about opioid markets in 2020 are not yet tested empirically. My point is that mortality measurement is needed because the potential for extraordinary changes is real.

The Multiple Cause of Death Files (National Center for Health Statistics 1999–2018) contain information from all death certificates in the US and would be especially valuable for measuring causes of mortality in 2020. However, the public 2020 edition of those files is not expected until early 2022. For the time being, my recent study (Mulligan 2020b) used the 2015–2018 files to project the normal number of 2020 deaths, absent a pandemic.

'Excess deaths' are defined to be actual deaths minus projected deaths. Included in the projections, and therefore excluded from excess deaths, are some year-over-year increases in drug overdoses because they had been trending up in recent years, especially among working-age men, as illicit fentanyl diffused across the country.

I measure actual COVID-19 deaths and deaths from all causes from a Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) file for 2020 that begins in week five (the week beginning 26 January 2020) and aggregates to week, sex, and eleven age groups. To minimise underreporting, I only use the data in this file through week 40 (the week ending 3 October). In separate analyses, I also use medical examiner data from Cook County, Illinois, and San Diego County, California, which indicate deaths handled by those offices through September (Cook) or June 2020 (San Diego) and whether opioids were involved, and 12-month moving sums of drug overdoses reported by CDC (2020) through May 2020.

Mortality in 2020 significantly exceeds what would have occurred if official COVID-19 deaths were combined with a normal number of deaths from other causes. The demographic and time patterns of the non-COVID-19 excess deaths (NCEDs) point to deaths of despair rather than an undercount of COVID-19 deaths. The flow of NCEDs increased steadily from March to June and then plateaued. They were disproportionately experienced by working-age men, including men as young as 15 to 24. The chart below, reproduced from Mulligan (2020b), shows these results for men aged 15–54. To compare the weekly timing of their excess deaths to a weekly measure of economic conditions, Figure 1 also includes continued state unemployment claims scaled by a factor of 25,000, shown together with deaths.

Figure 1 2020 weekly excess deaths by cause (men aged 15–54)

NCEDs are negative for elderly people before March 2020, as they were during the same time of 2019, due to mild flu seasons. Offsetting these negative NCEDs are about 30,000 positive NCEDs for the rest of the year, after accounting for an estimated 17,000 undercount of COVID-19 deaths in March and April.

If deaths of despair were the only causes of death with significant net contributions to NCEDs after February, 30,000 NCEDs would represent at least a 45% increase in deaths of despair from 2018, which itself was high by historical standards. At the same time, I cannot rule out the possibility that other non-COVID-19 causes of death or even a bit of COVID-19 undercounting (beyond my estimates) are contributing to the NCED totals.

One federal and various local measures of mortality from opioid overdose also point to mortality rates during the pandemic that exceed those of late 2019 and early 2020, which themselves exceed the rates for 2017 and 2018. These sources are not precise enough to indicate whether rates of fatal opioid overdose during the pandemic were 10% above the rates from before, 60% above, or somewhere in between.

Presumably, social isolation is part of the mechanism that turns a pandemic into a wave of deaths of despair. However, the results so far do not say how many, if any, come from government stay-at-home orders versus various actions individual households and private businesses have taken to encourage social distancing. The data in this paper do not reveal how many deaths of despair are due to changes in 'demand' – such as changes in a person's income, outlook, or employment situation – versus changes in 'supply' – such as the production of safety and a changing composition of dangerous recreational substances.

See original post for references


Terry Flynn , January 29, 2021 at 10:50 am

I agree with Yves's counter-argument though I must declare an interest, having done work on quality of life for 20 years and hope I'm not breaking site rules (given recent reminders about what is and isn't ok).

The excess deaths (particularly among men) certainly to me seems more consistent with a collapse in one's ability to do the "valued things in life" and prioritise (to SOME extent) economic outcomes over relationships. After all, the old trope that men cope less well than women with retirement is found in happiness, quality of life and other such data.

Whether or not one agrees with me, surely a test as to whether the authors or Yves has the better explanation for the excess deaths would involve looking at well-being and mortality of men who retire earlier than they'd like vs that of those whose spouse died earlier than expected (including the proper control groups).

Bob Hertz , January 29, 2021 at 10:59 am

Thanks for posting.

It would be interesting to find out the following:

1. Did the states with the most generous unemployment benefits (like MA or NJ) have fewer deaths of despair that the states with much stingier benefits?

2. Did the states which imposed various shutdowns (mainly blue states) have more deaths of despair than the states which stayed open, like SD or Florida?

My guess is that deaths of despair are too idiosyncratic to blame on Covid lockdowns, but I am not an expert at all about this.

1 Kings , January 29, 2021 at 11:47 am

They could also look for the link with 0% interest on people's saved money and seeing no f..ing end in sight as the beatings continue. Going down to zero does not make the people jolly.

Wukchumni , January 29, 2021 at 11:02 am

It used to be only men who would upon meeting another man, where the first question is likely 'What do you do for a living?', but with the advent of as many women working, probably appropriate there too.

Nobody ever asks firstly what your hobby is or what sports team you follow, as the job query tells you everything about the person in one fell swoop.

There's a lot of people whose jobs were kind of everything in their lives, who had never gone without work ever, that are now chronically unemployed.

Tomonthebeach , January 29, 2021 at 12:24 pm

Anybody who has studied suicide readily appreciates that the act is impulsive. Case & Deaton are probably correct in the limited sense of economic despair derived from transitioning away from fossil fuels and industrial production to jobs requiring education unreachable to middle-aged coal miners. However, those deaths were likely derived from easy access to opioids. Most of those job losses led workers to make disability claims (achy backs) to extend income. The treatment for achy back is pain killers – oxy-something or other back then. Those same pills killed the pain of failure. Over time, addiction set in and, according to Koob & LeMoal's 2008 addiction model, increased consumption becomes necessary to stay pain-free. Physicians would surely not up dosages indefinitely and that put addicts on the street literally. All that took time to evolve. But times have changed. Using your family doc to get you high is no longer an option. So, Mulligan makes sense.

IM Doc , January 29, 2021 at 1:39 pm

As an internist with boots on the ground – I cannot express enough gratitude that these kinds of reports are getting out.

As busy as I have been this past year with COVID, the actual patients struggling with anxiety and depression have just dwarved the actual COVID numbers.

I cannot even begin to tell you the heartbreak of being a provider and having 20-40 year old young men in your office crying their eyes out. Lots of job loss, lots of income issues, lots of not being able to pay for things for your kids. All the while being completely unable to find other work or extra work. It is truly a nightmare for these people. And the attitude by so many of the lockdown Karens who seem to have no conception of how this is all going down for these young people has been deeply worrisome to me.
It is really not getting better – if anything slowly getting worse.

I would agree with the article above that loneliness is a problem – this is for the minority – mainly older people and should not be dismissed.

Loneliness is not the big problem however, in my experience. The big problem is the economic despair for our young people and the complete loss of socialization for our teenagers and kids.

And I have no clue what the answer is.

[Jan 28, 2021] Poor Lives Matter, But Less

Jan 26, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. Sundaram discusses how the obsession with metrics, a long standing favorite topic of ours (see Management's Great Addiction ) produces policies that give short shrift to the poor and poor countries. One of the big fallacies is treating money as the measure of the value and quality of life. For instance, reducing the instance of cancer is worth more in rich countries because their lives are valued more highly in these models. Similarly, they often fall back on unitary measures like lifespan, and so don't capture outcomes like diets heavy in low nutrient foods (think simple sugars) producing higher rates of non-communicable diseases and hence less healthy citizens

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a former economics professor, who was United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, and received the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. Originally published at his website

Current development fads fetishize data, ostensibly for 'evidence-based policy-making': if not measured, it will not matter. So, forget about getting financial resources for your work, programmes and projects, no matter how beneficial, significant or desperately needed.

Measure for Measure

Agencies, funds, programmes and others lobby and fight for attention by showcasing their own policy agendas, ostensible achievements and potential. Many believe that the more indicators they get endorsed by the 'international community', the more financial support they can expect to secure.

Collecting enough national data to properly monitor progress on the Sustainable Development Goals is expensive. Data collection costs, typically borne by the countries themselves, have been estimated at minimally over three times total official development assistance (ODA).

Remember aid declined after the US-Soviet Cold War, and again following the 2008-9 global financial crisis. More recently, much more ODA is earmarked to 'support' private investments from donor countries.

With data demands growing, more pressure to measure has led to either over- or under-stating both problems and progress, sometimes with no dishonest intent. 'Errors' can easily be explained away as statistics from poor countries are notoriously unreliable.

Political, bureaucratic and funding considerations limit the willingness to admit that reported data are suspect for fear this may reflect poorly on those responsible. And once baseline statistics have been established, similar considerations compel subsequent 'consistency' or 'conformity' in reporting.

And when problems have to be acknowledged, 'double-speak' may be the result. Organisations may then start reporting some statistics to the public, with other data used, typically confidentially, for 'in-house' operational purposes.

Money, Money, Money

Economists generally prefer and even demand the use of money-metric measures. The rationale often is that no other meaningful measure is available. Many believe that showing ostensible costs and benefits is more likely to raise needed funding. Using either exchange rates or purchasing power parity (PPP) has been much debated. Some advocate even more convenient measures such as the prices of a standard McDonald's hamburger in different countries.

Money-metrics imply that estimated economic losses due to, say, smoking or non-communicable diseases ( NCD s), including obesity, tend to be far greater in richer countries, owing to the much higher incomes lost or foregone as well as costs incurred.

Development Discourse Changes

The four UN Development Decades after 1960 sought to accelerate economic progress and improve social wellbeing. Unsurprisingly, for decades, there have been various debates in the development discourse on measuring progress.

The rise of neoliberal economic thinking, claiming to free markets, has instead mainly strengthened and extended private property rights. Rejecting Keynesian and development economics, both associated with state intervention, neoliberalism's influence peaked around the turn of the century.

The so-called 'Washington Consensus ' of US federal institutions from the 1980s also involved the Bretton Woods institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, both headquartered in the American capital.

In 2000, the UN Secretariat drafted the Millennium Declaration. This, in turn, became the basis for the Millennium Development Goals which gave primacy to halving the number of poor. After all, who would object to reducing poverty. The poor were defined with reference to a poverty line, somewhat arbitrarily defined by the Bank.

Poverty Fetish

Presuming money income to be a universal yardstick of wellbeing, this poverty measure has been challenged on various grounds. Most in poorer developing countries sense that much nuance and variation are lost in such measures, not only for poverty, but also for, say, hunger .

Anyone familiar with the varying significance, over time, of cash incomes and prices in most countries will be uncomfortable with such singular measures. But they are nonetheless much publicised and have implied continued progress until the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rejection of such singular poverty measures has led to multi-dimensional poverty indicators, typically to meet 'basic needs'. While such 'dashboard' statistics offer more nuance, the continued desire for a single metric has led to the development, promotion and popularisation of composite indicators.

Worse, this has been typically accompanied by problematic ranking exercises using such composite indicators. Many have become obsessed with such ranking, instead of the underlying socio-economic processes and actual progress.

Blind Neglect

Improving such metrics has thus become an end in itself, with little debate over such one-dimensional means of measuring progress. The consequent 'tunnel vision' has meant ignoring other measures and indicators of wellbeing.

In recent decades, instead of subsistence agriculture, cash crops have been promoted. Yet, all too many children of cash-poor subsistence farmers are nutritionally better fed and healthier than the offspring of monetarily better off cash crop or 'commercial' farmers.

Meanwhile, as cash incomes rise, those with diet-related NCDs have been growing. While life expectancy has risen in much of the world, healthy life expectancy has progressed less as ill health increasingly haunts the sunset years of longer lives.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Meanwhile, as poor countries get limited help in their efforts to adjust to global warming, rich countries' focus on supporting mitigation efforts has included, inter alia, promoting 'no-till agriculture'. Thus attributing greenhouse gas emissions implies corresponding mitigation efforts via greater herbicide use .

Maximising carbon sequestration in unploughed farm topsoil requires more reliance on typically toxic, if not carcinogenic pesticides, especially herbicides. But addressing global warming should not be at the expense of sustainable agriculture.

Similarly, imposing global carbon taxation will raise the price of, and reduce access to electricity for the 'energy-poor', who comprise a fifth of the world's population. Rich countries subsidising affordable renewable energy for poor countries and people would resolve this dilemma.

