The 2% Illusion

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Indon
Posts: 4433
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:21 pm UTC
Location: Alabama :(
Contact:

Re: The 2% Illusion

Postby Indon » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:22 pm UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:It's somewhat disingenuous to claim that real wages declined, as with every other recession we have seen on modern history wages declined and then rose relative to inflation, claiming that wages were stagnant simply because peak-to-peak growth was relatively low is cherrypicking numbers. I don't see how you can say we didn't have enough jobs, 4.6% unemployment is perfectly healthy.


Are you measuring unemployment by the number of people receiving unemployment benefits?

Because you can have this interesting phenomenon where, if a lot of people get laid off and can't find work again, and their unemployment runs out, they leave the workforce entirely and are no longer counted under that metric as being unemployed.
So, I like talking. So if you want to talk about something with me, feel free to send me a PM.

My blog, now rarely updated.

Image

User avatar
Bubbles McCoy
Posts: 1106
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:49 am UTC
Location: California

Re: The 2% Illusion

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:31 pm UTC

I've heard a lot of criticism of the current means of unemployment metrics, but until someone proposes and implements an alternative that is well received I will stick to what we have. You can't really claim that Bush failed to create jobs and refuse to provide evidence as existing metrics may not be perfect.

MrGee
Posts: 998
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:33 pm UTC

Re: The 2% Illusion

Postby MrGee » Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:31 am UTC

Real wages for the lower class are always stagnant or declining. It takes a recession or massive social upheaval for the poor to forcibly restore the balance.

On a side note, is your avatar a big, blue nipple? Because that's all I can think of when I see it.

User avatar
Bubbles McCoy
Posts: 1106
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:49 am UTC
Location: California

Re: The 2% Illusion

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:40 am UTC

Um, real wages are? Care to back that one up with something, since I though my graph was fairly convincing myself.

My avatar is an image of the Earth's magnetosphere, and the first result of a google search for "image" (ain't I original).

Pervert. :P

MrGee
Posts: 998
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:33 pm UTC

Re: The 2% Illusion

Postby MrGee » Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:52 am UTC

Well, obviously you have to factor in technological advances, that make people seem better off. But the poor getting poorer is just mathematical certainty. Rich people have economies of scale. They can buy the big bottle of shampoo. They don't get trapped in an endless, usurious cycle of payday loans. They don't have to buy health insurance.

Politically, on the other hand, poor people have the advantage, because there are more of them. All a candidate has to do is propose that the top 10% wealthiest people should give their money to the other 90%. He gets elected with 90% of the vote, voila. Of course, the rich get to fight back with greasy yet compelling lobbyists.

Right before the Great Depression, tax rates were substantially lowered. Disparity of wealth developed. When the poor people had had enough, they raised the bejeezus out of taxes to get those rich people back for being so well off.

Recently the disparity of wealth has been growing back to Depression levels. Suddenly, everyone wants Obama and his tax increases on the rich.

Nahhhh, sequenya, baba eetsee gabo...

User avatar
Garm
Posts: 2241
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:29 pm UTC
Location: Usually at work. Otherwise, Longmont, CO.

Re: The 2% Illusion

Postby Garm » Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:55 am UTC

But I can claim that Bush failed to create jobs. And I can do so using current unemployment metrics (which include such tactics as removing workers who have been out of work for 6 months or more from the rolls since they are "discouraged workers"). Bush was a miserable failure and those huge tax cuts for the rich that got jammed through failed to produce the jobs promised. Really they failed to produce any jobs at all.

Straight from the Wall Street Journal:

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/01/09/bush-on-jobs-the-worst-track-record-on-record/

The current President Bush, once taking account how long he’s been in office, shows the worst track record for job creation since the government began keeping records.


The chart in the article states that Bush created an average of 375,000 jobs a year. The most conservative estimate I've heard for job creation is that 140,000 a MONTH are needed in order to keep up with population growth. That means Bush failed to help our economy for the first quarter of every year. The rest of the months of the year were just wasted time.

There's also ample evidence that the jobs created were not as good as the jobs that were being lost. I read somewhere that over half the jobs created under Bush made less than nine bucks an hour.

Cuz I'm tired we'll skip citation and move on to wild claims about how wages did go up but inflation went up by more causing a net loss in consumer spending power so we're fucked there as well.

Looking at Bush's horrifyingly bad economic record it's small wonder we're in the current situation. It depresses me that we're arguing about 2% taxes while people are losing their homes and thier jobs.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
- JFK

User avatar
Bubbles McCoy
Posts: 1106
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:49 am UTC
Location: California

Re: The 2% Illusion

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:15 am UTC

Neh? I'm not just talking about quality of life through technological advances, as my graph indicated household income has climbed even if a tad anemic through two successive recessions in the naughts. The poor getting poorer is by no means mathematical certainty, that comes off as rather absurd... their standard of living has come along rather significantly since the 15th century (and since the 50's, for that matter), perhaps you need to clarify your statement?

I'm not really sure where your going with the pre-Depression argument. Taxes were really high for a couple of years to pay for a war, and then not because there was no more wars to be fought, that really doesn't have a huge amount to do with income redistribution.

@Garm: the chart I provided factored in inflation. On the whole though you do raise good points about job creation under Bush, but at a glance Bush did inherit the US at maximum employment right before the full fury of recession knocked out quite a few jobs, and his term ended in the middle of another huge job shedding which wasn't necessarily his fault.

User avatar
Indon
Posts: 4433
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:21 pm UTC
Location: Alabama :(
Contact:

Re: The 2% Illusion

Postby Indon » Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:57 pm UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:Neh? I'm not just talking about quality of life through technological advances, as my graph indicated household income has climbed even if a tad anemic through two successive recessions in the naughts. The poor getting poorer is by no means mathematical certainty, that comes off as rather absurd... their standard of living has come along rather significantly since the 15th century (and since the 50's, for that matter), perhaps you need to clarify your statement?


Isn't 'real wages' talking about income adjusted for the value of your currency?

I think Google might be able to help shed light on yet another aspect of our economy that has managed to completely tank while Republicans were in charge.

Not sure, though, as my filter blocks the widget that charts changes in the currency.
So, I like talking. So if you want to talk about something with me, feel free to send me a PM.

My blog, now rarely updated.

Image

User avatar
Ixtellor
There are like 4 posters on XKCD that no more about ...
Posts: 3113
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:31 pm UTC

Re: The 2% Illusion

Postby Ixtellor » Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:34 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
Bubbles McCoy wrote:Neh? I'm not just talking about quality of life through technological advances, as my graph indicated household income has climbed even if a tad anemic through two successive recessions in the naughts. The poor getting poorer is by no means mathematical certainty, that comes off as rather absurd... their standard of living has come along rather significantly since the 15th century (and since the 50's, for that matter), perhaps you need to clarify your statement?


Isn't 'real wages' talking about income adjusted for the value of your currency?

I think Google might be able to help shed light on yet another aspect of our economy that has managed to completely tank while Republicans were in charge.

Not sure, though, as my filter blocks the widget that charts changes in the currency.


1) Real wages means wages adjusted for inflation.

2) I first heard the argument the poor were getting poorer and the rich were getting richer in the 1980's, and the first time I can recall anyone ever "proving" it. They did a good job of showing the rich were getting richer, but failed on poor getting poorer, just that there were a larger % of poor people. But overall poor people up to the year 2000ish were still not as poor as generations past.

Ixtellor
The Revolution will not be Twitterized.

User avatar
Indon
Posts: 4433
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:21 pm UTC
Location: Alabama :(
Contact:

Re: The 2% Illusion

Postby Indon » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:03 pm UTC

Oh, I'm thinking of purchasing power, aren't I? Ah, silly me.
So, I like talking. So if you want to talk about something with me, feel free to send me a PM.

My blog, now rarely updated.

Image

User avatar
Garm
Posts: 2241
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:29 pm UTC
Location: Usually at work. Otherwise, Longmont, CO.

Re: The 2% Illusion

Postby Garm » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:14 pm UTC

Maybe a better way to qualify the last 8 years would be to say that the rich got richer and EVERYONE else got poorer. One certainly could make the argument that inflation has a greater effect on the poor then on the rich and one might also consider that a family doesn't need to be strictly under the poverty line in order to be considered poor. So the poor getting poorer takes on a slightly broader meaning in that case. If a family making 35k a year sees a situation where the primary earner's hours are cut back and suddenly they slip below the magical poverty line we can't really say we've got a case of the Nouveau poore on our hands. It's much more accurate to say that someone who was sorta poor is now more poor. Or if you're a glass half-full kinda person less not-rich.

As for the dodge that some Ix and Bubs are making, the quality of living for the poor is better than it used to be, I can almost live with Ix's version. A generation to generation comparison isn't so bad but saying that the modern poor are better off than poor people in the 1500s is bordering on ludicrous. I consider it a bit of a dodge because we're talking about the state of wealth disparity in the last 30 years and more specifically in the last 8.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
- JFK

User avatar
Bubbles McCoy
Posts: 1106
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:49 am UTC
Location: California

Re: The 2% Illusion

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:55 pm UTC

I only mentioned the 1500's as someone claimed that "the poor always get poorer, it's a mathematical fact." I in no way think that extends to this argument in any other meaningful way, sorry for any confusion.

I still think the argument that any significant group is getting poorer doesn't hold much ground, the inflation adjusted household income fared decenly all things considered. I suppose you could claim median income was starting to stagnate, but "getting poorer" is a rather extreme moniker in this situation. It might also be rather hard to pin this on the Bush administration, the worldwide labor market has exploded in the past eight years, and with it the chance to make rather sizable returns on investment; it can be challenging to socialize gains made abroad on to the general populace.


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests