There are 3 areas where I think Barack Obama would be a centrist in governance; areas that while working towards a Democratic nomination he hasn’t been able to explain his actual position on, for fear of driving away primary voters.
1) NAFTA. The infamous memo making the rounds today doesn’t really clarify much to my mind. What is telling is his campaign’s inability to be unequivocal on his NAFTA policy and his refusal to denounce/reject NAFTA outright. His rhetoric thus far is centered around NAFTA’s flaws on inception (and Hillary’s share of responsibility) and the need to take care of workers who lost their jobs. Far from pulling out of it altogether, I think Obama will enhance his Patriot Employment Act ideas in the general and try to get companies to invest in cities like Flint, as well as insuring that companies who build overseas maintain minimum standards for the nation they are in.*
2) Social Security. Far from merely evoking Republican fear points on the subject, I think Obama’s plan to enact Social Security’s solvency through raising the cap is inferior to what I suspect Clinton’s eventual investment style SS plan would provide. I like the idea of stimulating the stock market right now, and I do think the return would be significantly larger.
3) Iraq. His current rhetoric of $9 billion a month being spent in Iraq that could be diverted elsewhere will ring hollow if or when he outlines his future plans for the country. To leave, I think a Marshall Plan style system of wise investment in the nation itself (rather than outside contractors) has to be enacted, and I don’t see the amount of military support needed (or the amount of money required) falling any time soon.
I also think Hillary’s policies in each area would be virtually identical. Bill Clinton proposed investing some of the Social Security trust in 1999, for example. Her possibly fatal flaw was running the primary as if it was the general. By focusing only on swing states, she let Obama’s far superior ground game crush her in dozens of states. By focusing towards the middle on the war and NAFTA, she let Obama hammer her from the left.
* as an aside, I think insuring that NAFTA raises the standard of living for citizens in their own nation is the single largest (and essentially only effective) solution to our immigration issues. Make a Mexican citizen’s life better on their own soil and they won’t seek a better life here.
>>the DOW would get some sorely needed relief.
Fuck Wall Street. Social Security isn’t particularly secure if it is subject to the vicissitudes of the market.
Totally, completely and unalterably opposed, vehemently opposed to putting SS funds into the stock or bond market.
This weakens the program and creates a new nexus of greed and corruption that will be way too tempting. Just the possibility of it weakens public confidence in the scheme and tears down the connection between productivity and the implied pension. If the government wants to marry SS to a Savings Bond scheme, I’d be open to that, if I can see the actuarial model that makes it work.
Unraveling the basic business model behind SS is not a good idea, not politically viable, and not worthy of support from profressives. It plays directly into the hands of the assholes at CATO Institute who masturbate daily to graphs showing a crumbling SS system. Fuck them, keep SS intact as is. It isn’t that hard to do.
fuck no. absolutley not.
What about those Obama supporters that also support NAFTA?
This seems ambiguous. Do you simply mean that Obama won’t pull our troops out any time soon, and therefore that money will remain tied up? Fair enough, but it seemed like a very roundabout way to say it. Alternately, where you write “I don’t see the amount of military support needed falling any time soon,” you don’t really mean that our current levels of military use and spending are needed, do you? That’s nutty.
Big NO to investing SS funds in the casino^H^H^H^H^H^H stock market.
An excess of cash to invest there has brought us two bubbles in a row. I can’t even start imagining what fuckups would be forthcoming if the government starts subsidizing the stock market.
If GW had gotten his SS investment plan 4 years ago, how much would the Citi/BofA/subprime bailout be now? We’d still be fueling an obvious bubble and Greenspan/Barnake would be saying things were swell.
Don’t worry – regulations will be written so that Social Security moneys can only be invested in ultra-safe AAA rated stocks – those stocks that would never be manipulated by tragic market premises.
I’m with them guys. Up above.
Frankly, I think its time for some tough love with the hyperactive sociopaths on Wall Street. These self-actualizing men and women of the new millenium, these heros and heroines ripped straight from the pages of Ayn Rand, they built this mess that they, and by extension us, are presently in. Frankly, it is time to let them hang over the slow, smoky hardwood fire of their “free market” masturbatory fantasies, not reward them with great new gouts of cash for them to squander and off-shore and pay themselves obscene bonuses with, while the country faces economic ruin and societal chaos.
The only thing they deserve is our enmity, our contempt and some reformed, cleaned-up and re-invigorated SEC, FTC and DoJ taking residence in their asses and receiving their mail there.
