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Fri Apr 4, 2014, 01:49 PM

Median incomes are not growing as fast as they should be. This is true. And it is a serious problem.

Now in my opinion, rather than just complain, we might want to discuss the kinds of policies that might be able to address this. For example:

--Raising the minimum wage
--Increasing taxes on top earners
--Expanding the earned income tax credit, a program which helps lower income workers
--Extensive investment in infrastructure, which will put people to work and increase aggregate demand

What do these things have in common? They are all part of Obama's current agenda. Right now, Obama is going around advocating for an increase in the minimum wage, and the rest of those items (and many more) are in his proposed budget.

Here's the problem. This stuff isn't going to make it through congress. Why? Because of the GOP.

The allegation has been made that DUers supporting Obama think about the "team" while those opposed to him are thinking about "policy." But this is not reality. In fact, if all those OPs talking about how disappointing Obama is, and about how he's really looking out for Wall Street and 1%ers -- if, in addition to complaining, those threads included policy proposals, I would wager that a lot of the "wish list" would already be included in the Obama budget.

Of course, Obama isn't perfect, and he's not as liberal as many people here would like him to be, myself included. So, yes, I'm sure there are policies that people would like to see advocated that aren't. But this brings us to the second key point.

The limiting factor right now isn't Obama's willingness to propose things, it's congress's willingness to approve them. There's really no getting around this. As disappointed as some may be in Obama, the current state of affairs is not the result of the Obama administration's bad policymaking, it is the result of the GOP congress opposing pretty much everything that would have a chance of improving things.

This isn't just conjecture. We saw what happened when Obama had a favorable congress. We got the most significant piece of social legislation since LBJ, we staved of a second great depression, we passed some of the most significant financial regulations in decades, for starters. Yes, Obamacare, the stimulus, and Dodd-Frank all could have been better, but we have to remember that even in their current form, they all just squeaked through congress.

So, yes, hold Democrats' feet to the fire when they do bad things. But let's not lose sight of reality.

60 replies, 1787 views

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Reply Median incomes are not growing as fast as they should be. This is true. And it is a serious problem. (Original post)
DanTex Apr 2014 OP
cthulu2016 Apr 2014 #1
DanTex Apr 2014 #2
Capt. Obvious Apr 2014 #3
Fumesucker Apr 2014 #5
Capt. Obvious Apr 2014 #8
Skittles Apr 2014 #47
ProSense Apr 2014 #6
ProSense Apr 2014 #4
cthulu2016 Apr 2014 #14
ProSense Apr 2014 #18
stevenleser Apr 2014 #21
DireStrike Apr 2014 #53
ProSense Apr 2014 #56
DireStrike Apr 2014 #58
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #7
ProSense Apr 2014 #9
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #10
ProSense Apr 2014 #11
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #13
ProSense Apr 2014 #17
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #22
ProSense Apr 2014 #26
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #27
ProSense Apr 2014 #28
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #30
ProSense Apr 2014 #33
ProfessorGAC Apr 2014 #40
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #45
ProSense Apr 2014 #49
ProfessorGAC Apr 2014 #60
DanTex Apr 2014 #36
NCTraveler Apr 2014 #38
DanTex Apr 2014 #50
CJCRANE Apr 2014 #12
Donald Ian Rankin Apr 2014 #15
reformist2 Apr 2014 #19
cthulu2016 Apr 2014 #24
reformist2 Apr 2014 #25
cthulu2016 Apr 2014 #31
CJCRANE Apr 2014 #20
Donald Ian Rankin Apr 2014 #32
CJCRANE Apr 2014 #34
Donald Ian Rankin Apr 2014 #35
CJCRANE Apr 2014 #37
Donald Ian Rankin Apr 2014 #41
CJCRANE Apr 2014 #43
Donald Ian Rankin Apr 2014 #46
CJCRANE Apr 2014 #48
cthulu2016 Apr 2014 #23
DanTex Apr 2014 #57
Cali_Democrat Apr 2014 #16
randome Apr 2014 #29
Marrah_G Apr 2014 #39
ProfessorGAC Apr 2014 #42
Marrah_G Apr 2014 #44
Skittles Apr 2014 #51
Marrah_G Apr 2014 #52
DanTex Apr 2014 #55
Skittles Apr 2014 #59
RainDog Apr 2014 #54

Response to DanTex (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 01:56 PM

1. In the face of these wage declines, why is the primary concern what people think of Obama?

The OP starts off being about how to address declining real-dollar wages, but then veers off into a thing about how people complain about Obama too much.

