Meyerson Manufactures Myriad Myths

by Don Boudreaux on October 7, 2009

in Myths and Fallacies, Seen and Unseen, The Economy, The Hollow Middle

Harold Meyerson is deeply confused.  Here’s a letter that I sent earlier today to the Washington Post in response to this Meyerson column.

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Sam Grove October 7, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Perhaps the question he is looking for is: What can we sell to other countries? or What are we selling to other countries?Then maybe he can find a satisfactory answer.

What would his concern be without comparison to other countries?

Curious October 8, 2009 at 12:45 am

Any government created job (manufacturing or not) can only create wealth by accident, because such a job is created for political reasons and not to produce something that customers desire.

“Public investment” is public, but not an investment. It is a theft from the public. Theft so well designed, that the public doesn’t even realize that they are being robbed. So confused is the public by this scheme, that not only they don’t resist it, they welcome it. (case in point – Mr.Meyerson)

Sam Grove October 8, 2009 at 1:05 am

In this crisis, of course, vastly more wealth has been destroyed than in a normal downturn.
A common error. No wealth was destroyed, it wasn’t there to begin with.What happened was the discovery of the misallocation of resources, meaning that what was created wasn’t as valued in the market as was expected. Wealth that might have been created, was not.People were misled by false signals.With CFC, wealth has been destroyed.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 1:52 am

Great post. It’s worse than illusory wealth. It is opportunity cost–the absence of wealth that would’ve been created had the signals not been manipulated. It is people thinking they took two steps forward, only to find out they took two steps back–even worse than had they stood still.

louh October 8, 2009 at 1:45 am

Mr. Meyerson is mistaken because he is of the belief that being a part of “Labor” is the ultimate destination for Americans. Why not encourage Americans to become capitalists. The idea of manual labor being the best or only opportunity to better ones lot is absurd. There is a reason why the rich get richer,it’s called efficient use of capital, not efficient use of labor. Incentivize capital formation, via savings and do us all a big favor.

Sam Grove October 8, 2009 at 2:12 am

Mr. Meyerson is mistaken because he is of the belief that being a part of “Labor” is the ultimate destination for Americans.

This belief is of the last century, and enshrined in our educational system.
Let us leave it behind.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 1:57 am

Whatever you do, don’t mention to him how agricultural employment has declined over the past 100 years or he’ll have us all engaged in subsistance farming because farming creates more food than manufacturing.

Come to think of it, wasn’t that what Pol Pot tried to do?

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 2:21 am

“Pol Pot”

Merely the logical conclusion of all their fondest dreams.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 2:40 am

I would go along with another WPA if it was aimed at constructive work and absorbed people who are currently being paid to do nothing, or nothing worthwhile. The wages couldn’t be high — but they would be wages (just as in the original WPA or CCC). The prevailing wage clause would have to go.

So, in summary, I would go along with a program that doesn’t have a chance in hell of passing — reaching out in search of a consensus.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 2:54 am

This may well sound sarcastic, but I state it with the utmost sincerity. Letters to the editor are an underrated literary form, and you are one of its finest practitioners. It requires one to evoke the original argument and offer a counter-argument in two or three short paragraphs, no small feat. Add to that a touch of wit and curmudgeonliness, and you have a wee work of art.

CRC October 8, 2009 at 3:36 am

I have a question about what are defined as “service” jobs? Everyone assumes these are working at a drive through in a fast food joint or as a hair dresser in a salon. But am I mistaken that the “service” sector also includes jobs like financial services (e.g., investment bankers), marketing and advertising, graphic design, computer programmers, system and business analysts, etc.?

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 10:23 am

You are correct sir. You only have to extend it to be even more accurate.

Service is the only thing there is. If one did not perform a service for a customer then there would be no reason to expect compensation. This holds true for anyone at any level.

The idea of there being service, professions, and aristocracy is also an idea that needs to be left in previous centuries. That idea was pure self ego stroke.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 2:11 pm

I think Meyerson was using the term service jobs to simply mean non-manufacturing. In most sales tax codes it has a different meaning, in that you’re selling a service as opposed to a product — or that the product is incidental to the service.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I understand what you’re saying about the distinction in tax codes and the accepted and codified way of looking at business.

But, you, I, and everyone else would be much better off and rooted in reality if we all understood that we all sell service regardless of what we do. This would keep us all well grounded when we approach a doctor for instance. Understanding that he is just a business man like us and sells us healthcare services we would be better able to understand that bargaining and shopping around is okay, that doctors aren’t little gods that can work magic on us as long as we don’t question them.