Following the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, the UN proposed a Global Green New Deal (GGND) which included such cross-subsidisation by rich countries of sustainable development progress elsewhere.

The 2009 London G20 summit succeeded in raising more than the trillion dollars targeted. But the resources mainly went to strengthening the IMF, rather than for the GGND proposal. Thus, the finance fetish blocked a chance to revive world economic growth, with sustainable development gains for all.

Sound of the Suburbs , January 27, 2021 at 4:00 am

The globalists found just the economics they were looking for.
The USP of neoclassical economics – It concentrates wealth.
Let's use it for globalisation.

Mariner Eccles, FED chair 1934 – 48, observed what the capital accumulation of neoclassical economics did to the US economy in the 1920s.
"a giant suction pump had by 1929 to 1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing proportion of currently produced wealth. This served then as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied themselves the kind of effective demand for their products which would justify reinvestment of the capital accumulation in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When the credit ran out, the game stopped"

This is what it's supposed to be like.
A few people have all the money and everyone else gets by on debt.

[Jan 26, 2021] Appeals to bring more young Russians to US as 'soft power' tool could backfire, there's no guarantee they will like what they see

Jan 26, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Jan 25 2021 17:23 utc | 130

Trump's decoupling dream come true.

--//--

Appeals to bring more young Russians to US as 'soft power' tool could backfire, there's no guarantee they will like what they see

McFaul says that "Biden's team should come up with new ways to grow these ties [with ordinary Russians] even over Putin's objections. In the long run, forging and sustaining links with Russian society will undermine anti-American propaganda as well as American stereotypes about Russia."

To this, McFaul adds that, "The new administration should make it easier for Russians to study in and travel to the United States," and urges European states to do the same.

My take on this is very simple: the West cannot even absorb their own youth anymore. What makes them think they can absorb Russia's?

Besides, it's not so simple an operation to attract young people to your country to study. The logistics are very complicated, and it requires a lot of resources not even counting the promise of jobs within your own country (in the case of STEM students). Even the brain drain from countries with large populations such as China and India don't surpass much above the low to mid six digits. And those programs take time to gain traction - decades in most cases. And all of this already taking into account the fact that your country still has to be an attractive place.

Discontent already exists in Americans with Indian STEM from H1B1 visa program. As the excess population rises, so will resistance to new influx of immigrants - specially high-skilled ones. This will snowball to a stage where Americans become second-class citizens in their own country (as you would have to guarantee the jobs for the foreigners in order to sweeten the deal).

[Jan 26, 2021] How will the USA regain its advantage in this world?

Decimation of education by neoliberalism and neoliberal brainwashing is the root of all evil.
Jan 26, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
uncle tungsten , Jan 26 2021 0:28 utc | 168

How will the USA regain its advantage in this world?

I was looking back at some earlier reports to gain an insight into the means by which the USA gave the game away and the means that might restore its place in the economic world. It has allowed itself to be completely captive to global private finance AND ownership of the keys to its salvation. If it dfoes not nationalise its key industries then it can rest assured of its doom. IMO it is now almost impossible for it to nationalise a pizza parlour let alone an education or engineering sector.

This (posted here before) from Strategic Culture of November 2020 "How a Wise Decoupling May Be a Good Thing for Both China and the West". It is worth reconsidering from time to time.

If the USA is to survive the oncoming collapse and break free of its apocalyptic war agenda, then certain realities WILL have to occur. These realities include (but are not limited to):

1) Regaining its lost industrial potential, with an emphasis on the machine tool sector which the west once enjoyed as a world leader

2) Regaining the lost scientific and technological capacities which the USA once had when it still valued productive thinking under the days of JFK and NASA

3) Regaining a grasp of education which values productive citizens over consumer subjects

4) Regaining control over national credit under federal banking, dirigisme and other long-term investment practices that rely on regulating Wall Street speculation and other unproductive forms of banking.

How might these vital capacities be regained?....

The USA is incapable of nationalising its education sector and is incapable systemically of having the patience to await the benefits. It will continue to sustain an education sector that is designed to transfer $$$ in taxation directly to private corporation pockets and to do so by reducing the the number of salary earners between the input $ and the $ that end in private corporation pockets. The private corporations will continue to perfect the swindle of returning the least possible effort in return for those $$$.

Ditto for defence spending and every other sector.

The USAi is hoist by its own petard and has a dull brained president surrounded by ideological obsessives, cultural paranoiacs, a narcissistic Congress and Senate. It will not be capable of restoring its real economy and will continue to imagine itself as a world leader. It will berate and negate and cancel all unorthodox thought from those that favour nation building.

The rest of the world's nations had better take note. Clearly many have.

[Jan 22, 2021] Meritocracy used to work, because of succession planning and training.

Jan 22, 2021 | www.unz.com

Curmudgeon , says: January 21, 2021 at 10:20 pm GMT • 3.7 hours ago

@James Speaks rn. I'm not fine with assuming that the end product will automatically produce merit beyond what meritocracy is today – brown-nosing. True merit is you have demonstrated you can do it.

The last 40+ years have seen an endless stream of "bright boys" graduating university with MBAs, getting involved in the management structure as "change agents", screwing up the business for 5 years then "taking another opportunity" to screw up a different company.

Prof. Henry Mintzberg calls them the wrong people, at the wrong time, for the wrong reason, because they don't have a clue how the real world works. But hey, they are high IQ people, so they must have merit.

Uncoy , says: Website January 21, 2021 at 10:52 pm GMT • 3.2 hours ago
@Curmudgeon r medicine and sophisticated writing. The issue is that these individual were poorly educated – first and foremost in the "greed is good" school of the America. After sipping deeply of this dead-end, destructive ethical framework, these individuals were then carefully trained on how to extract value from an economy/a company rather than add value.

High IQ is still desperately needed for progress and to maintain civilisation. But put to ill-use, high IQ individuals can wreak commensurately wreak greater havoc.

Analogies could be made to guns, armies, cars. All of them can be put to exceptionally ill-use. Few would argue that a modern nation can live without automobiles or some kind of armed defence force.

[Dec 20, 2020] The American ruling class has failed on pretty much every issue of significance for the past several decades

Neoliberals as an occupying force for the country
Notable quotes:
"... The bottom line is the true enemies of the American people are no foreign nation or adversary---the true enemy of the American people are the people who control America. ..."
"... This way of thinking points to a dilemma for the American ruling class. Contrary to a lot of the rhetoric you hear, much of the American ruling class, including the "deep state" is actually quite anti-China. To fully account for this would take longer than I have here. But the nutshell intuitive explanation is that the ruling class, particularly Wall Street, was happy for the past several decades to enrich both themselves and China by destroying the American working class with policies such as "free-trade" and outsourcing. But in many ways the milk from that teat is no more, and now you have an American ruling class much more concerned about protecting their loot from a serious geopolitical competitor (China) than squeezing out the last few drops of milk from the "free trade." ..."
Dec 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Bemildred , Dec 19 2020 2:00 utc | 124

This is awesome, he nails the dilemma which our owners are confronted with;

I'll put it this way: It is not as though the American ruling class is intelligent, competent, and patriotic on most important matters and happens to have a glaring blind spot when it comes to appreciating the threat of China. If this were the case, it would make sense to emphasize the threat of China above all else.

But this is not the case. The American ruling class has failed on pretty much every issue of significance for the past several decades. If China were to disappear, they would simply be selling out the country to India, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, or some other country (in fact they are doing this just to a lesser extent).

Our ruling class has failed us on China because they have failed us on everything. For this reason I believe that there will be no serious, sound policy on China that benefits Americans until there is a legitimate ruling class in the United States. For this reason pointing fingers at the wickedness and danger of China is less useful than emphasizing the failure of the American ruling class. The bottom line is the true enemies of the American people are no foreign nation or adversary---the true enemy of the American people are the people who control America.

This way of thinking points to a dilemma for the American ruling class. Contrary to a lot of the rhetoric you hear, much of the American ruling class, including the "deep state" is actually quite anti-China. To fully account for this would take longer than I have here. But the nutshell intuitive explanation is that the ruling class, particularly Wall Street, was happy for the past several decades to enrich both themselves and China by destroying the American working class with policies such as "free-trade" and outsourcing. But in many ways the milk from that teat is no more, and now you have an American ruling class much more concerned about protecting their loot from a serious geopolitical competitor (China) than squeezing out the last few drops of milk from the "free trade."

The Zürich Interviews - Darren J. Beattie: If Only You Knew How Bad Things Really Are


Grieved , Dec 19 2020 3:12 utc | 129

@102 karlof1 - "By deliberately setting policy to inflate asset prices, the Fed has priced US labor out of a job, while as you report employers sought labor costs that allowed them to remain competitive."

I never heard it said so succinctly and truly as this before. That is what happened isn't it? The worker can't afford life anymore, in this country.

And if the worker can't afford the cost of living - who bears the cause of this, how follows the remedy of this, and what then comes next?

I really appreciate your point of view, which is the only point of view, which is that the designers of the economy, the governors of the economy, have placed the workers of the economy in a position that is simply just not tenable.

No wonder they strive to divide in order to rule - because they have over-reached through greed and killed the worker, who holds up the society.

How long can the worker flounder around blaming others before the spotlight must turn on the employer?

uncle tungsten , Dec 19 2020 3:12 utc | 130

Bemildred #115

You have to remember these people really do think they are better. They do think in class terms even if they avoid that rhetoric in public. The problem is they thought they could control China like they did Japan. That was dumb then and it looks even dumber now. You can see similar dumbness in their lack of grip on any realisitic view of Russia. Provincials really. Rich peasants.

Thank you, they certainly DO think in class terms ALWAYS. + Rich peasants is perfect :))

Thankfully they are blinded by hubris at the same time. The USA destroyed the Allende government in Chile in 1973. After the Nixon Kissinger visit to China in 1979 they assumed they could just pull a color revolution stunt when they deemed it to be the right time. Perhaps in their hubris they thought every Chinese worker would be infatuated with capitalism and growth.

They tested that out in the People Power colour (yellow) revolt in the Filipines in 1986 following a rigged election by Marcos. In 1989 only 16 years after China had been buoyed up with growth and development following the opening to USA capitalism, they tried out the same trick in Tienanmen square in China but those students were up against the ruling party of the entire nation - not the ruling class. BIG MISTAKE. The ruling party of China was solidly backed by the peasant and working class that was finally enjoying some meager prosperity and reward a mere 40 years after the Chinese Communist Party and their parents and grandparents had liberated China from 100 years of occupation, plunder, human and cultural rapine and colonial insult. Then in 2020 it was tried on again in Hong Kong. FAIL.

The hubris of the ruling class and its running dogs is pathetic.

We see the same with Pelosi and the ruling class in the Dimoratss today. They push Biden Harris to the fore, piss on the left and refuse to even hold a vote on Medicare for All in the middle of a pandemic. Meanwhile the USAi ruling class has its running dogs and hangers on bleating that "its wrong tactic, its premature, its whatever craven excuse to avoid exposing the ruling class for what they are - thieves, bereft of compassion, absent any sense of social justice, fakes lurking behind their class supposition.

They come here to the bar with their arrogant hubris, brimming with pointless information some even with emoji glitter stuck on their noses. Not a marxist or even a leftie among them. Still its class that matters and its the ruling class that we must break.

chu teh , Dec 19 2020 4:00 utc | 131

@102 karlof1 and Grieved | Dec 19 2020 3:12 utc | 129

I did not understand inflate-assets/suppress-workers and forgot to return to it to clear it up. Grieved sent me back to Karlof1. I just got it.

That viewpoint indeed explains method of operation to accomplish the results I observed. When Nixon was forced to default on Bretton Woods use of Gold Exchange Standard* [the USD is as good as gold], then printing fiat solved the problem [threat to US inventory of gold]....but printing fiat [no longer redeemable as a promise convert to gold] became the new problem [no way to extinguish the promises to redeem/pay].

So how to proceed? Aha! Steal from the workers; squeeze 'em, entertain and dazzle 'em!.. Such an elegant solution...slow, certain and hardly noticeable...like slow-boiling frogs...an on-going project as we blog.

Now I'll read Karlof1's link.

