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  #1  
Old 10-25-2011, 11:50 AM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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  #2  
Old 10-25-2011, 12:24 PM
ginger baker ginger baker is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

this should be fun. *cough*
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  #3  
Old 10-25-2011, 12:56 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default RE: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

What's happening in the real world is that poverty is increasing, and much of the middle class is losing ground, while almost all of the new wealth created by all workers is being hoarded by the people at the very top.



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Last edited by TwinSwords; 10-25-2011 at 01:02 PM..
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  #4  
Old 10-25-2011, 02:45 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
almost all of the new wealth created by all workers is being hoarded by the people at the very top.
Ahh, good old labor theory of value. Pretty sure this is the root of economic illiteracy.
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  #5  
Old 10-25-2011, 03:24 PM
DWAnderson DWAnderson is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
Ahh, good old labor theory of value. Pretty sure this is the root of economic illiteracy.
It is in close competition with the notion that there is no such thing as government failure.
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  #6  
Old 10-25-2011, 03:27 PM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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It is in close competition with the notion that there is no such thing as government failure.
LOLs.

Like the belief that the market is always right and always produces the most desireable outcome isn't a complete inanity with the exact same structure as a false religious belief.
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  #7  
Old 10-25-2011, 09:09 PM
aajax aajax is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

None of your graphs indicate poverty.

Do any of your graphs include wealth transfers from higher income groups to lower income groups via entitlements?
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  #8  
Old 10-25-2011, 10:25 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by aajax View Post
None of your graphs indicate poverty.
No, they don't, but this has been in the news recently.


Quote:
Originally Posted by aajax View Post
Do any of your graphs include wealth transfers from higher income groups to lower income groups via entitlements?
No. Can you imagine how out of whack things would become if Republicans* had their way and we abolished Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid? Those programs do a great deal to preserve the American way of life as we have understood it for several decades.



*I will note that when we talk about "Republicans" favoring the elimination of the social safety net, we should be clear that we are only talking about the tier of professional Republicans -- politicians, party leaders, pundits, the media arms at Fox News and in AM talk radio, conservative blogs, web sites, magazines, journals, the think tanks and policy planning institutions.

One of the problems for the Republican base -- the actual rank and file membership -- is that the professional tier don't really represent them. The Kevin Williamsons and Glenn Becks are way, way, way to the right of the real GOP rank and file.

Or, to get to the point, most Republican rank and file support the continuation of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, while the overwhelming majority of the professional tier favor their abolition (or reformulation into engines for siphoning wealth into the hands of investment bankers, as with schemes to privatize Social Security).
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  #9  
Old 10-25-2011, 11:29 PM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
One of the problems for the Republican base -- the actual rank and file membership -- is that the professional tier don't really represent them. The Kevin Williamsons and Glenn Becks are way, way, way to the right of the real GOP rank and file.
Once again I refer to our man at TNR, Tim Noah:


http://www.tnr.com/blog/timothy-noah...-message-again
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  #10  
Old 10-25-2011, 11:39 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by miceelf View Post
Once again I refer to our man at TNR, Tim Noah:


http://www.tnr.com/blog/timothy-noah...-message-again
Excellent article.

This fact -- the fact that the rank and file of the GOP is not represented by the leaders of the party -- is the reason that the politics of hate are sooooo important to the GOP. The reason they always cook up social issues -- ACORN, the Wise Latina, the New Black Panthers, black flash mobs, black on white crime, the Ground Zero Mosque, to name but a few -- is because they need to keep the base distracted from the issues of actual importance, and the population divided along various cultural and demographic lines.

This is why the message of the left has always been about the commonality and of all humanity -- black, brown, red, white, yellow, citizen, immigrant, atheist, believer, gay, straight, and so on -- while the messages of the right has always been designed to divide and sow hatred.
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  #11  
Old 10-25-2011, 11:48 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
This is why the message of the left has always been about the commonality and of all humanity -- black, brown, red, white, yellow, citizen, immigrant, atheist, believer, gay, straight, and so on -- while the messages of the right has always been designed to divide and sow hatred.
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  #12  
Old 10-25-2011, 11:53 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
This is why the message of the left has always been about the commonality and of all humanity -- black, brown, red, white, yellow, citizen, immigrant, atheist, believer, gay, straight, and so on -- while the messages of the right has always been designed to divide and sow hatred.
What unbelievably self indulgent twaddle. Maybe you're confusing modern politics with the Lord of the Rings.

Your side seems to do that a lot.
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  #13  
Old 10-26-2011, 10:09 AM
shimmy shimmy is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
This fact -- the fact that the rank and file of the GOP is not represented by the leaders of the party -- is the reason that the politics of hate are sooooo important to the GOP. The reason they always cook up social issues -- ACORN, the Wise Latina, the New Black Panthers, black flash mobs, black on white crime, the Ground Zero Mosque, to name but a few -- is because they need to keep the base distracted from the issues of actual importance, and the population divided along various cultural and demographic lines.

This is why the message of the left has always been about the commonality and of all humanity -- black, brown, red, white, yellow, citizen, immigrant, atheist, believer, gay, straight, and so on -- while the messages of the right has always been designed to divide and sow hatred.
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Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
What unbelievably self indulgent twaddle. Maybe you're confusing modern politics with the Lord of the Rings.