Another example of how cleaner thinking can make a difference in a man’s life and attitude is the example of an assembly line worker for a Toyota plant. The man sells his service as a rearview mirror installer and is compensated on how much and what quality service he sells. The assembly line worker who tries to get out of providing the actual service while expecting the same compensation is just like a bookstore owner who does not open according to his posted hours and is also guilty of randomly closing his store while he goofs off over a beer at a neighboring tavern. An assembly line worker who does not understand that he is selling service and take the attitude of selling as much of the best he can provide is always going to be hanging on and subject to the whims and whimsies of others.

Service, we are all in service.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 5:24 am

I get it. But the bean counters make a big distinction between one-to-one services and one-to-all products. If you’ve got leverage, they want to be your partner.

John Dewey October 9, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Sorry for not responding when I first read your comment yesterday.

One neds to be careful in using government statistics for GDP and wages in combination.

When the BEA derives GDP by industry, it combines sectors based on type product. So a GM automobile plant falls into Manufacturing, the local McDonald’s is included in Retail Trade, and Southwest Airlines is included in Transportation and Warehousing.

The BLS reports occupational wages two different ways: by industry and by occupational classification. So in the first set of reports, GM, McDonald’s, and Southwest Airlines employees are grouped the same way that industry GDP is calculated. In the second set of reports, all the accountants in the nation – including those at GM, at McDonald’s, and at Southwest Airlines – are lumped together in the group “Business and Financial Operations Occupations”. It is important to use the former when referring to industry wages. It is also important to include ALL service sector industries when making general statements such as Meyerson did.

We do not know whether Meyerson used government statistics properly before asserting that the service and retail sectors:

“tend not to be as productive and don’t pay as well”.

Meyerson provided no data or sources to back up this assertion. My guess is that he didn’t even bother to look up the numbers.

John Dewey October 9, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Sorry for not responding when I first read your comment yesterday.

One neds to be careful in using government statistics for GDP and wages in combination.

When the BEA derives GDP by industry, it combines sectors based on type product. So a GM automobile plant falls into Manufacturing, the local McDonald’s is included in Retail Trade, and Southwest Airlines is included in Transportation and Warehousing.

The BLS reports occupational wages two different ways: by industry and by occupational classification. So in the first set of reports, GM, McDonald’s, and Southwest Airlines employees are grouped the same way that industry GDP is calculated. In the second set of reports, all the accountants in the nation – including those at GM, at McDonald’s, and at Southwest Airlines – are lumped together in the group “Business and Financial Operations Occupations”. It is important to use the former when referring to industry wages. It is also important to include ALL service sector industries when making general statements such as Meyerson did.

We do not know whether Meyerson used government statistics properly before asserting that the service and retail sectors:

“tend not to be as productive and don’t pay as well”.

Meyerson provided no data or sources to back up this assertion. My guess is that he didn’t even bother to look up the numbers.

Ike Pigott October 8, 2009 at 4:13 am

I will believe Myerson on this point on one condition: that he puts his money where his mouth is.

The moment he proves to me that borrowing $210,000 to fund his $145,000 salary is sustainable, I’ll take his word on it.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 4:48 am

“The low proportion of workers employed in manufacturing results from the same phenomenon that causes manufacturing wages to be high: high productivity.”

DB

OK so I think I am figuring out the trade/productivity shell game often pushed here.

It is true that increased productivity can lead to job loss. Left out of Dons equation is output numbers. If productivity goes up and output goes up jobs do not have to suffer. But because output has not gone up because of increased imports coming from cheap labor and the trade imbalance jobs and wages suffer.

So job loss is not from increased productivity but more from decreased output.

Also Don doesn’t even address the bigger issue Meyerson brings up and that is the long term stagnation of our economy that is expected to result from this imbalance.

And wage and wealth inequality are also left out if not denied any existence. But more money for the top simply means less wages and jobs.

http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/entry/webfeatures_snapshots_20070221/

Sam Grove October 8, 2009 at 5:01 am

If output has not gone up (citation needed), it is not because of increased imports. The root of economics ills always lie close to home.

But more money for the top simply means less wages and jobs.

Are you competing with Meyerson for the economic ignorance prize?

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Hey our country is circling the economic toilet not because of policies I would have pushed but more from following the dictates of Milton Friedman and Reagans trickle down libertarian inspired bullshit.

It’s not my economic ignorance that got us here. Just the same stuff as the last Republican Lead Great Depression.

We flourished under the polcies I am pushing.

http://urbanhabitat.org/files/images/milton-president-reagan.preview.jpg

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Defined “flourished” and when.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Flourished; 1945- 1975

First you had a job
A good paying job
Able to get by on one parent salary
We had positive savings rates
Able to afford health care
Able to afford to send your kids to college
You had a pension
Mothers stayed home and did the coffee clatch thing with neighbors (if they wanted to)

Compare that to the scattered life of the average family now days. All the benifit of our increased productivity has been to make the top 400 people wealthy beyond all reason ~ 1. 4 trillion dollars worth.