But give them what amounts to a reward? Surely you jest.
Yeah. Brilliant. Let’s try control the roaring flames of that disaster by suffocating it with money. If that doesn’t work try gasoline. Look, the stock market’s problems stem from years (about seven) of no oversight. Everyone involved in the market right now needs to be spanked and sent to bed with out dessert. They don’t need a new toy to break.
Riiiight, because the corporations that moved operations to Mexico to take advantage of the cheap labor and lax regulations will just stay there and not upsticks to another country where the labor is cheap.
The Mexican migration problem is being driven, largely, by NAFTA. Cheap US grain undercuts what small Mexican farmers can get from their own crops, thus driving said Mexican farmers to migrate.
But US grain exports represent one of the very few areas where we’re still competitive — and there’s a very important set of powerful constituencies who would not welcome changes to the NAFTA situation as it is.
So I very much doubt there will be changes to NAFTA that make any difference.
Oh — and investing Social Security money in the stock market is batshit crazy. Remember, if you had invested $100 in the Dow in 1928, you saw your investment shrink. And shrink. And shrink. For years. You know when you’d have had your investment return to $100 in value?
Which would have really sucked if you’d had to retire in 1939, or 1944.
Here’s to El Cruzado.
Superscript is fun for all ages!
Yes, I am easily entertained.
The Grand Panjandrum
I agree that 3) is unclear. And I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth. Could you clear this up before we respond?
On point #2: Raising the cap is OK. Putting SS in stock market? The only plan I have seen for this is a fucking disaster waiting to happen. It would all be handled through the major Wall Street brokerage firms. If you trust them, fine, but remember these guys get to make the rules. And as the rule makers I predict they will rape the system then when it starts to go tits up they’ll whine and cry enough to get the Congressional sissies to bail out the system. Again.
The only way I would trust these SOB’s would be if the punishment for screwing the taxpayers was the Death Penalty. If hanging the CEO, CFO, COO, all the VP’s and the Board of Directors was on the table I might be tempted, but only because we would end up with some entertaining Youtube videos once these bastards were convicted and sentenced. As sure as the sun is going to rise tomorrow these criminals will try to rip us off.
I know Congress isn’t going to put that kind of penalty on the table for the corporate masters, so I am against the privatizing of SS.
El Cruzado was trying to do the control characters for backspace exposing at long last his high tech origins.
100% agree. The trustees put three predictions together each year – optimistic, pessimistic and somewhere in the middle. The optimistic prediction has turned out to be true for something like 10-15 years. Under the “optimistic” assumptions, the “when the trust fund runs out date” is not 2041, it’s somewhere farther into the future. So it’s possible that simply doing nothing the SS “crisis” will simply dissipate.
Even under the pessimistic scenario raising the wage cap a little, implementing a donut hole version of the wage cap (where the cap’s in place, but the taxes kick in again on income 2x or above the cap), or simply moving the retirement age a year or two out is all that’s needed. Given that, SS is not in need of any major changes. Arguing anything else, in the face of those realities, is simply politically charged rhetoric from fear-mongers, like the ones TZ is railing about. Let’s keep SS, which replaced about 1/3 of our pre-retirement incomes, as a stable source of income.
If we want to make changes to 401ks or IRAs (where you can and should invest in stocks and bonds) to increase their utility for the average person, fine. I for one think there should only be two choices: IRA/Roth IRA, with 401k+IRA-like limits ($20-25k/year). It should be portable, you can invest in anything that’s available at that investment house and company matches should still be possible. No more bad company 401ks holding you hostage, or new companies with no 401ks hurting your retirement, or dealing with rollovers, or figuring out how to split money between an IRA and 401k.
But SS is off-limits.
Medicare on the other hand, requires our attention. If there’s a looming crisis in entitlement programs, that’s the one I’d worry about (along with all the other healthcare spending issues).
J. Michael Neal
I can’t speak for the rest of them, but I’m pleasantly surprised. Get through the difference in rhetorical emphasis, and what Obama said in the debate is pretty much what Goolsbee told the Canadians (at least according to the quotes from the memo), and it’s pretty much where I am, too. Yes, there are some things about it that I’d like to renegotiate. On the whole, though, I like the treaty. For a whole variety of reasons, free trade (which ought to be in scare quotes given some of the difficulties) with much of Asia, and China in particular, is a much different situation.