Your side seems to do that a lot.
Oh, Sulla the Dictator. Sulla. The. Dictator. Look at Fox, look at the NYT. Which adopts a more LOTR view of the world? Everyone does it, it's human nature. But it's obvious-seeming to me that the right wing is indeed based substantially more on divisions and black & white thinking. You might as well own up to the fact that right wing thought sees this as the natural and only true state of the material world, and so we should protect ourselves and our kin and countrymen far more than we protect others, and that if we all did this everything would work out for the relatively best, so everyone guard yr grille and get suspicious.

Of course, I agree that there's a lot of truth to that view. But c'mon. This is America. (Which I hear is being overrun by goblins.)
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  #14  
Old 10-26-2011, 06:50 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Oh, Sulla the Dictator. Sulla. The. Dictator. Look at Fox, look at the NYT. Which adopts a more LOTR view of the world?
Sure. And if you compare the Wall Street Journal to MSNBC, the right wing looks like Demosthenes' Athens and the left looks like a silly cartoon. Of course the proper comparison is FOX and MSNBC. And FOX looks a lot better in that comparison.

Quote:
Everyone does it, it's human nature. But it's obvious-seeming to me that the right wing is indeed based substantially more on divisions and black & white thinking.
Do you critically analyze liberal commentary? Ed Shultz makes every single political issue sound like gotterdammerung. Al Sharpton is a measured, rational creature? Rachel Maddow doesn't imply that anything right of left of center is more or less the default position of retarded people?

I think because you like the politics of the left, you're more generous to them.

Quote:

You might as well own up to the fact that right wing thought sees this as the natural and only true state of the material world,
I don't "own up to that". The world is complicated, and the "right wing" view is that it requires mature people capable of making difficult choices. The left's view is that life is complicated, and the only reason anyone needs to make "tough choices" is because they're stupid. Easy choices are the "smart choices". That is why there is no consequence to tax increases. There are no consequences to the welfare state.

I don't think I've ever seen a liberal admit that there is a real cost to any liberal policy proposal. I don't mean price tag, I mean something that is lost by doing it. Liberals are even loathe to admit the cost of social changes, like the consequences of sexual revolution.

Quote:
and so we should protect ourselves and our kin and countrymen far more than we protect others
LOL Are you admitting that the idea of "Americans first" is not operative among the left? I agree.
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  #15  
Old 10-26-2011, 06:58 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
I think because you like the politics of the left, you're more generous to them.
....
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  #16  
Old 10-27-2011, 10:43 AM
shimmy shimmy is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

@SullaTheDictator: Your response to me could use a full counter-response, but suddenly I'm just sort of overwhelmed by sadness. I'm just the kind of liberal you say you've never talked to, who readily admits that liberal policies have opportunity costs attached. I'm always telling my friends that their pat answers aren't good enough. I don't get particularly wet for The Black Panthers. I'd actually be kind of eager to talk to you for real, so that when you laughingly imply that I don't particularly value America, I can say "wait, wait, wait, what?" And then when I say you're defending This Bigoted Power Structure and you need to check yourself, and you get huffy, I can explain what I mean; it's complicated! Unfortunately, whenever someone actually tries to figure out how that is, right wingers jump on anything they can to shut them down, saying it's not really that complicated. I had a big realization recently that it's probably *great fun* to be a movement conservative. You've got tremendous home field advantage. You get to have the juice of being a radical, with the surety that you're defending things "as they obviously really are, just look around you," so to speak. It makes me sad this morning. So, that's it. After my initial response, I knew my rhetoric wasn't good enough. I guess you beat me.

edit:

I apologize for implying that you yourself are a bigot. We all defend This Bigoted Power Structure sometimes. It's important to prioritize checking ourselves in that regard. I probably have a lot less faith than you do that it will work itself out for the better without deliberate action. Also, and I'm sure you agree wholeheartedly here, I believe that general material progress is one of the very prime movers in improving how we treat each other. So I support conservative progressive economic policies. That's a big part of why I like the current president.

I almost never listen to the teevee personalities you mention. They're not that great. And even compared to MSNBC, don't you think FoxNews has an over-the-top siege mentality?

Last edited by shimmy; 10-27-2011 at 11:19 AM..
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  #17  
Old 10-27-2011, 09:35 PM
Winspur Winspur is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

shimmy, don't apologize to him. He will only start jumping up and down and cackle madly about the cowardice of liberals. There is no point in reasoning with trolls like him, and your BHTV experience will be much more positive if you limit yourself to conversing with people who don't live inside Sean Hannity's bowels. Trust me.
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  #18  
Old 10-27-2011, 11:09 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by shimmy View Post
@SullaTheDictator: Your response to me could use a full counter-response, but suddenly I'm just sort of overwhelmed by sadness.
Yours is a heartfelt and honest post and deserves one in kind. I am sad, too. I'm a bootstraps conservative and I'm mostly sad and tired of people who think they know enough about anything to be able to fix it.They (the folks in DC, pundits from think tanks and the like) talk about how they have the right ideas and then go merrily on their way, confident that nothing they have enacted will really affect them at all. And then they nauseatingly speak about the poor and unequal income distribution and the shame of discrimination and imply that if they had the power, they'd fix those things, too.
I just received the second raise to my shitty health care policy.The reason... the Affordable Care Act. I can't tell you how overjoyed I am that this crappy piece of legislation is now going to cost me over $1200 a year with no added benefit to me or anyone else, so it seems. I guess this is what hope and change is all about.

