Author Topic: Political Economics  (Read 694656 times)


DougMacG

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Political Economics: Record High Income and Low Poverty in 2019
« Reply #1901 on: September 16, 2020, 06:59:12 AM »
Just like the MSM told you!  (sarc)
https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2020/demo/p60-270.pdf

Record High Income and Low Poverty in 2019

Real median household in 2019 increased $4,379 over 2018, 6.8%. More income growth in one year than in 8 years of Obama-Biden.



That's the largest one-year increase in median income since the data has been kept.  Real median income grew by 7.9% for black Americans, 7.1% for Hispanic Americans, and 10.6% for Asian Americans. All record highs.

The poverty rate fell to a new record low of 10.5% in 2019, the lowest in six decades that such figures have been tracked.  Over 4 million people were lifted out of poverty between 2018 and 2019 for a 1.3 percentage point decrease.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2020, 07:02:20 AM by DougMacG »


DougMacG

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Political Economics, Thomas Sowell on greed
« Reply #1903 on: September 29, 2020, 07:02:06 PM »
Thomas Sowell
@ThomasSowell
I have never understood why it is “greed” to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.
 Sep 28, 2020·Twitter for iPhone

DougMacG

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Political Economics: Compare and contrast Trump v. Obama/Biden economies
« Reply #1904 on: October 02, 2020, 06:22:49 AM »
What happens when economic growth accelerates in a tight labor market?  Incomes rise. Biden deceives that into a negative for the economically ignorant.

From the article below:
"For the eight years of the Obama-Biden administration, there wasn’t a single month when job openings exceeded the number of people unemployed. Zero. ... when Obama and Biden left office in January 2017, there were 1.9 million more people unemployed than there were job openings.
...
By March 2018, that situation had reversed. Following Trump’s regulatory overhaul and passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, employment openings exceeded the number of people unemployed for the first time on records going back to 2000.

Astoundingly, that remained the case for 24 consecutive months — until the pandemic — with over 1 million more job openings than people unemployed for 17 of those months.
-----------------------------------
https://nypost.com/2020/10/01/unpacking-joe-bidens-lies-about-the-trump-job-creation-miracle/

Unpacking Joe Biden’s lies about the Trump job-creation miracle
By Andy Puzder  October 1, 2020

President Trump's tax cuts and elimination of burdensome regulations have spurred the economy.

Try as they might, Democrats, the media and the blue-check Twitterati can’t wish away President Trump’s enormously successful stewardship of the US economy.

“You talk about the economy booming,” moderator Chris Wallace told Trump at this week’s presidential debate. But “in Obama’s final three years as president, more jobs were created, a million and a half more jobs, than in the first three years of your presidency.” Wallace was echoing one of the Biden campaign’s favorite talking points.

But here’s the thing: That talking point depends on misleading and cherry-picked data.

Most significantly, it ignores the worker shortage during Trump’s second and third years in office. Obviously, it’s harder to add jobs when employers can’t find workers. But rather than an economic shortcoming, this shortage was a result of the Trump economy “booming,” producing job openings so abundant that they exceeded the number of people looking for work — by a lot.

It’s called a tight labor market, and it’s good for workers, as economists of every stripe agree.

This worker shortage was the defining difference between the Obama-Biden era and Trump’s first three years in office.

Every month, the National Federation of Independent Businesses asks business owners to name “the most important problem facing your business today.” The No. 1 and No. 2 most important problems under Obama-Biden were — not surprisingly — high taxes and burdensome, unpredictable government regulation. Should we elect Biden president, those will once again be the foremost problems facing businesses.

By contrast, once Trump cut taxes and slashed regulations in 2017, business growth accelerated, and business owners identified “finding qualified workers” as the most pressing problem they faced. The numbers — the full numbers — prove the point.

For the eight years of the Obama-Biden administration, there wasn’t a single month when job openings exceeded the number of people unemployed. Zero.

US economy adds 661K jobs amid COVID-19 pressure

US workers file 837,000 more jobless claims as COVID-19 total nears 63 million
How to handle a second COVID-19 wave
In fact, when Obama and Biden left office in January 2017, there were 1.9 million more people unemployed than there were job openings. So there was an abundance of people looking for work, but too few jobs opportunities open to them.

A little more than a year later, in March 2018, that situation had reversed. Following Trump’s regulatory overhaul and passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, employment openings exceeded the number of people unemployed for the first time on records going back to 2000.

Astoundingly, that remained the case for 24 consecutive months — until the pandemic — with over 1 million more job openings than people unemployed for 17 of those months.

NYC's economy may never recover from COVID-19, Trump says
This unprecedented competition for workers had extremely positive consequences. It lowered the unemployment rate, which consistently hit 50-year lows, and as a result, employers began competing for workers and raising wages.

In August 2018, year-over-year wage growth exceeded 3 percent for the first time in nearly a decade and stayed at or above 3 percent for 20 consecutive months until the pandemic. By comparison, under Team Obama-Biden there wasn’t a single post-recession month when wage growth exceeded 3 percent. Again, zero.

With wages rising, people started coming out of the woodwork to fill those abundant good-paying job openings. In the fourth quarter of 2019, 74.2 percent of workers who took jobs came from outside the labor force rather than the ranks of the unemployed. That was the highest percentage since 1990, when the government began reporting such data.

By contrast, under the Obama-Biden administration, people fled the labor force, discouraged by limited opportunities and stagnant wages. During Biden’s eight years in office, the labor force participation rate — the share of people working or actively looking for work — dropped from 65.7 to 62.8 percent. During Trump’s first three pre-pandemic years, it rose back up to 63.4 percent, as people rejoined the labor force.

Thus, when Trump talks about “a booming economy,” he is absolutely correct. Wallace’s question ignored the overwhelmingly positive impact of Trump’s policies on businesses and workers alike.

Before a once-in-a-generation pandemic decimated the whole global economy, Trump took the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression and turned it into the strongest labor market in modern times, maybe ever. Democrats cherry-picking the economic data to make it appear otherwise won’t change that reality.

Andy Puzder a senior fellow at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy, served for 16 years as CEO of CKE Restaurants. Twitter: @AndyPuzder
« Last Edit: October 02, 2020, 06:45:31 AM by DougMacG »

DougMacG

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Political Economics, Headline Up, Joblessness Down
« Reply #1905 on: October 02, 2020, 08:08:51 AM »
Misleading headline of the week: “Layoffs Still Piling Up As Jobless Claims Remain Stubbornly High”

This was brought to you by the Washington Post on Thursday—the folks that are genetically incapable of reporting any good news on the economy while Trump is president.

The weekly unemployment insurance claims released yesterday show that 837,000 new Americans signed up for benefits and that is a tragically high number.  But what the Washington Post, CNN, and others omitted reporting is that some 1.8 million Americans fell off benefit rolls.  So the number of people who are collecting benefits FELL by almost one million in recent weeks.  How is this NOT good news?  By the way, the newest addition of 837,000 was actually 36,000 BELOW the number from last week and BELOW the expected level. That’s good news too.
   - Stephen Moore

DougMacG

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Political Economics - School closures hurt women in the workplace
« Reply #1906 on: October 02, 2020, 08:14:01 AM »
School closures hurt women in the workplace, and hurt the economy for everyone.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-30/leanin-org-finds-covid-19-could-push-women-out-of-workforce-and-senior-roles
---------------------------
Does anyone remember when hurting women and children most was a bad thing?

DougMacG

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Re: Political Economics
« Reply #1907 on: October 04, 2020, 09:33:21 AM »
"Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth in the third quarter 34.6% on October 1, up from 32% on September 25.  Such annual rates show what the percent change would be if continued four quarters - quite impossible for Q4.  But 4-6% isn't."   - Economist Alan Reynolds

DougMacG

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Political Economics, Green New Deal
« Reply #1908 on: October 04, 2020, 09:45:49 AM »
In a new report, AEI economist Benjamin Zycher examines the Green New Deal (GND) and concludes the current resolution would yield no benefits while imposing substantial economic and social costs. He explains that while the ostensible goal of the GND is to fix what its proponents call an ongoing climate crisis, the GND in reality would have no effect on the climate. Zycher points out that instead, the GND at its core substitutes central planning in place of market forces to allocate resources in the US economy.

Zycher identifies several key flaws:

The GND’s central premise is that global temperatures must be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrialized levels to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, and achieving this end will require a “10-year national mobilization” to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050. However, the future temperature impacts of the zero-emissions objective would be barely distinguishable from zero: just a 0.173°C difference by 2100.

Chief among the GND’s goals is “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources…by dramatically expanding and upgrading renewable power sources.” A highly conservative estimate of the aggregate cost of this goal alone would be $490.5 billion per year. The GND renewable electricity mandate would also create significant environmental damage and require over 115 million acres of land, an area approximately 15 percent larger than the land area of California.

The renewable electricity mandate would also do surprisingly little to curb US emissions. Without fossil-fired backup generation, the reliability of the US electric power system would decline significantly. As considerable increases in service interruptions would be unacceptable to most Americans, stabilizing the power system would require roughly 1.4 million gigawatt-hours of non-renewable backup power generation annually. The emissions from backup generation would amount to more than 35 percent of the 2017 emissions from all power generation. The renewable energy mandate is thus to a large extent self-defeating.

The GND calls for implementing single-payer health care and an employment guarantee, providing “free” college and “free” family and medical leave, and investing in high speed rail. Those proposals are intended to forge a political coalition in support of the GND. Those costs, combined with the excess economic burden that the GND’s required spending would create through the tax system, mean that the total economic cost of the GND would be roughly $9 trillion per year.
This $9 trillion total remains a highly conservative estimate. It excludes the costs of the massive shift away from fossil fuels in the transportation sector, the total cost of the GND’s high-speed rail component, the cost of retrofitting every building in the country for “efficiency,” and most of the economic costs of the adverse environmental effects of the GND.

The full report is available here: The Green New Deal: Economics and Policy Analytics
http://www.aei.org/spotlight/green-new-deal/
https://www.aei.org/press/new-aei-report-examines-details-of-the-green-new-deal/

Before joining AEI, Zycher conducted a broad research program in his public policy research firm, and was an intelligence community associate of the Office of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US Department of State.  He is a former senior economist at the RAND Corporation, a former adjunct professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and at the California State University Channel Islands, and is a former senior economist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.  He served as a senior staff economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, with responsibility for energy and environmental policy issues.

Zycher has a doctorate in economics from UCLA, a Master in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from UCLA.


DougMacG

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Re: Too few are rich!
« Reply #1910 on: October 10, 2020, 08:50:28 AM »
I have big doubts on the way this is measured.  Why do they look at people instead of households?  Do they count houses owned, real estate?  Cars and houses are the assets of the lower 50%. Also their future earning power.  What's that worth? Some are the future rich, investing in their own endeavors instead of publicly held stock.   From the article: "The wealthiest 1% own more than 50% of the equity in corporations and in mutual fund shares, the Fed data show." Very often, disparity studies don't count the wealth of people who they conclude lack wealth.  (Me, for example.)

This study picks the bottom of a historic pandemic shutdown for its key data point.  Great benchmark for a serious, long term study (sarc).  Narrative alert.

Intended point, the rich are too rich.  We should enact laws to stop wealth creation!  [Not]

Laws and policies designed to stop disparity make it worse.  The rich are already rich and not hurt by tough laws.  It's the next wave of wealth that is blocked, while it is the next wave of wealth that is needed. 

Better idea:  Legalize wealth creation.  Way too many people are not rich that could be. 

It's not a fixed pie.  What's blocking wealth creation, what laws, agencies and regulations are blocking new innovation and new enterprise formation so complex only the rich can navigate them?  Repeal them and grow more people rich. 
« Last Edit: October 10, 2020, 11:53:32 AM by DougMacG »

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Political Economics
« Reply #1911 on: October 10, 2020, 09:50:24 AM »
I'm guessing a lot of them are tech oligarchs who got rich selling out our country to China.

ccp

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Biden Harris -> buy China
« Reply #1912 on: October 10, 2020, 03:54:39 PM »
A Bdien win  - buy China!

tariffs gone

US big techs to get broken up in ways to helps Dem Party
  and provide the government with lots of funds to pay off their voters

China as has been doing for decades will ride the results .




DougMacG

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Re: Biden Harris -> buy China
« Reply #1913 on: October 10, 2020, 05:49:11 PM »
Changing the subject slightly, I think the US should buy Siberia.  What was Alaska, 2 cents per acre?
« Last Edit: October 10, 2020, 07:43:52 PM by DougMacG »

ccp

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Re: Political Economics
« Reply #1914 on: October 10, 2020, 08:16:18 PM »
we trial ballooned  Greenland and the left mocked us.....




DougMacG

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Re: Political Economics
« Reply #1915 on: October 11, 2020, 07:26:23 AM »
we trial ballooned  Greenland and the left mocked us.....

Yes.  Buying Greenland was a GREAT idea, but both of these would require a willing seller.  That means private negotiations before going public.

Pres. Biden should buy both Greenland and Siberia knowing they will both soon become tropical paradises.

OK, back to more serious topics...

DougMacG

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Re: Political Economics, The Trump Effect
« Reply #1916 on: October 11, 2020, 07:30:10 AM »

DougMacG

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Re: Political Economics, Two Jobs Recoveries
« Reply #1917 on: October 18, 2020, 05:57:35 AM »
Four years under Obama Biden, from 10% down to 8%:


Five months under Trump, from 14.7down to 7.9:


Unemployment headed back to near zero if you let him.

DougMacG

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Political Economics - Recent forecasts of Biden's lead economic adviser
« Reply #1918 on: October 23, 2020, 05:11:53 PM »
When attacked last night by Trump on his economically illiterate tax plan, Biden again said that a leading economist from Wall Street predicts that his plan will create more than 18 million jobs. That economist is Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics. A $4 trillion tax increase magically creates millions of new jobs.  (Yeah, in China!)

In 2016  he predicted that Trump’s policies would cause “a lengthy recession” and that unemployment rate would rise to 6% or higher.  Whoops. No recession. Instead, we had a barnburner economy in 2017, 2018, and 2019 and the unemployment rate hit its lowest level in 50 years at 3.7%.

Regarding Obama's $1 trillion stimulus plan, he said that it would get us to 4% growth and create millions of new jobs. As readers of this newsletter know well, the Obama stimulus plan actually ended up keeping unemployment at 9% and LOST jobs.

ccp

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Re: Political Economics
« Reply #1919 on: October 23, 2020, 05:52:54 PM »
exactly

like I see in medicine

the same "data" can be interpreted in many ways
or juiced to say more than it does

"come on man, look at the data"

as though that means a lot.

ccp

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"I am a fiscal conservative AND a social liberal"
« Reply #1920 on: October 24, 2020, 09:16:47 AM »
Now and then I here people claim this banner. Trying to be hip with social righteousness and yet smart with the money

What they DON"T seem to understand

it is impossible to be both .