So the thrust of the OP is not really policy, but proper apportionment of blame.

If one wanted to talk about policy they could just talk about policy.

Raising the minimum wage —this addresses wages directly. Most important single American priority. Should be $15.

Increasing taxes on top earners —might be good policy for other reasons, but doesn't improve wages. Taken by itself, actually reduces wages slightly by reducing aggregate demand, unless one specifies that the increased tax revenues will be spent... that none will be used for deficit reduction in the near term.

Expanding the earned income tax credit, a program which helps lower income workers —helps mitigate the effect of low wages

Extensive investment in infrastructure, which will put people to work and increase aggregate demand —helps wages in aggregate on the demand side. If tied to #2, is a welcome wealth redistribution.





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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:01 PM

2. The OP is about both policy and political reality.

If there weren't any people trying to blame Obama and the Democrats generally for the current state of the economy, then there wouldn't be a need to point out that Obama actually stands for the very policies that would help.

But there are, so there is.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:03 PM

3. MUST PROTECT OBAMA

They're terminators sent from the future.

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Response to Capt. Obvious (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:13 PM

5. That explains much

The whole "we've known about it for years" thing among others.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:14 PM

8. S'rly

They act like they saving a baby from a burning building.

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Response to Capt. Obvious (Reply #8)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:44 PM

47. it's ODS

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Response to Capt. Obvious (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:13 PM

6. MUST PROTECT FACTS.

That's actually helpful.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:11 PM

4. What "wage declines"?

"The OP starts off being about how to address declining real-dollar wages, but then veers off into a thing about how people complain about Obama too much. "

Maybe the problem is at least four OPs today that decided to spin a trend showing an increase in wages as a decline...despite the facts.

Real Median Household Income Rises 1.2% in February

By Doug Short

March 31, 2014 (Monthly Update)

Summary: The Sentier Research monthly median household income data series is now available for February. Nominal median household incomes were up $668 month-over-month and up $1,787 year-over-year. Adjusted for inflation, they were up 1.2% MoM and 2.4% YoY.

The latest monthly gain was the second largest of the 170 data points in this series since the turn of the century. However, in real dollar terms, the median annual income is 6.8% lower (about $3,892) than its interim high in January 2008.

<...>

The first chart below is an overlay of the nominal values and real monthly values chained in January 2014 dollars. The red line illustrates the history of nominal median household, and the blue line shows the real (inflation-adjusted value). I've added callouts to show specific nominal and real monthly values for January 2000 start date and the peak and post-peak troughs.



In the latest press release, Sentier Research spokesman Gordon Green summarizes the recent data.

This monthly increase in median household income between January and February 2014 extends an uneven but upward trend. Our time series charts clearly illustrate that although the economic recovery officially began in June 2009, the recovery in household income did not begin to emerge until after August 2011. While many of the month-to-month changes in median income since the low-point in August 2011 have not been statistically significant, an overall upward trend is clearly evident.

- more -

http://advisorperspectives.com/dshort/updates/Median-Household-Income-Update.php



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Response to ProSense (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:35 PM

14. You are intentionally using figures unadjusted for inflation???

The chart is plain as plain can be.

The blue line (declining wages) is REAL DOLLARS.

The red line (rising) is NOMINAL dollars.

So you are here to brag about nominal gains made that you know (you just posted the chart, after all) are actually loses... because Obama?

Or are you boasting about the trivial uptrend in adjusted dollars since mid-2001??? (which is barely above the statistical noise level, if at all.)

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:45 PM

18. "Adjusted for inflation, they were up 1.2% MoM and 2.4% YoY."

Did you miss that?

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:52 PM

21. Why do you say that when ProSense provided a chart with both real and nominal figures?

 

Seems like you are spinning ProSense's post in the most negative way possible.

Obama has clearly reversed the downward trend in real income that existed not just when he took office but before then. You can (incorrectly in my opinion) argue that the increase since the economy bottomed out in mid 2011 is "barely above statistical noise" but the reverse in the downward trend of real income is very much statistically significant at this point.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #21)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:07 PM

53. Prosense is referring to a trend in the last month/year, which is small in comparison to what is

obvious on the chart.