[Nov 28, 2020] Krystal and Saagar- New Study Shows Deaths Of Despair Hitting Poor Working Class Of ALL Races

Nov 28, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Daniel George @drdanielgeorge • Nov 10 000

A research team I'm part of just published data looking at the 'diseases of despair' crisis over the last decade (full article is free and available online).

A brief summary of our findings below, and some thoughts....

Trends in the diagnosis of diseases of despair in the United States...

Background and objective Increasing mortality and decreasing life expectancy in the USA are largely attributable to accidental...

See also: Saagar Enjeti- How Both Parties FAILED Us On Stimulus Guaranteeing Mass Unemployment, Business Death - YouTube

[Nov 28, 2020] Diseases of despair diagnoses increase in Pennsylvania - EurekAlert! Science News

Nov 28, 2020 | www.eurekalert.org

Diseases of despair diagnoses increase in Pennsylvania

PENN STATE

Research News

AUDIO: FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NEARLY 100 YEARS, LIFE EXPECTANCY IS DECREASING IN THE UNITED STATES. IN THIS EPISODE, DR. LARRY SINOWAY DISCUSSES THE DECLINE AND HOW IT RELATES TO... view more

CREDIT: PENN STATE CLINICAL AND TRANSLATIONAL SCIENCE INSTITUTE

Medical diagnoses involving alcohol-related disorders, substance-related disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviors -- commonly referred to as diseases of despair -- increased in Pennsylvania health insurance claims between the years 2007 and 2018, according to researchers from Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute and Highmark Health Enterprise Analytics.

Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton proposed the concept of deaths of despair in 2015. Case and Deaton's research observed a decline in life expectancy of middle-aged white men and women between 1999 and 2015 -- the first such decline since the flu pandemic of 1918. They theorized that this decline is associated with the social and economic downturn in rural communities and small towns. These changes include loss of industry, falling wages, lower marriage rates, increasing barriers to higher education, an increase in one-parent homes and a loss of social infrastructure.

"It is theorized that these changes have fostered growing feelings of despair including disillusionment, precariousness and resignation in many peoples' lives," Daniel George, associate professor of humanities and public health sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, said. "Despair can trigger emotional, cognitive, behavioral and even biological changes, increasing the likelihood of diseases that can progress and ultimately culminate in deaths of despair."

With the commonwealth's considerable rural and small-town population, particularly around Penn State campuses, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute led a research study to understand the rate of diseases of despair in Pennsylvania. Institute researchers collaborated with Highmark Health, one of the state's largest health insurance providers. Highmark provides employer-sponsored, individual, Affordable Care Act and Medicare plans.

Highmark Health's Enterprise Analytics team analyzed the claims of more than 12 million people on their plans from 2007 to 2018. Penn State did not have access to Highmark member data or individual private health information. Although the insurance claims included members from neighboring states, including West Virginia, Delaware, and Ohio, the majority of the claims were from Pennsylvania residents. Researchers reported their results in BMJ Open .

The researchers defined diseases of despair as diagnoses related to alcohol use, substance use and suicidal thoughts or behaviors. They searched the claims data for the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes related to these diagnoses. ICD codes form a standardized system maintained by the World Health Organization and are used in health records and for billing.

The researchers found that the rate of diagnoses related to diseases of despair increased significantly in the Highmark claims in the past decade. Nearly one in 20 people in the study sample was diagnosed with a disease of despair. Between 2009 and 2018, the rates of alcohol-, substance-, and suicide-related diagnoses increased by 37%, 94% and 170%. Following Case and Deaton's findings, the researchers saw the most substantial percentage increase in disease of despair diagnoses among men ages 35 to 74, followed by women ages 55 to 74 and 18 to 34.

The rate of alcohol-related diagnoses significantly increased among men and women ages 18 and over. The most dramatic increases were among men and women ages 55 to 74. Rates increased for men in this age group by 50% and 80% for women.

The rate of substance-related diagnoses roughly doubled for men and women ages 35 to 54 and increased by 170% in ages 55 to 74. In 2018, the most recent year of claims included in the study, rates of substance-use diagnoses were highest in 18-to-34-year-olds.

The rate of diagnoses related to suicidal thoughts and behaviors increased for all age groups. Among 18-to-34-year-olds, rates increased by at least 200%. The rate for all other age groups increased by at least 60%.

The type of insurance patients had also mattered. People with Medicare insurance had 1.5 times higher odds of having a disease of despair diagnosis and those with Affordable Care Act insurance had 1.3 times higher odds.

One increase stood out to researchers: among infants, substance-related diagnoses doubled.

"This increase was entirely attributable to neonatal abstinence syndrome and corresponded closely with increases in substance-related disorders among women of childbearing age," Emily Brignone, senior research scientist, Highmark Health Enterprise Analytics, said.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs when a baby withdraws from substances, especially opioids, exposed to in the womb.

Future research can concentrate on identifying "hot spots" of diseases of despair diagnoses in the commonwealth to then study the social and economic conditions in these areas. With this data, researchers can potentially create predictive models to identify communities at risk and develop interventions.

"We found a broad view of who is impacted by increases in diseases of despair, which cross racial, ethnic and geographic groups," Jennifer Kraschnewski, professor of medicine, public health sciences and pediatrics, said. "Although originally thought to mostly affect rural communities, these increases in all middle-aged adults across the rural-urban continuum likely foreshadows future premature deaths."

###

National Center for Advancing Translational Science of the National Institutes of Health through Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute funded this research.

A podcast about this topic is available here.

Other researchers on this project were Lawrence Sinoway, director, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute; Curren Katz and Robert Gladden, Highmark Health Enterprise Analytics; Charity Sauder, administrative director, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute; and Andrea Murray, project manager, Penn State College of Medicine.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

[Nov 28, 2020] Deplorables, or Expendables

Notable quotes:
"... The Expendables: How the Middle Class got Screwed by Globalization ..."
"... The Innovation Illusion ..."
"... The Expendables ..."
"... Napoleon Linarthatos is a writer based in New York. ..."
Nov 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Home / Articles / Economy / Deplorables, Or Expendables? ECONOMY Deplorables, Or Expendables?

Rubin offers some valuable, albeit well-known, critiques of globalized trade, but doesn't go far beyond that. (By momente/Shutterstock)

NOVEMBER 26, 2020

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12:01 AM

NAPOLEON LINARTHATOS

Back in 2013 a group of Apple employees decided to sue the global behemoth. Every day, after they were clocking out, they were required to go through a corporate screening where their personal belongings were examined. It was a process required and administered by Apple. But Apple did not want to pay its employees for the time it had required them to spend. It could be anywhere from 40 to 80 hours a year that an employee spent going through that process. What made Apple so confident in brazenly nickel-and-diming its geniuses?

Jeff Rubin, author of The Expendables: How the Middle Class got Screwed by Globalization , has an answer to the above question that is easily deduced from the subtitle of his book. The socio-economic arrangements produced by globalization have made labor the most flexible and plentiful resource in the economic process. The pressure on the middle class, and all that falls below it, has been so persistent and powerful, that now " only 37 percent of Americans believe their children will be better off financially than they themselves are. Only 24 percent in Canada or Australia feel the same. And in France, that figure dips to only 9 percent." And "[i]n the mid-1980s it would have taken a typical middle-income family with two children less than seven years of income to save up to buy a home; it now takes more than ten years. At the same time, housing expenditures that accounted for a quarter of most middle-class household incomes in the 1990s now account for a third ."

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13045197114175078?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13045197114175078-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&rid=www.nakedcapitalism.com&width=838

The story of globalization is engraved in the " shuttered factories across North America, the boarded-up main streets, the empty union halls." Rubin does admit that there are benefits accrued from globalization, billions have been lifted up out of poverty in what was previously known as the third world, wealth has been created, certain efficiencies have been achieved. The question for someone in the western world is how much more of a price he's willing to pay to keep the whole thing going on, especially as we have entered a phase of diminishing returns for almost all involved.

As Joel Kotkin has written, "[e]ven in Asia, there are signs of social collapse. According to a recent survey by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, half of all Korean households have experienced some form of family crisis, many involving debt, job loss, or issues relating to child or elder care." And "[i]n "classless" China, a massive class of migrant workers -- over 280 million -- inhabit a netherworld of substandard housing, unsteady work, and miserable environmental conditions, all after leaving their offspring behind in villages. These new serfs vastly outnumber the Westernized, highly educated Chinese whom most Westerners encounter. " "Rather than replicating the middle-class growth of post–World War II America and Europe, notes researcher Nan Chen, 'China appears to have skipped that stage altogether and headed straight for a model of extraordinary productivity but disproportionately distributed wealth like the contemporary United States.'"

Although Rubin concedes to the globalist side higher GDP growth, even that does not seem to be so true for the western world in the last couple decades. Per Nicholas Eberstadt, in "Our Miserable 21st Century," "[b]etween late 2000 and late 2007, per capita GDP growth averaged less than 1.5 percent per annum." "With postwar, pre-21st-century rates for the years 2000–2016, per capita GDP in America would be more than 20 percent higher than it is today."

Stagnation seems to be a more apt characterization of the situation we are in. Fredrik Erixon in his superb The Innovation Illusion , argues that "[p]roductivity growth is going south, and has been doing so for several decades." "Between 1995 and 2009, Europe's labor productivity grew by just 1 percent annually." Noting that "[t]he four factors that have made Western capitalism dull and hidebound are gray capital, corporate managerialism, globalization, and complex regulation."

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Contrary to popular belief, globalization has functioned as a substitute for innovation and growth. With globalization on the march, the western ruling class could continue to indulge in its most preferred activities, regulation and taxation, in an environment where both of these political addictions appeared sustainable. Non-western elites could perpetuate their authoritarian regimes, garnering growth and legitimacy, from the access to the western markets. Their copy-and-paste method of "innovation" from western firms would fit well with an indigenous business class composed of mostly insiders and ex-regime apparatchiks.

There are plenty of criticisms that can be laid at the feet of globalization. The issue with Rubin's book is that is does not advance very much beyond some timeworn condemnations of it. One gets the sense that the value of this book is merely in its audacity to question the conventional wisdom on the issue at hand. Rubin, who is somewhat sympathetic to Donald Trump, seems to be much closer to someone like Bernie Sanders, especially an earlier version of Sanders that dared to talk about the debilitating effects of immigration on the working class.

Like Sanders, Rubin starts to get blurry as he goes from the condemnation phase to the programmatic offers available. What exactly would be his tariffs policy, how far he would go? What would be the tradeoffs of this policy? Where we could demarcate a reasonable fair environment for the worker and industry and where we would start to create another type of a stagnation trap for the whole economy? All these would be important questions for Rubin to grapple with and would give to his criticisms more gravitas.

It would have also been of value if he had dealt more deeply with the policies of the Trump administration. On the one hand, the Trump administration cracked down on illegal and legal immigration. It also started to use tariffs and other trade measures as a way to boost industry and employment. On the other hand, it reduced personal and corporate taxes and it deregulated to the utmost degree possible. It was a kind of 'walled' laisser-faire that seemed to work until Covid-19 hit. Real household income in the U.S. increased $4,379 in 2019 over 2018. It was "more income growth in one year than in the 8 years of Obama-Biden." And during Trump's time, the lowest paid workers started not to just be making gains, but making gains faster than the wealthy. "Low-wage workers are getting bigger raises than bosses" ran a CBS News headline .

Rubin seems to view tax cuts and deregulation as another giveaway to large corporations. But these large corporations are just fine with high taxation, since they have a choice as to when and where they get taxed. Regulation is also more of a tool than a burden for them. It's a very expedient means for eliminating competitors and competition, a useful barrier to entry for any upstart innovator that would upend the industry they are in. Besides, if high taxation and regulation were a kind of antidote to globalization, then France would be in a much better shape than it appears to be. But France seems to be doing worse than anybody else. In the aforementioned poll about if their "children will be better off financially than they themselves are" France was at the bottom in the group of countries that Rubin cited. The recent events with the yellow-vests movement indicate a very deep dissatisfaction and pessimism of its middle and working class.

