Economic trends bode poorly for the working man

Jonathan Rauch at National Journal has an excellent in-depth exploration of what’s happening in the American economy. The headline, “The No Good, Very Bad Outlook for the Working-Class American Man,” captures its thesis perfectly.

The article focuses on themes that I’ve tried to address here as well, such as the blog post earlier this week detailing how employees are being forced to split an ever-smaller share of the economic pie, while the share of the economy going into corporate profits increases. The National Journal piece tells a similar story through a different chart, this one focusing on increased productivity and how the benefits have been allocated:

Source: National Journal

Source: National Journal

As Rauch notes, and as the chart illustrates, for decades employees shared in the benefits of greater productivity. As labor became more efficient, both employees and employers shared in the benefits. However, that relationship ended somewhere in the late 1970s, at what you might call “the Big Break” in the U.S. economy. (You see that same transformation occurring at the same time across a wide variety of statistical measures — income distribution, median household income, etc.)

Productivity growth — the chart’s red line — continued and even accelerated after the Big Break, but suddenly blue-collar and non-supervisory workers stopped sharing in the benefits of that increase. A little bit later, the same thing began to happen to a lesser degree to employees in general.

Rauch describes the implications:

As a result, less-educated workers are in trouble, and men are in trouble, and less-educated men are in deep trouble. The problem has become more serious than most people realize. “It has reached a very extreme point,” said David Autor, a labor economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Only a minority of Americans obtain four-year college degrees, and yet the economy offers ever-fewer well-paying jobs for men with nothing more than a high school diploma. Since 1969, the weekly earnings of the median full-time male worker have stagnated, according to economists Michael Greenstone of MIT and Adam Looney of the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project on economic growth. Stagnation is disappointing, to put it mildly, given that the per capita gross domestic product has more than doubled (adjusted for inflation) since 1969.

But men with only high school diplomas have faced worse than stagnation: Their earnings have dropped by around a fourth. And men who didn’t finish high school have fared worse still: Their incomes sank by more than a third, leaving their inflation-adjusted earnings stranded in the 1950s.

In effect, the economy is telling less-educated men: Get lost.

That has critically important social implications. If high-school educated males are earning a fourth less than their fathers, they are less able to support a family and less attractive as potential mates. If they do marry and support a family, they are less likely to be able to afford health insurance for them or to pay for higher education.

As exit polls and other data demonstrate, the Republican Party has managed to convince white working-class males that the economic challenges outlined by Rauch can be traced to excess government and, to be blunt, “those people.” It’s an explanation that might feel right and that resonates emotionally. By providing an alternative explanation to that illustrated in today’s chart, it also happens to suit the purposes of those who fund the campaigns and pay the bills for the GOP and its associated organizations.*

However, that narrative cannot plausibly account for the type of dramatic, even traumatic change documented in the chart above. There is no mechanism by which government can be said to be driving that trend. It’s not caused by taxes; it’s not caused by the deficit. And if more and more Americans have become reliant on government, it’s in part a consequence of, not a cause of, the economic decline depicted here.

But here’s the most frightening thing about the chart above: The trend that it illustrates shows no signs of moderating. This is a transformation that could continue to play out for a long, long time, and if we don’t do something to reverse it or adjust to it, it will change the nature of American society.

– Jay Bookman

* (An aside: Did it strike anyone else as odd that when Dick Armey left FreedomWorks, the ostensibly grassroots Tea Party organization, he was handed a golden parachute of $8 million? I had no idea the grassroots had so much green.)

362 comments Add your comment

stands for decibels

December 7th, 2012
7:21 am

I had no idea the grassroots had so much green.

Maybe if I ever have the time/inclination I’ll reach back into the archives and find instances of where I was chastised for calling referring to the Teaper overlord organizations as “astroturfers.”

(and now, off to RTFA.)

Corbin Sharpe. Baby Boomer leech...and earned it!

December 7th, 2012
7:27 am

The eight mil was probably “shut up” money…

Lord Help Us

December 7th, 2012
7:27 am

Is the trend here attributable to specific policy? Tax cuts do not seem related to the trend. Was there deregulation or other legislation that can be tied to this trend?

Going to do some looking…

Georgia on my mind...

December 7th, 2012
7:28 am

As a result, less-educated workers are in trouble, and men are in trouble, and less-educated men are in deep trouble. The problem has become more serious than most people realize.
_______

Bring the manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. The blue collar jobs were the heartbeat of rural communities. During the booming years when most goods were made here, a boy could graduate from high school and his dad would get him a job at the factory where he was employed. Now is the time for “Made in America” can be the new buying and bargaining power in this country!!

Ronald Reagan Parkway

December 7th, 2012
7:32 am

What ever happened to profit sharing?

Brosephus™

December 7th, 2012
7:35 am

Is the trend here attributable to specific policy?

I wouldn’t make the claim, but that break comes about the same time that some people decided organized labor was bad and we could send manufacturing jobs outside our borders to increase profits.

Brosephus™

December 7th, 2012
7:36 am

**claim “they are directly connected”,….

I left a chunk out of that sentence.

Corbin Sharpe. Baby Boomer leech...and earned it!

December 7th, 2012
7:37 am

As to your chart Jay, I could have told you that four years ago. my shop used to be a two man shop, but is now just me. The other was laid off just after the crash. I do the work of two and have not had even a cost of living raise for three years. Some would say, “at least you have a job”, and that’s true, but I would like to be able to be able to afford a vacation, or even a night out for dinner and a movie, but at under 17.00/hour, that’s pretty hard to do. The money we have saved up for our anniversary this month will now go to the co-pay for my knee operation. At least it is there to use. My rental income goes right back into the houses, but one day all that will be done and then I might do a little better. But hey, it is what it is. Moaning and groaning about it won’t help. Business has to do the right thing about wages and healthcare, but I wouldn’t hold my breath…

bob

December 7th, 2012
7:38 am

The late 70’s ? How we can move that to 1980 and blame Reagan ? Dems had a lock on congress for years as this break was occurring, along with the white house. Could it be that the wealthy controlled them just as repubs are blamed for being controlled by the rich now ? How about this concept, stability leads to stagnation, “bringing back” blue collar jobs instead of letting those jobs go elsewhere would not work. We need to advance by coming up with new technology instead of holding on to jobs that are done cheaper elsewhere.

Georgia on my mind...

December 7th, 2012
7:38 am

Now is the time for “Made in America” can be the new buying and bargaining power in this country!!

____

Now is the time THAT “Made in America” can be the new buying and bargaining power in this country!!

clem

December 7th, 2012
7:43 am

maybe even dumarse repubs will understand this trend; dick armey about as successful as bob nardelli.

Ronald Reagan Parkway

December 7th, 2012
7:43 am

“bringing back” blue collar jobs instead of letting those jobs go elsewhere would not work.

_____

It would work if the schools systems stop focusing on preparing ALL students for college and include vocational school as an alternative for future adult preparation.

stands for decibels

December 7th, 2012
7:44 am

Ok, I’m actually RingTFA Jay’s linked. I got to the point where I realize they’re citing Charles Murray.

Which is kind of like learning that the New England Journal of Medicine is citing Josef Mengele.

But I’ll try to get past that…

F. Sinkwich

December 7th, 2012
7:47 am

“…if we don’t do something to reverse it or adjust to it, it will change the nature of American society.”

I know!

Raise taxes !!!

guy

December 7th, 2012
7:48 am

Georgia on my mind is correct and we must bring back those jobs we sent away years ago. Commom sense! Those who won’t work need to be cut off the government’s “taker” program also.
There are a lot of tough things that will have to be done if we survive. Got to be done!!!

Jay

December 7th, 2012
7:49 am

Bob, LHU and others:

I think that if you’re looking to government as the cause of the “Big Break,” you’re looking in the wrong place. Macro-economic trends such as off-shoring, robotics, computers, etc. are much more powerful than government.

It’s an economic version of the drunk-man-and-his-lost-keys anecdote. You remember? The drunk is looking for his keys under a street lamp. Somebody comes along and asks the age-old question, “Where did you lose them?”

“I think it was over there,” the drunk says, pointing into the darkness.

“Then why are you looking here under the lamppost?”

“Because the light’s better here.”

Blaming government for such changes is tempting because if government caused it, we have politicians to blame and maybe government can “uncause” it. But if it’s larger macro-economic trends at work, we have to go stumbling in the dark looking for a solution or at least a means of ameliorating the impact.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

December 7th, 2012
7:50 am

Well, I see Bookman’s using my Those Peoplle line without askin’. I’m suin’!

stands for decibels

December 7th, 2012
7:50 am

I want to head off at the pass one certain-to-appear talking point.

Obviously, when we talk about educating people beyond high school, the all-purpose term “college” doesn’t need to mean the classic go-live-on-campus-for-four-years-to-find-yourself experience privileged folk enjoy. We’re also talking about specialized vocational training that may require less time than that, and certainly less expense.

(Got that, Little Ricky Santorum? Good boy!)

stands for decibels

December 7th, 2012
7:51 am

Well, I see Bookman’s using my Those Peoplle line without askin’. I’m suin’!

If you succeed, you might could only be 978,000 dollars away from being a millionaire.

stands for decibels

December 7th, 2012
7:52 am

How we can move that to 1980 and blame Reagan ?

the PATCO strike break.

You’re welcome.

Lord Help Us

December 7th, 2012
7:55 am

‘I think that if you’re looking to government as the cause of the “Big Break,” you’re looking in the wrong place. ‘

Perhaps, but I am interested to see if the same trend lines occur in Sweden, Germany, Singapore, etc.