Sam Grove October 8, 2009 at 7:54 pm

So why do you lay blame on Bill Clinton (D) for the meltdown?

You can pretend anything you want, but the reality is that where we are is the result of 70 some years of progressive government.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 9:33 pm

I lay blame on Bill Clinton because he allowed for Glass Steagall to be repealed and he allowed the passage of the Grahm, Leach Bliley Act.

And no it’s not the results of 70 years of bad policy. There distinctly was no comparable meltdown the first 40 years of those 70 and THEN the trends since Reagan started looking like Depression Era Politics that Krugman wrote of 10 years prior to this crash.

This graph;

http://tinyurl.com/nanonz

is no articfact or random plot. It is directly attributable to policy. And that policy is directly responsible for the crash and your’s and my childrens countries gloom long term outlook.

sandre October 8, 2009 at 8:23 pm

When Milton Friedman and Reagan were pushing on a string, Democrats were completely in charge of passing legislation. So why don’t you blame bill clinton instead. He had two years of democratic majority?

Since 1932, republicans have been in the majority in any of the houses, probably for about just over a dozen years, so who do you think is really responsible for your often repeated mantra, that republican “deregulation” caused the crisis. Where is the data you shameless jerk? How many times have you read that question to you on this blog? How many times have you posted the data? I want to you cite the net loss of the number of pages of regulation from the master set of books. Not expecting answer. You are a nincompoop.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 9:35 pm

As above I do blame Clinton. I am more concerned about policy then parties. Clinton allowed for some of the most devasting deregulation of anyone. But be clear it wasn’t a problem of over regulation or poor regulation it was removal of good regulations.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 3:41 pm

The other way to put this is that manufacturing in the U.S. used to be based on U.S. inputs resulting in the final output (product). There is increasing productivity in assembly of foreign inputs in U.S. based facilities.The parts manufacturers have moved off-shore for a variety of reasons and thus a high percentage of the associated jobs that used to aggregrate in support of the final product have been dismissed in the U.S. The final output price is the sum of inputs but there is more to the story because U.S. value-adding has been declining!

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 6:38 pm

So muirbot’s answer is to close off all trade to protect domestic manufacturing.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Nope it’s simply to insist on a level playing field.

Anyone who thinks the American worker should be competing with the Chinese communist worker and their lack of standards should lose their citizenship and be sent to China to live out their libertarian lives there.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Wait, you want to turn us into a more Communist nation, and then say it’s a problem when the American worker is competing with your beloved Commies?

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 9:40 pm

No I want ding dongs like yourself to learn what communism really is since you use the term so loosely.YOU need to go live with your favorite trading partner. I’m less of a communist then you. You are all for pitting their workers against ours.

I suspect you’ll claim that it’s OK to buy from slave states as well if they could make you cheaper plastic… and indeed you would also be a supporter of slavery. You have no standards… just blind faith in an incoherant ideology.

Gil October 8, 2009 at 5:38 am
Gil October 8, 2009 at 5:41 am
Gil October 8, 2009 at 5:44 am
Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 8:01 am

Meyerson also successfully neglects basic logic in this recent column, where he blames Chicago-school economics for mistakes made by “quants” on Wall Street.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 9:40 am

“But is a new federal public works program really that unsalable?”Yes; unless you’re a politician.”Consider the experience of Perry County, Tenn., where the closing of an auto parts factory had increased unemployment to a staggering 27 percent this spring. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, decided to use federal stimulus funds to immediately subsidize hundreds of new jobs — some public, some private — which reduced the local unemployment rate five percentage points by June.”What a joke. The WPA proved to be nothing more than a program to buy votes.Hey Bredesen, instead of shovels give them spoons. You’ll employ more people that way.

Enough is enough. We’ve had far too much government help for our own good.
http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2009/10/government_fail.html

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 12:48 pm

My first thought was that manufacturing today is following the same productivity path that agriculture followed from the founding of our country until now. The vast majority of Americans were tied to agriculture initially and now the proportion in agriculture is much less.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m not sure the analogy holds when one considers that we are a net exporter of agricultural goods, while we are a net importer of manufactured goods. On the other hand, does that even matter? I suppose not if one’s criteria include cost and availability to the consumer. I’m sure that the countries who import our agricultural products would be happier if they could produce massive quantities of agricultural goods at low prices—at least from a political point of view. The operative phrase is “political point of view.”

John Dewey October 8, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Of course, being a “net importer of manufactured goods” indicates nothing about the state of U.S. manufacturing. The U.S. was a net importer of manufactured goods in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. At the same time, U.S. manufacturing GDP – the amount of value added by factories located in the U.S. – reached successive all-time highs. During all those years, and in 2008 as well, U.S. manufacturing output exceeded that of every other nation.So the U.S. can take pride in being a massive producer of both agriculture goods and manufactured goods. By the way, I do not believe we are the world leader in agriculture output. I think the U.S. lags China and India

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Most manufactured inputs of U.S. manufactured products used to be U.S. made but this has dramatically changed. The final assemblky factories may add value but the inputs used are not value-adding to the U.S. economy.

John Dewey October 8, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Seekingexports: “The final assemblky factories may add value but the inputs used are not value-adding to the U.S. economy.”

I do not understand what point you are making.

U.S. manufacturing GDP has always included ONLY the value added by factories located in the U.S. U.S. manufacturing GDP does not include the value of the imported inputs.

As I said before, the U.S. leads the world in manufacturing value-added. U.S. manufacturing value added reached all time highs in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 1:12 am

The 50 million dollar Boeing 737 may have 20 million dollars in foreign inputs but when it is sold it is recorded as 35 million dollars in GDP for the U.S. The other 15 million are U.S. inputs, taxes and hopefully profit. The value-added U.S. inputs are considerably less the 15 million dollar balance.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Myerson sounds like Herbert Hoover.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Does anyone know what the universal goal and desire of individuals are? No, how about the same question applied to groups? No, how about to entire societies? Nope, last apply it to humanity and what answer do we get?No one knows.So, for myself, I would believe myself most fulfilled were I able to create everything I consumed, and consume everything I created. Were each individual in humanity able to do the same, would we then see an end to envy, greed, cruelty, hatred, and evil? Then I could enjoy my life with no restrictions on any pleasure except the voluntary constraints of natural law. I could meet each individual fellow man in good faith and good fellowship knowing that all we wanted of each other is to share intellectual exchange for the betterment of each.It is a nice dream but it isn’t going to happen, so that leaves us with the sad state of intellect and reasoning displayed by the likes of Harold Meyerson.”It found, on average, that seven years after these crises, the economic output of the affected nations was still 10 percent below what it would have been had the crisis not happened.” Harold Meyerson.In lawyer talk, Objection form, assumption, no facts in evidence. Meyerson states his statistic as a fact but there is no way in hell anyone can say that except as a Wild Ass Guess (WAG). At this point in his article each of us should know we were reading the words of either a fool or one with an agenda.”But there’s a way to break that cycle: public investment. We need to augment our current stimulus program with further federal investments that restore and build transportation projects and that professionalize and enlarge our child-care and senior-care sectors. We need to do more to bolster “green” construction and manufacturing, and to ensure that such federally backed manufacturing takes place in the United States.” Harold Meyerson.Since only a small percentage of the Stimulus package has been spent, why is anyone calling for another stimulus package, more money to spend? We have yet to see all the damage that Obama&clan can do with the first one. What is “green” construction and manufacturing and is there even the slightest remote possibility that it will be profitable? If it were known to be profitable I can’t help but believe American business would be all over it like white on rice. So, Meyerson, being the fool he has already established himself to be, wants to take public money, spend it on public make-do make-work projects so that the public can get their money back in the form of a paycheck? My God, how long have stupid socialists been doing this and slowly but steadily destroying that which they believe it is their mission to save? But of course, the reason for this shuffle of public money is that massive amounts of it stick to the hands of the shufflers.”Tennessee is not, by most accounts, a sleeper cell of socialists, yet its reversion to New Deal economics has been met with approval from residents. It’s too small, though, to do its own Work Projects Administration. Only the federal government can do that — and it should” Harold Meyerson.Tennessee may not have been a “sleeper cell of socialist” but it is obvious that they are half way there and willing to go the distance as long as they are the ones coming out on the net end of the “redistribution of wealth”; which if I am not mistaken in my lifelong observations describes one hell of a lot of Americans since the indoctrination effects began by FDR and his band of fellow travelers, who took over our education system, began producing “useful idiots” for socialism.So, if Tennessee is to small to do its own WPA, are the rest of us supposed to do it for them? Maybe forcible relocation of thumbsuckers from NYC and Philadelphia to Tennessee where they could be put to use propping up trees and consuming gatoraid in order to draw a public paycheck would work. So we tax people to get money to give to other taxpayers, and then the pay of the other taxpayers is taxed to pay back the original victims and maybe to dibble a little back to Tennessee. Does this shit make sense to anyone at all, anyone? I have been reading and hearing this shit since I was a little kid and it still makes no more sense to me now than it did 60 years ago.The day as an 8 year old that I understood that the government taxes people in order to get the funds to pay all government employees, and then turns around and demands that government employees pay taxes on their salaries was the day I understood that government was basically f.cked up and a game that I did not really believe was in the people’s best interest. I asked my elders, “why doesn’t the government just pay the people a percentage less than their salary would normally demand in taxes, thus eliminating all the middlemen involved in the preparation, processing, collecting, and disbursement of those taxes. The employee would not be any worse off and would have less stress and more time to do other things.” My elders gave me the stock answer, “its the government way.”

Jim Hlavac October 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Why do nearly everyone on the left & more-government sides of politics think that the best course of action is to keep people in manufacturing in factories forever? They lament the loss of assembly line jobs at every turn. It’s almost like they want to keep the workers in those jobs as hereditary serfs, doing what their fathers did, and their grandfathers did. Yet, it seems to me that as more and more people move to information and thinking jobs they’ll be happier, paid just as well, and avoid the drudgery of making widgets that robots can do. If some of these folks were around when the light bulb was invented they’d lament the loss of tallow rendering jobs for the candle making industry. And call for a gov’t program to protect those jobs. It’s just odd.

Randy October 8, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Because they’ve never worked. Its one thing to add happy patriotic workers to a thought experiment of the ideal society, but quite another thing to actually work a line, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, while your mind and body rots.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 1:16 am

This is not what is happening in manufacturing becuase so much of it is robotic but the people running the robots are in factories outside the U.S. because they generate wealth.

John Dewey October 8, 2009 at 3:58 pm

meyerson: “the vast majority of new jobs in recent decades has come in the service and retail sectors, which tend not to be as productive and don’t pay as well.”

How can one assert that an operating room nurse is not as productive as an automotive assembly line worker? that a landscape supervisor is not as productive as a welder in a chemical plant? What does Meyerson mean by “tend not to be as productive”?

I think Meyerson errs as well in his assertion that service jobs do not pay as well as manufacturing jobs. Certainly food service and retail sales jobs do not pay as well. But service jobs in classifications such as health care, maintenance & repair, and transportation have been comparable or higher:

Median wage, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Production occupations …………………. $13.99
Healthcare practitiioner/technician ……. $27.20
Protective service occupations ………… $16.65
Sales and related ………………………… $11.69
Office and Administrative Support …….. $14.32
Construction and extraction ……………. $18.24
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair …. $18.60
Transportation and Material Moving …… $13.14

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Does anyone here read Mark Thoma’s blog?http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsvie…My god those people seem to think that job creation is the role of government.

Sam Grove October 8, 2009 at 7:56 pm

They suppose that make work jobs are just as value creating as any other jobs.

I suspect this is a result of the political macro view of economics.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 8:03 pm

I suppose you could eliminate capitalism and end up with the wondrous utopia that was the Soviet Union.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 10:13 pm

This is mostly a problem of naunce. You are incapable of seeing shades of grey so there is only free market capitalism or communism. In spite of the fact you live and thrive in mixed economy you can only see two sides that don’t really exist in the reall world. Your’s is a fairy tale existence.
The answer is no where’s insight of the blinders you where but it IS all around you.

Sam Grove October 8, 2009 at 11:09 pm

What is the “right” shade of gray and how do you keep it there?

Have you any comprehension of system incentives?

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 9:08 pm

“You are incapable of seeing shades of grey”

This from the same mind who rants tirelessly about “libertopia”? How’s that cognitive dissonance degree coming?

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 10:39 pm

This seems like a complete non-sequitor. Who is proposing make-work jobs, in that link or anywhere else? And what exactly is the “political macro view of economics”?

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Meyerson quote:

Tennessee is not, by most accounts, a sleeper cell of socialists, yet its reversion to New Deal economics has been met with approval from residents. It’s too small, though, to do its own Work Projects Administration. Only the federal government can do that — and it should.

!!!!

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Aha – I figured Sam was responding to the link you posted. I suppose there’s always someone who advocates it.

Although I hope you’re not saying that all WPA jobs were make-work. Certainly many were, but not all.

The only good case I’ve ever heard for make-work jobs was from Richard Layard – he argued that for the long-term unemployed such jobs could be a net benefit by preventing the complete depreciation of human capital. But that’s not a recession-fighting strategy, obviously – it’s explicitly a welfare strategy.

Sam Grove October 8, 2009 at 11:08 pm

I was referring to ArrowSmith’s comment directly above:

My god those people seem to think that job creation is the role of government.

Anonymous October 14, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Well in the case of the USSR and any other communist regime, they do create jobs…

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Also can I make a request of the blog owners? It would be really cool if the “Add New Comment/Edit Comment” area had more rich text features, like bold/italic, font sizing, creating URLs and so on.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm

I think it accepts basic HTML commands for those things–the usual slash a href=”" slash a stuff.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Sure, but I have to type the HTML by hand instead of having a “URL creator” which many forums already have. I’m just saying it’s a nice-to-have feature which is a time-saver.

John Dewey October 9, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Harold Meyerson assertion about wages:

meyerson: “the vast majority of new jobs in recent decades has come in the service and retail sectors, which tend not to be as productive and don’t pay as well.”

… is wrong.

The truth? In most service sectors, wages exceed those of the manufacturing sector:

sector …………………………..median wage

information (incl telecom)………$23.10
government………………….….$20.86
educational services…………….$19.85
finance and insurance…………..$19.63
transportation/warehousing…….$18.39
construction…………………….$18.38
wholesale trade…………………$17.72
manufacturing…………………..$16.62
health care and social service…$15.65
retail trade………………………..$10.55
accomodation/food services…….$8.62

Source: BLS 2008 National Industry Survey

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Any good data to back up that assertion muirbot? I wonder what life expectancy was like back in those days. Also I wonder how clean the air was back then compared to now. You want women to stay home in the kitchen – the feminazis won’t like that at all!

sandre October 8, 2009 at 9:42 pm

So, you admit that it wasn’t a grand and sudden experiment “deregulation” and laissez-faire that caused the crisis – but a failure of central planners to get the planning and their regulation right?

As above I do blame Clinton. I am more concerned about policy then parties.

That’s a complete unadulterated lie. You know it. How many times have you used the term republican deregulation on this blog? How many times have you blamed Milton Friedman or Reagan? How many times have you clubbed Bill Clinton ( mentioning his name ) with Reagan & Friedman? How many times have you blamed Carter? R/D ratio would be something like 1,000,000,000 to 1. That doesn’t go for your new found concern for policy over parties

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 11:03 pm

If we could identify necessary infrastructure fixes and spend it wisely, I’d be all for that. But why is that there is always 250% cost overrun on public works projects? One word – unions.

Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Unions? Hopelessly naive.

It all goes into a slush fund for black budget projects that reverse-engineer UFOs.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 12:12 am

Sam,You and I both know that free market capitalism and communism can not exist in the same space. Communism and its twin socialism are the only two theologies that will not permit capitalism to function.Only fools like the muirduck and Duplicitous Khuen would even consider it feasible.Look at muirduck’s comment just above yours, have you ever seen such crap from a person who claims to be intelligent? As a matter of fact it will become muirpidity #43.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 12:26 am

Set your government up to truly represent its people and tell corporations they are free to make all the money they want but WE write the rules under which they may operate.

And also I’d say set up your economy so there can be wealthy people but not allow rediculously massive accumulations of wealth/power… there is no need for it. If we can all agree to that at the outset then no one need complain about their second $100 million being taxed at 99%.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 12:17 am

“How many times have you blamed Milton Friedman or Reagan?”
sandre

Oh quite a lot… but certainly not near enough. The good democrats are still far more likely to get policy issues right with regards to the interest of the people. Republicans are unabashedly harlots for corporations.

That there is anyone save the CEO’s on Wall Street that claims to support the Republicans is amazing to me. I mean you have to be dumber then dirt to support that party or a well used tool.

Sam Grove October 9, 2009 at 12:37 am

Have you any comprehension of system incentives?

Intention is insufficient to produce desired results.

Any political government that can decide who can accumulate how much will become captive to everyone’s desire to accumulate without productive endeavor. The most successful at using this system for selfish purpose will be those with the least ethical constraint.

And so you see, the U.S. corporation has been dominated for many decades by, corporate interests. The last administration represented by the petro industry, the current one by Wall Street.

Think incentives.

Anonymous October 11, 2009 at 5:16 am

While your writing those rules for corporations, don’t forget to add this rule:

If His Holiness: The Divine Prophet Algore I determines that your corporation makes a product that is crucial to the survival of Mother Gaia, then the government will force taxpayers to give welfare to your corporation – even if that corporation is the largest in the world. No other politician may grant welfare to corporations, even if they’re elected by a majority of the voters, because only Algore I knows what’s good for us, and only Algore I cares enough about Mother Gaia.

sandre October 9, 2009 at 12:52 am

you scumbag, you your democrats and your republicans are all scumbags. You can try to dodge the questions. There were more than 1 question in my comment. You don’t have the manhood to admit to your delusional think, cognitive dissonance etc. Name all the Fortune 500 CEOs and tell me how many of them are self identified libertarians, you jerk. Tell me how many of them are democrats, and tell me why they are disproportionately democrats, you scumbag.

MWG October 9, 2009 at 2:50 am

“Republicans are unabashedly harlots for corporations.”

Yea right, those corporate lobbyists have no power over the Dems. You’re an idiot.

“That there is anyone save the CEO’s on Wall Street that claims to support the Republicans is amazing to me. I mean you have to be dumber then dirt to support that party or a well used tool.”

How much in contributions did Obama get from Wall Street???

I used to think a lot like you. Party “A”, GOOOOOD! Party “B” BAAAAD! The fact that you see a difference in the two parties in power (especially in light of the events since the last elections) shows just what a whore of the democratic party YOU are.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 1:41 am

So vidyohs when you buy a piece of crap from Walmart that was made by communist China is that a free market transaction? Or if you collect a government pension is that make you a communist or a capitalist?

MWG October 9, 2009 at 2:53 am

You’re completely ignorant to what has happened in China over the last 30 years.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 6:10 am

“Any political government that can decide who can accumulate how much will become captive to everyone’s desire to accumulate without productive endeavor. ”
Sam

That makes no sense at all. Most people don’t care about accumulating massive wealth. They just want a decent living and a job they like. There incentives in such a system will be greater and since they are the root of most true productivity things will be much better People who do want to succeed gloriously will do so earning still unimaginable amounts but will likely have more of an investment in what they actually contribute to society. In the old days successful men taxed at 90% took pride not in their personal fortunes but in growing the companies they ran and had a vested interest in.

Yeah right now the incentive is to be the wealthiest man alive and that has nothing to do with growing a productive business and far more to do with scheming the system to steal from it.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 10:12 am

LOL,

“..is that make you a communist or a capitalist?”

I suggest remedial English for you, my pet.

Of course my purchases at Walmart are free market transactions, my pet. I am not forced to buy from them nor are they forced to sell to me. I am entirely at liberty to scan their products and prices and make my free market choice from my own decision.

I would try to say that you like most of the idiot socialist try to over think things, but that would imply that you have the capability of thought, and we all know the lie in that.

John Dewey October 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm

I’m don’t want to appear insulting, Seekingexports, but I want you to recognize when you are mistaken. You do not seem to understand the meaning of GDP. National GDP and Industry GDP are calculated two different ways. But both methods eliminate the value of foreign inputs. industry GDP also eliminates the value of intermediate inputs from other industries. Consider looking at the GDP primer provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis before responding again about GDP. Here’s a brief excerpt from that primer:“GDP can also be measured either as total sales less the value of intermediate inputs or as the sum of the “value added” at each stage of the production process. The value-added approach to measuringGDP is central to the U.S. industry accounts and is used to analyze the industrial composition of U.S. outputs.”You also seem to be confused about what is meant by “value added”. The value added by a firm will be the revenue provided by the firm’s customers – the customers’ assessment of the value of the firm’s products – minus the value of the input material. The amount of taxes and profits extracted from the value of outputs is meaningless in the calculation of value added. Actually, the corporate income taxes and profits are derived from the value added. If an enterprise did not add value, it would pay no income taxes and distribute no profits.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 1:00 pm

” I am not forced to buy from them nor are they forced to sell to me.”

Oh good. I like that definition. So when I receive payment for taking care of a Medicaid patient that is considered a capitalistic transaction because I wasn’t forced to see the patient and they were not forced to see me.

Likewise when we have a Single Payer Public Health Care delivery system that will be free market capitalism because individuals in the immediate transaction will not be forced to make it. What happened one step removed from their transaction does not count in the assessment of a free market system. Wow how nice to be able to think the sphere of existence is all but the one extra foot that surrounds your mortal body. That DEFINES libertarian doesn’t it?

So one step further a Communist government can run a capitalistic economy as long as individual transactions are everywhere voluntary… disregarding all the one stepped removed processes.

You are indeed a master of definition. How else could some one live a socialistic existence and still consider himself a self made independent supporter of free-markets. With properly scoped definitions molded to fit ones lifestyle you can do anything…huh MinacrMan….with a government pension. Even take ones silly self seriously as you look at both the socialist and capitalist sides of your two-faced image in the mirror.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Haven’t you heard? If there is no libertopia, there is no such thing as a free exchange.

Sam Grove October 9, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Note that I did not say “everyone’s desire to accumulate massive wealth”. Why do you mistranslate me?I said, well you can go back and read it your self.True, many people just want enough to get by, but that does not mean they don’t wish to acquire that meager sustenance without corresponding effort.This is evident in people accepting SSI checks even when they don’t need it, welfare recipients who refuse to work in agriculture, etc.It is a common human tendency to maximize returns while expending minimal effort.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 4:49 pm

johndewey, Thanks for the BEA primer. You are wrong because “market transactions do not distinguish the source of goods and services” thus imported inputs are not distinguished from domestic inputs. You can be assured that export oriented governments do distinguish between foreign and domestic inputs to manufacturing gdp.

Regarding value-added I think you are confused with economic activity value-added and accounting value-added. Manufacturing economic value-adding is simply activity that adds value in discrete steps to the final product. If those discrete steps are in other economies then the there is less economic benefit to the importing country because the economic activity has been eliminated.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 9:11 pm

It is merely individuals attempting maximize their utility.

John Dewey October 9, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Seekingexports: “You are wrong because “market transactions do not distinguish the source of goods and services” thus imported inputs are not distinguished from domestic inputs”

When measuring the value added by a single firm, it makes no difference whether the intermediate inputs to that firm are imported or produced domestically. There is no need to distinguish between the two.

The BEA definition of GDP by industry is:

“The GDP-by-industry accounts include estimates of value added by industry. Value added is a measure of the contribution of each private industry and of government to the Nation’s GDP. It is defined as an industry’s gross output (sales or receipts and other operating income, commodity taxes, and inventory change) minus its intermediate inputs(energy, raw materials, semi-finished goods, and purchased services). “

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 11:58 pm

johndewey, You can’t seem to grasp that GDP is a summation and in the case of manufacturing there is no distinction regarding the source. Thus gross masks the fact the fact that inputs from other economies are added with U.S. inputs for a final figure. So we can state that gross manufacturing numbers are still the same percentage of the economy. The value added economic activities performed in foreign economies comprise a bigger percentage of the economic activities involved (intermediate inpouts).

Value-added is one concept to establish a discrete economic stage of production in my discussion. Thus activity is lost to the importing economy.
GDP is a gross number that makes no disctincion of sources of market transactions (foreign or domestic) so foreign inputs are masked because they already decducted from the ledger as simply some kind of import. They are not separated out as manufacturing input imports.

So we end up with this big puffy manufacturing gross figure derived from anonymous inputs as far as economy of origin.

Anonymous October 9, 2009 at 11:58 pm

johndewey, You can’t seem to grasp that GDP is a summation and in the case of manufacturing there is no distinction regarding the source. Thus gross masks the fact the fact that inputs from other economies are added with U.S. inputs for a final figure. So we can state that gross manufacturing numbers are still the same percentage of the economy. The value added economic activities performed in foreign economies comprise a bigger percentage of the economic activities involved (intermediate inpouts).

Value-added is one concept to establish a discrete economic stage of production in my discussion. Thus activity is lost to the importing economy.
GDP is a gross number that makes no disctincion of sources of market transactions (foreign or domestic) so foreign inputs are masked because they already decducted from the ledger as simply some kind of import. They are not separated out as manufacturing input imports.

So we end up with this big puffy manufacturing gross figure derived from anonymous inputs as far as economy of origin.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 2:48 am

“Oh good. I like that definition. So when I receive payment for taking care of a Medicaid patient that is considered a capitalistic transaction because I wasn’t forced to see the patient and they were not forced to see me.”Your brain is broken duckie.For you, assuming you made a profit, it was a capitalist transaction, for the patient it was public charity. Or, if you didn’t make a profit you can look at it as slavery if you are like me, or you can view it as private charity from you to the patient.Either way, your capitalism doesn’t care where the profit comes from.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 2:48 am

“Oh good. I like that definition. So when I receive payment for taking care of a Medicaid patient that is considered a capitalistic transaction because I wasn’t forced to see the patient and they were not forced to see me.”Your brain is broken duckie.For you, assuming you made a profit, it was a capitalist transaction, for the patient it was public charity. Or, if you didn’t make a profit you can look at it as slavery if you are like me, or you can view it as private charity from you to the patient.Either way, your capitalism doesn’t care where the profit comes from.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 3:06 am

BTW muirduck, do you ever stop to read the crap you have written? I know the answer but I’d like to see yours.

You have the logic and understanding of an average teacup Chihuahua, as is revealed by your post. I mean, my God, how much stupidity can you pack into one post?

“Likewise when we have a Single Payer Public Health Care delivery system that will be free market capitalism because individuals in the immediate transaction will not be forced to make it.”

Look at that shit, muirduck! Babble babble. A single payer public health care delivery system can not be free market capitalism because individuals are in a system where the transactions have already been made by government. Seeing a doctor and not paying him is not a transaction. How did you get so stupid?

I won’t even bother with the rest of your crap. It is self evident crap.

Anonymous October 10, 2009 at 3:06 am

BTW muirduck, do you ever stop to read the crap you have written? I know the answer but I’d like to see yours.

You have the logic and understanding of an average teacup Chihuahua, as is revealed by your post. I mean, my God, how much stupidity can you pack into one post?

“Likewise when we have a Single Payer Public Health Care delivery system that will be free market capitalism because individuals in the immediate transaction will not be forced to make it.”

Look at that shit, muirduck! Babble babble. A single payer public health care delivery system can not be free market capitalism because individuals are in a system where the transactions have already been made by government. Seeing a doctor and not paying him is not a transaction. How did you get so stupid?

I won’t even bother with the rest of your crap. It is self evident crap.

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