So I don't think that your typical right winger doesn't think things aren't complicated. They would just like people to quit the incessant fixing and fiddling because it usually doesn't do anything but make things worse.

And as far as the guy you support because he's a conservative progressive...I want him to go down. I don't care who the opponent is. I can't stand Obama's smarmy 'I'm so wise and I'm here to help you and make things better' routine. He is the most self involved, hypocritical, lying person who has ever been in the office. He's worse than Bill Clinton.

I think it's fair to say we're, all of us, sad. I'll go now. Nice chatting with/to you.
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  #19  
Old 10-28-2011, 01:02 AM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
I just received the second raise to my shitty health care policy.The reason... the Affordable Care Act. I can't tell you how overjoyed I am that this crappy piece of legislation is now going to cost me over $1200 a year with no added benefit to me or anyone else, so it seems. I guess this is what hope and change is all about.
The legislation is costing me $1600 this year, and my employer another $3500 for me. The reason? The delay in implementation of the small business credit, which would have at worst eliminate the increase in premiums noted above.

Is your raise in premiums directly attributable to the ACA?

Mine is what it historically has been (premiums for my policy have been raising 15-20% a year every year), and like I said, this is without ACA. I know that ACA will have a huge credit for my employer to have a plan for me, and my employer intends to pass a great deal of the savings on to us, but expanading the proportion of our policies they pay for.
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  #20  
Old 10-28-2011, 09:03 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by miceelf View Post
The legislation is costing me $1600 this year, and my employer another $3500 for me. The reason? The delay in implementation of the small business credit, which would have at worst eliminate the increase in premiums noted above.

Is your raise in premiums directly attributable to the ACA?

Mine is what it historically has been (premiums for my policy have been raising 15-20% a year every year), and like I said, this is without ACA. I know that ACA will have a huge credit for my employer to have a plan for me, and my employer intends to pass a great deal of the savings on to us, but expanading the proportion of our policies they pay for.
It's amazing how misinformed people can be. They blame ACA for things that are independent of it, or even because of provisions of ACA which haven't been implemented yet.

Last year, when coverage was extended to adult children regardless of student status and to the age of 26, during a meeting set up to discuss increases in health insurance premiums, the HR person presenting the information said that there have been an increase of covered family members of 500 due to that extension of coverage. She only mentioned this as the reason for the increase. Making some simple math with a calculator during the meeting, it was obvious that adding 500 lives, considering the total number of employees, wouldn't justify the increase at all. So when called on it, the HR person admitted that there were other reasons for the increase. Had she not been called to clarify, people would have left the meeting believing that this ACA provision was the reason for the increased premium.

This year, the State of NJ stopped/limited (I don't know the exact details) providing certain subsidies to patients who have Medicare. These subsidies assisted patients with their prescription copays. So many people come in stating that they have to pay more or can no longer afford their prescriptions because of ACA. How to explain that it is the new governor's policies and not ACA?

Similarly, the state of NJ has privatized the administration of Medicaid services. Now we have managed care companies doing the job. As a result, patients now have limited prescription coverage, many of their regular medications are no longer covered and they have copays for prescriptions which range from very reasonable to very expensive. This has nothing to do with ACA, but rather with the State's decision to privatize. So a portion of Medicaid dollars is now going to stockholders instead of going to Medicaid recipients. But many people don't realize that this has nothing to do with ACA.

Furthermore, because private managed care is outsourced, the company that manages medical care subcontracts the prescription management. The prescription company, in turn, finds ways to get larger profits by limiting medications even if this means that patients will decompensate and end up in the hospital. Of course, in the end, this will cost more, but, the prescription company doesn't care about that. And so it goes.

And people are led to believe that all this is due to ACA, when in fact, it is due to the free market/privatization policies of the current Republican state administration.
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  #21  
Old 10-26-2011, 08:02 PM
jacks_mind jacks_mind is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

I think the poverty discussion is a different one. The graph does refute Williamson's claim that this is some sort of 'statistical anomaly' as he seems to argue here:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articl...n-d-williamson

If the share of wealth or income going to the top x% is increasing:

http://depts.washington.edu/wcpc/sit...ntile_2009.JPG

http://gregonpolitics.files.wordpres...-1922-2007.jpg


It's hard to argue that this some numbers game. Yes there is some economic mobility here in America, but do we really believe that because the top 1% changes every year that this somehow means that it is not a small group of people that are seeing all the gains?

Even using Williamson's own citation (http://www.treasury.gov/resource-cen...3-08revise.pdf) we see that if you are in the top 1% you have an 2 in 5 chance over a decade to still be there, if you're in the bottom 25%, you have a 50% of still being there after a decade (table 2), and although incomes did decrease in absolute terms (as he claims in his article), their total share increased over the population average (table 4). In fact, all his article proves is that if you're in the top 0.01% there's a good chance you won't be there after a decade--you might be in the top 1%, and you better believe you'll still be in the top 5% (73% chance).

What this all comes down to is: of the other '99%ers' you run into over your lifetime--the thousands and thousands of people you meet--there is basically no chance that they'll ever make it into the top 1% in their lifetimes, and this is the point I think Williamson misses. But one thing we do know: as bad as all those 'socialist' countries are with all their problem, we do know they do something a little better:

In spite of this 'economic mobility' counterargument, we know that those who are rich largely stay rich, and those that are poor largely stay poor (Well at least compared to the 'socialist' countries ):

http://www.centrist.org.uk/blog/wp-c...ty_figures.jpg
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  #22  
Old 10-25-2011, 01:06 PM
Rathertired Rathertired is offline
 
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Default Two Cheers For the Mott Haven Kid!!!

Kevin D. Williamson tells us more than once how he's living in the Bronx. It'd be interesting to know if Williamson was born and raised in the Bronx (in which case his down with the people, I'll tell you what my neighbors in the South Bronx would think about student loans is merely misguided and not ludicrous hipster affectation as well) or if he's currently living in the Bronx because Wall Street has made Manhattan unaffordable. An irony he might want to address.

Schmitt briefly touches on vocational schools, but is too kind to plunge the knife in. I'll refrain from evoking the huddled masses I live among (a la the rough & tumble Mott Haven Kid Williamson!), but, you know, the Mott Haven Kid might want to check out how the DeVry and University of Phoenix chains are currently ripping off poor people across America, encouraging them to take out sizable loans for often worthless degrees. And the students there (many vets) don't think they're going to vocational schools, much less being conned. Touchingly, they think they're getting degrees which will lead to middle-class jobs and lives.

Both Phoenix and DeVry are backed by Wall Street. A disgrace.

Williamson might find there are exponentially more people at any branch of either institution than, oh say, the feminist film program at Smith. (Nice stereotype, btw! The 1980s really do live at National Review!)

Somewhat off topic: a discussion of these schools might make for a fantastic BHTV episode.

Then, of course, there's the actual cost of higher education throughout the U.S. (even for "real", i.e., non rip-off, schools) and the very lucky position the loaners are in: government guaranteed, but the tremendous profits are all theirs. Kind of like Wall Street in 2008, come to think of it!

Finally, while we're giving the Mott Haven Kid things to do, he might want to check his smugness a bit. I'm sure he didn't mean to seem condescending to the always gracious Schmitt.

Last edited by Rathertired; 10-25-2011 at 01:46 PM..
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  #23  
Old 10-25-2011, 03:23 PM
DWAnderson DWAnderson is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For the Mott Haven Kid!!!

Eliminating the ad hominems we have:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathertired View Post
the DeVry and University of Phoenix chains are currently ripping off poor people across America, encouraging them to take out sizable loans for often worthless degrees.
Don't forget the huge role of the federal government in enabling this.

To the extent it exists, this problem would not exist without the loans. The government has subsidized such loans (in part with guarantees) and then, to limit the cost of the program, made them non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. Kids who heavily discount the future payment obligations are left holding the bag years later.

If you eliminated the non-dischargeability in bankruptcy going forward, I think you would see this problem disappear. The government would no longer guaranty nearly so many loans (because of the high default risk). Students sacrificing their own savings would be much more discriminating about what institutions they went to. In short the phenomenon of schools created to scoop up government loans would disappear almost overnight.
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  #24  
Old 10-27-2011, 06:32 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default @ University of Phoenix

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathertired View Post
...
Schmitt briefly touches on vocational schools, but is too kind to plunge the knife in. I'll refrain from evoking the huddled masses I live among (a la the rough & tumble Mott Haven Kid Williamson!), but, you know, the Mott Haven Kid might want to check out how the DeVry and University of Phoenix chains are currently ripping off poor people across America, encouraging them to take out sizable loans for often worthless degrees. And the students there (many vets) don't think they're going to vocational schools, much less being conned. Touchingly, they think they're getting degrees which will lead to middle-class jobs and lives.

Both Phoenix and DeVry are backed by Wall Street. A disgrace. ...
Not sure who is to blame for this but I recently saw first hand why university of phoenix is seen as a joke degree that often goes to the bottom of the pile in job applications.

One of my older cousins was suckered into taking classes with them, and she called me up for help with her math class, basic algebra.

She should never have been allowed into that class, she is totally unqualified, she can barely do basic math let alone basic algebra. They seem to have no way of checking whether she is doing all the work on her own or gets assistance from a cousin that is too charitable/cowardly to tell her this entire project is a complete waste.


The sad truth is that there are people like that that are just not college material. Period. And now she is pissing her or others money down the drain by chasing that fantasy.

But what is she supposed to do? We heard echoes of this issue discussed here and elsewhere, there is a premium put on higher skilled workers, and the great sea of people who were never in that boat because of circumstance or cruel aptitude deficits, are left with ever lower prospects in the future.

And I've still heard nothing from anyone that is even attempting to crack that issue. That chart twin keeps posting gives no solution to this problem, that certain kinds of labor that was a staple industry for lower skilled people to live decently and well may be faltering. What replaces it?

Everyone can't be a financial analyst or doctor or software engineer or nurse etc etc. some people are just not that technical, and those non technical positions are the most under threat, wealth transfers to increase the level of subsistence does not solve that structural issue.

I am not sure about the university of phoenix as a whole, but it seems like the educational equivalent of a timeshare in ripoff potential.
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  #25  
Old 10-27-2011, 07:07 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: @ University of Phoenix

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Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
... and the great sea of people who were never in that boat because of circumstance or cruel aptitude deficits, are left with ever lower prospects in the future.
I would ask you and others: Is this the proper direction for a civilized country? As humanity becomes more advanced and more civilized, would we expect it to do a better job or a worse job of providing for people? If we're moving in the direction you suggest, aren't we moving in the wrong direction?

(Note: I'm not implying your're satisfied with the course we're on; the fact that you have raised and re-raised these questions implies to me that you're not satisfied with it.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
And I've still heard nothing from anyone that is even attempting to crack that issue.
How about paying people more? How about not waging a war to lower the wages of public employees? How about not being surprised when, after decades of warfare against unions and the middle class, we find that middle class wages are stagnant?


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Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
That chart twin keeps posting gives no solution to this problem, that certain kinds of labor that was a staple industry for lower skilled people to live decently and well may be faltering.
Not all jobs can be outsourced to China or India. A lot of jobs have to stay in the US: janitors, site security, teachers, fire fighters, police. What's the excuse for slashing their wages? You can't justify it by saying they pay less in China.


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Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
wealth transfers to increase the level of subsistence does not solve that structural issue.
Yeah. Wealth transfers (if by that you mean government programs) are not going to cure this problem. We just need to decide that people should be paid a living wage. There needs to be some disincentive for corporations impoverishing large segments of the population.

Because someone is going to do those jobs - one way or another.


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Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
I am not sure about the university of phoenix as a whole, but it seems like the educational equivalent of a timeshare in ripoff potential.
You know, at least she's trying something. People can get pretty far in life on hard work and determination even if they lack a great degree. Maybe the Phoenix degree can get her a foot in the door at a low level at some company and she can demonstrate competence, intelligence, and determination, and then on the basis of that she can succeed. It's probably better than nothing.
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:04 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: @ University of Phoenix

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Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
...

How about paying people more? How about not waging a war to lower the wages of public employees? How about not being surprised when, after decades of warfare against unions and the middle class, we find that middle class wages are stagnant?



Not all jobs can be outsourced to China or India. A lot of jobs have to stay in the US: janitors, site security, teachers, fire fighters, police. What's the excuse for slashing their wages? You can't justify it by saying they pay less in China.



Yeah. Wealth transfers (if by that you mean government programs) are not going to cure this problem. We just need to decide that people should be paid a living wage. There needs to be some disincentive for corporations impoverishing large segments of the population.

Because someone is going to do those jobs - one way or another.
...

Really not a fan of forcing employers to pay people more money than the market does. Ideally a persons wage increases because their skills are so desirable to an employer that they see it as a net plus to pay them more money to keep them happy and satisfied and to prevent them from jumping ship.

In that scenario both parties gain, forcing an employer to pay more just cuts into their bottom line, and many businesses are already operating on razor thin margins or losing money.

You can't just dictate "fair" wages to a business because they have to deal with a thing called solvency.


If we are going to try to increase the income of people why not just directly augment their incomes?

Apply a program like social security across the board starting at age 18 until death where all citizens get a check each month, then even if a persons skills relegate them to lower end employment options and pay, there would be a financial boost that kicks in to smooth out the inadequate income.

Doing this would cost a great deal, so there would need to be radical shifts and this would probably need to replace everything, including medicare. But if we are going to be spending massive chunks on direct payments to older (and wealthier btw) people and medical costs, why not just cover everyone and be done with it.

Then you would not have to force employers into pretending a janitors work is worth 30 dollars an hour in the market.
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:08 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: @ University of Phoenix

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Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
Apply a program like social security across the board starting at age 18 until death where all citizens get a check each month, then even if a persons skills relegate them to lower end employment options and pay, there would be a financial boost that kicks in to smooth out the inadequate income.
This is actually something like the EITC program, although on a grander scale. Of course, that's currently public enemy no. 1 for the 53% people.

In any case, it doesn't seem like a workable solution to me on such a scale, but damned if I know what the solution is. It's depressing.
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:28 PM
Winspur Winspur is offline
 
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Default Re: @ University of Phoenix

I support this idea wholeheartedly. As stephanie said, it seems unworkable: but anything that would help anyone avoid starving in the street seems unworkable with the Congress we have.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:15 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: @ University of Phoenix

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Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
Really not a fan of forcing employers to pay people more money than the market does.
I'm not, either, but on the other hand, I think we can say with certainty that unless we are satisfied with something like 95% of the population living in poverty, the market is not a sufficient mechanism for setting wages. The market, left to its own devices, could very well result in most people having nothing.

I don't know how to solve this, but I think as a starting point we need to decide whether or not mass poverty is acceptable.


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You can't just dictate "fair" wages to a business because they have to deal with a thing called solvency.
Agreed in principle. But in practice, this isn't always the reason wages are cut. Companies that are raking in billions of annual profits are still redefining job roles to be paid much less. They're not cutting wages because they are operating on margins, but because they can.

If a company can pay $10 / hr instead of $20 / hr, they will. But that's not the same as saying they would not pay $20 / hr if they had to. There are a lot of companies that paid $20 / hr and still made massive profits, and only starting paying much less when foreign labor markets were opened up.

In other words, it's often a myth that companies can't afford to pay more. Just look at the profits these companies are making and the wealth they are hoarding.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
If we are going to try to increase the income of people why not just directly augment their incomes?

Apply a program like social security across the board starting at age 18 until death where all citizens get a check each month, then even if a persons skills relegate them to lower end employment options and pay, there would be a financial boost that kicks in to smooth out the inadequate income.
Hmm... That's a fascinating idea. I'm in favor of anything that allows us to take care of the poor and those who can't work (disabled, very unskilled) as long as it's not so oppressive that it harms the economy.
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:05 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: @ University of Phoenix

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Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
You know, at least she's trying something. People can get pretty far in life on hard work and determination even if they lack a great degree. Maybe the Phoenix degree can get her a foot in the door at a low level at some company and she can demonstrate competence, intelligence, and determination, and then on the basis of that she can succeed. It's probably better than nothing.
Sadly, it's probably not. Those degrees are really expensive and employers don't see them as real schools.

Of course, the problem for high school grads today is that many employers use college to figure out who actually has the skills that high school grads should have but often don't, so maybe for some even for-profit degrees work for that purpose. I don't know. I think people are far, far better off going to a much cheaper community college or the like, however.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:03 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Sadly, it's probably not. Those degrees are really expensive and employers don't see them as real schools.
Hmm... Yeah. I guess I really didn't mean to sound like I was commenting on the value of a Phoenix degree as much as I was just trying to take a positive attitude about the general situation Jon's cousin finds herself in, but ...


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Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
I think people are far, far better off going to a much cheaper community college or the like, however.
... you have a really good point.

So, yeah. Jon: Tell your cousin to drop Phoenix and to start taking classes at a local community college. I know it sounds like a cliche, but there are some really good community colleges.

Actually, Stephanie, I'm glad you said this. Part of my reasoning for my "cheer up" type comment that you responded to is that at Megacorp Intl., we do hire a fair number of people from a couple of the nearby community colleges, and (this is really what I was thinking above) once they are in the workforce, they have as much of a chance to prove themselves as anyone else.

I can't say I've ever seen this with Phoenix, however.

There's one other big advantage to community college: It gets the student out of the house and into an educational setting with other students and teachers. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I don't think the ideal education is going to be self-directed from behind the computer in the living room. I'm not saying self-directed education can't work, or that Khan Academy (and the like) aren't doing great things, of course.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

Kevin: The protesters are socialists and ignorant, aimless riffraff.

Right, but so is the Tea Party. Let's not forget that these idiots nearly forced House Republicans to not raise the debt limit.
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Old 10-25-2011, 03:36 PM
chamblee54 chamblee54 is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

I am at the 9 minute mark, and I just listened to Mr. Williamson's hypothesis about the depression. He says we are spending more money than we have, which is true. He does not say that we are spending trillions of those dollars on self destructive wars.
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:27 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

Kevin's obnoxious know-it-all act is particularly irritating when he's not responding to Mark's arguments. Take this exchange, for example.

Mark begins by arguing that the way in which corporations divide up profits between executives and workers is a big driver of inequality, and that in this case the problem is a straightforward case of the same profit being divided differently than it would have been in 1960.

Kevin responds by first throwing out a non sequitur accusation that Mark doesn't care about Chinese peasants escaping rural poverty, then argues that greater global competition means that firms have to keep labor costs low and that the relative value of CEO's is higher in a world full of larger, more competitive firms.

But the first half of that is completely unresponsive to Mark's point, and the second half doesn't stand up to the most cursory scrutiny. After all, the paychecks for a CEO and a greeter at Wal-Mart are both part of "labor costs" for a firm. If foreign competition means that firms can't afford to be generous to their employees, that should hurt upper management as much as anyone else unless there's some other reason for them to be paid more. Now Kevin thinks that greater competition means that CEO's are more important now than in the past, but the evidence that this is anything but a myth is awfully thin. The CEO's of foreign firms make far, far less than US firms, but there's basically zero evidence that this has made US companies more efficient. In practice, there is voluminous evidence that CEO pay is both a massive market failure and an extremely corrupt practice.

So here we have a clear example of inequality driving wage stagnation. In the 1960's, upper management had a relatively weak bargaining position when it asked for higher shares of profits, and labor had a relatively strong position. Since then labor unions have disappeared and corporate boardrooms have become far more incestuous and irrational, and lo and behold we have stagnant or falling median income and skyrocketing CEO pay.
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:05 PM
Mike Mike is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
If foreign competition means that firms can't afford to be generous to their employees, that should hurt upper management as much as anyone else unless there's some other reason for them to be paid more.
I am pretty sure that is not the crux of what foreign competition is doing. It is not that firms can't afford to be generous to employees, it is that they increase profits by paying foreign workers lower wages for equivalent labor. And that in turn will drive wages down for local workers, unless they are willing to be replaced. The only way this can extend to CEOs is if there is a large group of foreign, trained individuals willing to provide equivalent managerial service at a lower price, which simply has yet to happen although it is not impossible. So you cannot conclude that foreign competition must decrease CEO pay if it decreases lower level pay.

Quote:
So here we have a clear example of inequality driving wage stagnation. In the 1960's, upper management had a relatively weak bargaining position when it asked for higher shares of profits, and labor had a relatively strong position. Since then labor unions have disappeared and corporate boardrooms have become far more incestuous and irrational, and lo and behold we have stagnant or falling median income and skyrocketing CEO pay.
So, certainly labor unions have declined in power and there seems to be very good evidence to suggest that CEO's take peer compensation greatly into account when deciding CEO salaries (although it is improbable that 90% of those firms actually meet their target salary of the median or above of the peer group, we would expect a more normal distribution). Yet the connection between the two is still problematized by the role of foreign competition, as seen above, and when you design policy to remedy the situation, you would like to strike the cause of the problem. I would like to see a little more explanation before I consider that to be CEO pay.
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:28 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by Mike View Post
I am pretty sure that is not the crux of what foreign competition is doing. It is not that firms can't afford to be generous to employees, it is that they increase profits by paying foreign workers lower wages for equivalent labor. And that in turn will drive wages down for local workers, unless they are willing to be replaced. The only way this can extend to CEOs is if there is a large group of foreign, trained individuals willing to provide equivalent managerial service at a lower price, which simply has yet to happen although it is not impossible. So you cannot conclude that foreign competition must decrease CEO pay if it decreases lower level pay.
Outsourcing is a separate question. Kevin was talking about competition from Europe and Japan.

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So, certainly labor unions have declined in power and there seems to be very good evidence to suggest that CEO's take peer compensation greatly into account when deciding CEO salaries (although it is improbable that 90% of those firms actually meet their target salary of the median or above of the peer group, we would expect a more normal distribution).
Whether they meet it or not isn't the point. If every firm is trying to pay more than average, you're going to get an inflationary spiral out of proportion to the actual benefit provided by getting a better CEO.

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Yet the connection between the two is still problematized by the role of foreign competition, as seen above, and when you design policy to remedy the situation, you would like to strike the cause of the problem. I would like to see a little more explanation before I consider that to be CEO pay.
I'm not saying that this is the only cause of inequality or income stagnation. But every other story you can tell about this is problematic as well. And given that Williamson was suggesting that there's no causal link at all, I think this is worth considering, particularly since the productivity of American workers has been increasing as median wages have not. Certainly I think part of the solution would be finding a way to get the Chinese to accept some appreciation of their currency, but there's a lot of stuff that is at least partly amenable by policy to work with.
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Old 10-25-2011, 09:02 PM
Mike Mike is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Outsourcing is a separate question. Kevin was talking about competition from Europe and Japan.
Sure, if that is all we are considering, my point is off. I thought he brought in the part about Europe and Japan to show that after the end of WWII, America was the largest manufacturing nation in the free world, and as time progressed from then, globalizing factors set in. But I could be mistaken, or I might be giving Williamson more than his due in thinking that. And of course hiring foreign employees is among the features of the globalizing trend.

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Whether they meet it or not isn't the point. If every firm is trying to pay more than average, you're going to get an inflationary spiral out of proportion to the actual benefit provided by getting a better CEO.
Certainly, I recognize that will likely happen. I do not want this to be the main point, though. I was simply expressing doubts that the distribution of CEO pay actually would fall in that manner, which if it did not, would leave it open as to whether they are making a rational decision instead of just stating irrational aspirations.

Quote:
I'm not saying that this is the only cause of inequality or income stagnation. But every other story you can tell about this is problematic as well. And given that Williamson was suggesting that there's no causal link at all, I think this is worth considering, particularly since the productivity of American workers has been increasing as median wages have not. Certainly I think part of the solution would be finding a way to get the Chinese to accept some appreciation of their currency, but there's a lot of stuff that is at least partly amenable by policy to work with.
I do not doubt that you appreciate much of the complexities of the situation, and I think it is worth considering too, at the very least in the academic sense that I would like to see how the theory stands up to test and criticism. Notice that the issue in increased productivity of workers not being correlated to increased wages also cuts both ways. Many of the productivity increases are due to cost-saving mechanization in manufacturing, which requires little manpower to operate. I would not expect pay increases to anyone save the engineers responsible for those technologies in such situations, and that is not problematic. Of course in the situations where this is not applicable ...

Last edited by Mike; 10-26-2011 at 02:00 AM..
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:50 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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I am pretty sure that is not the crux of what foreign competition is doing. It is not that firms can't afford to be generous to employees, it is that they increase profits by paying foreign workers lower wages for equivalent labor.
Well, theoretically it could be equivalent labor, but you state this as if it being equivalent is a prerequisite or necessary condition. It's not. This is another one of the recurring myths in the debate about global labor markets.

In a great many cases -- a majority in my own experience -- the quality of the labor is lower. This is not intended to be a slam on the individuals who work in India or China. Obviously Indians and Chinese have the same capacity to do good work as anyone else. But there are practical obstacles when working with employees who don't speak your language and who live 12 time zones away. It's not that under identical conditions they could not do identical quality work. It's that conditions are not identical, and the differences tend to mean a reduction in quality.

So, contrary to your assertion, more often than not the labor is not equivalent, it's substandard* -- but corporations are willing to accept the tradeoff because the savings are so great. We often pay foreign labor 3%-5% of what employees make in countries where workers have secured their rights -- i.e. labor rights, workplace safety, child labor laws, and on and on and on.


*I'll add that of course it had a lot to do with the type of work. When it comes to manufacturing, there are fewer obstacles of the kind I'm describing. When it comes to anything collaborative, there are significantly more obstacles. I have the greatest personal exposure to software development done in India and China, and infrastructure support services in India (not call centers). These roles all require a great deal of interaction, communication, and collaboration, and because of the obstacles I described, are harder to perform from India or China, and the work suffers as a result.

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And that in turn will drive wages down for local workers, unless they are willing to be replaced.
Exactly. Corporations found that they could not roll back the social achievements made by the American people during the past 100 years at the ballot box, despite all their funding of libertarian think tanks, so instead they wrote "free trade agreements," handed them to conservatives in Congress, and found a way around American law and a way to usurp the American standard of living.
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:56 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Well, theoretically it could be equivalent labor, but you state this as if it being equivalent is a prerequisite or necessary condition. It's not. This is another one of the recurring myths in the debate about global labor markets.

In a great many cases -- a majority in my own experience -- the quality of the labor is lower. This is not intended to be a slam on the individuals who work in India or China. Obviously Indians and Chinese have the same capacity to do good work as anyone else. But there are practical obstacles when working with employees who don't speak your language and who live 12 time zones away. It's not that under identical conditions they could not do identical quality work. It's that conditions are not identical, and the differences tend to mean a reduction in quality.

So, contrary to your assertion, more often than not the labor is not equivalent, it's substandard* -- but corporations are willing to accept the tradeoff because the savings are so great. We often pay foreign labor 3%-5% of what employees make in countries where workers have secured their rights -- i.e. labor rights, workplace safety, child labor laws, and on and on and on.


*I'll add that of course it had a lot to do with the type of work. When it comes to manufacturing, there are fewer obstacles of the kind I'm describing. When it comes to anything collaborative, there are significantly more obstacles. I have the greatest personal exposure to software development done in India and China, and infrastructure support services in India (not call centers). These roles all require a great deal of interaction, communication, and collaboration, and because of the obstacles I described, are harder to perform from India or China, and the work suffers as a result.

Exactly. Corporations found that they could not roll back the social achievements made by the American people during the past 100 years at the ballot box, despite all their funding of libertarian think tanks, so instead they wrote "free trade agreements," handed them to conservatives in Congress, and found a way around American law and a way to usurp the American standard of living.
As an aside, I don't understand how the policy recommendation at the end of Mike's argument here isn't massive protectionism. If competition with low-wage workers in India and China necessarily means that the American working class won't see their incomes increase until Indian and Chinese workers' wages reach American levels, then what exactly is the point of free trade? The various free trade agreements making this process possible certainly wouldn't have passed if they were popularly understood as massive altruistic wealth transfers from working class Americans to Chinese and Indian peasants that will have the happy side effect of spectacularly enriching the top half percent of Americans. if you think this is what globalization implies, how on earth do you plan on sustaining it politically?
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:14 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Two Cheers For New Jersey! (Mark Schmitt & Kevin D. Williamson)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
As an aside, I don't understand how the policy recommendation at the end of Mike's argument here isn't massive protectionism. If competition with low-wage workers in India and China necessarily means that the American working class won't see their incomes increase until Indian and Chinese workers' wages reach American levels, then what exactly is the point of free trade?
The point of free trade to receive these goods make with low skill labor, in addition to commodities, at a lower price. Theoretically, new modes of technology are kept apace with the transfer of labor so that the native population has an outlet to shuffle into, and thereby either increasing their wage or at least preserving it, and at the same time making products at market substantially cheaper (Textiles, for example).

Free trade assumes an enthusiastically capitalist regime though; and we haven't had that for about 20 years. So it is more like a hole in the bucket covered with the tape of cheaper consumer goods. As we see, that doesn't last forever.

Quote:
The various free trade agreements making this process possible certainly wouldn't have passed if they were popularly understood as massive altruistic wealth transfers from working class Americans to Chinese and Indian peasants that will have the happy side effect of spectacularly enriching the top half percent of Americans.
That isn't what they're supposed to do. They're supposed to provide the consumer a dollar that stretches further, while they develop a pool of consumers of their own to purchase our exports in the form of expensive finished goods.

The proper way to conduct free trade is to do so after the ladder has been kicked away. Of course, the reason we don't do that is because of the incessant moralizing of cosmopolitans.
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