TaxPayer

December 7th, 2012
7:55 am

It appears that a form of evolutionary change will spell the demise of the typical FOX viewer. Oh well. We tried to save them from themselves. Perhaps a spot in a museum as a reminder of their former presence here… “Poor White Guy” on display, coming to a town near you. Get your tickets soon. It’s gonna be a sellout show.

stands for decibels

December 7th, 2012
7:56 am

The plutocracy continues to take shots after the whistle’s been blown, of course. That doesn’t help matters much, but it’s to be expected, like ants at an outdoor barbeque.

Mick

December 7th, 2012
7:56 am

jay

As someone born in the 50’s, educated in the 60’s & 70″s, I really do fear for the fuure of this country. I was very lucky to be living in that time period, I wish this younger generation had the same opportunities but they seem more interested (some) in blaming boomers. We need to get our manufacturing back, the global economy while helpful in some areas, has been a disaster for the average working man…

JamVet

December 7th, 2012
7:59 am

Outsource upper management’s jobs and bring back the hundreds of thousands of worker’s jobs sent overseas.

It’s a win-win.

bob, read about the Powell Memorandum and the Chamber of Commerce, Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy and other powerful organizations and the Reagan Administration’s “hands-off business philosophy”.

THAT is when the union-busters and the Corporations Uber Alles gang really began decimating the middle class in this country.

Look at the friggin’ chart.

Or don’t…

Thomas

December 7th, 2012
7:59 am

The economic gap is the result of the educational and technology gap.

Governments are the most opaque and corrupt institutions.

We will continue to ping pong between the left and right extreme until real leadership shows up. Until then happy blogging.

Corbin Sharpe. Baby Boomer leech...and earned it!

December 7th, 2012
8:00 am

Mick

December 7th, 2012
8:06 am

Plus, all the wealth hoarding at the top of corporate structure is shameful, yet way too many rubes fight tooth and nail to defend it while complaining about goverment. Go figure…

stands for decibels

December 7th, 2012
8:06 am

You know what else doesn’t help? Ostensibly “liberal” figureheads like Jon Stewart giving aid and comfort to the hateful, nasty, (and possibly senile, based on his performance) Alan Simpson, who explained on Jon’s show that the only way we can get this country back on its feet again is to stick it to the AARP crowd.

http://www.salon.com/2012/12/06/alan_simpson_spins_jon_stewart/

Stewart’s very first question is a mess. After a brief and mostly true account of the disaster that was the Simpson-Bowles committee, Stewart reveals that he thinks Simpson’s sudden post-election omnipresence is the result of an organic growth of support for his plan and widespread reverence for his wisdom. It’s actually just the most visible arm of a massive lobbying and P.R. campaign spearheaded and funded by Wall Street CEOs and crazy old Peterson. Stewart seems to think the people are running to Alan Simpson because his plan will help us avert the supposed “fiscal cliff.”

(Sam Seder also did a great takedown, but it’s not posted online as a separate video, yet…)

Keeping money concentrated among the wealthiest is not going to help the working man’s job prospects; it can only harm it.

George P. Burdell

December 7th, 2012
8:09 am

These shifts have happened throughout history and they are always very disruptive during the process, especially while living through it without knowing what will trigger the next innovation. But the US and mankind in general have always come up with the next innovation to put productive people to work. We face challenges as emerging markets develop and leave their traditional agrarian ways, just like we did back in the early part of the last century. Many emerging markets have a workforce that will not only work cheaper but also come out of high school with more skills and knowledge than their American counterparts. We are not going to fix that over 10 years. We cannot fix it by “Buying American” and moving jobs back to the US. If we insist on manufacturing here at a higher price, other countries that buy from cheaper manufacturing will enjoy a higher standard of living than we do. We need to find that next innovation that will employ large numbers of people before we will see this trend change. It will happen, there is just no way of knowing what it will be. If it doesn’t happen, then we will see our standard of living and world status drop and we may not ever be able to regain our position if that happens.

Gale

December 7th, 2012
8:09 am

Vocational education has been my mantra for years. Many kids drop out of public school or are simply not engaged in the learning program provided. For a number of reasons, they don’t want to go to college or don’t believe they will be able to afford college. Many see a depressing life of study for an ever shrinking pool of boring jobs. An alternative track of vocational education — in trades that society respects and values — will keep those students engaged and learning. Society would gain productive, educated citizens who are excited about life instead of citizens trying to figure out how to make do.

independent thinker

December 7th, 2012
8:10 am

Hey corporations are people- you’re hurting their feelings. Greed is good. We almost elected one of the greedy vulture capitalists who thinks workers are expendable. Walmart lost 120 workers in Bangladesh in a fire. Before hand they reused to act on reports of deplorable safety conditions. Greed is good. Workers in a Bain factory in Freeport Illinois that made hundreds of millions last year laid off this fall and had to train their Chinese replacements. Greed is good. Romney and partners buy up the bonds of Delphi for pennies on the dollar; hold up Uncle Sam for auto bailout money to pay off pension and health obligations and then ship the plants to China raking 2000% profits. Greed is good.
Black janitor in White House tasked with cleaning up this mess just got Apple to agree that it was bringing a few of the 700,000 offshore jobs back to the US. Jobs said those jobs are not coming back. Maybe someone at Apple listened to Springsteen’s song on offshoring or maybe Apple the person has a conscious and voted blue.

JKL2

December 7th, 2012
8:11 am

-This is a transformation that could continue to play out for a long, long time, and if we don’t do something to reverse it or adjust to it, it will change the nature of American society.

Forward!

I guess they’ll just have to get a job with the government.

stands for decibels

December 7th, 2012
8:12 am

I know I’m veering off topic but I gotta go there. This supposed plain-speaking economic savior, Alan Simpson, actually has no freaking idea of how much of our debt is own by those inscrutable Chinee.

On Stewart’s show, he actually claimed that “half of the half” — which I guess, is 25%? — of the 16 trillion in debt, is somehow held by Teh Skary Mandarins.

Anyone know the actual number without looking it up?

.

.

(In the filthy, horrible old coot’s defense–maybe Alan Simpson’s not senile. Maybe he’s drunk and he literally sees three of everything?)

middle of the road

December 7th, 2012
8:13 am

I think this graph is a little deceiving. Sometimes productivity increases at a plant for reasons totally unrelated to the workload of the workers: for example – the company decides to invest in a multi-million dollar machine that vastly increases output, while the employees do the exact same amount of work – productivity increases.

The second thing is that average wage is just that – AVERAGE. Before 1975, jobs were mostly manufacturing. Now, that has mostly gone offshore (or a lot, anyway) and the remaining jobs are SERVICE. Service jobs do not require the level of skills that manufacturing does and thus pays lower.

Ronald Reagan Parkway

December 7th, 2012
8:14 am

Corbin@8:00 am that is basically where this blog is headed. When I was in high school, I attended a school that had its own vocational school. It offered the same type of courses that our local technical schools (Gwinnett Tech, DeKalb Tech, etc.) offers. A person could enroll in the school during their sophmore year. The schedule was for two hours a day five days a week. If you stayed in the program, once you became a senior,there was a program called DECA that would help you find a job. You were allowed to get out of school at noon and go to work. Once you graduated from high school, you could continue to work at that same job.

JamVet

December 7th, 2012
8:15 am

While most Americans have seen flat-lined wages for a LONG time…

From 1992 to 2007 the top 400 earners in the U.S. saw their income increase 392% and their average tax rate reduced by 37%.

The share of total income in America going to the top 1% of American households (also after federal taxes and income transfers) increased from 11.3% in 1979 to 20.9% in 2007.

And the ring-through-their-nose Republicans think this is a GOOD thing!

The time is now here to effectively kill off the trickle downers…

Keep Up the Good Fight!

December 7th, 2012
8:16 am

Its a discussion we should have been having over the years when corporate leverage buyouts and shipping of our factories overseas were taking place but the magical misdirection has been to blame government instead of looking at real issues.

Living With Open Eyes

December 7th, 2012
8:16 am

Reckon it’s just a coincidence that all the textile jobs began going overseas and the Mexicans began coming here in waves about the same time our wages began to tank. I was working then, watched it happen, and was called a xenophobic liberal any time I said anything except for”Hail to Almighty Free Enterprise” like I was indoctrinated to do from birth. Anybody who tries to change things is labeled a communist in our country – as if that’s worse than being a laissez- faire capitalist.

Union

December 7th, 2012
8:16 am

sad.. but true.. government runs education.. specifically liberals. our “fathers” went to a different type of school that has changed more and more over the years…

btw bookman.. like how you toss the wealth envy thing in just about every blog.. you must hate the cox family.. they are keeping you down..

Jay

December 7th, 2012
8:18 am

Those are partial explanations for the graph, Middle. They are not in any way refutations of it.

Road Scholar

December 7th, 2012
8:20 am

Jay, during the same period shown on the graph add CEO and upper management compensation rates. That will make it complete!

GT

December 7th, 2012
8:21 am

There needs to be a new expectation of America. The worker needs to be more independent of the employer. Your value should not be found in the opinion of a recruiter; we need to control our value. I found it interesting at Enron how the employees there were satisfied that company destroyed their career. Seems to me if you had something people needed the need would carry over to the next job. If you were a hooker and one ship sailed out of port would that destroy your career or would it be given a lull until another ship rolled into port? You have got to take responsibility for finding yourself in this world; don’t let something or someone control your future. The private sector will steal it and use it and abuse it if you let them.

Thomas Heyward Jr

December 7th, 2012
8:22 am

think that if you’re looking to government as the cause of the “Big Break,” you’re looking in the wrong place. Macro-economic trends such as off-shoring, robotics, computers, etc. are much more powerful than government.

It’s an economic version of the drunk-man-and-his-lost-keys anecdote. You remember? The drunk is looking for his keys under a street lamp. Somebody comes along and asks the age-old question, “Where did you lose them?”