Neither the mom nor yoy increase are even obvious from looking at the chart, and in comparison with the last 10 years, real wages are obviously down.

Prosense's highlighting of some recent and unimpressive improvements in the numbers is an attempt at spin, and it's patently dishonest. The title of the post is "what wage declines?" and the obvious response looking at Prosense's own chart is "those wage declines!"

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Response to DireStrike (Reply #53)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:20 PM

56. Nonsense. The trend has been upward for the last three years. The chart shows that. n/t


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Response to ProSense (Reply #56)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:49 PM

58. Yes, if you squint really hard you can see a very minor increase in real wages

I'm not sure actually about the last data point. There seems to be a nice spike that brings us slightly above 2011 levels. Whoopee.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:14 PM

7. I think the problem that many have....

 

is that none of what you have said results in fundamental change to the system. In fact, it simply tweaks the current flawed system. Many feel that fundamental change was needed in Obamas first term. I think many felt the financial crisis was the opportunity for fundamental change. The opportunities that presented themselves during the collapse were not capitalized on. Pretty much everything done with respect to the financial collapse did nothing more than further entrench the current system and make the divide even worse. The couple of things you mentioned are truly band aids on an amputation.

Please not that I am only talking about the economy here. Obama has done great work in many other areas. Some of the band aids delivered are also positive change, just not fundamental and structural change.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #7)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:18 PM

9. Disagree, and

"Please not that I am only talking about the economy here. Obama has done great work in many other areas. Some of the band aids delivered are also positive change, just not fundamental and structural change. "

...that's because, like spinning the current wage trend as a decline, people aren't willing to look at the overall impact of policies.

Obamacare boosting household income and spending
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024606074

Krugman: Insurance and Freedom

In fact, the real, lived experience of Obamacare is likely to be one of significantly increased individual freedom. For all our talk of being the land of liberty, those holding one of the dwindling number of jobs that carry decent health benefits often feel anything but free, knowing that if they leave or lose their job, for whatever reason, they may not be able to regain the coverage they need. Over time, as people come to realize that affordable coverage is now guaranteed, it will have a powerful liberating effect.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/opinion/krugman-insurance-and-freedom.html


Obamacare Enrollment Is Far From Over
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024764970

With the recent closure of the initial enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is enormous jockeying around interpreting the number of enrollees in state and federal exchanges. Proponents and opponents of the law are interpreting the preliminary numbers in the way that best makes their case. But what neither side is emphasizing enough is that enrollment in the ACA is far from over now that March 31st has passed. This is because millions of individuals will lose their insurance during 2014 – and Obamacare will be there to catch them.


Krugman: Obama and the One Percent
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024391415

The health care law raised the payroll tax for high income earners and taxed investment income.

Net Investment Income Tax

A new Net Investment Income Tax goes into effect starting in 2013. The 3.8 percent Net Investment Income Tax applies to individuals, estates and trusts that have certain investment income above certain threshold amounts. The IRS and the Treasury Department have issued proposed regulations on the Net Investment Income Tax. Comments may be submitted electronically, by mail or hand delivered to the IRS. For additional information on the Net Investment Income Tax, see our questions and answers.

Additional Medicare Tax

A new Additional Medicare Tax goes into effect starting in 2013. The 0.9 percent Additional Medicare Tax applies to an individual’s wages, Railroad Retirement Tax Act compensation, and self-employment income that exceeds a threshold amount based on the individual’s filing status. The threshold amounts are $250,000 for married taxpayers who file jointly, $125,000 for married taxpayers who file separately, and $200,000 for all other taxpayers. An employer is responsible for withholding the Additional Medicare Tax from wages or compensation it pays to an employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year. The IRS and the Department of the Treasury have issued proposed regulations on the Additional Medicare Tax. Comments may be submitted electronically, by mail or hand delivered to the IRS. For additional information on the Additional Medicare Tax, see our questions and answers.

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Affordable-Care-Act-Tax-Provisions




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Response to ProSense (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:23 PM

10. I get that you disagree.

 

It's just that you cannot make the claim that what you have posted shows a true fundamental and structural change to the economy. Are they good? Yes. Are they tweaks to the current system? Yes.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #10)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:26 PM

11. Well,

"It's just that you cannot make the claim that what you have posted shows a true fundamental and structural change to the economy. Are they good? Yes. Are they tweaks to the current system? Yes. "

...I expected dismissal, and your comment flies in the face of the reality.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:35 PM

13. "...I expected dismissal, and your comment flies in the face of the reality."

 

The comment itself is opinion and not reality. Reality is that you feel the additional regulations and changes in the ACA have created a fundamental and structural change to our economy. You can not and did not make the case for that. I am somewhat amused that the ACA is now being touted as the fundamental game changer for the economy. Is there anything it hasn't fixed?

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #13)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:44 PM

17. I most

"The comment itself is opinion and not reality. Reality is that you feel the additional regulations and changes in the ACA have created a fundamental and structural change to our economy. You can not and did not make the case for that. I am somewhat amused that the ACA is now being touted as the fundamental game changer for the economy. Is there anything it hasn't fixed? "

...certainly did "make the case." You simply dismissed the fact that the law is boosting incomes and spending, and as Krugman put it, having a "liberating" effect.

Maybe you can explain how covering the unemployed, freeing people from the effects of losing health care when they lose a job, boosting incomes and spending, expanding Medicaid, and other effects are not a "fundamental game changer for the economy"?

Please explain.





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Response to ProSense (Reply #17)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:52 PM

22. Prosense, you have not come close to making the case that this is fundamental and structural change.

 

Not even close. It is actually stunning that we have become so use to this crap that this could even be considered fundamental and structural change. For the most part, everything you are mentioning is enhancements or additional regulations to the current system. By definition that flies in the face of fundamental and structural change.

Is it a change? yes. Are they positive changes? yes. Has the structure of the economy fundamentally changed because of them as you are trying to say? Not even close.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #22)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:57 PM

26. Pure nonsense

"Not even close. It is actually stunning that we have become so use to this crap that this could even be considered fundamental and structural change. For the most part, everything you are mentioning is enhancements or additional regulations to the current system. By definition that flies in the face of fundamental and structural change. "

How is liberating people from the effects of losing health care when they lose a job "enhancements or additional regulations to the current system"?

That has absolutely nothing to do with anything remotely in the "current system."

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Response to ProSense (Reply #26)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:04 PM

27. How is it fundamental and structural change to the economy?

 

How is this going to help to stop the next collapse? How would it have stopped the last recession or the one before that? Your idea of fundamental and structural change would do nothing to help ward off economic collapse or bring top and bottom wages closer to one and other.

It is sad that this is considered fundamental and structural change to the economy.

"That has absolutely nothing to do with anything remotely in the "current system."

I think you need to go back and read your own links. Two of them prove you wrong.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #27)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:09 PM

28. What the hell?

How is it fundamental and structural change to the economy?

How is this going to help to stop the next collapse? How would it have stopped the last recession or the one before that? Your idea of fundamental and structural change would do nothing to help ward off economic collapse or bring top and bottom wages closer to one and other.

It is sad that this is considered fundamental and structural change to the economy.

"That has absolutely nothing to do with anything remotely in the "current system."

I think you need to go back and read your own links. Two of them prove you wrong.

It'll stop the economy from collapsing under the weight of rising health care cost. You seem to be laboring under the impression that there is only one structural pillar that can impact the economy.

Beyond that you're also ignoring all the other changes, covering the unemployed, boosting incomes and spending, expanding Medicaid and other effects.


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Response to ProSense (Reply #28)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:16 PM

30. Nonsense.

 

"It'll stop the economy from collapsing under the weight of rising health care cost. You seem to be laboring under the impression that there is only one structural pillar that can impact the economy.

Beyond that you're also ignoring all the other changes, covering the unemployed, boosting incomes and spending, expanding Medicaid and other effects."

Rising health care costs are over. Nice to know. I was not aware that the cost of health care would no longer rise.

"You seem to be laboring under the impression that there is only one structural pillar that can impact the economy."

If you would read the actual posts you would see that you couldn't be further from the truth with what I have said. Really sad debate tactic. Dishonest.

"Beyond that you're also ignoring all the other changes, covering the unemployed, boosting incomes and spending, expanding Medicaid and other effects. "

Once again, dishonest debate tactic. I have ignored no such thing. You attempted to make the case. It didn't work out to well. So now you are trying to put words in my mouth. Impressive. I notices you became a lot more aggressive and angry a couple of months ago. Any changes?