Moreover, there does not seem to be much hostility or even much contention between government bureaucracies and the upper echelons of the corporate world. Something that Rubin's politics and economics would necessitate. And cultural and political like-mindedness between government bureaucracies and the managerial class of large corporations is not just limited to the mutual embrace of woke politics. It seems that there is a cross pollination of a much broader set of ideas and habits between bureaucrats and the managerial class. For instance, Erixon notes that "[c]orporate managers shy away from uncertainty but turn companies into bureaucratic entities free from entrepreneurial habits. They strive to make capitalism predictable." Striving for predictability is a very bureaucratic state of mind.

In Rubin's book, missed trends like that make his perspective to feel a bit dated. There is still valuable information in The Expendables . Rubin does know a lot about international trade deals. For instance, a point that is often ignored in the press about international trade agreements is that "[i]f you're designated a "developing" country, you get to protect your own industries with tariffs that are a multiple of those that developed economies are allowed to use to protect their workers." A rule that China exploits to the utmost.

Meanwhile, Apple, after its apparent lawsuit loss on the case with its employees in California, now seems committed to another fight with the expendables of another locale. The Washington Post reported that "Apple lobbyists are trying to weaken a bill aimed at preventing forced labor in China, according to two congressional staffers familiar with the matter, highlighting the clash between its business imperatives and its official stance on human rights." "The bill aims to end the use of forced Uighur labor in the Xinjiang region of China ." The war against the expendables never ends.

Napoleon Linarthatos is a writer based in New York.

[Nov 17, 2020] A short note of class struggle

Nov 17, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

hunkerdown , November 16, 2020 at 10:29 am

Consider the structure of the term "common sense", which is just shared opinion. If there is no common sense, there will be no common action.

The problem with coming together is that the ruling class divides and rules us as a normal procedure of creating a class system. Nobody in the ruling class has a problem with this. Their purpose in life is to reproduce the system of mass slavery and adapt it to present conditions and they, being among the elect, are fine with this.

Pat , November 16, 2020 at 9:48 am

Cognitive dissonance is a daily occurrence for anyone paying attention. And our struggling "leaders" are largely struggling over territory while ignoring the state of the nation.

True national emergencies are ignored as they are inconvenient, or more honestly buried under the rug, because they might mean our sociopaths at the top of the food chain would have to pony up some of their Ill gotten gains to the social good AND lose some of their leverage over modern serfs. And unlike "war" and "military intervention" which have been monetized to the nth degree, pandemic response has been bungled not only because the social systems have been shredded but because factions are fighting over response in order to find a way to strip as much public money from it as possible.

We make black jokes here about brunch, but the election of Biden is NOT about him, it is a probably a vain attempt to put the genie back in the bottle. The sad thing is that instead of pretending to be the adults in the room, the usual suspects kept up their four year long tantrum, instead of letting the process play out and talking about how our system works, it was all "he isn't giving up, he is being mean." All because it slightly delayed them reestablishing their rice bowls. And so ends the "bring us together" meme with nary a whimper.

I wish there was a chance our national leaders would get their heads out of the pockets of their donors long enough to notice that the foundation THEY depend on for their corrupt lifestyles had been destroyed. I wish our foundations had not been so corrupted that even one part remains strong.

I am not entirely pessimistic. The kids are largely alright. I just hope we can hold it together long enough to give them a chance.

David , November 16, 2020 at 11:30 am

Two slightly different things here, perhaps.
I think it's generally accepted that all societies need a common frame of reference against which you can have discussions and arguments, make and critique policy and try to interpret the world. This doesn't mean that everybody agrees, or still less that everybody is obliged to, but rather that everybody agrees about what the issues are and about the ground over which they may disagree. Back in the days of the Cold War, for example, there were furious debates about politics, not to mention wars, atrocities and dictatorships, but pretty much everybody agreed what the issues were, even if they were on different sides of them. Historically, this was very much the norm: the religious wars of Europe, or the wars of the French Revolution were between people with very different views, but who agreed on the underlying context. What we have now, is what the philosopher Alasdair McIntyre called "incommensurability": a jaw-breaking term which means, essentially, that people don't even begin from the same assumptions, and so are condemned to talk past each other. This accounts for a lot of the cognitive dissonance. In the case of Brexit, for example, much of the bitterness and confusion arose from the fact that Leavers and Remainers were simply talking about different things, and starting from different assumptions, but didn't realise it. The same applies, obviously to the whole TDS story. As a result, Joe Public is now faced with the need to choose between competing and mutually exclusive interpretations of events, or even whether events have actually occurred. It's hardly surprising there's so much confusion and stress.

It's made worse by the kind of thing Thuto mentions. One of the least helpful ideas to emerge from the 1960s was that children should be "left to find their own way", rather than being taught things. But children mature by testing their ideas against the norms and structures of society, and indeed their parents, and coming to some sort of personal vision of the world. A lot of modern politics (and practically all of IdiotPol) is the result of middle-class educated people who were never contradicted as children, and are still looking to shock and provoke twenty or thirty years later. Once you understand that much of the political and media system is made of people who are basically adolescents ("why does it have to make sense? Tell me why it has to make sense!) the chaos and stress become easier to understand.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 16, 2020 at 1:00 pm

This is what we should expect.
Western liberalism's descent into chaos.
1920s/2000s – neoclassical economics, high inequality, high banker pay, low regulation, low taxes for the wealthy, robber barons (CEOs), reckless bankers, globalisation phase
1929/2008 – Wall Street crash
1930s/2010s – Global recession, currency wars, trade wars, austerity, rising nationalism and extremism
1940s – World war.

Right wing populist leaders are what we should expect at this stage in the descent into chaos.

Why is Western liberalism always such a disaster?
They did try and learn from past mistakes to create a new liberalism (neoliberalism), but the Mont Pelerin Society went round in a circle and got back to pretty much where they started.

It equates making money with creating wealth and people try and make money in the easiest way possible, which doesn't actually create any wealth.
In 1984, for the first time in American history, "unearned" income exceeded "earned" income.
The American have lost sight of what real wealth creation is, and are just focussed on making money.
You might as well do that in the easiest way possible.
It looks like a parasitic rentier capitalism because that is what it is.

Bankers make the most money when they are driving your economy into a financial crisis.
What they are doing is really an illusion; they are just pulling future spending power into today.
The 1920s roared at the expense of an impoverished 1930s.
Japan roared on the money creation of real estate lending in the 1980s, they spent the next 30 years repaying the debt they had built up in the 1980s and the economy flat-lined.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk

Bankers use bank credit to pump up asset prices, which doesn't actually create any wealth.
The money creation of bank credit flows into the economy making it boom, but you are heading towards a financial crisis and claims on future prosperity are building up in the financial system.
https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf
Early success comes at the expense of an impoverished future.

Things haven't been the same since 2008.
Early success came at the expense of an impoverished future.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6
At 18 mins.
The money creation of bank credit flowed into the economy before 2008 making it boom, but they were heading towards a financial crisis and claims on future prosperity were building up in the financial system.
It's repayment time.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 16, 2020 at 1:01 pm

Let's get the basics sorted.
When no one knows what real wealth creation is, you are in trouble.

We want economic success
Step one – Identify where wealth creation occurs in the economy.
Houston, we have a problem.

Economists do identify where real wealth creation in the economy occurs, but this is a most inconvenient truth as it reveals many at the top don't actually create any wealth.
This is the problem.
Much of their money comes from wealth extraction rather than wealth creation, and they need to get everyone thoroughly confused so we don't realise what they are really up to.

The Classical Economists had a quick look around and noticed the aristocracy were maintained in luxury and leisure by the hard work of everyone else.
They haven't done anything economically productive for centuries, they couldn't miss it.
The Classical economist, Adam Smith:
"The labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money."
There was no benefits system in those days, and if those at the bottom didn't work they died.
They had to earn money to live.

Ricardo was an expert on the small state, unregulated capitalism he observed in the world around him. He was part of the new capitalist class, and the old landowning class were a huge problem with their rents that had to be paid both directly and through wages.
"The interest of the landlords is always opposed to the interest of every other class in the community" Ricardo 1815 / Classical Economist.
They soon identified the constructive "earned" income and the parasitic "unearned" income.
This disappeared in neoclassical economics.

GDP was invented after they used neoclassical economics last time.
In the 1920s, the economy roared, the stock market soared and nearly everyone had been making lots of money.
In the 1930s, they were wondering what the hell had just happened as everything had appeared to be going so well in the 1920s and then it all just fell apart.
They needed a better measure to see what was really going on in the economy and came up with GDP.
In the 1930s, they pondered over where all that wealth had gone to in 1929 and realised inflating asset prices doesn't create real wealth, they came up with the GDP measure to track real wealth creation in the economy.
The transfer of existing assets, like stocks and real estate, doesn't create real wealth and therefore does not add to GDP. The real wealth creation in the economy is measured by GDP.
Real wealth creation involves real work producing new goods and services in the economy.

So all that transferring existing financial assets around doesn't create wealth?
No it doesn't, and now you are ready to start thinking about what is really going on there.

GlassHammer , November 16, 2020 at 2:08 pm

"Much of their money comes from wealth extraction rather than wealth creation, and they need to get everyone thoroughly confused so we don't realise what they are really up to."

And this is why the quintessential business model in the U.S (at least since the 1970s) has been the multi-level marketing scheme.

[Nov 07, 2020] .It's a class-war people, recognize it for such.

Nov 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

donten , Nov 5 2020 23:33 utc | 178

The amount of cerebral activity wasted here is, well, wasted...It's a class-war people, recognize it for such. The U.S. needs to fall down among the weeds, and fertilize what's coming...The libertarian impulse must be squashed until it is unrecognizable!!

Equality, Fraternity, and Liberty in that order, my friends. All else is sickness in the mind.

[Oct 30, 2020] Tsunami Of Empty College Dorms Risks Student Housing Market Implosion

Did not most collages behaved like bandits raising tuition fees from 1980 till 2020. That's 40 years.
Oct 30, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Fall enrollment has plunged , some colleges are shuttering operations, revenues across the entire higher education industry are collapsing, and the shift from physical to virtual education due to the virus pandemic could prick the next bubble: the student housing debt market.

Our warning about the coming implosion of the higher education industry (see here from 2014) , as a whole, has become louder and louder over the last six-plus years as the student debt bubble has recently swelled to more than $1.6 trillion. Years ago, no one at the time, could've forecasted a virus pandemic would doom colleges and universities.

Credit rating agency Moody's recently downgraded the entire higher education sector to negative from stable, and the American Council on Education estimates colleges and universities will experience a $23 billion decline in revenues over the next academic year.

Bloomberg outlines the increase of virtual education in a virus pandemic has resulted in an abundance of empty dorms at colleges and universities, creating a $14 billion headache for the student housing debt market.

"West Virginia State University, already hit with a 10% enrollment drop, plans to give money to a school foundation so it can meet its bond covenants for residence hall debt. A community college in Ohio is using part of a $1.5 million donation for a financially-strapped student housing project. And officials at New Jersey City University, which serves largely first-generation and lower-income students and has recorded years of deficits, are prepared to shore up a dorm there," Bloomberg said.

The squeeze on university finances comes as the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center warned about a 16% drop in first-year undergraduate students enrolled for the fall semester. This means new revenue streams are quickly drying up for overleveraged colleges and universities.

"The limiting factor is some of these schools themselves are facing uncertainty with many of their revenue streams," S&P Global Ratings analyst Amber Schafer said in an interview. "It's a matter of not only willingness, but if they're able to support the project."

"Typically, privatized student housing debt is paid off by the revenue generated by the dorms -- meaning there's little recourse for bondholders if things go south," Bloomberg said. With occupancy rates already declining as coronavirus cases are surging, well, this could be bad news for colleges and universities heading into 2021.

"Borrowers have begun revealing how empty residence halls are as the pandemic spurs many campuses to keep classes online. According to the school foundation that sold the debt, West Virginia State University's dorm is 71% full, putting it about 20 percentage points from where it needs to be to satisfy debt covenants. Other privatized student housing projects, like two on Howard University's campus, are virtually empty due to online-only instruction there," Bloomberg said.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

Bloomberg warns: "Privatized dorms are struggling the most given that they weren't structured to withstand 20% to 30% drops in occupancy -- or no students at all."

"West Virginia State University may have to step in to help student housing bonds at risk of violating a debt service coverage ratio, Moody's warned this month. The historically-black college faces "considerable" challenges in backstopping the bonds, Moody's said.