“I think it was over there,” the drunk says, pointing into the darkness.

“Then why are you looking here under the lamppost?”

“Because the light’s better here.”

Blaming government for such changes is tempting because if government caused it, we have politicians to blame and maybe government can “uncause” it. But if it’s larger macro-economic trends at work, we have to go stumbling in the dark looking for a solution or at least a means of ameliorating the impact.
———————————————————————————————————–
.
Tell that claptrack to the world’s largest prison population.

stands for decibels

December 7th, 2012
8:24 am

KUtGF @ 8.16, a reminder: We remain the richest, most powerful country ever on earth.

We have the resources to address this labor problem and other infrastructure problems, if only we have the courage to do so, and the resolve to ignore those pigs who are trying desperately to cling to what they perceive as their God-given share to have and hold forever and ever, amen.

(I know you almost certainly realize this, but there was something a tad fatalistic in your post, I felt needed addressin’.)

And it wouldn’t hurt if y’all read the entire article Jay’s linked, because basically that backs up what I’ve just posted here. In fact, have a look at the proposals reference in that article, as well, which I’ve linked here:

http://www.nationaljournal.com/next-economy/the-to-do-list-for-rebuilding-the-u-s-economy-20121203

I don’t wholeheartedly support all of them, but they are all worthy of consideration, and certainly not beyond our grasp.

TaxPayer

December 7th, 2012
8:24 am

“I filibuster me!” – Mitch

Gale

December 7th, 2012
8:25 am

DECA was a joke in Ohio, and did not really build a skilled workforce. I am talking about a program that will keep students in school with vocational training in skilled labor, at the same time as scholastic education that meets their future needs. They may not be going to college, but they do still need history, civics, math, etc. Students need to understand what it will take to program an industrial machine, for example. It pays well, but the job is not free to any high school grad. We need them to stay engaged in learning. Today’s schools need to provide skilled workers if we are to return manufacturing to the USA.

indigo

December 7th, 2012
8:25 am

And, let’s not forget that a large number of college graduates who major in one of the humanities have a very difficult time finding work.

It’s not as hard as you might imagine to understand this sorry state of affairs. You see, Big Business moguls are only interested in increasing the value of their personal estates. As long as curent management pracices result in large corporate profits, these execs will continue to greedly rake in as much of the largesse as possible and care absolutely nothing for high school and humanities graduates.

LET THEM EAT CAKE

MONEY TALKS

Ronald Reagan Parkway

December 7th, 2012
8:26 am

Taxpayer, I read about that…too funny…
Debt Ceiling Bluff Called By Harry Reid, Leaving Mitch McConnell To Filibuster Himself

WASHINGTON — A move to embarrass Democrats backfired on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday as the Kentucky Republican proposed a vote on raising the nation’s debt ceiling — then filibustered it when the Democrats tried to take him up on the offer.
On Thursday morning McConnell had made a motion for the vote on legislation that would let the president extend the country’s borrowing limit on his own. Congress would then have the option to disapprove such hikes, in a fashion similar to one that McConnell first suggested during last year’s standoff over the debt ceiling.
The minority leader apparently did not think Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would take him up on his offer, which would have allowed McConnell to portray President Barack Obama’s desire for such authority as something even Democrats opposed.
Reid objected at first, but told McConnell he thought it might be a good idea. After Senate staff reviewed the proposal, Reid came back to the floor and proposed a straight up-or-down vote on the idea.
McConnell was forced to say no.

St Simons

December 7th, 2012
8:28 am

it is no accident that we have reached the final iteration

of the industrial/capitalist cycle now.

Cmon mon. Clinging to this is no better than clinging to gunz er religion.

Steve

December 7th, 2012
8:28 am

Nice to see intelligent, civil conversation in here. I wonder how long this will last until the trolls arrive?

We keep learning about the rise of plutocracy. I wonder how long it will take for this to sink into the minds of the undereducated in the red states? Another generation?

TaxPayer

December 7th, 2012
8:28 am

By the way, Norquist says his plebes will not back down from their no tax hike pledge, or else. :lol:

Keep Up the Good Fight!

December 7th, 2012
8:30 am

Stands, I agree we have the capability to address these issues, the problem remains the willpower to address reality and to change the stupidity of the starve government idiots and the rising power of the supernational corporations and the megarich who are not bound to borders.

Ronald Reagan Parkway

December 7th, 2012
8:31 am

DECA was a joke in Ohio, and did not really build a skilled workforce.

____

Maybe it did not build the skilled workforce in Ohio but it did in my town. Once you continued to work after graduation, your education continued at the local technical college. I chose a different route (4 year college).

Adam

December 7th, 2012
8:32 am

7.7% BABY

SEVEN POINT SEVEN PERCENT

straitroad

December 7th, 2012
8:34 am

The major problem with the American workforce today is a lack of work ethic and illiteracy.

Adam

December 7th, 2012
8:35 am

Across all metrics, U-1 through U-6, unemployment numbers are down to their lowest level since BEFORE Obama took office.

7.7% U-3, 14.4% “real unemployment,” which is nearly 3 points lower than its peak and over 2 points lower than January 2009.

146k new jobs

B
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
MMMM!!!!

oops

December 7th, 2012
8:35 am

Nothing Obama is going to do is going to improve the fate of the working man. Just selling a false bill of goods.

Brosephus™

December 7th, 2012
8:35 am

If we insist on manufacturing here at a higher price, other countries that buy from cheaper manufacturing will enjoy a higher standard of living than we do.

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

Really, care to explain why a pair of Levi’s 501 jeans (US retail $30-$40) runs around 130Euro in Germany then? People will buy the best. When America produced the best goods, people bought American made products. As long as people have the WalMart mentality, cheap sh*t will prevail. I guess I must be a bit more refined in my tastes as I try to avoid buying cheap sh*t whenever I can. I’d rather buy ONE good product instead of buying the same cheap crap 4 or 5 times to cover the same lifecycle of the one good product.

JamVet

December 7th, 2012
8:35 am

The major problem with the American workforce today is a lack of work ethic and illiteracy.

The second truly stupid post of the morning. (Sink’s being the first.)

Adam

December 7th, 2012
8:36 am

By the way, unemployment statistics and jobs numbers are trending GOOD. The unemployment report this morning is GOOD news, so I have just one question:

WHERE’S EJ MOOSA???

oops

December 7th, 2012
8:36 am

“employees are being forced to split an ever-smaller share of the economic pie”

Obamacare makes it worse, as the legislation forces many employers to make full time employees become part time employees.

TaxPayer

December 7th, 2012
8:36 am

Nothing Republicans have done has helped the working man.

Steve

December 7th, 2012
8:37 am

As the economy steadily improves, we easily prepare the path for 2014 Dem victories in Congress, and a landslide Dem Presidential win in 2016! woo hoo!

TaxPayer

December 7th, 2012
8:38 am

as the legislation forces many employers to make full time employees become part time employees.

Yep! That’s what it says all right. I think it even has an “under penalty of death” clause in there somewhere. :roll:

Gale

December 7th, 2012
8:38 am

@Ronald You chose a different route… That was a point I made to another poster some months ago when this issue was discussed. He argued that voed was all very fine, but not for his kids, who he wanted to attend college. The attitude there is that the trades are not valued in society. In the 70s, we started to devalue the trades. The only path to success was clearly college. As you point out, some students in voed will choose college. The problem is keeping kids engaged in learning long enough to see that additional education; academic or technical, is in their interest. They need to see an exciting future or they turn off from learning.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

December 7th, 2012
8:40 am

Oh and before we go too far…take a moment to remember that it is Pearl Harbor day.

oops

December 7th, 2012
8:40 am

“It’s not caused by taxes”

Progressive income taxes reduce the after tax return on education.

Jack ®

December 7th, 2012
8:40 am

Sometime back when I was working my way through life, my daytime job didn’t provide enough money to pay all the bills. There were no providers that would pay my utility bills, help with my rent nor help buy groceries. I did what I thought I had to do: I got a part-time night job and also a paper route. For some crazy notion I had at the time, I didn’t think my employers owed me anything that had to do with their profits. It didn’t occur to me that I could have blamed someone else for my travails and thereby escape my responsibilities. Also, during that hard scrabble period, I got an education that was not paid for by other taxpayers. Bookman is right: trends don’t bode well for those that spend more time complaining than they do working.

dbm

December 7th, 2012
8:40 am

For a long time we had protective tariffs, which kept us used to artificially high prices and the goodies that came with them. With globalization, this broke down. Now we’re having to go through two painful transitions at once, one due to globalization and cybernation and one due to being weaned/detoxed from protective tariffs.

Jay, I notice you didn’t mention the long-range trend of increasing government regulation, and you didn’t mention uncertainty about how this will play out. Maybe there’s a third cause there.

New innovations will undoubtedly help. Freeing up the economy would probably help too. For example, it ought to be easier (less red tape) for people to operate pushcart businesses.

straitroad

December 7th, 2012
8:40 am

JamVet

December 7th, 2012
8:35 am

Other than insulting comments, can you explain how this post is stupid?

Steve

December 7th, 2012
8:41 am

Where are you guys seeing 7.7 unemployment numbers?

Adam

December 7th, 2012
8:41 am

December 7, 2012, a day which shall live in infamy, the day the Republicans discovered that they were wrong about the economy. Again.