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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #30)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:32 PM

33. You really

"Rising health care costs are over. Nice to know. I was not aware that the cost of health care would no longer rise."

...have a lot of nerve talking about "dishonest debate tactic."

You are basically admitting that health care costs can fundamentally impact the economic structure, but denying that what I said is a fact.

Early indications are the Affordable Care Act is working. With less than two weeks remaining before the March 31 deadline for coverage this year, five million people have already signed up. After decades of rising percentages of Americans lacking health insurance, the uninsured rate has dropped to its lowest levels since 2008...health care costs have slowed dramatically. The new law may well be contributing to this slowdown by reducing Medicare overpayments to medical providers and private insurers, and creating incentives for hospitals and doctors to improve quality of care.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024699353

ACA slows growth in health costs
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024065857

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #30)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:34 PM

40. You're Just Being Obstinate

ProSense is trying to provide some opinion (and you aren't presenting facts either, so don't get into an opinion v. facts thing) to support that things like ACA and a reversal of downward real wages is a fundamental structural change.

You don't agree, and that's fine, but it doesn't mean there is an absolute right and absolute wrong and it sure doesn't mean you're absolutely right.

The problem as i see is that your definition of fundamental structural change is a standard so stringent that no practical approach is likely to satisfy you. Blow it all up and start again is not practical, and sure isn't actually going to happen. So that's off the table.

90% tax rates? Taxes on already accumulated wealth? Good luck on passing that and not having constitutional challenges that tie it up for decades.

You have underlying philosophical disagreements wtih ProSense and are just being difficult to make a point, but you're doing the exact same thing by positing opinion to counter an opinion, but you're pretending you are using facts.
GAC

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #40)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:42 PM

45. A couple of things.

 

"The problem as i see is that your definition of fundamental structural change is a standard so stringent that no practical approach is likely to satisfy you."

You have come to the conclusion as to my definition of fundamental structural change. It is right in your post. What is the definition I have laid out. Your thought with respect to that doesn't work because you have based it off of something you have made up. What is my definition of fundamental structural change? Your point is based off of that knowledge that you seem to possess.

"You have underlying philosophical disagreements wtih ProSense and are just being difficult to make a point, but you're doing the exact same thing by positing opinion to counter an opinion, but you're pretending you are using facts. "

Have you told this to ProSense since you say it is the same thing? Is this lecture just for me? Is this just a lecture or are you adding to the op? What is your opinion with respect to the topic because your whole post is based off of assumptions that can't truly be made, Prosense, and myself. Seriously.

After all of that I still have no clue where you stand on the topic. I do know you don't like the tactics of Prosense or I. So that is cleared up. Assumptions out of thin air aside, where do you stand on the topic?

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #45)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:50 PM

49. It's not

"Have you told this to ProSense since you say it is the same thing? Is this lecture just for me? Is this just a lecture or are you adding to the op? What is your opinion with respect to the topic because your whole post is based off of assumptions that can't truly be made, Prosense, and myself. Seriously."

...remotely the "same thing."

It is a fact that the law had an impact on rising health care cost.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #45)

Sat Apr 5, 2014, 01:37 AM

60. Where Do I Stand?

I think there are structural changes taking place. Not to a pace that moves the needle just yet, but perhaps stopping the needle from moving further in the wrong direction.

Expanding an insurance field to a larger population is a fundamental shift. Normal microeconomics suggests that this should lower cost of coverage for the population overall.

Do we need more regulation to assure that as more revenues hit the insurers, prices don't get fixed to prevent the natural reduction in cost? Absolutely!

Is it as good as single payer or Medicare for all solution? Absolutely not! Still a step in the right direction.

There hasn't been (until the buffoon Paul Ryan's fraudulent budget proposal) talk about lowering taxes on the wealthiest. This is only the second time in 35 years that this wasn't a major point of discussion. This is another fundamental shift in the political zeitgeist. This is even more important in a period of slow recovery and modest job growth. The "job creator" meme has less traction than it would have 10 or 12 or 20 or 25 years ago. Oh, it's still out there amongst the crazies, but nobody but the other crazies are actually listening, so it goes in one ear and out the other. There is nobody in the body politic that actually takes that talk seriously, unless it's some member of the radical right or the randians.

Banking regulation is at it's highest level of intensity since the 1960's. As a member of the board on a large credit union, i can attest to that personally. The scrutiny of the regulatory audits is more intense than at any time in my 25 years in this post. That's another fundamental shift. The things a bank can do without raising a regulator's eyebrow are far and few between.