The nearly 290-bed residence hall with rents of $3,881 per semester was just 71% occupied this fall, while it needed to be about 92% occupied, said Patricia Schumann, president of the university foundation that sold the debt. Schumann said the university is projected to provide a $75,000 payment in January. In the meantime, she said the school was working to bolster its financial position and boost recruitment and donations.

"We're not standing still," she said.

Ohio's Terra State Community College, which has more than 2,100 students, was downgraded deeper into junk over the risk posed by a dorm owned by a nonprofit, given that the school "appears to provide an unconditional guarantee" to meet the debt obligations, Moody's said. The project was financed through a bank note.

The dorm's occupancy fell to 62%, and the college is using a previously-received donation to cover a shortfall in project revenue amounting between $500,000 to $600,000, the ratings company said in a report this month.

At New Jersey City University, a student housing project financed though a separate entity will likely miss a required debt service coverage ratio. The public school having to step in to help the bonds would be a challenge, but a surmountable one, said Jodi Bailey, the university's associate vice president for student affairs. The student housing bonds aren't a debt of the university, so the school would be choosing to provide financial support, according to bond documents .

The school is working to cut expenses related to the dorm. "Is it a harder year? Most definitely," she said.

The student housing bonds, issued by West Campus Housing LLC in 2015, were slashed deeper into junk in September by S&P, which said in a report that residence halls' occupancy there had fallen to 56% so the school could accommodate social-distancing guidelines," said Bloomberg.

To summarize, plunging enrollments, resulting in falling occupancy rates for dorms, is a debt bomb waiting to go off for many overleveraged colleges and universities that are panicking at the moment to divert enough funds to service debts, as the usual revenue streams, that being rent checks from students, are nowhere to be found as virtual learning keeps young adults in their parents' basements and out of dorms.

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If occupancy rates continue to slide through 2021, then we must revisit what we said months before the virus pandemic began in the US:

"...20% of colleges and universities will shut down or merge in the next ten years , and probably more."

Absent of a federal bailout, things could get ugly for colleges and universities in 2021.

[Sep 26, 2020] The Stockdale Paradox

Notable quotes:
"... You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end -- which you can never afford to lose -- with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be. ..."
Sep 26, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

grug-cave-head , 2 hours ago

Let me post something.

The Stockdale Paradox[ edit ]

James C. Collins related a conversation he had with Stockdale regarding his coping strategy during his period in the Vietnamese POW camp. [21] [ non-primary source needed ] When Collins asked which prisoners didn't make it out of Vietnam, Stockdale replied:

Oh, that's easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart. This is a very important lesson.

You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end -- which you can never afford to lose -- with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be. [22]

Collins called this the Stockdale Paradox. [21]

[Aug 29, 2020] Endurance- Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, Lansing, Alfred, eBook - Amazon.com

Aug 29, 2020 | www.amazon.com

The harrowing tale of British explorer Ernest Shackleton's 1914 attempt to reach the South Pole, one of the greatest adventure stories of the modern age.

In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day's sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Thus began the legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men. When their ship was finally crushed between two ice floes, they attempted a near-impossible journey over 850 miles of the South Atlantic's heaviest seas to the closest outpost of civilization.

In Endurance , the definitive account of Ernest Shackleton's fateful trip, Alfred Lansing brilliantly narrates the harrowing and miraculous voyage that has defined heroism for the modern age.

>


Bama Fan

The book gave me several adrenaline rushes...it's that well written.

5.0 out of 5 stars The book gave me several adrenaline rushes...it's that well written. Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2018 Verified Purchase This is an amazing account of Shackleton's journey that went into intricate details about the twists and turns every step of the way for this small group of brave explorers. It reads like a thrilling fiction novel, but the fact that it is non-fiction makes it even more astounding. The description really paints a true picture of the hellacious conditions that they continued to face time and time again. This book really put into perspective what a challenge truly is. A simple headache that we might get now is nowhere near getting your sleeping bag drenched and still having to sleep in it in temperatures near 0 when you don't know how the weather or current is going to change while you try to sleep. Great read and really hard to put down because even though you think you know what's going to happen, you still have to find out how. Would highly recommend if you're looking for a good book that you will have trouble putting down. 38 people found this helpful

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Twostory
Cold

5.0 out of 5 stars Cold Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2018 Verified Purchase Very cold. Always cold. This is a very detailed (true) story about men trying to survive in a very hostile environment in c. 1915. Stark and full of detail, the reader almost gets to feel the cold, hunger and pain the crew experienced while trying to survive Antarctica and return to civilization. it's amazing that anyone survived this ordeal let alone all of them. Sadly, many creatures and peaceful animals paid the price for mans survival. The details often are so descriptive and redundant due to the scope of the story, that it sometimes becomes repetitive and familiar. This is because of the constant distress and horrible conditions the crew experienced for such a long time. It's a well documented and exciting story with a bit of a history lesson that really held my interest. It's a popular book that is deserving of its high ratings. 21 people found this helpful

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George E. Dawson
A REMARKABLE TALE OF SURVIVAL, SUPERBLY TOLD.

5.0 out of 5 stars A REMARKABLE TALE OF SURVIVAL, SUPERBLY TOLD. Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2017 Verified Purchase "There can be little doubt that Shackleton, in his way, was an extraordinary leader of men." (p. 11).

There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be able to endure even one, the best, day of the unimaginable hardships that the men of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Exposition (1914-17) -- under the leadership of Sir Ernest Shackleton -- struggled with for more than 400 days. They endured and survived some of the most incredible, unbelievable, conditions ever experienced; and Alfred Lansing captures the urgency, the deprivation, and the desperation, with spellbinding storytelling.

Recommendation: Best adventure story, ever. Should be read by all, especially those of high school age.

"In all the world there is no desolation more complete than the polar night. It is a return to the Ice Age -- no warmth, no life, no movement." (p. 46).

Basic Books. Kindle Edition, 268 pages. 16 people found this helpful

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Dataman
A Riveting True Story of Adventure, Survival and Hope

5.0 out of 5 stars A Riveting True Story of Adventure, Survival and Hope Reviewed in the United States on September 25, 2014 Verified Purchase In 1914 Sir Ernest Shackleton set out on an expedition to make the first land crossing of the barren Antarctic continent from the east to the west coast. The expedition failed to accomplish its objective, but became recognized instead as an amazing feat of endurance. Shackleton and a crew of 27 (plus one stowaway) first headed to the Weddell Sea on the ship Endurance. Their ship was trapped by pack ice short of their destination and eventually crushed. Forced to abandon ship, the men were trapped on ice floes for months while they drifted north. Once they were far enough north that the ice thinned somewhat, they were forced to journey in lifeboats they'd dragged off the ship. After six terrible days, they made it to uninhabited Elephant Island; from there Shackleton and five other men set off in an open 22-foot boat on an incredible 800-mile voyage across the notoriously tempestuous Drake Passage to South Georgia Island, where they hiked across the island's mountain range to reach a whaling camp. From there, they returned in a ship to rescue the men left behind on Elephant Island.

That these men were able to survive in the harsh, barren conditions of Antarctica, where temperatures frequently fell below zero is amazing. It's nearly unimaginable that these men could survive for almost two years, their lives marked by a seemingly endless stretch of misery, suffering, and boredom, not to mention the threat of starvation. At every turn, their situation seems to go from bad to worse. If this were a work of fiction, one would be inclined to claim the story was simply too far-fetched. But Endurance isn't just a tale of misery, it is a vivid description of their journey, the dangers they faced, and the obstacles they overcame. Through all of this, Shackleton has never lost a man.

Alfred Lansing's book, written in 1958 from interviews and journals of the survivors, is now back in print. It's a riveting tale of adventure, survival and hope. It is also a rare historical, non-fiction book that is as exciting as any novel. I've read a number of stories of survival and would rate this as the best of all I have read. This is one of the great adventure stories of our time. Don't miss it. Read more 45 people found this helpful

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Sam
I recommend this book to add to the collection of those ...

5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book to add to the collection of those ... Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2015 Verified Purchase What a page turner. Lansing is a master for the description of those explorers hardships, desire to follow Shacketon' orders. I kept saying to myself that there are few humans today that are as tough as those men. I recommend this book to add to the collection of those books that give us the knowledge of what it takes to conquer a goal. 51 people found this helpful

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S. Cherkas
By far one of the best books I've ever read, & I've read many!

5.0 out of 5 stars By far one of the best books I've ever read, & I've read many! Reviewed in the United States on January 30, 2019 Verified Purchase I just finished reading 2 of Grann's books - Lost City of Z & The White Darkness. The latter is the story of Henry Worsley, the grandson of Frank Worsley one of the "extraordinary" men in Lansing's Endurance. Grann suggested Endurance as a worthy read. Sir Earnest Shackleton & Frank Worsley were two of some 20 men who incredibly survived a journey to Antarctica that went awry from almost its onset. Two years later all hands were rescued through the extraordinary will of the men who found themselves at the mercy of the elements. Lansing's research & grasp of the situation in which these men found themselves in conjunction with his writing style has put this book at the top of my all time favorites! Fabulous! Fabulous! Anyone 12 or older will be blown away by this true story & this writer! 4 people found this helpful

[Aug 24, 2020] The link between political instability and inequality

Aug 24, 2020 | peakoilbarrel.com

Schinzy Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 9:21 AM

Modelling political instability is the subject of cliodynamcs, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliodynamics . The graph on that page seems to link political instability with inequality. My suspicion is that it is also linked to scarcity.

[Aug 01, 2020] Black Lives Matter- An Immodest Suggestion -

Aug 01, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by MN Gordon via EconomicPrism.com,

Where will America's productivity miracle come from?

Public education is not teaching students what they need to know to compete in the global economy.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, math scores of U.S. students rank 30th in the world. The East Asian peers of today's American students will eat their lunch in the growth industries of tomorrow.

Here's where Black Lives Matter has a real opportunity.

The protests. The riots. The calls for reparation payments. Social justice wealth transfers. White privilege taxes. All the nonsense. Where's the strategy? Where's the long-range 'strategery'?

No doubt, those selling BLM T-shirts in Walmart parking lots are exercising gumption. But it's not gonna cut it. Moreover, like bingo winnings, reparation payments will be quickly squandered while the unhappiness remains.

And as far as we can tell the BLM movement is empty of ideas and without direction.

lay_arrow

chubbar , 14 minutes ago

"If BLM was strategic"?????? Holy ****, if they were strategic they'd be making damn sure that testing, like SAT scores, were no longer accepted as proof of accomplishment or learning. Oh, wait?.......

Let's all agree, blacks don't want a "head to head" test, EVER.

I don't give a crap what they say, they don't want to be judged on MERIT, they love the skin color test. That way they can always claim racism instead of ability.

libtears , 40 minutes ago

The BLM Movement is definitely empty of ideas and clear leadership. Their supposed goals are all over the map from day to day. They are rudderless mobs of filthy vagrants and criminal elements make up most of their movement.

What's going on which is credited to BLM has nothing to do with black people for the most part. Commies have co-opted this movement and are engaging in anarchy to take down the system of government. They will do whatever they want at all costs because they believe they have the moral high ground. They are radicals just like people call them.

The best thing that could happen is for these loser mayors and governors to enforce the law against these mobs of filthy scum.

How can you even reason with a mob of idiots that don't even have one, if not a hierarchy of leadership and clear goals that they agree upon?

These people are taking a page out of the Bolshevik book on revolution. And they're much weaker than the Bolsheviks, mentally and physically. One good thump on the head and these b!tches are crying.

The longer the public allows teaching institutions to promote BLM the worse this sh!t is going to get.

...

JaxPavan , 42 minutes ago

The Ford Foundation gave BLM $100 million to engage in terrorism. Who do you think bought all those ultra high end looting vehicles?

quanttech , 39 minutes ago

Indeed, the BLM organization is primarily funded by mostly white-run corporations and foundations. The money rules.

HopefulCynical , 22 minutes ago

And WHO is in control of the Ford Foundtion? WHO?!

[Jul 31, 2020] The Consequences of a Very High Level of Inequality Can Be Fatal

After some level inequality is akin to cancel -- it can destroy the society. In a countries with very high level of inequality the government can't rely on loyalty of people. It also leads to the proliferation of "guard labor" in one form or another.
Just think what it means for the USA counterintelligence now. Add to this the collapse of the neoliberal ideology which also does not help to instill the loyalty.
Jul 31, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
The Consequences of Inequality Can Be Fatal Posted on July 30, 2020 by Yves Smith

Yves here. So many of health costs of inequality are obvious, yet most people seem trained to look past them. And Congress fiddles about a new stimulus package, with the odds of getting it back on track soon not looking very good, while Americans have rent and mortgage payments looming.

By Richard D. Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, in New York. Wolff's weekly show, "Economic Update," is syndicated by more than 100 radio stations and goes to 55 million TV receivers via Free Speech TV. His two recent books with Democracy at Work are Understanding Marxism and Understanding Socialism , both available at democracyatwork.info . Produced by Economy for All , a project of the Independent Media Institute

Capitalism, as Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century shows, relentlessly worsens wealth and income inequalities. That inherent tendency is only occasionally stopped or reversed when masses of people rise up against it. That happened, for example, in western Europe and the U.S. during the 1930s Great Depression. It prompted social democracy in Europe and the New Deal in the United States. So far in capitalism's history, however, stoppages or reversals around the world proved temporary. The last half-century witnessed a neoliberal reaction that rolled back both European social democracy and the New Deal. Capitalism has always managed to resume its tendential movement toward greater inequality.

Among the consequences of a system with such a tendency, many are awful. We are living through one now as the COVID-19 pandemic, inadequately contained by the U.S. system, savages Americans of middle and lower incomes and wealth markedly more than the rich.

The rich buy better health care and diets, second homes away from crowded cities, better connections to get government bailouts, and so on. Many of the poor are homeless. Tasteless advice to "shelter at home" is, for them, absurd. Low-income people are often crowded into the kinds of dense housing and dense working conditions that facilitate infection. Poor residents of low-cost nursing homes die disproportionally, as do prison inmates (mostly poor). Pandemic capitalism distributes death in inverse proportion to wealth and income.

Social distancing has destroyed especially low-wage service sector jobs. Rarely did top executives lose their positions, and when they did, they found others. The result is a widened gap between high salaries for some and low or no wages for many. Unemployment invites employers to lower wages for the still employed because they can. Pandemic capitalism has provoked a massive increase in money-creation by central banks. That money fuels rising stock markets and thereby enriches the rich who own most shares. The coincidence of rising stock markets and mass unemployment plus falling wages only adds momentum to worsening inequality.

Unequal economic distributions (of income and wealth) finance unequal political outcomes. Whenever a small minority enjoys concentrated wealth within a society committed to universal suffrage, the rich quickly understand their vulnerability. The non-wealthy majority can use universal suffrage to prevail politically. The majority's political power could then undo the results of the economy including its unequal distribution of income and wealth. The rich corrupt politics with their money to prevent exactly that outcome. Capitalists spend part of their wealth to preserve (and enlarge) all of their wealth.

The rich and those eager to join them in the U.S. dominate within both Republican and Democratic parties. The rich provide most of the donations that sustain candidates and parties, the funding for armies of lobbyists "advising" legislators, the bribes, and many issue-oriented public campaigns. The laws and regulations that flow from Washington, states, and cities reflect the needs and desires of the rich far more than those of the rest of us. The peculiar structure of U.S. property taxes offers an example. In the U.S., property is divided into two kinds: tangible and intangible. Tangible property includes land, buildings, business inventories, automobiles, etc. Intangible property is mostly stocks and bonds. Rich people hold most of their wealth in the form of intangible property. It is thus remarkable that in the U.S., only tangible property is subject to property tax. Intangible property is not subject to any property tax.

The kinds of property (tangible) that many people own get taxed, but the kinds of property (intangible) mostly owned by the richest minority do not get taxed. If you own a house rented to tenants, you pay a property tax to the municipality where the house is located. You also pay an income tax on the received rents to the federal government and likely also the state government where you live. You are thus taxed twice: once on the value of the property you own and once on the income you derive from that property. If you sell a $100,000 house and then buy $100,000 worth of shares, you will owe no property taxes to any level of government in the United States. You will only owe income tax on dividends paid to you on the shares you own. The form of property you own determines whether you pay property tax or not.

This property tax system is excellent for those rich enough to buy significant amounts of shares. The rich used their wealth to get tax laws written that way for them. The rest of us pay more in taxes because the rich pay less. Because the rich save money -- since their intangible property is not taxed -- they have that much more to buy the politicians who secure such a tax system for them. And that tax system worsens inequality of wealth and income.

Unequal economic distributions finance unequal cultural outcomes. For example, the goal of a unifying, democratizing public school system has always been subverted by economic inequality. In general (with few exceptions), the better schools cost more to attend. The tutors needed to help struggling students are affordable for the rich but less so for everyone else. The children of the wealthy get the private schools, books, quiet rooms, computers, educational trips, extra art and music lessons, and virtually everything else needed for higher educational achievement.

Unequal economic distributions finance unequal "natural" outcomes. The U.S. now displays two differently priced foods. Rich people can afford "organic" while the rest of us worry but still buy "conventional" food for budget reasons. Countless studies indicate the dangers of herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, food processing methods, and additives. Nonetheless, the two-price food system delivers the better, safer food more to the rich than to everyone else. Likewise, the rich buy the safer automobiles, more safely equip their homes, and clean and filter the water they drink and the air they breathe. No wonder the rich live years longer on average than other people. Inequality is often fatal, not just during pandemics.

In ancient Greece, Plato and Aristotle worried about and discussed the threat to community, to social cohesion, posed by inequalities of wealth and income. They criticized markets as institutions because, in their view, markets facilitated and aggravated income and wealth inequalities. But modern capitalism sanctifies markets and has thus conveniently forgotten Plato's and Aristotle's cautions and warnings about markets and inequality.

The thousands of years since Plato and Aristotle have seen countless critiques, reforms, and revolutions directed against wealth and income inequalities. They have rarely succeeded and have even more rarely persisted. Pessimists have responded, as the Bible does, with the notion that "the poor shall always be with us." We rather ask the question: Why did so many heroic efforts at equality fail?

The answer concerns the economic system, and how it organizes the people who work to produce and distribute the goods and services societies depend on. If its economic organization splits participants into a small rich minority and a large non-rich majority, the former will likely be determined to reproduce that organization over time. Slavery (master versus slave) did; feudalism (lord versus serf) did; and capitalism (employer versus employee) does. Inequality in the economy is a root cause contributing to society-wide inequalities.

We might then infer that an alternative economic system based on a democratically organized community producing goods and services -- not split into a dominant minority and a subordinate majority -- might finally end social inequality.


Ignacio , July 30, 2020 at 10:16 am

Wow! I just can say this is very well pointed and that It must be understood we cannot expect empathy from the well off. Even if some are empathic by nature they just cannot see what's really happening given how wide is the rift.

rob , July 30, 2020 at 10:39 am

inequality is a state of nature. blame god .right.
but here in this humanistic creation, we ought not institutionalize inequality.
That is one of the big points of monetary reform.
The current federal reserve system and the banking system ,having control of the "money creation" of this country, PROMOTES wealth inequality.
The nationalization of the fed, and the ending of banks creating money; is the main essence of monetary reform. The people who have been trying to discuss the world with a different ,more equal access to the fiat created "for the people to use, for the economy to function",point to the growth of inequality by the nature of how the system currently is structured. They point to how our money is created and by whom.They point to who gets "the debt"
Some people try to dismiss the 100 year history of the fed promoting inequality as a bug . but how can someone not see it is a feature, The monetary system we have now was created by an act of law. It would be unconstitutional ,if not for the federal reserve act. Allowing the banks to create money.Instead of the congress..as the constitution explicitly stated.
But now, we are no longer a fledgling republic.
The world accepted our fiat, as created by bankers now we ought to create our own money and retire our national debt.Heal ourselves, to lead forward in the future. Time to write a new law .
https://www.congress.gov/bill/112-thcongress/house-bill/2990/text

Anonymous , July 30, 2020 at 10:53 am

Pessimists have responded, as the Bible does, with the notion that "the poor shall always be with us."

The Bible does not say that, it says:

However, there will be no poor among you , since the Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, if only you listen obediently to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today. Deuteronomy 15:4 [bold added]

But just a few verses later:

For the poor will never cease to be in the land ; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.' Deuteronomy 15:11 [bold added]

Taken together, these verses are not about the inevitability of poverty but the inevitability of poverty from DISOBEDIENCE to what is being commanded – especially, i suppose, wrt economic justice.

So though we might never completely eliminate poverty, it can certainly be reduced to the extent we are willing to obey – per the Bible.

And as anyone who has read the Old Testament should know, the US is far from obedience wrt economic justice (e.g. Deuteronomy 23:19-20, e.g. Leviticus 25).

Alternate Delegate , July 30, 2020 at 3:39 pm

Yes the Bible most certainly does say that.

Mark 14:7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

Matthew 26:11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

Anonymous , July 30, 2020 at 4:43 pm

Those statements are indictments of injustice, not excuses for poverty (cf. Deuteronomy 15:4).

TomDority , July 30, 2020 at 1:27 pm

"If you own a house rented to tenants, you pay a property tax to the municipality where the house is located."
the above means that you are already up the income ladder enough to not qualify as being low income _ most of the country is low income since the word Low is comparative – it is comparative to the cost of living –
So the above property tax is paid by the tenant – the carry costs by the tenant and the profit – by the tenant.
So the rent is a high cost of living due to the bidding up or asset inflation that most "investment goes into today"
A key way to reduce inequality is through a tax system that penalizes activities that tend to raise the cost of living – tax heavier the investments that inflate asset prices (assets are things already created).
Taxing something is to put a burden upon an activity
Why we tax labor so much – who knows

Michael Fiorillo , July 30, 2020 at 4:43 pm

The Great Depression of the 1930's prompted social democracy in Europe?

The professor skipped an episode or two there, no?

Susan the other , July 30, 2020 at 2:59 pm

When it comes to the value of money everything is skewed. If Picketty were analyzing money as merely a medium of exchange and not a store of wealth he'd have much less inequity. When the value of money is considered in on-the-ground finance operations "lost opportunity" is considered into the interest rate. Lost opportunity is totally ignored on a human level. You'd think that money itself was a person.

[Jul 30, 2020] Building an Inclusive Post-Pandemic American Workforce by Michele Steeb Michele Steeb

Jul 30, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

>

ll eyes are on the declining number of unemployed. The May and June jobs reports chronicle the reabsorption of 5.3 million who lost their jobs in the COVID-19 pandemic. Twelve million jobs to go to reach pre-pandemic employment.

Yet prior to the pandemic, there were 18 million Americans missing from the economy. These persons were neither employed nor seeking employment -- nor retirees, students or in-home caregivers -- and therefore were excluded from the Bureau of Labor Statistics count of the workforce. In order that America emerge from the pandemic stronger than before, a concerted initiative by federal and state governments to move them back into the economy -- using existing resources -- must begin now.

...

Research on the social determinants of health finds that employment has a very strong correlation with positive health outcomes. To exist as a non-participant in the economy is thus an invitation to dire health outcomes including premature death.

What's more, these individuals are needed as contributors to our national commonweal, fueling increased economic and social progress. And people engaged in productive activities are much less likely to engage in negative and destructive behaviors.

... The USDA's food stamp program has a robustly funded, though underutilized, employment and training grant. States use the excuse of USDA's partial match requirement as a reason to opt out.

[Jul 14, 2020] To lose 263,000 hostages in less than one year would be a devastating blow to American diplomacy.

Jul 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Jul 13 2020 18:57 utc | 2

Funny how the visa-free map from before the COVID-19 pandemic is roughly equal to the extent of the American Empire itself.

And the loss of foreign students signifies much more than the mere loss of income for the American universities: it also means the loss of grip over the provinces' regional elites.

Most of the foreign students in the USA are sons and daughters of the regional elites. They live the American way of life, get westernized, and go back to their countries (which they will likely rule) with a liberal ideology ingrained in their minds. They are the rough equivalent to what the hostage was during Antiquity. To lose 263,000 hostages in less than one year would be a devastating blow to American diplomacy.

Peter AU1 , Jul 13 2020 19:09 utc | 4

vk

One commenter mentioned a brain drain in relation to foreign students no longer coming to America but I guess the brain drain will occur when out of work professors start heading off to other countries like China in search of work.

