HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

 

Yes, your leg is wet. No, it's not raining.

by Tom Sullivan


Still from Dirty Jobs.

The drama of the last few days (weeks/year?) has delayed my commenting on a post in New York magazine on the plight of workers. An employment report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggests that while macroeconomic conditions couldn't be much better for American workers, life is not getting any better for them.

Adding to a July 4 Washington Post report, Levitz writes, "Piddling wage gains ... have left the vast majority of our nation’s laborers with lower real hourly earnings than they had in May 2017." Economists looking to explain that round up the usual suspects: automation, lack of innovation, higher-paid baby boomers retiring and being replaced by lower-paid millennials, etc. Though not arguing the point explicitly, the OECD report suggests instead a political explanation, Levitz observes, writing, "American policymakers have chosen to design an economic system that leaves workers desperate and disempowered, for the sake of directing a higher share of economic growth to bosses and shareholders."

It's not impersonal economic forces keeping American workers treading water, but economic policy:

American workers are more likely to be poor (by the standards of their nation). In the United States, nearly 15 percent of workers earn less than half of the median wage. That gives the U.S. a higher “low-income rate” than any other developed nation besides Greece and Spain.

We also get fired more often — and with far less notice. Roughly one in five American workers leave their jobs each year, a turnover rate higher than those in all but a handful of other developed countries. And as the Washington Post’s Andrew Van Dam notes, that churn isn’t driven by entrepreneurial Americans quitting to pursue more profitable endeavors:
[D]ecade-old OECD research found that an unusually large amount of job turnover in the United States is due to firing and layoffs, and Labor Department figures show the rate of layoffs and firings hasn’t changed significantly since the research was conducted.
Not only do Americans get fired more than other workers; we also get less warning. Every developed nation besides the U.S. and Mexico requires companies to give individual workers at least a week’s notice before laying them off; the vast majority of countries require more than a month. But if you’re reading this from an office in the U.S., your boss is free to tell you to pack your things at any moment.

Our government does less for us when we’re out of work than just about anyone else’s. Many European countries have “active labor market policies” — programs that provide laid-off workers with opportunities to train for open positions. The United States, by contrast, does almost nothing to help its unemployed residents reintegrate into the labor force; no developed nation but Slovakia devotes a lower share of its wealth to such purposes. Meanwhile, a worker in the average U.S. state will stop receiving unemployment benefit payments after they’ve been out of a job for 26 weeks — workers in all but five other developed countries receive unemployment benefits for longer than that; in a few advanced nations, such benefits last for an unlimited duration.

Labor’s share of income has been falling faster in the U.S. than almost anywhere else. Between 1995 and 2013, workers’ share of national income in the U.S. dropped by eight percentage points — a steeper decline that in any other nation except for South Korea and Poland.
A chart from the 2018 World Inequality Report paints a stark contrast:

Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining

The sitting president may boast about low unemployment, but it recalls the joke about the tourism-driven economy where I live: "There are a lot of good jobs in [insert your town here]. I know people who have two or three." Those jobs pay doodly-squat. In part by design:

On Monday, a group of 10 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia announced an investigation into "no poach" agreements, as they are known, at eight national fast-food chains. The investigators are seeking additional information from Burger King, Wendy's, Arby's, Panera, Dunkin' Donuts, Five Guys, Little Caesars and Popeyes.

The goal of the probe is to help quantify how many people are affected and how it affects workers' ability to move up the ladder, says Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania's attorney general.

"All you're doing there is holding people back; you're driving down wages and benefits and decreasing opportunity," Shapiro says. "We see that as being wrong, potentially violative of the law, which is why we are leading this investigation and trying to get to the bottom of it.
Wage growth has been slower than under George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, reports MarketWatch.

"[A]t the same time as they're able to admit that there are more jobs available in their area, [they're] equally likely or more likely to say that those jobs just don't pay what they used to, and that's a real problem," Democracy Corps managing director Nancy Zdunkewicz told Hill TV.

Social mobility has been stagnant since the 1970s, Drew Hanson writes at Forbes:
The chances of achieving the American Dream, which Stanford’s Raj Chetty defines as moving from the bottom fifth of income distribution to the top fifth, are almost twice as high in Canada than in the United States. Economic mobility is lower in the US than in most European countries.
The powerful, Hanson writes, have used their positions "to take an undeserved slice of the pie." Furthermore:
Recent research combines equality of opportunity and freedom of poverty to measure unfair inequality. From 1969 until 1980, levels of inequality in the US remained stable. From 1980 to 1995, total inequality increased but only weakly attributed to unfairness. From 1995 to 2012, inequality continued to increase, the majority of which due to unfairness. Overall, the amount of inequality explained by unfairness doubled from 1969 to 2012. Unfair inequality is higher in the US than any of the 31 European countries included in the study.
The chart above illustrates the trend.

As the president launches his trade war, he is not looking to help the American worker so much as find "wins" for himself. There are no indications any of his policies will do more to reverse inequality or restore the American Dream his supporters feel they have lost. That won't stop him from claiming he's worked wonders for them.

* * * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.