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Comment Re:"7:30 PM" (Score 1) 117

It's been many, many years since the +1 has been mandatory for a large portion of the US

It's still mandatory if you're calling from outside North America - same as everywhere else on the planet.

Comment Re:"7:30 PM" (Score 1) 117

Within North America, we don't use country codes, even when calling internationally.

Good trick if you can manage it. What do you use - owls?

though in writing this is commonly represented simply as + (and people are just expected to know 011 is the replacement)

This is the standard way of representing "code to go international", the point being that it varies from country to country.

I can give my telephone number as +44 1491 NNNNNN

and then anywhere in the world, anyone knows to dial their international access code (in the UK it's 00; it used to be 010), followed by the rest of the number.

FYI, the international code for North America is "1".

Comment Re:The Basic Income is a Trap (Score 1) 412

All in all, this is one of the most dangerous policies out there, due to how people only seem able to see the upsides of this policy, and not the potential dangers.

Indeed. A UBI is basically a public subsidy for business. It goes straight into profits and hence promotes more upwards wealth transfer. A jobs guarantee is a better and more equitable solution.

That said, in a few generations some sort of UBI (/"Citizens dividend") will be necessary simply because 50-75% of the population will be literally unemployable - and this is not a situation that will happen overnight.

But if we don't get away from current attitudes towards welfare and the unemployed first, a UBI is basically just going to be a return to serfdom (ie: a subsistence income rather than a comfortable one).

Comment Re:Goodbye economy, hello debt and default (Score 2) 412

In the short term a jobs guarantee and decent minimum wage are better solutions.

However, in a few generations we will have a world in which 1/2 to 3/4 of people are literally unemployable because there is nothing they can do a robot can't do faster, better and more efficiently. At which point the choices are going to be a "UBI" set at a level high enough to approximate a solid working-to-middle-class lifestyle (single income being enough to support a family, buy a house, take a holiday once a year, etc), or - the neoliberalists' preference - a return to a feudalism-esque system of serfs reliant on their UBI to barely survive overseen by a handful of incomprehensibly wealthy elites. Or a honkin' great big war.

Also, taxes don't fund expenses. Taxes are there to control inflation, address income and wealth inequalities and incentivise behaviour. Thirty years of mismanaged taxation (ie: always reducing it) is why inflation and wealth/income inequalities are through the roof. Money inevitably flows upwards.

Comment Re: *May* owe $8 billion (Score 1) 148

This is tax "minimization" or tax "avoidance". All people are supposed to practice it, and it's through this mechanism that you can set public policy through tax policy, ex. solar rebates.

No, that is not the "mechanism that you can set public policy through tax policy" at all, and no, "all people" are not "supposed to practice it".

The "mechanism you can set public policy" *is* tax. That's the reason it exists.

"Tax avoidance" inevitably involves schemes of varying complexity to move money around, obfuscate its origin or destination, and otherwise make your financial dealings opaque enough so that it's not worth examining them. It's the nudge-nudge, wink-wink way of describing tax evasion.

Comment Re:no thanks (Score 1, Insightful) 458

Just remember that the tradeoff in Windows is constant breakage and the need to fix glitches manually.


Honestly, if you think your assertion is the right way around then you really haven't tried the pair recently. I've just recently been called upon to do some work moving data out of a Microsoft SQL d/b into some pre-defined XLS spreadsheets. Sounds simple doesn't it? It took two of our software support guys two days to manage to find a magic combination of Microsoft products which would actually interwork together in the advertised fashion. In contrast, installing, configuring and starting all the tools I needed on my Linux system took one command - admittedly I had to press Enter a second time to confirm the system's choices - and then waiting for about 30 seconds.

The Microsoft software environment is a horrendous nightmare when compared to trying to do the same thing on Linux.

Comment Re: Actual Reason (Score 1) 729

Competition isn't competition when the player deliberately plays bad? I don't agree.

Right. So you’re the kind of guy who would argue there should be no laws against, say, fraud ? Or theft ? You know, "deliberately playing bad" ?

And I've never said that I want to drive down US living standards.

You keep arguing for things that will cause it and against things that will improve it.

No, for two reasons. First, cheaper is an important category of better.

Buying some stolen speakers out of the back of someone’s truck is a lot cheaper than buying them in the store, but it is not “better”.

Second, China in particular is doing a much better job here than the US is, including a much better job of taking advantage of US R&D.

That’s because China doesn’t care about things like pollution or safety.

They can always sell to markets that aren't as screwed up like China or India. These demand problems don't exist there. There may be a huge oversupply of employees in those markets, but it's getting sopped up. Meanwhile developed world countries like the US seem to try to make people useless.

LOL. Actually, genuinely, LOL.

China ? You're serious ? The free-market zealot is idolising *China* ?

Labour in China is “sopped up” by Government employing people (either directly or by proxy) and paid for through massive credit creation. China has tariffs and other regulations on immigration and foreign investment out the wazoo. They manipulate their currency with abandon. They build entire empty cities, for fuck's sake. All that stuff you’ve been arguing for the last few days is “delusional”, they are doing as hard and fast as is humanly possibly (ultimately too hard and too fast - it's probably going to screw them, but it'll be interesting to watch and see if they get away with it).

And I note once again, the ridiculous ideological bias against employers rears its ugly head in your words. You keep harping on how lower wages hampers consumption and hence, economic progress, but you continue to completely ignore that this goes both ways. Increasing the cost of employees to employers also reduces demand for labor and cause all that stuff.

There is no bias against employers and I have not ignored “that it goes both ways”. You either don’t understand what’s being said, or you are too far down your ideological rabbit hole to comprehend anything different.

You could drop the cost of labour to zero tomorrow and it would likely have a negligible effect on unemployment (in the short term, anyway - it would send it through the roof in the long term). Businesses aren’t going to start employing people “just because it’s cheaper”. They’re only going to employ people when the demand for their products or services increases beyond the ability of the existing employees to meet it. The economy is driven by demand. No demand, no need for production. No need for production, no need to hire employees.

If you genuinely think that simply reducing the cost of employees to business will cause them to hire more people, please explain why.

The obvious actual reason is that capital doesn't have to compete with several billion people.


Workers wages aren’t lower simply because they have to compete with other people. They are lower because those other people are systemically cheaper, because they have lower standards of living.

There is no reason CEOs and their ilk are inherently excluded from that, *except* through the protections they get from policy. Ie: it’s a choice.

No, I was speaking of wealth. It sounds like the problem here is that you are zero-sum thinking in a situation where it doesn't apply. In your scenario, you grew the real wealth of your poor by a factor of five, but that wasn't good enough because you also grew the wealth of the wealthy by a factor of ten. Relative wealth was more important to you than real wealth.

This is a non-sequitur supported by a false dichotomy. You are arguing 'you think relative wealth is more important, therefore you think everyone should be poor', when I am actually arguing 'everyone is getting richer, it would be best if they got richer at about the same rate'.

Relative wealth and absolute wealth are both important. They are not - as you so fervently believe - mutually exclusive. There is no reason why everyone can't get wealthy together, though in the absence of constraints on the powerful increasingly larger divergence *will* happen.

Increasing wealth and income gaps are bad, they inevitably lead to social stratification, poverty, civil unrest, and conflict.

I pointed out with my counter-scenario the absurdity of that.

No, you created an ex-nihilo scenario to suit your ideological bias without any reasoning to justify it, then drew a fallacious conclusion from that.

My example reflected what has actually happened in developed countries for the last few decades. Poor start at X, rich started at 25X, and the combination of productivity increases and policy led to poor having 5X and rich 500X. Ie: it is based in reason, reality and evidence.

Your example stated a start (poor had foo and rich had bar), a deus ex machina ("wealth adjustment") and a conclusion (everyone had 0.5xfoo) without explaining any process, reasoning or justification as to how that end state was reached, let alone relating it back to any aspect of reality or evidence. Ie: it is based in ideological fantasy.

It’s kind of like how someone might explain going to the moon in terms of building a rocket, doing the orbital maths to figure out trajectories, launching, travelling, landing, etc, to which your response would be “let’s go to the moon -BLAM- well, here we are”.

I do find it rather amusing that I'm explaining how the world actually is and how it got here while you're tilting at windmills, but I'm the "idiot". Good show.

Comment Re: Actual Reason (Score 1) 729

Were it not for those protections, then the wages of lowest paid probably would be bumping up against zero. Already huge swathes of the population are dependent on welfare for survival because they cannot earn enough to survive on themselves due to a) wage suppression and b) structurally-imposed unemployment.

I mean to edit this to say:

In fact, arguably wages are already bumping up against zero. Huge swathes of the population are dependent on welfare for survival because they cannot earn enough to survive on themselves due to a) wage suppression and b) structurally-imposed unemployment.

Comment Re: Actual Reason (Score 1) 729

The US doesn't compete in the global labor market, yet you feel the need to reduce access to cheap labor through immigration, apply tariffs to equalize costs of foreign-manufactured goods, and employ idle labor in useful work. But the US doesn't compete in the global labor market and hence, doesn't have a reason for these measures which are all purely protectionist measures for a global labor market.

The US does not compete in the global labour market in the sense that it is selling cheaper labour (like, say, China, or India). It can’t sell cheaper labour because it is an advanced country and the costs of maintaining that lifestyle are too high. Unless of course you want to drive down US living standards to the level of China or India (and there are plenty of people who seem to think that’s a good idea - for everyone except themselves, of course).

I would have thought this meaning was obvious from the second part where I said “it’s not trying to make a cheaper mousetrap, it’s trying to make a better mousetrap”. I suppose I could have been more explicit and said ““it’s not trying to make a cheaper mousetrap through reducing input costs, it’s trying to make a better mousetrap”. Would that have helped ?

And here you are again, only ever looking at one side of the equation. The obvious rebuttal is that employers always have attempted to reduce costs through lowering wages.

How is that a rebuttal when I’ve been talking about it throughout this entire discussion ? Of course employers have always attempted to reduce costs through lowering wages. The point I keep making is that allowing them to do it is a policy choice.

The reason they've failed to reach zero is because employers have to compete to get the labor they need to profit. The more employers looking for employees, the better the deal for workers. That's the supply-demand dynamic that you keep ignoring.

Ignoring ? Supply and demand is at the bloody core of everything I’ve written !

The reasons employers haven’t reached zero salaries are because some small protections still exist for workers (mainly the minimum wage, but unions still have some small pockets of presence). Note that businesses are constantly agitating to remove or reduce these protections. We - the entire western world - have an enormous glut of available workers. Were it not for those protections, then the wages of lowest paid probably would be bumping up against zero. Already huge swathes of the population are dependent on welfare for survival because they cannot earn enough to survive on themselves due to a) wage suppression and b) structurally-imposed unemployment.

You write “the more employers looking for employees, the better the deal for workers” as if “employing people” is what businesses are there to do. They are not. Businesses are there to produce stuff and sell it. Having to employ people is simply an inconvenient consequence of producing stuff to sell. They only produce stuff if there is someone on the other side of the equation to consume that stuff. There is a demand shortage because most people are broke. With this stagnating or declining demand, there is no reason for employers to produce more (because why would you produce more than you can sell?), since employers have no need to produce more, they have no need to hire more employees (why would you hire employees if you had nothing for them to do?), since they have no reason to hire more employees, and there is a huge oversupply of employees in the market, there is no competition between employers and therefore, “the deal” is most certainly not getting any better for employees.

If you still think I am not accounting for some aspect of “supply and demand”, then be more specific about what it is and I will try to explain it differently.

The obvious question here is what changed between the first two decades after the Second World War and the subsequent period leading up to modern times. The obvious answer is that the US didn't have significant labor competition from Europe or Japan prior to 1970. The moment they did, such as when the Japanese automakers made huge end roads into the US auto market after the oil crises of the 1970s, we started seeing pressure on US labor. That happened well before supply side policies were adopted.

Japanese cars made quick inroads because American cars were terrible. It was a quality, not price, issue.

Supply side policies were well on the way in the late ‘70s.

The most obvious point to make is that if it were true then a similar effect would have happened within the US during that time as the various regions competed with each other. There would still have been a divergence of wages from productivity.

Labour competition doesn’t come from other countries producing competing products. It comes from allowing the use of structurally cheaper labour (because, say, they have much lower living standards, environmental regulations, or maybe they’re just better) or its products. This is a deliberate policy choice. The benefits of that structurally cheaper labour then accruing almost entirely to a tiny percentage of the population, is also a deliberate policy choice.

You are talking about *products* entering the US market - cars and such - competing with locally produced equivalents. The point I keep trying to make is that this should have affected EVERYONE across the entire economy roughly equally. But it didn’t.

If something can be done cheaper somewhere else, and everyone is happy to let that happen, then everyone should benefit to roughly the same degree, because everyone has done roughly the same to facilitate that. Ie: nothing. But that is not what has happened.

Do you ever think about this stuff?

Yes. Quite a bit. Though it wouldn't have taken much to outdo this brain fart:

I would be just as fully employed digging a ditch with a spoon as I would be building state of the art computers or saving billions of lives with novel advances in medicine.

No you wouldn’t.

Why would you employ someone to dig a ditch with a spoon ? Is your actual assertion here that there is a shortage of work that needs doing so we need to make up busywork like digging ditches with spoons ? Because I’m sure, say, people who drive along roads full of potholes every day would disagree.

This is dishonest weaseling. There isn't a 1:1 correspondence between CEOs and regular workers. There are vastly more workers than there are CEOs. So transferring the excess of the 300x salary results in a small increase for the worker. That indicates among other things that you didn't find a "correct way" to look at this problem. Instead you found a completely fatuous comparison.

LOL. You misrepresent what I wrote and accuse me of “weaselling” and “fatuous comparison”. I suppose I should be used to it by now.

The point here is not that the 300x increase should be subsequently redistributed. The point is that the 25x difference should have been (roughly) maintained because the benefits of productivity increases should be roughly evenly distributed across an entire economy (because, y’know, that’s the point of everyone being in it together). That’s the “rising tide that lifts all boats” - only for the last thirty years a handful of people have been busily trying to throw everyone else out of their boats into the ocean. Or we could use the pie analogy: this is the pie growing, only for the last thirty years a handful of people are taking bigger and bigger slices.

Ie: if workers made a thousand bucks a year and CEOs twenty-five grand fifty years ago, then today if CEOs make five million, workers should make $200k.

Unless there’s an _actual_ reason to think CEOs today are orders of magnitude better than CEOs were sixty years ago ? Or that there’s a scarcity of them today ?

Or there's some reason why everyone's incomes increasing at the same rate would have been bad ?

The real wealth of the poor has increased by a factor of five.

Unlikely. Because inflation.

But instead, we're wasting time envying the rich because their wealth increased even faster. There is something profoundly sick with your outlook that you can completely dismiss a huge increase in wealth for poor people because rich people got it even more.

Firstly, it’s not envy. Secondly, it’s not a huge increase in wealth for the poor, because of inflation. Thirdly, I have in no way dismissed a wealth increase, I have merely pointed out that it has not been evenly distributed, and argue that - absent any actual reason otherwise - it should be.

Keep punishing those straw men though. They love a good beating. Throw them down that slippery slope you’re undoubtedly dusting off.

For example, consider this alternate scenario. The poor and wealthy started as above with a dollar apiece and ten dollars apiece for the wealthy. After our wealth correction, both groups now have fifty cents each.

It looks more like a “money correction” to me. But anyway What was this “wealth correction” ? How did it happen ? Why did everyone’s “wealth” decrease ? Why is it now evenly distributed ?

According to you, that is a huge win since relative wealth has vastly improved. But the huge, gaping problem is that absolute wealth is what counts and that got halved for the poor and disastrously reduced by a factor of twenty for the wealthy.

You’re talking about money, not wealth. If the world in your example is now something post-scarcity like Star Trek TNG where everyone can magic up anything they need out of a replicator any time they need it, only having fifty cents each is immaterial - everyone’s wealthy and #winning. If it’s the aftermath of a global nuclear war and everyone’s going to die shortly of radiation poisoning, then it’s shit - but nothing I’ve said at any point would suggest that I advocate the latter.

Even if there really is a wealth transfer here, the original scenario you outlined was vastly better than the scenario I outlined.

Well, yes, but that’s because the difference between the two examples is that mine is based on reason and reality, and yours is based on ideological fantasy. Much like most of this discussion, in fact.

Comment Re: Actual Reason (Score 1) 729

By definition and ideological bias.

Let me put it another way.

How is it that I am only considering "certain demand" ? How is it that "employers are excluded" ?

Credit doesn't consume in itself, it just makes it a bit easier.

Yes it does. That's where speculation and bubbles come from.

And it's worth noting that a lot of people were just find with that credit being used to build a lot of houses and other things. That physical activity generates a lot of economic activity while pure credit would not.

I'm sure the people making a motza out of flipping houses because they were lucking enough to get in early were very happy with it, but it's mostly unproductive activity.

I agree. I just think it is policies you favor which do that.

To reiterate, the policies I favour have barely even been discussed, let alone implemented, for about forty years. They were in place from the end of WW2 to the early '70s. They ended about where that fairly well known divergence between productivity and real wages happens.

It's supply and demand for labor. You cripple the demand and then the price of labor, namely, wages and other benefits goes down.Another effect is that if you force employers and employees to vastly overpay for low value benefits (like weak return pensions or greatly overpriced health care), then you shrink the actual benefit that workers get from working.

The shrinking of the benefit workers get from working is the result of the race-to-the-bottom policymaking endemic to supply-side neoliberalism.

The number one economic fallacy is that we compare our world to some unattainable goal rather than the alternative choices we could have made. No choice of the past fifty years would allow the US to maintain its relative standard of living and compete on the global labor market at the wage differentials that existed in 1965.

The choice to undermine labour absolutely did. It is the foundation on which subsequent growth in inequality and the economic malaise that has come with it was built.

The US doesn't compete in the global labour market. The idea that it could is absurd. The US is an advanced economy that competes on the global product and service market. It's not trying to make a cheaper mousetrap, it's trying to make a better mousetrap.

And whenever this falsehood rears its head, I point out this graph [] (see figure 1). It shows the wealthiest indeed increasing their wealth over the recent period 1988-2008. But it also shows two thirds of humanity getting substantial increases in their wealth as well. Just because your policies help the wealthy in your country more than they help you, doesn't mean that others in the world aren't becoming better off through no fault of you.

Neither the graph, nor your statement, do anything to refute the point.

Here's a simple example.

Let's say at the beginning, the poor have a dollar and the wealthy have ten dollars.
Thanks to productivity increases, after fifty years the poor now have 5 dollars but the wealthy have a hundred dollars.

That's an upwards transfer of wealth. Because the growth in wealth is a result of everyone's productivity increases. If it had been an even transfer of wealth, the poor would have ten dollars and the wealthy would have a hundred dollars. Ie: their growth rates would have been the same.

This is what happend for the first couple of decades after WW2 (in actual fact it was even better - incomes for the working and middle classes grew _faster_ than incomes for the upper classes).

Name another good or service, for which people pay money, which you can increase the supply by a factor of five to ten without having the price fall through the floor and stay there.

Begging the question fallacy.

Despite your vigorous and reality-free assertion, wages didn't collapse in the US or the rest of the developed world (except for some particularly dysfunctional countries like Greece). That implies that there was a huge amount of demand creation.

What ?

Of course not. Just because someone else is paid more doesn't imply even in the least that you are paid less.

It does when everyone is getting more expensive. That's what that whole "real wages" thing means.

Your logic would dictate it's OK for most of the population to live in tents while a handful live in mansions, simply because previously that majority didn't even have tents.

Another way to look at the colossal stupidity of your observation here is that CEOs are being paid about 12 times more relative to the typical worker.

Do you think CEOs today are twelve times more productive than CEOs sixty years ago ? Do you think workers are no more productive ? This is the implicit argument you are making by supporting the outcome that nearly all the benefits of productivity increases over the last 30-40 years have accrued to the top percent or so.

So how much of a dramatic collapse in worker wages is that supposed to be? 12 times? But if we attempted to correct this by moving CEO pay to workers so that the old 25x factor holds again, we find that worker pay increased by a few percent at most. That's your "dramatic collapse".

I have no idea what maths you're using. But the correct way to look at it is that if worker and CEO wages had both increased at the same rate as productivity - like they did for the first few decades after WW2 - then the relative incomes of workers would not have collapsed and their living standards would have increased at the same rate.

The developed world is something like 15-20% of the world. You ignore a lot of people.

I don't ignore them, they're simply not relevant. My Government's primary function is not to improve the living standards of the rest of the world, it is to improve mine.

Sure, you do. First, full employment says nothing about the quality and productivity of the jobs, the pay of the jobs, or the hours worked. It's not a worthy goal in the absence of considering what those people are doing. Economies where everyone does useful stuff are far healthier and greater return per person than economies where people are paid to shaft each other.

"Paying people to shaft each other" sounds remarkably like the behaviour that's been encouraged for the last thirty-odd years.

The only person in this discussion who thinks "full employment" is somehow at odds with "everyone does useful stuff" is you. Indeed, the whole point of full employment as a policy is to try and ensure "everyone does useful stuff".

Second, once again, you provide no means by which to increase real wages or living standards.

Restore the bargaining power of labour.

Raise minimum wage. Reduce access to cheap labour through immigration. Apply tariffs to equalise costs of foreign-manufactured goods. Employ idle labour in useful work (eg: building/maintaining public infrastructure).

The core point here is that all the things you are trying to pretend are fait accomplis, are in reality explicit and deliberate policy choices. The situation we are in today is not one of inevitability.

You did it again, answering your original question at the top of my post. Where's the employers? They're consumers too, but unlike individuals who can only consume so many houses, their consumption can scale to vast levels. No consumers of labor, no economy.

I have no idea what point you're trying to make here. Employers will not produce any more than is demanded of them by consumers. Employers do not employ people out of the goodness of their hearts, as you seem to believe, they employ them to meet a need. If you want to increase employees, or employers - employment - you need to create more consumer demand. Reducing the cost of employees does not improve unemployment in the face of a lack of demand.

My view is that you got what you wanted.

Your view is wrong. I would have been - if I were alive - getting what I wanted for the first couple of decades after WW2. Since then the world has been run by supply-siders, only ever looking at one side of the equation, forever trying to reduce costs through lowering wages, and - giving the benefit of the doubt as I tend to do - simply not understanding that the world is demand-driven.

Comment Re: lazy people (Score 1) 413

The problem is that you're re-writing it, then responding to 'real world' issues in your re-write, without giving me the opportunity to chime in with my thoughts on your re-write. Ask for clarification.

I'm basing it on your previous description, which is the BIG as a universal payment set at subsistence levels.

Is that not what your proposed BIG is ?

Correct. I'm willing to accept those on low-paying jobs being, at least partially, dependent upon the payment because of my principles - basically that working should be better than not working, and that generally means you have to wean people off welfare, not cut it off. While there are indeed those that would use it as a hammock, not a net, you tweak the amounts such that they're at an acceptable number.

Setting the bar for a (full time) low-paying job high enough that people prefer it over (subsistence) welfare satisfies the same principle without providing a crutch for business.

On the other hand, which is better - completely dependent upon your employer for your income, or half and half?

False dichotomy.

Can't just up and move? Tell my whole bloody family that. Except for grandmother, we're all states away from where we first started. I've lived in 8 states and 5 countries.

And you think this is something people should have to experience as a matter of course when they find themselves unemployed ?

Also, as more people move to the cheaper areas, they'll need services and such, which will increase the numbers of jobs available.

As I said earlier, a kind of ghettoisation.

Dude, I lived that life. That being said, if your social support structures are that important, they can probably kick in some help. $500/month should be enough to cover the basics even in expensive areas even if you end up sleeping in the living room of your social support network for a bit.

As I said above that live is something you think should happen to people as a matter of course ?

Social structures are a lot more than money. Your Grandma might have barely enough to pay for her food and live in a tiny one bedroom apartment, but she can watch your baby while you go looking for work (or working). Your sister is a shoulder to cry on after months of trying to find work but not succeeding. Etc.

Your worldview seems to be that people are just irrelevant cogs in a machine that exists solely to make more stuff.

Then it acting as unemployment so they have time to seek a new job before losing their house or whatever does. Hell, it can also provide support while they go back into education if that's necessary.

That's what welfare does. Without the systemic subsidy for business.

Actually, that's my tending to respond to you. If you're bringing up the long-term unemployed, well, that's complicated. You'd need to encourage them to seek more education, but we actually have something of an education glut today. They need the *right* education. It would also help if we could reduce the cost of labor enough to encourage more production inside the USA. Modify regulations so they can go into business for themselves easier.


Wages have been systemically undermined, such that most workers have seen no real increase in wages for the better part of forty years. Something like half of society is dependent, to some degree, on welfare. The consequent lack of disposable income means nobody can afford to buy much stuff, which means business can't sell anything.

And you think driving wages lower to make labour cheaper is some sort of solution !?

Businesses aren't going to employ more people out of the goodness of their hearts because wages get lower. They're going to employ more people because demand increases to a point where they HAVE to so as to have sufficient production capacity to meet that demand.

You have the complexity that you want *EVERY* job to pay enough to support a family of 4-5. That means all jobs have to be highly productive. That's hard to do when you also want 'full employment', because the two principles tend to work at cross-purpose. I tend to go more for seeking full employment, but acknowledging that many of said jobs won't support at that level. Pulling people out of the workforce for various reasons might help - encourage a parent to stay home with the kids, for example. That would reduce the number seeking employment, meaning more competition for jobs. Plus, a parent staying home can actually be a real cost saver as you reduce the amount of child care, eating out, the purchase of expensive prepared foods, etc...

My position is that the USA has an economy more than productive enough to support all its citizens, and consequently none of them should go wanting for a basic, decent lifestyle. My belief is that is better realised through maximising employment, rather than welfare.

Perhaps not, but it's close. Note I said above about reducing the cost of labor - that would make more productive work *profitable*.

Yes. But that won't help all the people who are poor and unemployed. If anything, it'll make them worse off (by making them poorer - ie: "reducing the cost of labour").

And this style of thinking has held us back a lot as well. Actual studies have shown that it's about the most efficient way to get people off of welfare.

Compared to what ?

You asked for a citation, I gave you one. The issues are easily looked up.

I asked you to provide some evidence for your claim that the population is dropping too quickly to support itself and that the rate of automation is slowing. The article you linked to does neither. I have looked at the issues and not come to your conclusion. Hence the reason I asked for some evidence.

The second you're going to have to explain more, because while borrowing money to pay for expenditures worked in the past with an expanding tax and population base, the math is very different when you're contracting.

A sovereign, currency-issuing Government does not need to "borrow" money, or receive it in "tax revenue" first. There is no big Government checking account into which taxes are deposited and costs withdrawn. It creates money when it spends it.

The use of taxation is not to collect "revenue". It is to control inflation, influence the distribution of wealth and incentivise behaviour.

I was isolating on one side, yes, but I was assuming that the company had already effecively maximized revenue.

Maybe you should consider what would happen if they had more customers with more disposable income.

Correct. A BIG helps ensure that everybody has some money to spend, which drives demand.

But you've said that your BIG would not provide any more money, hence no greater demand than already exists.

Corporations do that, the individual evasion rate is much lower, and there are things we could do to fix the corporations.

Arguably corporations shouldn't be taxed at all. I think you'll find personal tax evasion (*cough* sorry, "minimisation") is extremely high, especially in dollar terms. Wasn't it Buffet who said he pays a lower percentage of tax than his secretary ?

Comment Re:So...federal breakfast+lunch+dinner+... = fail? (Score 1) 413

I have provided cause and effect.


You've created a tautological ex nihilo scenario to suit your personal belief system, that has no resemblance to reality.

All money is spent into existence.
All money has corresponding debt.
Governments do not need to tax before they can spend.
Taxation controls inflation by removing money from the economy.

These are facts. It is how the system works.

Comment Re: Actual Reason (Score 1) 729

No. Employers are demand too and there's not enough of them either. You only consider certain demand not all demand. The demand model of an economy is inherently flawed because it deliberately excludes employers, a huge category of demand.

How's that ?

Here's how I see it. In the US, a few years back our overheated real estate market created a massive recession for the entire world. Here was an attempt to create massive consumer demand for US real estate and it failed badly.

The product wasn't real estate. It was credit.

My view is that we have considerable evidence that consumers just can't consume much more than they are right now.

Yes. Because they're broke. They're broke because they've suffered decades of policies aimed at suppressing their incomes and are additionally suffering from the debt load taken on to maintain the increase in living standards they had grown to expect from the previous thirty years of progress.

Focusing on consumer demand is a terrible strategy because it does nothing to improve the earning power of those consumers. There's only so much a consumer can consume, even when borrowing everything they can borrow.

The mind-bogglingly issuing of credit over the last few decades and consequent crushing debt load was done to mask wage stagnation. If wages had increased in line with productivity, people wouldn't have needed to borrow to consume because they would have had the real disposable income to consume.

Focusing on consumer demand is the only way to fix the problem because the economy relies on it to function. Ideally, consumer demand is increased through higher real wages and increased productivity, leading to greater disposable incomes.

Similarly, attempts to increase the standard of living of workers while making their labor less valuable to employers are an ongoing disaster. The contradiction inherently insures it will not work.

Yes ? That's the point I've been (repeatedly) making ?

Then stop enabling that. Your policies are the cause here.

No they're not. "My" policies - jobs guarantees, full employment as a policy goal, strong workers rights, strong financial sector regulation, extensive public infrastructure and services, high progressive taxes to control wealth distribution and inflation, liveable welfare, etc, etc - haven't seen light of day since the early '70s. They are the kinds of policies that defined post-WW2 USA - "capitalism's golden age".

The Thatcherites and Reaganites - neoliberals - completely and utterly own today's worldwide economic armageddon. They have been running the world since the mid '70s. They are the ones who have been "attempting to increase the standard of living of workers while making their labor less valuable to employers".

Rich people can get wealthier anywhere in the world. Middle and lower-class people can only get wealthier where they live. And the primary means by which those people get wealthier is by labor.

Yes ? Again, the point I've been making repeatedly ?

Employment is trade. You have to have something to offer in order to get wages in exchange. The employer is the important part of the economy, not a consumer. The demand of employers is so much more open ended than the demand of people who are capped by their limited earning power.


People's "earning power" is limited by what their employers pay, which is a function of their bargaining power with said employer (the "trade"). Since the developed world has pursued thirty-odd years of policy aimed at undermining workers' bargaining power so as to suppress wages, their earning power has been gutted. This is visible in the wage vs profit share of GDP - the former has declined and the latter significantly increased.

The consumer is the critical part of the economy. With nobody to consume business's output, there is nothing for business to do, no point for it to operate.

Consider what would happy if everyone had Star Trek-esque replicators tomorrow and an accompanying supply of energy and raw resources to make everything they need. Ie: they are completely self-sufficient with no need to buy anything from anyone. What is business going to sell and to whom ?

Without consumption there is no production, because there is nobody to pay for production and therefore no point for production to occur. The economy is demand-driven. Reduce people's ability to consume (in today's world, by reducing their spending power) and you slow it down.

There has been a huge increase in labor available to business.

This is a choice. The American Government decides what labour is and is not available to business through laws. Business subsequently chooses which labour to employ.

Yet we haven't seen a dramatic collapse in developed world wages.

O.o You cannot be serious.

The US is the poster child for this in the developed world, with most worker's wages there having gone nowhere in real terms for the better part of forty years, the labour share of GDP dropping and the capital share of GDP going through the roof. However, it is a trend that is common across the entire developed world to varying degrees (since they're all basically marching to the same drum).

In the face of massively increasing productivity and increasing income and wealth disparity with the top percent or so, "a dramatic collapse in developed world wages" is exactly what has been happening.

I can't remember the exact numbers off the top of my head, but in the '50s a typical CEO earned something like 25x the typical worker's wages. Now it is more like 300x. In what world does that not represent a dramatic collapse in those workers' wages !?

That's because a vast amount of new demand for labor has been created throughout the world. And that gives the lie to the claim that "unimaginably wealthy" people are sucking up the wealth.

It's not a claim, and it's certainly not a lie. It's a fact. The evidence of upwards wealth transfer across the entire world over the last few decades is clear.

That a few bigger crumbs are falling off the table does not lessen the orgy of gluttony on top of it.

There's a vast amount of improvement in peoples' lives globally. It's just not happening as fast as you would like in the developed world.

In the developed world, real wages for most people have not increased in decades. Taking into account increased debt loads, their spending power today is likely no better than it was in the '70s.

So when you propose, once again, screwing over employers because rich people, you are harming the most important part of your economy.

Firstly, I haven't proposed "screwing over" anyone. Nobody gets "screwed over" by full employment, increasing real wages and increasing living standards.
Secondly, the most important part of the economy are consumers. No consumers, no economy. The *worst case* case scenario with no business is individual barter.

Wealth and disposable income "can be returned" to workers.

Not without restoring their bargaining power with employers.

Wealth and disposable income can't be returned to the unemployable unemployed.

Well it's going to need to be, because unless something unbelievable happens, within a generation or two, probably half the population will literally be unemployable because there's nothing they can do that a robot or computer can't do better and cheaper. It'll probably be only another generation or two after that before it's more like 80-90% of the population (ie: including professionals like Lawyers, Doctors and Engineers).

So when most of the world is "unemployable unemployed" - and consequently without ability to consume, what's going to happen to keep the engine going ?

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