If one is a social liberal you cannot be a fiscal conservative - sorry it just does not work




DougMacG

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Re: Political Economics, the American Dream
« Reply #1921 on: October 26, 2020, 07:14:45 AM »
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/american-dream-74-reach-it-or-on-their-way-blacks-top-for-better-opportunities

74% are there or on their way.

A majority of black people believe they have more opportunities than their parents,

DougMacG

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Political Economics, Super-V recovery, GDP grew 33% coming into the election
« Reply #1922 on: October 29, 2020, 02:11:01 PM »
3rd quarter 2020 economic growth (annualized) = 33.1%, largest in history.

Did anyone see this coming? 

cnbc.com/2020/10/29/us-gdp-report-third-quarter-2020.html

DougMacG

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Re: Political Economics, Biden's policies have consequences
« Reply #1923 on: November 09, 2020, 03:15:05 AM »


DougMacG

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Re: Political Economics, pre Covid US economy
« Reply #1925 on: November 23, 2020, 05:54:54 AM »
https://fee.org/articles/us-household-incomes-increased-more-in-2018-than-in-the-previous-20-years-combined/

US Household Incomes Increased More in 2018 Than in the Previous 20 Years—Combined
Why did US incomes suddenly explode in 2018 after decades of tepid growth? The answer is not difficult to find.
Monday, November 16, 2020

Image Credit: Pxfuel
Jon Miltimore
Jon Miltimore
Economics Wages Workers Income Corporate Tax Capital Tax Cuts Grover Norquist Donald Trump Joe Biden Tariffs
For years, a school of economists has complained that US wages have been virtually stagnant for decades.

“Jobs are coming back, but pay isn’t. The median wage is still below where it was before the Great Recession,” former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said in 2015. “Last month, average pay actually fell.”

In fact, it’s not hard to find data showing that wages have barely increased since the 1970s, a figure many have used to stoke classy envy.


The truth is, there have always been problems with the claim that real wages (adjusted for inflation) have been stagnant for years. As economist Don Boudreaux has pointed out (see below), Reich and others overlook several important factors—including how inflation is calculated, compensation outside of wages such as healthcare, and the distinction between individuals and statistics.



The stagnant wage narrative was always mostly wrong. Federal Reserve data (which uses a chain-weighted price index) shows US hourly earnings have seen impressive growth in recent years.

Nevertheless, if one does choose to use Bureau of Labor Statistics data to measure family incomes over the last two decades, the picture is indeed a bit bleaker—at least it was.

Government statistics, which use the Consumer Price Index to measure inflation, show that from 2002 through 2015 median weekly earnings didn’t budge at all, but surged between 2018 and 2020.


I’m not the first person to notice this stunning wage growth. Writing in Bloomberg, economist Karl W. Smith describes the growth in income using a slightly different metric, real median household income.

“In 2016, real median household income was $62,898, just $257 above its level in 1999,” writes Smith. “Over the next three years it grew almost $6,000, to $68,703.”

Indeed, median household incomes increased from $64,300 to $68,700 in 2018 alone—an increase of $4,400. To put it another way, US incomes increased more in 2018 than the previous 20 years combined. (Household incomes were $61,100 in 1998 and $64,300 at the end of 2017.)


The question, of course, is why did US incomes suddenly explode after decades of tepid growth? The answer is not difficult to find.

The year 2017 saw massive deregulation and passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Estimates placed the deregulation savings at $2 trillion. But what was likely even a bigger factor was the cut businesses saw in corporate taxes.

Prior to 2017, the US had the highest corporate tax in the developed world (if not the whole world). With a top bracket of 35 percent, its corporate tax rate was higher than Communist China and socialist Venezuela.

This was a terrible policy on a number of levels. For starters, the revenue-maximizing rate of a corporate tax is 15-25 percent, which means anything above that isn’t even generating more revenue, it’s simply punitive and economically harmful. (Evidence bears this out. The United Kingdom, for example, reduced its corporate tax rate and saw revenues grow.)

Second, high corporate taxes actually hurt workers more than "Big Business." Tax experts point out that roughly 70 percent of what businesses earn in profits gets paid to workers in the form of wages and other benefits. So it’s no surprise to see that studies show that workers bear between 50 and 100 percent of the brunt of corporate income taxes.

But the reverse is also true: cutting corporate taxes leaves companies more capital to grow and invest.

“Lower corporate taxes increase rewards for improving techniques, technology, and increasing capital investments, which increase worker productivity and earnings,” writes economist Gary Galles. “They expand rewards for risk-taking and entrepreneurship in service of consumers. They reduce the substantial distortions caused by the tax. And those changes benefit others, such as workers and consumers.”

So in 2017, when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law, companies saw their tax rate fall from 35 percent to 21 percent. Just that fast, businesses suddenly had more capital to spend to grow their business, improve productivity, and hire more workers—and few things attract workers more than higher wages.

Media scoffed at the possibility that corporate tax cuts would actually result in wage increases for US workers. But the data speaks for itself: Families saw incomes increase faster than at any time in generations.

Moreover, though median wages surged, showing the benefits were broad-based, every segment benefited from these wage gains.

“The lowest quintile increased their pay more than the upper quintile,” Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist recently pointed out in a conversation with FEE’s Brad Polumbo.

To be sure, reducing the corporate tax rate wasn’t the sole factor for the surge in wages, but it was likely by far the biggest.

The surge in family incomes no doubt helped soften the impact of the economic destruction the world suffered in 2020 during the recession precipitated by economic lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.

Whether the wage gains continue may depend to some extent on the permanency of the corporate tax cut. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who appears poised to become the next US president, has signaled he’d restore the corporate tax to its 35 percent rate or raise it to 28 percent.

“Biden would make our business tax higher than China’s,” Norquist quipped. (He’s not wrong. China’s corporate tax rate stands at 25 percent.)

This appears unlikely to happen, however. Even if Biden’s claim was more than campaign rhetoric, it appears unlikely that he’ll have enough votes in the Senate to roll back the tax cuts.

Even more promising for US workers, Biden appears inclined to roll back Trump’s tariffs, which are basically taxes on Americans and imposed costs on businesses.

“When you put a tariff on steel, you make American cars not competitive anymore. You make everything made with steel less competitive,” Norquist observed. “We did a lot of damage to the American economy that way.”

If a Biden administration rolls back Trump’s tariffs while leaving the corporate tax rate in place, the US economy could build on the gains made prior to the arrival of the lockdowns.

That would be a winning formula for US workers, businesses, and the US economy.

DougMacG

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Political Economics, FDR’s policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA
« Reply #1926 on: November 29, 2020, 08:22:49 AM »
https://www.ff.org/fdrs-policies-prolonged-depression-by-7-years-ucla-economists-calculate/

FDR’s policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate
...
After scrutinizing Roosevelt’s record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.
...
“President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services,” said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. “So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies.”
...
NIRA’s labor provisions, meanwhile, were strengthened in the National Relations Act, signed into law in 1935. As union membership doubled, so did labor’s bargaining power, rising from 14 million strike days in 1936 to about 28 million in 1937. By 1939 wages in protected industries remained 24 percent to 33 percent above where they should have been, based on 1929 figures, Cole and Ohanian calculate. Unemployment persisted. By 1939 the U.S. unemployment rate was 17.2 percent, down somewhat from its 1933 peak of 24.9 percent but still remarkably high. By comparison, in May 2003, the unemployment rate of 6.1 percent was the highest in nine years.

Recovery came only after the Department of Justice dramatically stepped up enforcement of antitrust cases nearly four-fold and organized labor suffered a string of setbacks, the economists found.

“The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes,” Cole said. “Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.”

DougMacG

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Political Economics, Sowell on Walter Williams, The world lost a great one.
« Reply #1927 on: December 03, 2020, 06:14:21 PM »
"Holding a black belt in karate, Walter was a tough customer. One night three men jumped him – and two of those men ended up in a hospital."

"As a person, Walter Williams was unique. I have heard of no one else being described as being “like Walter Williams.”  "
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Thomas Sowell: Walter E. Williams 1936-2020
By Thomas Sowell Dec 3, 2020 

Walter Williams loved teaching. Unlike too many other teachers today, he made it a point never to impose his opinions on his students. Those who read his syndicated newspaper columns know that he expressed his opinions boldly and unequivocally there. But not in the classroom.

Walter once said he hoped that, on the day he died, he would have taught a class that day. And that is just the way it was, when he died on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020.

He was my best friend for half a century. There was no one I trusted more or whose integrity I respected more. Since he was younger than me, I chose him to be my literary executor, to take control of my books after I was gone.

But his death is a reminder that no one really has anything to say about such things.

As an economist, Walter Williams never got the credit he deserved. His book “Race and Economics” is a must-read introduction to the subject. Amazon has it ranked 5th in sales among civil rights books, nine years after it was published.

Another book of his, on the effects of economics under the white supremacist apartheid regime in South Africa, was titled “South Africa’s War Against Capitalism.” He went to South Africa to study the situation directly. Many of the things he brought out have implications for racial discrimination in other places around the world.

I have had many occasions to cite Walter Williams’ research in my own books. Most of what others say about higher prices in low income neighborhoods today has not yet caught up to what Walter said in his doctoral dissertation decades ago.

Despite his opposition to the welfare state, as something doing more harm than good, Walter was privately very generous with both his money and his time in helping others.

He figured he had a right to do whatever he wanted to with his own money, but that politicians had no right to take his money to give away, in order to get votes.


In a letter dated March 3, 1975, Walter said: “Sometimes it is a very lonely struggle trying to help our people, particularly the ones who do not realize that help is needed.”

In the same letter, he mentioned a certain hospital that “has an all but written policy of prohibiting the flunking of black medical students.”

Not long after this, a professor at a prestigious medical school revealed that black students there were given passing grades without having met the standards applied to other students. He warned that trusting patients would pay – some with their lives – for such irresponsible double standards. That has in fact happened.

As a person, Walter Williams was unique. I have heard of no one else being described as being “like Walter Williams.”

Holding a black belt in karate, Walter was a tough customer. One night three men jumped him – and two of those men ended up in a hospital.

The other side of Walter came out in relation to his wife, Connie. She helped put him through graduate school – and after he received his Ph.D., she never had to work again, not even to fix his breakfast.

Walter liked to go to his job at 4:30 a.m. He was the only person who had no problem finding a parking space on the street in downtown Washington. Around 9 o’clock or so, Connie – now awake – would phone Walter and they would greet each other tenderly for the day.

We may not see his like again. And that is our loss.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University,

DougMacG

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Re: Political Economics
« Reply #1928 on: December 08, 2020, 06:30:16 PM »
By some measures, the Obama Biden economy was worse for small business than Covid.

https://mailchi.mp/d39b6c682059/unleash-prosperity-hotline-830534?e=17d44a0477

DougMacG

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Walter Williams prescient in 2009, Limit government while you still can
« Reply #1929 on: December 12, 2020, 07:32:55 AM »
Brilliant man.  Easy to understand.  His life work lives on.

https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/future-prospects-for-economic-liberty/?utm_campaign=williams&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=101929147&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_0OBIk_wlKAidlkfDsa29tNO5Lo0I5bcQqp7JAVV4Fgc5n9KaX9r2AMW1VAIWbGjj0I9GRf0LhyLlvLM2aUlYsZtlpzA&utm_source=housefile

One of the justifications for the massive growth of government in the 20th and now the 21st centuries, far beyond the narrow limits envisioned by the founders of our nation, is the need to promote what the government defines as fair and just. But this begs the prior and more fundamental question: What is the legitimate role of government in a free society? To understand how America’s Founders answered this question, we have only to look at the rule book they gave us—the Constitution. Most of what they understood as legitimate powers of the federal government are enumerated in Article 1, Section 8. Congress is authorized there to do 21 things, and as much as three-quarters of what Congress taxes us and spends our money for today is nowhere to be found on that list. To cite just a few examples, there is no constitutional authority for Congress to subsidize farms, bail out banks, or manage car companies. In this sense, I think we can safely say that America has departed from the constitutional principle of limited government that made us great and prosperous.

On the other side of the coin from limited government is individual liberty. The Founders understood private property as the bulwark of freedom for all Americans, rich and poor alike. But following a series of successful attacks on private property and free enterprise—beginning in the early 20th century and picking up steam during the New Deal, the Great Society, and then again recently—the government designed by our Founders and outlined in the Constitution has all but disappeared. Thomas Jefferson anticipated this when he said, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

To see the extent to which liberty is yielding and government is gaining ground, one need simply look at what has happened to taxes and spending. A tax, of course, represents a government claim on private property. Every tax confiscates private property that could otherwise be freely spent or freely invested. At the same time, every additional dollar of government spending demands another tax dollar, whether now or in the future. With this in mind, consider that the average American now works from January 1 until May 5 to pay the federal, state, and local taxes required for current government spending levels. Thus the fruits of more than one third of our labor are used in ways decided upon by others. The Founders favored the free market because it maximizes the freedom of all citizens and teaches respect for the rights of others. Expansive government, by contrast, contracts individual freedom and teaches disrespect for the rights of others. Thus clearly we are on what Friedrich Hayek called the road to serfdom, or what I prefer to call the road to tyranny.

As I said, the Constitution restricts the federal government to certain functions. What are they? The most fundamental one is the protection of citizens’ lives. Therefore, the first legitimate function of the government is to provide for national defense against foreign enemies and for protection against criminals here at home. These and other legitimate public goods (as we economists call them) obviously require that each citizen pay his share in taxes. But along with people’s lives, it is a vital function of the government to protect people’s liberty as well—including economic liberty or property rights. So while I am not saying that we should pay no taxes, I am saying that they should be much lower—as they would be, if the government abided by the Constitution and allowed the free market system to flourish.

And it is important to remember what makes the free market work. Is it a desire we all have to do good for others? Do people in New York enjoy fresh steak for dinner at their favorite restaurant because cattle ranchers in Texas love to make New Yorkers happy? Of course not. It is in the interest of Texas ranchers to provide the steak. They benefit themselves and their families by doing so. This is the kind of enlightened self-interest discussed by Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations, in which he argues that the social good is best served by pursuing private interests. The same principle explains why I take better care of my property than the government would. It explains as well why a large transfer or estate tax weakens the incentive a property owner has to care for his property and pass it along to his children in the best possible condition. It explains, in general, why free enterprise leads to prosperity.

Ironically, the free market system is threatened today not because of its failure, but because of its success. Capitalism has done so well in eliminating the traditional problems of mankind—disease, pestilence, gross hunger, and poverty—that other human problems seem to us unacceptable. So in the name of equalizing income, achieving sex and race balance, guaranteeing housing and medical care, protecting consumers, and conserving energy—just to name a few prominent causes of liberal government these days—individual liberty has become of secondary or tertiary concern.

Imagine what would happen if I wrote a letter to Congress and informed its members that, because I am fully capable of taking care of my own retirement needs, I respectfully request that they stop taking money out of my paycheck for Social Security. Such a letter would be greeted with contempt. But is there any difference between being forced to save for retirement and being forced to save for housing or for my child’s education or for any other perceived good? None whatsoever. Yet for government to force us to do such things is to treat us as children rather than as rational citizens in possession of equal and inalienable natural rights.

We do not yet live under a tyranny, of course. Nor is one imminent. But a series of steps, whether small or large, tending toward a certain destination will eventually take us there. The philosopher David Hume observed that liberty is seldom lost all at once, but rather bit by bit. Or as my late colleague Leonard Read used to put it, taking liberty from Americans is like cooking a frog: It can’t be done quickly because the frog will feel the heat and escape. But put a frog in cold water and heat it slowly, and by the time the frog grasps the danger, it’s too late.

Again, the primary justification for increasing the size and scale of government at the expense of liberty is that government can achieve what it perceives as good. But government has no resources of its own with which to do so. Congressmen and senators don’t reach into their own pockets to pay for a government program. They reach into yours and mine. Absent Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, the only way government can give one American a dollar in the name of this or that good thing is by taking it from some other American by force. If a private person did the same thing, no matter how admirable the motive, he would be arrested and tried as a thief. That is why I like to call what Congress does, more often than not, “legal theft.” The question we have to ask ourselves is whether there is a moral basis for forcibly taking the rightful property of one person and giving it to another to whom it does not belong. I cannot think of one. Charity is noble and good when it involves reaching into your own pocket. But reaching into someone else’s pocket is wrong.

In a free society, we want the great majority, if not all, of our relationships to be voluntary. I like to explain a voluntary exchange as a kind of non-amorous seduction. Both parties to the exchange feel good in an economic sense. Economists call this a positive sum gain. For example, if I offer my local grocer three dollars for a gallon of milk, implicit in the offer is that we will both be winners. The grocer is better off because he values the three dollars more than the milk, and I am better off because I value the milk more than the three dollars. That is a positive sum gain. Involuntary exchange, by contrast, means that one party gains and the other loses. If I use a gun to steal a gallon of milk, I win and the grocer loses. Economists call this a zero sum gain. And we are like that grocer in most of what Congress does these days.

Some will respond that big government is what the majority of voters want, and that in a democracy the majority rules. But America’s Founders didn’t found a democracy, they founded a republic. The authors of The Federalist Papers, arguing for ratification of the Constitution, showed how pure democracy has led historically to tyranny. Instead, they set up a limited government, with checks and balances, to help ensure that the reason of the people, rather than the selfish passions of a majority, would hold sway. Unaware of the distinction between a democracy and a republic, many today believe that a majority consensus establishes morality. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Another common argument is that we need big government to protect the little guy from corporate giants. But a corporation can’t pick a consumer’s pocket. The consumer must voluntarily pay money for the corporation’s product. It is big government, not corporations, that have the power to take our money by force. I should also point out that private business can force us to pay them by employing government. To see this happening, just look at the automobile industry or at most corporate farmers today. If General Motors or a corporate farm is having trouble, they can ask me for help, and I may or may not choose to help. But if they ask government to help and an IRS agent shows up at my door demanding money, I have no choice but to hand it over. It is big government that the little guy needs protection against, not big business. And the only protection available is in the Constitution and the ballot box.

Speaking of the ballot box, we can blame politicians to some extent for the trampling of our liberty. But the bulk of the blame lies with us voters, because politicians are often doing what we elect them to do. The sad truth is that we elect them for the specific purpose of taking the property of other Americans and giving it to us. Many manufacturers think that the government owes them a protective tariff to keep out foreign goods, resulting in artificially higher prices for consumers. Many farmers think the government owes them a crop subsidy, which raises the price of food. Organized labor thinks government should protect their jobs from non-union competition. And so on. We could even consider many college professors, who love to secure government grants to study poverty and then meet at hotels in Miami during the winter to talk about poor people. All of these—and hundreds of other similar demands on government that I could cite—represent involuntary exchanges and diminish our freedom.

This reminds me of a lunch I had a number of years ago with my friend Jesse Helms, the late Senator from North Carolina. He knew that I was critical of farm subsidies, and he said he agreed with me 100 percent. But he wondered how a Senator from North Carolina could possibly vote against them. If he did so, his fellow North Carolinians would dump him and elect somebody worse in his place. And I remember wondering at the time if it is reasonable to ask a politician to commit political suicide for the sake of principle. The fact is that it’s unreasonable of us to expect even principled politicians to vote against things like crop subsidies and stand up for the Constitution. This presents us with a challenge. It’s up to us to ensure that it’s in our representatives’ interest to stand up for constitutional government.

Americans have never done the wrong thing for a long time, but if we’re not going to go down the tubes as a great nation, we must get about changing things while we still have the liberty to do so.


DougMacG

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Re: Political Economics, Stimulus checks
« Reply #1931 on: December 29, 2020, 06:21:05 PM »
It's such an odd program.  1200 last summer.  600 now?  2000 now??  It's a different economic phenomenon but it reminds me of minimum wage law:  If $8 is good, why not 15?  If 15, why not 20?  If 20, why not 100 per hour.  Can we mandate our way into wealth?  No.