[Jul 09, 2020] Who belongs to working class and who to manageria class

I think the difference is owning of stock. If a person owns anough money to maintin the current standard of living without employment this person belong to upper middle class.
In this sense Steven Johnson comment are bunk.
Jul 09, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Chetan Murthy 07.06.20 at 6:45 am (
48
)

likbez @ 39:

Without working class votes they can't win. And those votes are lost

It's helpful that you told us who you were, in so few words. The Dems didn't lose working-class votes in 2016: the median income of a Hillary voter was less than that of a Trump voter [or maybe it was average? In any case, not much difference.] What the Dems lost, was "white non-college-educated" voters. They retained working class voters of color.

But hey, they don't count as working-class voters to you. Thanks for playing.

MisterMr 07.06.20 at 8:21 am ( 49 )

Two points:

1) White collar are, by definition, working class, because they don't own the means of production. What I see is an opposition between blue collars and white collars, that are two wings of the working class, not that democrats are going against the working class.
For some reason, the main divide in politics today is a sort of culture war, and republicans and other right wing parties managed to present the traditionalist side of the culture war as the "working class" one, and therefore the other side as the evil cosmopolitan prosecco sipping faux leftish but in reality very snobbish one, so that they pretend that they are the working class party because of their traditionalist stance.
But they aren't: already the fact that they blame "cosmopolitans" shows that they think in terms of nationalism (like Trump and his China virus), which is a way to deflect the attention from class conflict.
So comparatively the Dems are still the working class party, and the fact that some working class guys vote for trump sows that they suffer from false consciousness, not that the Dems are too right wing (the dems ARE too right wing, but this isn't the reason some working class guys are voting Trump).

2) Neoliberalism and free markets are not the same thing, and furthermore neoliberalism and capitalism are not the same thing; at most neoliberalism is a form of unadultered capitalism. However since neoliberalism basically means "anti new deal", and new deal economies were still free market and still capitalist (we can call them social democratic, but in this sense social democracy is a form of controlled capitalism), it follows that the most economically succesful form of capitalism and free markets to date is not neoliberalism.

Orange Watch 07.06.20 at 5:40 pm (
59
)

Chetan Murthy@48:

It's helpful that you told us who you were, in so few words. 43% of the US are non-voters. The median household income of non-voters is less than half of the median income of a Clinton voter (which was higher than the overall US median, albeit by less than the Trump median was). Clinton didn't lose in 2016 because of who voted as much as who didn't ; every serious analysis (and countless centrist screeds) since Trump's installation has told us that. Losing the working class doesn't require that the Republicans gain them; if the working class drops out, that shifts the electoral playing field further into the favor of politics who cater to the remaining voting blocks. Democrats playing Republican-lite while mouthing pieties about how they're totally not the party of the rich will always fare worse in that field than Republicans playing Republicans while mouthing pieties about how they ARE the party of the rich, but also of giving everyone a chance to make themselves rich. I know it's been de rigour for both Dems and the GOP to ignore the first half of Clinton's deplorable quote, but it truly was just as important as the half both sides freely remember. The Democrats have become a party of C-suite diversity, and they have abandoned the working class. And when their best pick for President's plenty bold plan for solving police violence is to encourage LEOs to shoot people in the leg instead of the chest (something that could only be said by a grifter or someone with more knowledge of Hollywood than ballistics or anatomy), the prospect of keeping the non-white portions of the working class from continuing to drop out is looking bleak.

MisterMr@49:

The traditional threading of that needle is to expand class-based analysis to more accurately reflect real-world political and economic behavior. In the past (and in some countries who updated the applicable definitions, still), the most relevant additional class was the petty bourgeoisie; in the modern US, however, the concept of the professional-managerial class is the most useful frame of reference.

MisterMr 07.07.20 at 12:06 pm (
76
)

Orange Watch 59

"The traditional threading of that needle is to expand class-based analysis to more accurately reflect real-world political and economic behavior. In the past (and in some countries who updated the applicable definitions, still), the most relevant additional class was the petty bourgeoisie; in the modern US, however, the concept of the professional-managerial class is the most useful frame of reference."

Sure, but one has to adopt a logicwhen building "class" groups. One relrvant dimension is educational attainment, which is IMHO where the "professional-managerial" class comes from.
But, not everyone with a degree is a manager, and "professional" normally implies a level of income that is higher that that of an average rank and file white collar.

So the question is whether this "new class" is really managers, or just white collar workers who work in services instead than in industrial production.
Furthermore, as technology increases, it is natural that a larger share of people will work in services and a smaller share in industry, for the same reason that increased agricultural productivity means less agricultural jobs.

Orange Watch 07.08.20 at 11:01 pm (
105
)

steven t johnson@98:

There are a great many unstated assumptions baked into this comment, but I'll take a shot at a foundational one. You suggest PMC is a distinction without difference vis a vis middle class appears to suggest that you've bought into a commonly accepted "truth" that can't withstand close scrutiny, and your claim that economic status is not a useful distinguisher only further drives it home. What is the cutoff between middle class and rich? I've seen far too many well-educated idiots with professional degrees make ridiculous claims like $150k household income representing a solidly middle-class income. That's in the upper 15% of national incomes, but it's being called middle class. 240% of the national median household income, but it's "middle class". And to pre-empt cost-of-living arguments, it's 175% of the median household income in Manhattan. So when you say PMC is not a useful concept, and that income is not a useful class distinction, I need to ask you where you draw your lines, or if you're asserting that class has no economic aspect at all. If you're arguing that households in the upper quintile and bottom quintile don't have different concerns, outlooks, values, and lifestyles – that someone in either could be working class or middle class (but I assume not upper class? Arguments like what yours appears to be typically don't start the upper class anywhere below the 1% ) is hard to treat as serious. If that is an assertion you'd stand by, what that tells me is that you're using private definitions of working and middle class, and they're essentially unintelligible.

Gorgonzola Petrovna 07.09.20 at 10:13 am (
113
)

@MisterMr
White collar are, by definition, working class, because they don't own the means of production

That's not the definition. For example: despite not owning any means of production, lumpenproletariat is not part of the working class.

What I see is an opposition between blue collars and white collars, that are two wings of the working class

If this is the way you feel, that's fine. It is, however, a controversial view. An alternative (and quite convincing, imo) view is that "white collars" belong to the 'professional-managerial class', with entirely different interests.

Anyhow, a bourgeois democracy (aka 'dictatorship of the bourgeoisie') does not and can not represent interests of the working class; this is indeed "by definition". Any benefits encountered by the working class are coincidental.

And in the current circumstance, the struggle between the remains of domestic bourgeoisie and global finance capitalism, the former faction is definitely – obviously – better aligned with interests of the domestic working class.

Orange Watch 07.08.20 at 11:01 pm (no link)

steven t johnson@98:

There are a great many unstated assumptions baked into this comment, but I'll take a shot at a foundational one. You suggest PMC is a distinction without difference vis a vis middle class appears to suggest that you've bought into a commonly accepted "truth" that can't withstand close scrutiny, and your claim that economic status is not a useful distinguisher only further drives it home. What is the cutoff between middle class and rich? I've seen far too many well-educated idiots with professional degrees make ridiculous claims like $150k household income representing a solidly middle-class income. That's in the upper 15% of national incomes, but it's being called middle class. 240% of the national median household income, but it's "middle class". And to pre-empt cost-of-living arguments, it's 175% of the median household income in Manhattan. So when you say PMC is not a useful concept, and that income is not a useful class distinction, I need to ask you where you draw your lines, or if you're asserting that class has no economic aspect at all. If you're arguing that households in the upper quintile and bottom quintile don't have different concerns, outlooks, values, and lifestyles – that someone in either could be working class or middle class (but I assume not upper class? Arguments like what yours appears to be typically don't start the upper class anywhere below the 1% ) is hard to treat as serious. If that is an assertion you'd stand by, what that tells me is that you're using private definitions of working and middle class, and they're essentially unintelligible.

[Jul 04, 2020] Low-Income American Households Suffer Inflation Shock From Virus

Notable quotes:
"... "In a period of protest and increasing anger about inequality, the differential inflation rate experienced by low- and high-income households is a concern," said Bloomberg Economics' Björn van Roye and Tom Orlik. ..."
Jul 04, 2020 | www.bloomberg.com

The coronavirus is inflicting a price shock on low income Americans that risks further driving up inequality.

In a study released this week, Bloomberg Economics estimated higher grocery and housing costs for lockdown necessities meant those households whose incomes are in the bottom 10% currently face inflation of 1.5% compared with 1.0% for the top 10% and the official 0.1% overall average recorded in May.

Recalculating Inflation

'Have nots' suffered disproportionately as virus changed buying patterns

https://www.bloomberg.com

Sources: Bloomberg Economics, BLS, https://opportunityinsights.org

Note: Inflation for the lowest (highest) 10% takes the alternative CPI basket for the lowest (highest) decile of household income before taxes from the 2018 Consumer Expenditure Survey

The explanation for the difference lies in how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed consumption patterns by forcing households to buy more food while spending less on transportation or recreational activities.

"In a period of protest and increasing anger about inequality, the differential inflation rate experienced by low- and high-income households is a concern," said Bloomberg Economics' Björn van Roye and Tom Orlik.

The suggestion the virus is less disinflationary than many economists believe poses a challenge for the Federal Reserve which is eyeing a slower inflation rate than that experienced by lower earners, who are instead facing a steady erosion of their purchasing power.

"Taken together with concerns about central banks bailing out investors ahead of firms and workers, and the benefits rich, asset-owning households gain from quantitative easing, it adds to the sense that central banks are unintentional contributors to the problem of inequality," van Roye and Orlik said.

[Jul 03, 2020] Is math unjust and grounded in discrimination ? Sometimes I wonder if the world is some kind of sitcom for aliens

Notable quotes:
"... This lady is sitting there lying trying to prove a point. I have been in enough arguments to kow when someone is just arguing to keep the discussion going ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.youtube.com

John Smith , 7 months ago

Crazy lady: Math is discriminatory!

Mia Light , 8 months ago (edited)

Sometimes I wonder if the world is some kind of sitcom for aliens.

Johnny West , 7 months ago

Comprehending mathematics requires IQ ! Not equality. Lord, this woman lives in a rabbit hole.

Ruttigorn Logsdon , 7 months ago

And son that's how America became a third world country over night!

L0nN13 , 8 months ago

The bottom line is, they want to take away any problem solving skills that might build character, because someone might get hurt! Victimhood culture run amuck.

Sal Pacheco , 8 months ago

Mathematics is the cornerstone of all forms of trade, communications, home economics and every other aspect of life. Truth is they're dumbing everyone down to control populations!

Oprah and Michael Jordan are black billionaires , 4 days ago

As a black American, this is so ignorant and offensive to me

Jewel Heart , 7 months ago

The brilliant NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson just proves what a load of bx this latest rubbish is.

Mach 1 , 2 years ago

I have Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering and I'm 62-years old. I have never once cared about the history of mathematics, other than a curiosity. Knowing the history of mathematics never helped me once to solve an ordinary second order differential equation.

Aric Lyles , 8 months ago

When a person lies while giving an interview they should be shocked or something. This lady is sitting there lying trying to prove a point. I have been in enough arguments to kow when someone is just arguing to keep the discussion going. She has already lost the argument deflected and differed responsibility when confronted with the legitimacy of the paper.

Go exercise healthy body makes a healthy mind not the other way around.

[Jul 01, 2020] The Sack Prof Priyamvada Gopal (the Cambridge Race Troll ) Petition is down

Cue bono? Not black people (actually she is an Indian, which until recently was a caste society). Is she a victim of "affirmative action" policy and occupies a position for which there are more worthy academically candidates. University is not sinecure, at least it should not be.
How good is she as an academic? Is she mentally stable?
The decision of Cambridge University to promote her after such an idiotic tweet creates several additional questions.
Jul 01, 2020 | www.reddit.com

https://www.change.org/p/cambridge-university-fire-cambridge-professor-for-racism

Petition against Prof Priyamvada Gopal now off line. Additionally I noticed earlier today that the comments given on the site voicing why they were signing had all been removed, but not on other petitions. As of yesterday evening these comments were peaceful, and not personal, just things like 'because it is racist' and 'do I even need to give a reason'?