The hyperconcentration of wealth is still a problem. No doubt about that. Unlimited cash giving to candidates is a problem too. That however, is not a stroke of the pen dilemma. It's now law with highest judicial imprimatur bestowed. And, that is really just a more transparent version of what's been going on for the last 50 years. At least we know who the monied interests in the smoke filled rooms are now.

Finally, i think there is little wrong with seeing the practicum of poliltical change. It doesn't make one an apologist or a cheerleader. The litmus test here that seeing the good makes one less of a liberal or progressive is unbecoming on a board that generally speaking is full of thoughtful educated folks.

When i see the "with us or against us" or the "if you don't come down hard, you're a cheerleader" sentiment, i argue the opposite.

There's an old saying "if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem". I actually think that's always been a bit inside out. I think in most of these politically driven differences of opinion, "if you're not part of the problem, you ARE part of the solution". If we agree in overall principal and want the same things ultimately, backbiting and diminishment are a bigger problem than the disagreement over method.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #7)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:18 PM

36. Well, I'm not sure what you mean by "fundamental and structural change".

I don't think anyone expected Obama to re-organize the economy based on worker-owned cooperatives.

The thing is, I count myself among the people who are disappointed by some of what Obama failed to accomplish. But when I look at what Obama actually stands for, and compare it to what I stand for, there's not that much distance. Particularly on the economic and social front. I can understand the objections in the area of the NSA, or drone strikes. But when it comes to economic and social policy, it seems more like vague generalities rather than specific policy objections.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #36)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:32 PM

38. "it seems more like vague generalities rather than specific policy objections"

 

You are correct. My observation was generalities rather than specific policy objections. The reason for that can be interpreted from my post. An overwhelming percentage of the policies offered, backed, or signed by Obama are good policies. I do not think they are bad. I stated that more than once in my exchange with ProSense. My post was simply an observation of how many feel with respect to the change that has come along with the Obama Presidency. I do think people expected Obama to go further in restructuring the economy. I think even Obama thought he was going to. Remember some little comments about NAFTA. I truly think after the NAFTA comments that Obama realized he couldn't obtain the fundamental change he would like. I have never seen something so sensible shot down so quickly.

Going from the current system to worker-owned cooperatives would be fundamental change. I am not sure where that came from but it wasn't in Obama's playbook at anytime. Just because no one expected Obama to do something he doesn't even support doesn't mean the opportunity for fundamental change wasn't there. Understanding that fundamental economic change hasn't occurred does not make one anti-Obama. I am not anti-Obama. He has made a huge and positive difference in the lives of many. The structure of the economy is still the same. None of those things are mutually exclusive.

"But when I look at what Obama actually stands for, and compare it to what I stand for, there's not that much distance. "

I fully agree with that. Where he stands ideologically is very close to where I am.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #38)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:55 PM

50. I agree with a lot of what you say.

I'm not sure how much opportunity there really was for more fundamental changes than we got. After all, even during the brief time that we had 60 senators, there were still a number of conservative Dems that wouldn't have gone along with anything much more radical than what we got.

The worker-owned cooperatives was just some random thing that I came up with out of nowhere as an example of what true "fundamental change" might look like. I can see how people hoping for that sort of thing (or even "fundamental change" that is less extreme than that) would be disappointed.

I also agree that Obama is probably a little disappointed in himself in not getting more done, and a little surprised about the level and insanity of opposition from the GOP. In fact, one of my main criticisms of Obama is that he wasn't cynical enough from the beginning, believing he could "change the tone", whereas he should have realized from day one that the GOP was out to destroy him, and just shoved as much legislation through when he had the chance.

What I generally object to in the "Obama wars" here (well one thing...) is the idea that people who support Obama are putting "team" ahead of "policy", mindlessly supporting the "D" regardless of what he stands for. It seems to me that, if you look at actual policy, at least on the domestic front, there's not very much to object to, and a lot to be happy about. And the more specific you get, the more this is the case. True, we haven't had a fundamental restructuring, but that hardly makes Obama some corporate apologist president for wall street and the 1%, which is apparently what a large number of DUers seem to believe.

PS on edit, I don't recall the specifics of the NAFTA discussion you are referring to.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:28 PM

12. The baseline needs to be the crash of 2008.

We're still digging our way out of that implosion.

And one half of the maintenance crew refused to do any work to fix the problem.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:37 PM

15. Raising the minimum wage won't have any effect on the median income, will it?

Mean income, yes, but not median, unless 50% of Americans are on the minimum wage.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #15)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:46 PM

19. Not really. Increasing the minimum wage improves the safety net, but doesn't help most of us.


Sadly, I'm not hearing much from the leadership about how to help most people in the middle. Too many of them have sold their souls to Wall Street, and spout the myth that global free trade will make us all richer.

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Response to reformist2 (Reply #19)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:53 PM

24. see my post right below

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #24)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:56 PM

25. Good point. But I don't think 50% of workers are making $10 or less. Maybe 25-30% of workers.

Above $10, there will be some upward pressure, but by the time you get to $20 an hour (where the median wage is, I think), there won't be much change at all. So, it will be better than I originally thought. But it still won't move the median much.

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Response to reformist2 (Reply #25)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:20 PM

31. Yes, the pressure from the artificial floor should decrease somewhat as you go up, but

not as much as it might seem it would.

Now, wages were flatter back when the minimum wage was stronger, but I think that was more about the very top. CEOs used to make 10 times what a workman on the line made, versus 1,000 times. (Rather than the effect being due to burger flippers and carpenters converging)

I think that if Job X paid twice the minimum wage (and nothing changed except the minimum wage) there will remain an attractor for it to pay twice the minimum wage... it got there the first time, after all.

The job is worth twice the value of a generic employee.

Bill James used to focus on "replacement level" in talking about baseball player salaries. There is a constant pool of decent fielding second basemen who would hit .180 in the majors, and can be had all day for the league minimum salary. A decent fielding second basemen who hits .280 is a very valuable player. So his huge salary is being paid only for 100 points of batting average. No matter what, there will be somebody out at second who can field the position okay... so the replacement level is subtracted from all players.

Every job above minimum wage has *something* about it that is beyond the "replacement level employee," and that gap (which remains just as wide) should have a real value.

(If one assumes markets don't work then non of that would apply, but they do. There is some reason beyond charity that carpenters make more than fry-cooks.)

Unions are, unfortunately, not the factor they were in the 1960s (when minimum wage kept pace pretty well), but you can bet that in a union negotiation in 1967, if bus drivers had been making 316% of minimum wage in 1965 their 1967 target was no less than that 316%. It is how we measure a wage, relatively.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #15)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:49 PM

20. Surely it would shift the median line to the right?

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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #20)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:23 PM

32. I don't believe so.

I think that somewhere in America there is a median American, earning about $50,000 per year; unless a change

a) changes his income
b) makes someone poorer than him richer than him
c) makes someone richer than him poorer than him

Then it won't change the median.

You could strip half the populace of all their worldly goods, and the other half of everything but $50,000, or make the minimum wage $50,000 and everyone earning more than that a multimillionaire, and the median would still be $50,000.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #32)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:06 PM

34. I'm not a statistician but that doesn't make sense to me.

The median isn't fixed in stone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median

It's the middle line dividing all of values of the lower 50% from the higher 50%. If the lower 50% increases in value then surely the line moves to the right?

I'd like a mathematician to weigh in on this.

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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #34)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:12 PM

35. The median is the income of the middle person.

Suppose I have 21 people, with varying incomes.

Then the median is the income of the 11th-richest.

The incomes of the poorest 10 and the richest 10 don't have any direct effect on the median, even if they go up or down, except that if one of them crosses that middle income then the person who was 11th richest is now 10th or 12th, someone else is now the 11th richest, and so the median is now their income.

In some ways it's a more useful measure than the mean (that is, the sum of all the incomes divided by the number of people) - if I have 20 people earning $20,000 and one earning $20,000,000,000 then the median is $20,000 while the mean is $1,000,000,000, and the median probably gives you a better guess as to what life is like for most people.

But all it tells you about is the middle person - the people poorer than them could be a little poorer or a lot poorer, the people richer than them could be a little richer or a lot richer, but the median will still just be their income.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #35)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:28 PM

37. I think it's the middle value, not the middle person.

I'm going to have to go and re-teach myself statistics to figure out how to illustrate an example.