We ask the question of why not more to expose the reality that more is not better.  Minimum wage is government wishful thinking.  It's not even a mandate.  These businesses still (mostly) have the liberty to hire fewer or hire none and close their doors.

The stimulus is different.  Our representatives in Washington pick a number based on sheer gall.  How much do they dare not even borrow, but just create out thin air.  Like issuing new stock, they are just diluting the shares of the existing US Dollars in the world.  And they know that, right??

So, 600 is good.  2000 and 4000 per couple is great.  Why don't we do $100,000 if the question is how much wealth to put in the hands of the American people.  If $100,000 isn't an absurd enough example, let's do a million.  Make everyone a millionaire who isn't one already.  Yay!  And get reelected, or liked, or whatever the goal is.

Why not gift the whole country US$30 Trillion and pay off the national debt?  Don't borrow it.  Just print it and mail it.

I hate to be the only adult in the room, but it just isn't so.  We aren't giving ourselves anything, no matter the amount.  We are taking from ourselves the exact same amount we are giving.  Zero gain.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zippo.  Goose egg.  Nix.  Null.  Nought.  Got it?

Try it another way.  The car is out of gas and you add 100 pounds of pressure to each tire.  Or the tires are flat and you add a hundred gallons of gas.  Better yet, you syphon your own gas out to add gas. 

The problem is not that you aren't receiving enough free money in the mail.  The problem is that the government shut down your business or your employment.  Why not address THAT?

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Re: Political Economics, Stimulus checks
« Reply #1932 on: December 29, 2020, 09:10:38 PM »
A impoverished population begging for government handouts is easy to control.



It's such an odd program.  1200 last summer.  600 now?  2000 now??  It's a different economic phenomenon but it reminds me of minimum wage law:  If $8 is good, why not 15?  If 15, why not 20?  If 20, why not 100 per hour.  Can we mandate our way into wealth?  No.

We ask the question of why not more to expose the reality that more is not better.  Minimum wage is government wishful thinking.  It's not even a mandate.  These businesses still (mostly) have the liberty to hire fewer or hire none and close their doors.

The stimulus is different.  Our representatives in Washington pick a number based on sheer gall.  How much do they dare not even borrow, but just create out thin air.  Like issuing new stock, they are just diluting the shares of the existing US Dollars in the world.  And they know that, right??

So, 600 is good.  2000 and 4000 per couple is great.  Why don't we do $100,000 if the question is how much wealth to put in the hands of the American people.  If $100,000 isn't an absurd enough example, let's do a million.  Make everyone a millionaire who isn't one already.  Yay!  And get reelected, or liked, or whatever the goal is.

Why not gift the whole country US$30 Trillion and pay off the national debt?  Don't borrow it.  Just print it and mail it.

I hate to be the only adult in the room, but it just isn't so.  We aren't giving ourselves anything, no matter the amount.  We are taking from ourselves the exact same amount we are giving.  Zero gain.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zippo.  Goose egg.  Nix.  Null.  Nought.  Got it?

Try it another way.  The car is out of gas and you add 100 pounds of pressure to each tire.  Or the tires are flat and you add a hundred gallons of gas.  Better yet, you syphon your own gas out to add gas. 

The problem is not that you aren't receiving enough free money in the mail.  The problem is that the government shut down your business or your employment.  Why not address THAT?

DougMacG

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Re: Political Economics, Stimulus checks
« Reply #1933 on: December 30, 2020, 06:29:10 AM »
"A impoverished population begging for government handouts is easy to control."


 - Step 1: impoverish them.  Close businesses, order lockdowns, shut down opposition communications, train them to wait and listen for the next round government orders on what they are and are not allowed to do.  Start with 15 day lockdowns, then 30 days, then until the end of the year, then until further notice.  Note those who don't comply - unless they are among those in power.  Tear down statues and traditions. Close the courts, churches, gyms, health clubs.  Align the media with the regime. Continue until the emergency is over all subjects are compliant.

Next: Take all they have, give back 2% and tell them we are the ones enriching you.

Change the 'elected' government from individual liberty oriented to a state control regime.

All steps designed to camouflage the objective above, government control of the population, in the name of ending the pandemic, control that stays in place as the health threat subsides.

I don't want $600 'from them'.  I don't want $2000.  I want the right to go to work, to set my own prices, business hours, work rules, contract terms etc., the right to enter private, enforceable, consensual contracts.


DougMacG

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Re: Political Economics
« Reply #1934 on: January 15, 2021, 09:25:42 AM »
The groups helped most by the Trump economy were hurt most by lockdown policies.  Teenagers, Hispanic, Black and Women hurt more than whites overall.  The lockdowns were measurably racist.


https://mcusercontent.com/dc8d30edd7976d2ddf9c2bf96/images/6ebd3463-4bb5-476f-ad1c-71ed5cdbda70.png

What could go wrong shutting teenagers (and blacks and Hispanics) out of the working economy?  Like minimum wage laws, take away their first job and what else have you taken away?  The damage is lasting.

DougMacG

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