The petition had nearly 25,000 signed supporters earlier today, and new signings were flooding in at over 1/sec when I checked.

In addition in an affront to common decency the University/College promoted her whilst they had stated earlier they were aware of the controversial nature of her tweets.

Her original tweet was deleted by Twitter as a breach of community guidelines. She also reports that, in spite of senselessly provoking people at a delicate time with racist tweets, that the extremely racist responses she got from some far right people was being looked at by the Police.

All in all this establishes a systematic problem. Being deliberately vague means you cannot use context as a defence, and the context of all her tweets shows some extreme patterns of thinking against certain groups that casts very considerable doubts on the validity of such a defense. Moreover, context hasn't been a defence when others have been prosecuted for far less. Nobody, including Cambridge academics, should be above the law.

To those people that think that what she said was justified because she was trying to defend BLM from supposed alternative movements, all she in fact did do was to achieve the opposite of that.

If one wishes to convey complex ideas a teacher of English in her position *must know* that this requires a long form medium to provide argumentation, and that Twitter is no such place to do it due to its character count. But taking in all the other comments she has made, its very clear the double standards and overall bias that really does amount to overt prejudice.

At the very least she is so contradictory, immature and incompetent as to make a mockery of her college and for that reason at minimum, she should lose her job. I'm sorry to say that as well.

But something about this whole episode feels like a jumping the shark moment. I don't think this is going away all that easily.

[Jun 30, 2020] Older Workers Targeted in Trump's Lawsuit to End Obamacare by DEAN BAKER

Notable quotes:
"... This would be bad news for anyone with a serious health condition, but it would be especially bad news for the oldest pre-Medicare age group, people between the ages of 55 and 64. This group currently faces average premiums of close to $10,000 a year per person for insurance purchased through the ACA exchanges. Insurers could easily charge people with serious health conditions two or three times this amount if the Trump administration wins its case. ..."
"... The 55 to 64 age group will also be hard hit because they are far more likely to have serious health issues than younger people. Just 18 percent of the people in the youngest 18 to 34 age group have a serious health condition, compared to 44 percent of those in the 55 to 64 age group, as shown in the figure above. ..."
Jun 30, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

Anne , June 30, 2020 12:49 pm

https://cepr.net/older-workers-targeted-in-trumps-lawsuit-to-end-obamacare/

June 30, 2020

Older Workers Targeted in Trump's Lawsuit to End Obamacare
By DEAN BAKER

The Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit which seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety. The implication is that a large share of the older workers now able to afford health insurance as a result of the ACA will no longer be able to afford it if the Trump administration wins its lawsuit.

Furthermore, if the suit succeeds it will both end the expansion of Medicaid, which has insured tens of millions of people, and again allow discrimination against people with serious health conditions. Ending this discrimination was one of the major goals of the ACA. The issue is that insurers don't want to insure people who are likely to have health issues that cost them money. While they are happy to insure healthy people with few medical expenses, people with heart disease, diabetes, or other health conditions are a bad deal for insurers.

Before the ACA, insurers could charge outlandish fees to cover people with health conditions, or simply refuse to insure them altogether. The ACA required insurers to cover everyone within an age bracket at the same price, regardless of their health. If the Trump administration has its way, we would go back to the world where insurers could charge people with health issues whatever they wanted, or alternatively, just deny them coverage.

This would be bad news for anyone with a serious health condition, but it would be especially bad news for the oldest pre-Medicare age group, people between the ages of 55 and 64. This group currently faces average premiums of close to $10,000 a year per person for insurance purchased through the ACA exchanges. Insurers could easily charge people with serious health conditions two or three times this amount if the Trump administration wins its case.

And, since a Trump victory would eliminate the ACA subsidiaries, people in this age group with health conditions could be looking to pay $20,000 to $30,000 a year for insurance, with no help from the government. That will be especially hard since many people with serious health conditions are unable to work full-time jobs, and some can't work at all.
[Graph]

The 55 to 64 age group will also be hard hit because they are far more likely to have serious health issues than younger people. Just 18 percent of the people in the youngest 18 to 34 age group have a serious health condition, compared to 44 percent of those in the 55 to 64 age group, as shown in the figure above.

The ACA has many inadequacies, but it has allowed tens of millions to get insurance who could not otherwise. Donald Trump wants to take this insurance away.

[Jun 20, 2020] Colleges will have a lot of trouble this fall

Another issue with all types of education is that lots of students, especially foreign students, depend very heavily on restarats temp jobs and casual hospitality work.
Jun 20, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

4. Colleges will have a lot of trouble this fall . First, they are losing nearly all their full-freight-paying Chinese students, between concern over US Covid-19 risks, Administration hostility, and travel restrictions. That alone is a big blow.

On top of that, some are planning to reopen but MIT's announcement yesterday, that it will not allow all students to return to campus, probably represents a new normal. Well-placed MIT alumni read the university's decision as driven significantly by a desire to protect faculty and staff; I hear from sources with contacts at other universities that administrators that they see no way to put kids in dorms without running unacceptably high Covid risks.

Remember, even though kids almost never die of Covid-19, but there is a risk of serious damage. 1/2 the asymptomatic cases on the Diamond Princess now show abnormal lungs. And remember those cruises have half the people on board as crew, and the crew skews young. College is a lot less appealing if you don't stay in a dorm.

Just as diminished activity in central business districts has negative knock-on effects to nearby business, so to do hollowed-out colleges and universities have for their communities, as described in more depth in a recent Bloomberg story .

Krystyn Podgajski , June 18, 2020 at 7:52 am

The coming college semester is a big question mark. The influx of students is entangled with real estate, shopping and the biggest in my town, restaurants and bars. Not to mention the college sports season which supported so many AirBnB's here.

They are starting the year early here (UNC Chapel Hill) and ending it early as well, on Thanksgiving! And up to 1000 new students will be learning from home instead of coming to campus.

Vastydeep , June 18, 2020 at 11:30 am

Big question mark -- MIT's president Reif yesterday noted that

"At least for the fall, we can only bring some of our undergraduates back to campus." and "Everything that can be taught effectively online will be taught online."

Courses are comparatively easy, but labs, research, and sports look doubtful if/when case counts start marching up again.

[Jun 18, 2020] Cornell Law Prof Says There's a Coordinated Effort To Have Him Fired After He Criticized Black Lives Matter

Highly recommended!
This is a typical hunt on dissidents
Jun 12, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Recall, it was just days ago that we pointed out Cornell professor and friend of Zero Hedge Dave Collum was publicly shamed by Cornell for daring to express the "wrong" opinion about current events on social media. Now, there's a second Cornell professor coming under fire for his critique of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson has challenged any student or faculty member to a public debate about the Black Lives Matter movement after he says liberals on campus have launched a "coordinated effort" to have him fired from his job. At least 15 emails from alumni have been sent to the dean, demanding that action be taken, according to Fox News .

"There is an effort underway to get me fired at Cornell Law School, where I've worked since November 2007, or if not fired, at least denounced publicly by the school," Jacobson wrote on Thursday . "I condemn in the strongest terms any insinuation that I am racist."

Jacobson founded the website Legal Insurrection and says he's had an "awkward relationship" with the university for years as a result. The recent outrage comes as a result of two posts he recently made on his site:

"Those posts accurately detail the history of how the Black Lives Matters Movement started, and the agenda of the founders which is playing out in the cultural purge and rioting taking place now," Jacobson said.

Jacobson (Source: Jacobson's Blog, Legal Insurrection )

He recently wrote on his blog: "Living as a conservative on a liberal campus is like being the mouse waiting for the cat to pounce. For over 12 years, the Cornell cat did not pounce. Though there were frequent and aggressive attempts by outsiders to get me fired, including threats and harassment, it always came from off campus."

"Not until now, to the best of my knowledge, has there been an effort from inside the Cornell community to get me fired," he says.

"The effort appears coordinated, as some of the emails were in a template form. All of the emails as of Monday were from graduates within the past 10 years," he continued. Jacobson's "clinical faculty colleagues, apparently in consultation with the Black Law Students Association" drafted and published a letter denouncing 'commentators, some of them attached to Ivy League Institutions, who are leading a smear campaign against Black Lives Matter.'"

Cornell responded , backhandedly defending the Professor's right to his own opinion:

"...the Law School's commitment to academic freedom does not constitute endorsement or approval of individual faculty speech. But to take disciplinary action against him for the views he has expressed would fatally pit our values against one another in ways that would corrode our ability to operate as an academic institution."

"This is not just about me. It's about the intellectual freedom and vibrancy of Cornell and other higher education institutions, and the society at large. Open inquiry and debate are core features of a vibrant intellectual community," he stated.

"I challenge a representative of those student groups and a faculty member of their choosing to a public debate at the law school regarding the Black Lives Matter Movement, so that I can present my argument and confront the false allegations in real-time rather than having to respond to baseless community email blasts."

"I condemn in the strongest terms any insinuation that I am racist, and I greatly resent any attempt to leverage meritless accusations in hopes of causing me reputational harm. While such efforts might succeed in scaring others in a similar position, I will not be intimidated," Jacobson concluded.

[Jun 16, 2020] "That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." by George Carlin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Old saying: A Recession is when your neighbor loses their Job. A Depression is when you lose your Job. ..."
"... A lot of mega wealthy people are cheats. They get insider info, they don't pay people and do all they can to provide the least amount of value possible while tricking suckers into buying their crap. Don't even get me started on trust fund brats who come out of the womb thinking they are Warren buffet level genius in business. ..."
"... There's a documentary about Wal-Mart that has the best title ever: The High Cost of Low Cost ..."
"... Globalism killed the American dream. We can buy cheap goods made somewhere else if we have a job here that pays us enough money. ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Dave C , 4 days ago

"That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." -George Carlin

Robert Schupp , 4 days ago

You can't just move to American cities to pursue opportunity; even the high wages paid in New York are rendered unhelpful because the cost of housing is so high.


Dingo Jones
, 3 days ago

@JOHN GAGLIANO Cost of living is ridiculous too.

Dirtysparkles , 4 days ago

Our country has become the American Nightmare

Jean-Pierre S , 4 days ago

Martin Luther King, Jr. was vilified and ultimately murdered when he was helping organize a Poor People's Campaign. Racial justice means economic justice.

John Sanders , 3 days ago

Old saying: A Recession is when your neighbor loses their Job. A Depression is when you lose your Job.

Adriano de Jesus , 4 days ago

A lot of mega wealthy people are cheats. They get insider info, they don't pay people and do all they can to provide the least amount of value possible while tricking suckers into buying their crap. Don't even get me started on trust fund brats who come out of the womb thinking they are Warren buffet level genius in business.

Ammon Weser , 4 days ago

There's a documentary about Wal-Mart that has the best title ever: The High Cost of Low Cost

crazyman8472 , 4 days ago

Night Owl: "What the hell happened to us? What happened to the American Dream?"

Comedian: "What happened to the American Dream? It came true! You're looking at it."

-- Watchmen

David Tidwell , 4 days ago

Nailed it. As a millennial, I'm sick of being told to just "deal with it" when the cards have always been stacked against me. Am I surviving? Yes. Am I thriving? No.

D dicin , 4 days ago

When the reserve status of the American dollar goes away, then it will become apparent how poor the US really is. You cannot maintain a country without retention of the ability to manufacture the articles you use on a daily basis. The military budget and all the jobs it brings will have to shrink catastrophically.

farber2 , 4 days ago

American trance. The billionaires hypnotized people with this lie.

Michael D , 4 days ago (edited)

...and sometimes you CAN'T afford to move. You can't find a decent job. You certainly can't build a meaningful savings. You can't find an apartment. And if you have kids? That makes it even harder. I've been trying to move for years, but the conditions have to be perfect to do it responsibly. The American Dream died for me once I realized that no matter the choices I made, my four years of college, my years of saving and working hard....I do NOT have upward mobility. For me, the American Dream is dead. I've been finding a new dream. The human dream.

B Sim , 3 days ago

This is a very truncated view. You need to expand your thinking. WHY has the system been so overtly corrupted? It's globalism that has pushed all this economic pressure on the millennials and the middle class. It was the elites, working with corrupt politicians, that rigged the game so the law benefited them.

This is all reversible. History shows that capitalism can be properly regulated in a way that benefits all. The answer to the problem is to bring back those rules, not implement socialism.

Trump has: