Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pitchforks: Sanders and Trump

After more than four decades of serving as the nation’s economic majority, the American middle class is now matched in number by those in the economic tiers above and below it. In early 2015, 120.8 million adults were in middle-income households, compared with 121.3 million in lower- and upper-income households combined, a demographic shift that could signal a tipping point, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. ... Middle-income Americans have fallen further behind financially in the new century. In 2014, the median income of these households was 4% less than in 2000. Moreover, because of the housing market crisis and the Great Recession of 2007-09, their median wealth (assets minus debts) fell by 28% from 2001 to 2013.
Not everyone agrees that the situation is bad.
Pew uses data from the Census Bureau, which critics contend too narrowly measures income and uses the wrong measure of inflation. A recent survey of top economists found 70 percent agreed that Census data "substantially understate" middle-class progress. Indeed, Brookings scholar Gary Burtless doubts the median household is worse off since 2000, another claim Pew makes, although gains have slowed.
First, let's look at a couple of charts. This one is household income, adjusted for inflation, 1967-2014:

The second is labor force participation rate, from 1948 through 2014:

For the first 25 years or so after the Second World War, the labor force participation rate was fairly low, at least by modern standards. Then it began to go up, a lot.

Where did all of those additional workers come from, you might ask. My answer is that they probably were mainly women. While the 1950s image of the husband as breadwinner and the wife staying home and raising their 2.4 kids was a bit of a stereotype, there was a lot of truth to it. A high-school educated man working in a unionized factory job could make enough money to afford a modest house and a late-model car. But those days are gone and so, to keep the same place on the economic ladder, their wives had to go to work. The good jobs went away as the vulture-capitalists hollowed out the American industrial base and shipped the work, first to Mexico, then to China.[1]

Since the 1970s, the rich indeed have been getting richer and everyone else has been lucky if all they can do is not lose ground.

What is becoming clear to more and more people is that the game is rigged. It's becoming harder and harder to keep one's head above water. People who would have once retired have had to instead keep working.

So say you're a fairly young adult. At some level, you know all of this stuff. If you went to college, you may have graduated with a debt load more appropriate to owning a home.[2] It's a debt that you may not be able to pay off for decades, which will make owning a nice car or your own home impossible, unless you land a decent job. Which will be unlikely if you treated college as a place to get an education instead of a place to learn a well-paying trade. If you're a Democrat, why would you vote for Clinton? She's buds with the same banksters on Wall Street who have gotten very wealthy from making it hard for you to ever find a good job. You're going to vote for Sanders.

If you're older and a Republican, what you've seen is a party that kept promising they would change things back to when America was great, when all they did was make it easier for the richest to gut the foundations of the American economy. They trashed the housing market, so that your dream of selling your home and using the proceeds to pay into a good retirement community is gone.[3] You party leaders have promised for six years that "we will repeal Obamacare", all the while knowing that the sitting President, some guy named "Obama", would veto any such foolishness and that they didn't have the votes to override it. So they've been lying and backstabbing you for a very long time--why would you vote for an establishment candidate like Johnny Bush or the Rubot? You're going to vote for Trump.

Unless you're in the top 1% or the top 0.1%, at some level, you know that there has to be some real changes made. The center is fraying when a significant minority, if not close to the majority of the voters of each party are lining up behind the party insurgents.

If the party machinery manages to do something to derail both candidates, then it will become clearer and clearer to more and more people that America has become an oligarchy. A country where elections are just a fig-leaf to continued control of the country by the wealthy.

And once that realization fully sinks in, then the pitchforks will come out, sooner or later.
[1] There ought to be some way to indict those clowns on sabotage charges.
[2] Worse, if you were foolish enough to go to one of those for-profit schools like Trump U.
[3] If you cashed out your equity from time to time to remodel your home or to help your kids with school costs, then things are even worse.


samuel glover said...

"If the party machinery manages to do something to derail both candidates, then it will become clearer and clearer to more and more people that America has become an oligarchy. A country where elections are just a fig-leaf to continued control of the country by the wealthy."

As if on cue:

"According to today’s Washington Post, the Democratic National Committee has quietly reversed restrictions banning donations from federal lobbyists and political action committees -- restrictions that were put in place by Barack Obama when he was the Democratic candidate for president in 2008. (The DNC’s sweeping reversal of the previous was confirmed by three Democratic lobbyists who said they have already received solicitations from the DNC.) According to the Post, Hillary Clinton has set up a joint fundraising committee with the DNC and the new rules are likely to provide her with an advantage."

Short-term, brain-dead DNC "strategy" at its finest. These tapeworms don't understand the most elementary considerations of politics. After the nomination, if HRC wins, she's going to need votes from Sanders' coalition. If Sanders loses in a straight-up battle for votes, his supporters are likely to accept it and back the Dem candidate. After all, it's always been common knowledge that Sanders faces long odds. But if HRC wins by calling in favors and playing institutional games, lots of Sanders backers will stay home or vote Green. Frankly, that would be the right thing to do.

And Clinton really can't afford to alienate anybody. As odious as she is, she can't take a single vote for granted, even taking into account Republican derangement. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Trump could really be the Republican candidate. Sanders can beat Trump handily. Clinton could actually lose to him. The notion that she's the "safe" candidate is a delusion.

Anonymous said...

The other thing that happened as more women entered the labor force was functions that they previously performed in child care, household services, etc. for "free" became to a fair extent services that had to be purchased. By monetizing these services (x$ per week for before and after school child care, Y$ per cleaning service, etc.) what was "free" now had money value and cost cash money that had to be paid for. The income earned to pay for these things and to keep up the middle class life style was taxed, generating a windfall in tax receipts for mainly federal and state governments.
What a good idea to monetize everything so it can be taxed.....not

3383 said...

Company X sends Y jobs overseas to save money with cheaper labor.
Company X has also sent Y consumers overseas.
These consumers can't afford to buy Company X's products, because they are paid much less than the former employees.
Most other countries follow suit to save money with cheaper labor.
Fewer and fewer consumers are available to buy Company X's (and Company Z's, ad infinitum) goods.
Sales go down.
Taxes go down.
Company X looks for more ways to save money.
Does nobody in corporate America see this?

Will said...

In 1950, the wife didn't have to work for the family to own a home. By 1970, that was no longer true. Once you force the wife to work an outside job to pay for all the taxes that are part of the socialist agenda, you can kiss off childbirth numbers. The only way those numbers ever come back near the pre-income tax numbers is by importing 3rd worlders, and all the attendant problems they come with. The birthrate of the original society never returns to positive replacement numbers.
(Abortion and birth-control have a role in this, also. How big a role could be debated, of course, but the numbers are suggestive.)

This side-effect of socialism seems to be an insurmountable problem, so far. Actually, it could be argued that it is an intended result, and not accidental.