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Comment Re:"All the jobs are leaving" as unemployment fall (Score 1) 170

The median $54,000 income in 2015 buys roughly 42% more than what the median income in 2000 bought.

The expense share of food and clothing has fallen. At the same time, cars, phones, computers, and other electronic products have become highly-complex. Rather than spending $20 (in 1995) or $10 (in 2005) to buy a CD with 9 songs, you can spend $10/month and have Spotify. Rather than $21 for a DVD, you have Netflix for $9/month. Rather than $35/month for 128k ISDN (1998), you spend $83/month for 200,000k Cable Internet ($55,000/month worth of ISDN).

You can consume more today with the median income than you did 10 years ago. A lot more.

Here's what people don't realize: inflation doesn't mark the buying power of a labor hour.

Let's say you improve food production by 100%. Instead of paying 4.8 hours of farm labor for a week's worth of a household's food, you pay 2.4 hours of labor. That means maybe there were 3,000,000 farmers, chemists, machinists, oil refiners, and so forth working in the food supply chain, and now there's 1,500,000 supplying the same amount of the same food. They all get paid for the same labor-hours.

Well, if nobody's wage goes up, then the price of food comes down. Those farmers and everyone else involved made $20/hr before, and they make $20/hr now? That means you used to pay $96/week for food, now you pay $48/week. If the median income is $30,000 and your income doesn't go up, then you're only $48 richer.

So now what happens if, across this process--say we don't do this overnight, but over 10 years--we have a 120% increase in wages? We issue more dollars and the incomes go up.

Well, that means those farmers are making $44/hr. The food that cost $96/week now costs $105.60. That's inflation, right? Food costs increased by 10%--so you have 10% inflation.

Caveat: The median income is now $66,000. We've gone from $4,992/year out of $30,000 (16.64%) to $5,491.20/year out of $66,000 (8.32%).

Think about that for a minute. What does inflation really tell you?

Comment Re:You just now started worrying? (Score 4, Interesting) 358

I'm not sure why Libertardians can't figure out that actual liberals and progressives aren't tied to the thoroughly-corrupted Democratic party, we just don't have any viable alternatives in most elections.

No kidding. The really sad thing is that libertarian candidates could be that viable alternative, if they would just understand that the tragedy of the commons is a real thing and that government is a legitimate means of solving it, and tone down the economic extremism. Progressives and libertarians substantially agree on social policy (except for affirmative action), after all!

Comment Re:"All the jobs are leaving" as unemployment fall (Score 1) 170

Housing is actually an odd market. It's not a productive market per se; it's more of a traded commodity, and speculators have convinced homeowners their houses are worth a lot. At the same time, falling mortgage rates mean the $1,200/month you're willing to pay for a house buys a bigger sale price--$350,000 instead of $120,000--so the same house has a higher price, yet comes with the same mortgage payment. You sort of pay about the same either way.

At the same time, the size of new-construction houses and apartments increases over time. The average new-construction single-family home was 982sqft in 1950, and over 2,300sqft in 2000. People build additions onto their homes. Cities occasionally tear down urban blight and replace cramped row homes with sprawling semi-detached or single-family parcels.

In terms of decades, the price per 1,000sqft of housing has steadily decreased the same as food, clothing, and other goods and services; in terms of continuous running price, the housing market is a somewhat inelastic commodity market and behaves somewhat like a security (stocks, commodities) and somewhat like a product.

The productivity of the American worker is declining because they are burnt out

Productivity is tied to technical progress, and we supply more with less labor today than 10 years ago. We do have some issues with overworked overtime employees; however, they tend to be unproductive because they leave those jobs and go to other businesses instead. Revolving doors in an office environment are incredibly expensive, and the constant turn-over takes its toll on those businesses; I'm working in a rather large shop that had that problem 4 years ago, and has since more than doubled the IT department size and implemented more project management so as to increase the proportion of work successfully completed and decrease strain on employees.

It's notable that the employees of the late-1800s and early-1900s complained a lot because they worked 90-hour work weeks. 6 days per week, 16 hours per day. They won a 60-hour work week--6 days per week, 12 hours per day, two 1-hour lunches--and then the modern 40-hour work week through decades of protests, rioting, and murder. I feel 28-32 hour work weeks should be viable rather soon, if we handle the transition carefully; we'll be less-wealthy than if we just stick to a 40-hour week, since we'll essentially be trading away productivity gains for time instead of wealth (e.g. when you make in 4 hours what you used to make in 5, you work 3.2 hours and make the same--you get no richer nor poorer, but you have more leisure time).

Most people are trying, but they're tired

Most people are just fine. Many people are conditioned by having the same bullshit repeated at them, whether it's by Hillary, Bernie, Trump, Ron Paul, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, the anchors on CNN, or some other idiot without a clue. They form ideals and they won't break away from them.

Look at minimum wage. Minimum wage is established to ensure a certain amount of labor is compensated for a certain proportion of buying power--that is, we pay minimum wage workers enough to buy a certain amount of things made by people who aren't minimum-wage workers. Debt allows us to move money into the economy at the bottom to handle population expansion and generally avoid deflationary currency; and inflation is necessary for a stable, functional economy--especially one with debt. Inflation reduces the buying power of that minimum wage, so we have to increase it now and then.

Long story short: we need to raise minimum wage to keep up with inflation. It is necessary.

The same people who agree with this also can't accept that increasing minimum wage concentrates the same money into fewer hands, causing some minimum-wage workers to lose jobs as a result of the increase. It doesn't matter how badly they have to violate the simple laws of mathematics in their argument, how much broken logic they have to use, or whatever else; they need to believe there are no negative consequences.

This is the same problem with Trump supporters. You have an American making pants in the United States, then any American buying those pants versus the Made-in-China pants has to expend wages equivalent to a larger number of his own working hours. That means fewer pants bought, less domestic shipping, fewer truck drivers, fewer retail scans, fewer cashiers and inventory workers, etc. Above about $18/hr, you have a net-loss of jobs versus importing pants from China; below $18/hr, you have a net-gain of jobs. Trump supporters somehow believe that "because the money stays in America, we'll [individually] be richer"--that they, personally, will still make their $10/hr working the fry maker at McDonalds, and that they'll personally be richer somehow even though a $15 pair of pants now costs $50.

They believe that because they have to. They have to believe that "bringing jobs back to America" is magical, and that trade makes them personally poor, and that paying the salary, taxes, and benefits for a $21/hr line worker is somehow going to make them rich.

It's also why most UBI people have to believe that technical progress in the future ("automation") is magical and will eliminate jobs forever, and not just temporarily--and make the broken leap to conclude that we can just give people money, without considering what money is.

It's also why you argued that full-time jobs have vanished and part-time jobs have taken over, and then quickly changed positions when proven sharply wrong. You're trying to maintain the same ideal even though the facts don't line up; but, unlike the complete morons I have to deal with now and again, you aren't simply arguing that facts which disagree with your points are wrong, and instead trying to find other facts to support your view. It still bewilders me that so many people will argue that the unemployment rate is really whatever they say it is, and that the published number is a lie.

Comment Re:"All the jobs are leaving" as unemployment fall (Score 1) 170

Not really. We have a measure for marginal employment (UE, U6--currently around 9.2%) and a measure for full-time employment (UE3). What's left is minimum wage or its replacement with a universal social security.

All part-time underemployed make up 3.7% of the labor force as of December 2016, with U-3 at 4.7%. In December 2000 (best month in the past 16 years), U-6 was 6.9%, U-5 was 4.7%, and U-3 was 3.9%--so your "Uber sleeping in the parking lot" jobs were 2.2% of the labor force with U-3 at 3.9% and U6 at 6.9%.

So those are similar, although the 2000 statistic looks more-favorable.

December 2009's 9.9% U-3 was part of a 17.1% U-6 and 11.3% U-5. That means 5.8% of the labor force was "Uber sleeping in the parking lot jobs" and "people [...] taking whatever they can".

Between 2009's peak unemployment and now, U-6 has fallen by 7.9%. Of that, we reduced the part-time unemployed "Uber sleeping in the parking lot jobs" portion of the population by 2.1%, and added 5.2% to the "good jobs" portion of the population. We've reduced the amount of shitty jobs and added good jobs.

That's, like, the opposite of what you said, isn't it? A smaller proportion of the labor force is working shitty Uber jobs, and a larger proportion of the labor force is working good, solid employment.

Comment "All the jobs are leaving" as unemployment falls (Score 1) 170

Six years of jobs coming faster than people. Falling unemployment. Lay-offs all over the place by the tens of thousands, job growth by the millions.

If you gave someone a million gold coins, they'd only see the scratch in the dusty used bowl you brought them in.

Comment Who Has EVER Trusted Government Data? (Score 3, Informative) 358

Silly Partisan Slashdot Editors want to make this into a Trump Thing, but they are too young or uneducated to remember things like the (first, of many) Food Pyramid, job creation data scams, alternative energy revelations, and... the list is long. Google "erroneous government data." And stop contributing to the Fake News epidemic with these disingenuous strawman-centric pseudo-stories...

Submission + - President Trump Signs Executive Order to Withdraw from the TPP (

Dangerous_Minds writes: President Donald Trump has signed an executive order for the US to pull out of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It was a campaign promise he is seemingly following through on. The agreement would have instituted laws that would unmask DNS registrants trying to protect their privacy, added criminal liability to the circumvention of a DRM (Digital Rights Management), mandated government spying on online copyright infringement, and even allow enforcement of copyright laws even when infringement does not take place. For many, the move represents a significant blow to the future of the agreement.

Comment Re:Depends who pays (Score 1) 295

No; that's misleading at a fundamental level: there are in many circumstances market advantages. That doesn't mean that the changes will happen quickly enough to avoid serious damage. The timing here is extremely critical, and keeping running older fossil fuel plants and putting out massive amounts of CO2 will screw us over even if the slow market progression would make us carbon neutral in 2050.

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