Ronald Reagan Parkway

December 7th, 2012
8:44 am

Gale, I agree with you 100%. I chose a different route because I was interested in the Fine Arts. I have two kids and one chose to go to a four year college and one chose to go to a techincal college (Gwinnett Tech). I feel that each one of them should be successful because they are following the choices on the type of work that they would like to perform as adults. On the other hand, the one that is attending the technical school will probably make more money than the one that is attending the four year college.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

December 7th, 2012
8:45 am

Jay, as for Dick Armey golden parachute, it seems very odd for a “grassroots” organization and a highly inappropriate use of funds “contributed” by the “grassroots”. Why certainly there is no one suggesting that perhaps there were some big monied powers behind it and perhaps another Murdoch envoy to “suggest” that Fox would give it all its support. ;)

I think whenever someone from Fox speaks, the GOP speak or even our conned wingnuts post here, we either ought to here the Benny Hill music or the Monty Python wink wink nudge nudge say no more.

oops

December 7th, 2012
8:45 am

If the government can do two things to fix the situation, here they are.

1. Make users of education loans co-pay 10%-20% with cold hard cash. Theirs.
2. Advertise every Saturday during cartoons, on every channel, the statistics below, for 30 seconds.

(Lifetime)
High school diploma earnings: $1.3 million
College education earnings: $2.3 million
Graduate degree earnings: $2.7 million

And they should also note the disparity between STEM incomes and non-STEM incomes. Nothing else is going to move the needle.

http://www9.georgetown.edu/grad/gppi/hpi/cew/pdfs/collegepayoff-complete.pdf?bcsi_scan_95c9d18e12377997=0&bcsi_scan_filename=collegepayoff-complete.pdf

Steve

December 7th, 2012
8:47 am

Off topic but interesting…

Michael Tomasky at Newsweek injects reality back into the discussion:

So we saw Tuesday night the unveiling of the “new” Republican Party at the Jack Kemp Foundation dinner. The two young stars spoke, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio. Politico gave it a big write up, noting how many times Ryan mentioned the word “poverty” and how many times Rubio said “middle class.” One can see already that the media is going to hype these two and their supposed new thinking relentlessly. Is there anything to the hype? Of course not, and the reason is simple. Neither they nor the people they’re talking to are ready to accept that they’ve been wrong about anything except messaging, and until they are, this is just gaseous rhetoric. [...]
Republicans aren’t anywhere near to exposing themselves to the kind of self-examination and intra-party debate the Democrats undertook after Reagan’s second win. Despite upholstering their speeches with ample liberal rhetoric, and in Rubio’s case those aforementioned quasi-proposals, Rubio and Ryan both stuck hard to current-day GOP gospel. Raising tax rates isn’t an option. Relying on government isn’t the answer, and all the rest. When I read the Ryan remarks I quoted above, as I first started reading those words, I thought to myself, “Ah, might I encounter here an actual nugget of self-criticism?” It came. But it was only about messaging. The substance of their positions, to them, is fine and dandy.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/06/michael-tomasky-on-the-ridiculousness-of-paul-ryan-and-marco-rubio.html

stands for decibels

December 7th, 2012
8:47 am

Nothing Republicans have done has helped the working man.

Nothing? the Party of Lincoln and TR wasn’t always this way. It could be progressive, again.

dbm

December 7th, 2012
8:47 am

“In effect, the economy is telling less-educated men: Get lost.”

Or, it’s telling them: Get more education. Also telling teenagers: Stick with your education.

DannyX

December 7th, 2012
8:48 am

The irony of the improved job numbers is that the cons around here will all whine “But, but, they are low paying jobs.”

They are very well trained in talking points.

Jay

December 7th, 2012
8:48 am

(AP) — The U.S. economy added a solid 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008. The government said Superstorm Sandy had only a minimal effect on the figures.

TaxPayer

December 7th, 2012
8:49 am

I’ll bet there are a lot of Tea Party members that would love to get themselves a Tea Party retirement package as good as the one Dick got. Who’s funding their retirement program anyway. Do they collect their own payroll taxes or union dues or something to pay for it. :lol:

oops

December 7th, 2012
8:50 am

Jay’s 8:48

And Jim Cramer is once again proven to be a complete moron (he predicted Sandy would cremate the jobs report)

Adam

December 7th, 2012
8:50 am

Since January 2009, here are the numbers of jobs added or lost:

Total: 291,000 added
Private: 905,000 added
Government (all): 614,000 lost
Federal Government: 9,000 added
State Government: 119,000 lost
Local Government: 504,000 lost

Since February 2009:
Total: 1,015,000 added
Private: 1,630,000 added
Government (all): 615,000 lost
Federal Government: 4,000 added
State Government: 109,000 lost
Local Government: 510,000 lost

Adjusting average January numbers so we start the clock as near to January 20,2009 as possible:

Total: 547,903 added
Private: 1,162,258 added
Government (all): 614,355 lost
Federal Government: 7,226 added
State Government: 115,452 lost
Local Government: 506,129 lost

oops

December 7th, 2012
8:51 am

Kids. Do too much drugs, and you too can be like Jim Cramer. Completely loco.

STUPID LIBERAL

December 7th, 2012
8:51 am

Easy fix, just print more money. Or, take from the rich and give me some.

Adam

December 7th, 2012
8:51 am

By the way, where’s Scout? He said the unemployment rate would be above 8% yesterday.

Nero

December 7th, 2012
8:52 am

All this is, is the direct result of a shift from a manufacturing based economy to the current service based one. Those jobs are never coming back. This country can’t compete against a less costly foreign labor market and cheaper goods. It’s the new paradigm. America is a victim of it’s own “success”.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

December 7th, 2012
8:52 am

But what does Unskewed Job Figures report…. what about the conspiracy to manipulate the figure for the election?

oops

December 7th, 2012
8:53 am

“or at least a means of ameliorating the impact.”

this is not a solution

Welcome to the Occupation

December 7th, 2012
8:54 am

Excellent post. But of course I disagree strongly when you say:

“There is no mechanism by which government can be said to be driving that trend”

The fact that the behavior of the lines in the graph changes so radically in the late 1970s is no coincidence. By the late 1970s, the Bretton Woods framework had collapsed and world capitalism faced some really daunting challenges: soaring oil prices, revolutionary stirrings in post-colonial lands, and perhaps most important of all – and most underestimated of all – an astonishing rise in labor militancy here at home.

The response from capital — acting through the US government and the Federal Reserve — to this crisis was fierce. Labor had to be disciplined, which meant above all, allowing unemployment to return to (what the capitalists like to think of as) a more “natural” rate, not the Keynesian goal of full employment. The Volcker Shock – which, recall, happened under a Democratic president, not Republican, marked the beginning of this assault and by the time it was over, well into Reagan’s first term, it had proven devastatingly effective and successful. World markets were reassured that the US dollar would weather the inflationary storm and and would not continue to be jeopardized by runaway inflation fueled largely by excessively low unemployment. The reserve currency would remain strong, so world markets could breathe easy.

Finally, when Reagan undertook his PATCO attacks, labor rolled over. The counter-revolution had succeeded, and the world had a new model for the future of heavy deficit spending based on defense, and deeply hostile to the traditional Keynesian models, which was also being played out in places like the UK under Thatcher and in Pinochet’s Chile.

Capitalism had been restored to apparent health, though the labor-capital truce that had made possible the broad rising prosperity of the post-war era was dead. So it’s no coincidence that “that relationship ended somewhere in the late 1970s, at what you might call “the Big Break” in the U.S. economy”.

I don’t agree with that, of course.

TaxPayer

December 7th, 2012
8:55 am

Just imagine where that unemployment rate could be if only the Republicans had lived up to their 2010 jobs campaign rhetoric. Why, it could be 2.8% and tax cuts could be paying for themselves as we type. If only…

straitroad

December 7th, 2012
8:58 am

I’m all for good economic news but I don’t look at it blindly. I’m trying to figure out why there’s a trend of past monthly jobs numbers being revised downward. Maybe the 7.7 figure is at least partially due to the continued drop in labor participation? The labor partication rate is the one I’d like to see rise as a better indicator of the jobs picture.

Old Goober

December 7th, 2012
9:00 am

Those on here arguing for a vocational track in high school have departed from reality. The problem has always been that people see that as fine for other people’s kids, but not for their own. They want their own kids to be high on the totem poll, with college degrees, etc. As a result, our colleges and universities are packed with would-be executives who find no useful jobs when they leave. There’s a certain sense of elitism in those who see vocational training as the cure for our unemployment problems. Ask those people what they want their own kids to be. You can bet you won’t hear plumber, electrician, auto mechanic, etc.

DannyX

December 7th, 2012
9:02 am

“I’m trying to figure out why there’s a trend of past monthly jobs numbers being revised downward.”

Not true at all, in fact last month the revision was a couple months being revised up.

Stephenson Billings

December 7th, 2012
9:04 am

540K people dropped out of the workforce. Participation rate at 63.6% (lowest since the early 80’s).

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-07/146000-jobs-added-november-beat-expectation-85000-unemployment-rate-lower-77

All we need to do is keep people out of the workforce and we’ll be back at 4% unemployment in no time…..

do not be misinformed

December 7th, 2012
9:05 am

Ask those people what they want their own kids to be. You can bet you won’t hear plumber, electrician, auto mechanic, etc.
______
Have you checked out the curriculum for the technical schools? Have you checked out their certification programs? You will be surprised.

Stephenson Billings

December 7th, 2012
9:05 am

September and October had a combined downward revision of 49k……

Thomas Heyward Jr

December 7th, 2012
9:05 am

“The No Good, Very Bad Outlook for the Working-Class American Man,”
.
Bombing/invading/Killing Working-Class Men in Somalia,Yemen,Afghan,Pakistan,Syria,Libya,Iraq, and all them dope smoking guys in South America and North America…………………………..don’t come cheap.
.
The Government is actually HELPING you.
.
Don’t be an ingate.
.
lol

Thomas Heyward Jr

December 7th, 2012
9:06 am