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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #37)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:35 PM

41. The middle value is the value of the middle person. N.T.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #41)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:39 PM

43. If you have 300 million people then the middle person is #150 million.

That doesn't sound right to me. It's median income, not median person.

I'm going to ask my cousin who's a statistician (sometime in the next few days).

ETA: Maybe it is person #150 million but the median income will also increase? I'm not sure. I'm still going to check it out.

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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #43)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:43 PM

46. And the median income is that person's income.

The median income is an income, not a person.

The person whose income it *is* is the person in the middle, so to work out what the median income is you need to know who they are.

But they aren't the median income - they're a human being, not an amount of money per year, as the fellow in The Prisoner almost said. Their *income* is the median income.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #46)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:45 PM

48. OK, as per my edit above I think you are right on that point

but I still think the median income will increase.

I will investigate!

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #15)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:52 PM

23. It will affect more than 50% of wages, surely. Arguably 100%.

Truth be told, everyone is paid in multiples of the minimum wage.

For instance, most retail managers are on salary, not hourly. They are paid a flat X for what is supposed to be, say, 44 hours of work. Since they typically work more than that 44 hours the actual hourly wage of a night manager or assistant manager is often not much better than that of a cashier.

Raise the minimum wage and that night manager job suddenly becomes a distinctly below minimum wage job. Though the night manager's pay is not at minimum wage, it must rise (in practice) if minimum wage goes up.



Anyone who is currently making above minimum wage is doing so because of a scarcity... something about them makes them worth more than the employee one can get for minimum wage. Not just for the dollar value of the minimum wage, but for the concept of the minimum wage. They are competing with some base-level employee and what that base-level commands is part of the math.

"Few people are qualified to do this job and it isn't fun so it has to pay more than minimum wage or nobody would do it."


Because if the money is the same either way, they can have their pick of minimum wage jobs. Some minimum wage job out there will be more desirable... closer to home, easier, better smellning.

Whatever it was warranted a premium is still in place, but the level has shifted. A premium is still demanded by the circumstance, however.

A lot of people would rather pot plants or walk dogs than make calls for a collection agency. If the money was the same, who would chose to make collection calls?

(Raising the minimum wage is inflationary, which is a bonus in this economy which really needs some inflation to help shift the equities back toward 50-50 lenders/borrowers rather than 100% in the lender's favor.)

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #15)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:26 PM

57. As cthulu pointed out, it would likely have indirect impact on wages beyond just

people currently owning the minimum wage.

But more to the point, the median wage is basically a proxy for the larger problem of wage stagnation outside the top few percentages of the income distribution. Which means that, even if we discount these indirect effects, the minimum wage increase would help address this more general problem.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:39 PM

16. Proud to be the first to rec this. Obama has fought HARD for the minimum wage

 

He even signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors.

The problem is the GOP.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:13 PM

29. Even with median income going up, everything you listed should happen.

 

There is no need for everyone to simply 'get by'. We're the richest nation on Earth and the GOP wants to act like we're poor and helpless.
[hr][font color="blue"][center]"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."
Leonard Cohen, Anthem (1992)
[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:34 PM

39. And here I thought this was going to be a thread about issues

Nope...just another "stop being mean to Obama thread". It's a shame, would have been a good topic. Off to ignore you go with the rest.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #39)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:37 PM

42. Short Fuse?

A bit reactionary, don't you think?

This post made you add someone to your ignore list? Really?

You have that much rage that someone posting this makes you never want to see what they write again?

Kind of stunning.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #42)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 04:39 PM

44. Not just this one

It's been a number of threads over the last couple weeks. I saw the title and thought "hey, now we can have a real conversation about an issue" but I was wrong. Just more of the same.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #44)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 07:42 PM

51. they're getting worse, aren't they?

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Response to Skittles (Reply #51)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 08:47 PM

52. Yes

Makes it very difficult to discuss issues since anything that might reflect badly on the administration, even slightly is jumped on as treasonous to the party. I just read now mostly.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #39)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:16 PM

55. It's unfortunate that you are going to ignore me instead of engaging.

Are there policies that Obama hasn't proposed that you think he should have? If so, what are these policies?

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Response to DanTex (Reply #55)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 10:16 PM

59. she, as am I, is simply fed up with it

it's like trying to have a discussion with a teabagger - their thinking is stuck in one mode and simply NOT progressing

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 09:12 PM

54. k&r n/t

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