Monday, August 5, 2013

Ronald Reagan, the bust

New unemployment claims fell last week to 326,000, a 5 1/2 year low. July's survey of employers showed 162,000 new jobs created, this is about three times the rate of population growth. The odd thing was that 92,000 of these jobs went people 55 and over, with only 15,000 going to prime age workers 25-54. This could be taken as a good sign since workers over 55 have been systematically passed over for jobs since the Bush Crash.

Recent college grads got the other 55,000 new jobs. Not that a college education is necessarily worth much in a post-industrial, post-middle class country like the US. Forty percent of the people who make less than $10/hour have some college education. Plenty of young lawyers and engineers work at Best Buy.

There has been a lot of back and forth about McDonald's terrible wages with strikes ongoing in several cities, not that it makes the Evening News. The right wing talking point is that the minimum wage is only paid for 'starter jobs' and if you don't get ahead it's your fault. Okay, go to college so you can work at Best Buy for the same wages that McDonald's pays.

Another Right Wing talking point is that if any of these big corporate employers had to pay a decent wage then everything would cost 'TEN TIMES AS MUCH'. This is the same Right Wing math that makes them think that they can beat the 190 million to one odds when they buy a lottery ticket.

Wages aren't a significant portion of retail cost of anything, even in a labor intensive fast food joint. If McDonald's doubled its wages, the price of food would increase 17%. That's right a $1 McDeath burger would cost a whopping $1.17. The full time worker, or the worker with several part time jobs who gets in 40 hours, would make an extra $290/week. That's 248 items on the $1.17 menu, or they could actually afford to shop at the Farmer's Market for decent food, and have money left. Funny how actual math gets you a completely different outcome than the Right Wing (invest in lottery tickets) math does.

The US manufacturing index jumped sharply driven by the automotive and building supply sectors. There has been so much good news (good in the sense we have become accustomed to the mediocre), so much good news that Fox Business News has been concentrating on the latest fake Benghazi story. They just don't have much else to talk about that doesn't make Obama look good, they were going on about the rebound in the price of gold, but that's back down again. The Right is fond of saying how Obama has been 'devaluing' the dollar because it will buy half as much gold as it would when he took office. With gold now down by a third, the USD will buy half again as much gold as it would two years ago, but Obama doesn't seem to get credit for that.

The Republicans continue their obsession with naming things for Ronald Reagan as if he wasn't the worst President of the 20th Century, George Bush could have displaced him, but the US is in a new century of Republican decline. They want to name the 200 mile Economic Exclusion Zone that extends out into 'international' waters for the President our long economic decline is also named for. How about putting up a bust of Ronald Reagan at the former site of each of the 250,000 factories that have disappeared since Reagan started undoing the New Deal. The busts would be cast in China of course.

In order to do something before leaving on a month long vacation, the Do Nothing Republican House attempted to pass the 40th repeal of ObamaCare. In the rush to get out the door they inadvertently repealed Ronald Reagan, and named a Post Office for 'ObamaCare'. Twitter @BruceEnberg  I'm here through the weekend, try the veal. And tip your server, the Federal Minimum Wage for restaurant workers is $2.13/hour.


Anonymous said...

Just got a progress letter from my public school district. The result of all of the service industry jobs in my neighborhood is 57% of the students in my shool district are eligable for school cafateria food aid. This being true these families are geting IRS low income tax credits and most likely food stamps. So it not the fault of those people or the employee trade unions but the sevice business owners paying less than subsitance wages or even living wages. Since these workers do not add to the value of production they are concidered just a cost lowering potential profits and are of little value and are considered expendable.

Dave said...

Lets do a little math. . .oh come on!!! It won't be that bad.

The current minimum wage under federal law is $7.25 an hour. If you were making the "same" pay in 1978, you'd have been getting $2.02 an hour. The actual minimum wage in 1978 was $2.65.

Does that look like a small difference in pay? In order to make that $2.65 in modern dollars, you'd have to be getting $9.49 an hour. That $1.99 an hour seems a lot bigger doesn't it?

You can make these calculations too using an online inflation calculator. Run some numbers and you might find it very interesting.

They used to say crime doesn't pay. Well now work doesn't pay and that holds true even if you make more than minimum wage.

Does this socioeconomic system sound like something to support? Doing so amounts to cheering for getting screwed.

Are we having fun yet?

Ronmac said...

People need to shut up about minimum wage stuff and let market forces run their natural course like nature intended. Do you realize by the year 3535, making all the necessary adjustments for inflation, people will be making $23,276.05 an hour.

With the right investment strategy in place, that means a 16 year-old high school student can start a weekend job at McDonalds or McReagans and be able to retire by the age of 19.

Anonymous said...

its not about the money. they already HAVE all the money. hell, they PRINT the money! its about power.

they want to stand an average of 2 feet taller than you, have an average of 90 iq points higher than you, and have the divine entitlement to kick your door in to fuck your wife while you are made to watch, whenever they feel so inclined.

these are criminal psychopaths ... and they lord over us with absolution :-\