As for cheap American grain driving Mexican farmers over the border, I don’t think that this is going to be an ongoing problem. Check out the commodities market for evidence.
I suppose your solution to helping a family that can’t afford dinner for the week is to take the little they have left to a casino and hope for a big windfall?
The stock market is a gamble, money is won and lost there everyday, what makes you think there is an guarantee of return on that investment? You might as well throw that stimulant money into the trash and set it on fire.
Dennis - SGMM
If you want to improve the standard of living of people in many other countries then all you have to do is stop all US agriculture subsidies. Never going to happen.
Now that the chase for ever-cheaper labor is on, many types of light manufacture (Shoe manufacturing, for instance) are fleeing southern China for Vietnam and other countries where labor costs are lower. Mexico is already priced out of the market. Improving the lives of those in Mexico would require that the Mexican government enact the kinds of reforms that it has steadfastly refused to do since the French were thrown out.
As for investing SS funds in the stock market, why not just invest in real estate? I hear that always goes up.
I have to admit, my “masturbate daily to graphs” line was a little over the top. But funny.
And of course, absolutely true.
Heard near the Bush Family Firepalce?
“Ooooh ….. sparklies!”
Tom in Texas
I promise I won’t switch my vote to Hillary over her SS plan. And my point concerning #3 is mainly that he uses the $9 billion figure in response to the “how are we going to pay for this” question following his domestic proposals. I think he knows that figure is not going to disappear. Quite simply, just cutting out the Halliburton middleman in conjunction with reinstating the pre Bush tax structure could chop the figure by enough to enact health care or other plans he’s proposed. If it doesn’t, I suspect that many domestic reforms will have to be put on the back burner as we gradually draw down our presence in Iraq.
This is utterly false so long as the market returns remain free of government manipulation.
The rate of return is supposed to reflect risk. High rate of return means that there is a nontrivial risk of failure but the investment is willing to pay a premium because it believes the payoff will be significant. Low rate of return means that you are much safer, but are doing no more than hedging across inflation. In perfect evaluation of risk in the market, the Law of Large Numbers will come into play. In other words, the expected payoff return for any significantly large investment portfolio (e.g. Social Security) will be equal across all investments. This is accounting for larger than expected gain of high risk investments that payoff, as well as the loss from those that do not.
Of course, we do not have a perfect evaluation of risk. But this does not make things any better. All of the economists who have been right about the asset bubbles (e.g. the competent ones) believe that risk is underpriced right now, and that the current rate of return on higher risk investments right now are actually paying less than they need to offset the expected losses. Based on this analysis, putting SS into the market right now would be disastrous.
Social Security policy should not be set by bad Vegas gamblers.
We can shout till we’re blue in the face, but as you said it’ll never happen. The corn subsidies are the worst of the bunch, but the soy, wheat and cotton are just ridiculous and cause untold economic damage to other nations (the corn subsidy itself lends to the American girth, that subsidy literally makes us fat.)
The Other Steve
1) You know, it’s funny. We talk about jobs lost to NAFTA, but what about jobs lost for other reasons? Most of the jobs lost by the Big Three auto companies were the result of two things:
– Building shitty cars nobody wants to buy
– Making your manufacturing process more efficient
We lose more jobs to efficiency gains than anything else. That’s what I do for a living. I write software which in some cases allows existing staff to do more work, but in many cases allows a much smaller staff to do the same work.
2) Social Security. I think it would be a mistake to have the government start buying stock. First, it’d be a huge amount of money suddenly dropped into the market, creating a massive bubble. Second, who chooses what to buy? The corruption inherent in such a scheme just turns me off.
3) Why? If we dump money into Iraq for reconstruction the only people we’ll make wealthy is Mercedes-Benz dealerships. As for the military presence, it’s obvious that we are not needed there. So they fight each other, big whoop… let ’em.
That, i agree with.
“I like the idea of stimulating the stock market”…
Sounds like you drank the monetarist kool-aid there. Stimulating the Stock “Market” does absolutely NOTHING for the economy as a whole; if fact, it can easily lead to inflation unbound to economic growth: stagflation, in other words. The Stock Market has never really had any real impact on economic fundamentals and is only really useful as a very flawed economic indicator. It does not DRIVE the economy: it RESPONDS to it.
The real stimulus need to be applied by direct government spending in areas where inflation is not likely to be an issue. There are a number of those, but the most obvious has been the most efficient: Infrastructure. I know I’ll come across sounding like a Keynesian: that’s because he was, get this: RIGHT.
Big OT Here —
For those of you following the FISA fight and the push by the Bushies to get telecom immunity:
It’s been reported that Rep. Reyes has stated that the House Dems are going to cave. I just got off the phone with a Reyes staffer who claims that Reyes is “still weighing the options”, whatever that means.
BUT, he did say that they were ADDING UP THE PHONE CALLS they were getting on this issue.
So, let’s give them the right math! Switchboard #(202) 224-3121, ask for Reyes and whomever else you want to give a polite earful.
The Constitution and I both thank you for your efforts.
Back to your regularly scheduled prog….
J. Michael Neal
That’s the theory. In practice, it’s a bit more complicated. Over time, equities have outperformed bonds, even when taking risk into account. This is what’s called the risk premium problem. There have been a lot of people spending a lot of time trying to figure out why it is.
Of course, the gap has also narrowed in the last few years, and I suspect that it might be one of those things that has slowly disappeared since people noticed the problem. There’s a pretty good chance that this will continue. So, putting Social Security money into the stock market probably isn’t a very good idea, for a number of reasons.
One thing to be very careful of is saying that the stock market would get a boost. There are two problems with that. The first is that the last thing we need is to ignite another bubble before we’ve finished dealing with the last one. Part of the reason this bubble popping is so bad is because the response to the blow up of the NASDAQ bubble seven years ago was to start the housing bubble. We’ve already got a commodities bubble under way. Let’s not exacerbate the problem.
The other reason to be wary of that logic is that every dollar that SS spends propping up the stock market is a dollar that is not going into Treasuries. Supply and demand being what it is, either that would mean that other people move out of equities and into Treasuries, thus neutralizing the effect, or it means that the rates paid on Treasuries will go up, making the financing of our debt more expensive.
Dennis - SGMM
Investing SS funds in the stock market would make the gov the biggest shareholder in many companies, would it not? If so, then who would decide how the government would vote it shares? Imagine Bushco voting those shares. Imagine Alberto Gonzales, Harriet Miers, or Doug Feith as a CEO.
Remember way back in 2000 when Al Gore talked about putting SS in a “lockbox” to keep us from pissing it away on (oh, I don’t know) foreign wars and massive free-money government handouts?
And, instead, we went with Bush’s plan to launch a pair of ill-conceived foreign wars while peppering the national economy with free money “anti-terrorist” handouts? Thus giving us a massive national debt?
How much of our SS system consists of hastily written IOUs? We’re already some $9 trillion in the red. How about we maybe pay down some of that massive debt before we embark upon any Wall Street inspired get-rich-quick schemes?
I’m not saying that putting SS funds in a mattress is the best way to go or that all investment is so risk prone as to be sheer folly at the federal level or even that the government is so irresponsible it could never spend our SS saving without Bushing it up. I think we are capable of turning our SS capital into an investment in our nation’s future. I just don’t think now – sitting neck high in debt and staring at a recession – is the best time to be making those investments.
>>Investing SS funds in the stock market would make the gov the biggest shareholder in many companies, would it not?
That would be hilarious if it happened, but no. They will throw it at mutual fund managers, who will collect obscene fees.
Tom in Texas:
Once you get past all the rhetoric on both sides, there’s really not a lot of difference in their positions. Ultimately, NAFTA needs renegotiation – which I suspect both Obama and Hillary will pursue. Whether that happens through scrapping the current treaty and adopting a new one, or negotiating an updated set of accords, will be pretty irrelevant – it’s the content of the changes that matters, not the form.
Uh, yeah. We’ll just have to disagree on that one… I think. To be honest, your position here is kind of vague.
Anyway, SS doesn’t need all that much tinkering. Raising the cap would be good, and sufficient, but it’s not even clear to me whether that should be done now, or ten years later. Investing it in the stock market, though, is a bad idea for many reasons, starting with the idea that SS is a cushion against swings in the stock market – therefore, investing it there kind of defeats one of its purposes.
Hillary’s NOT on the SS private investment bandwagon, whatever Bill’s position may have been 8 years ago. She was one of the leaders on the issue protecting SS from that. This is one of the reasons I tend to trust Hillary’s judgement on domestic issues more than Obama’s, though I suspect Obama’s judgement on foriegn policy might be better.
The Other Steve
Actually the only thing subsidies do is keep smaller operations around. If we eliminated subsidies, small farmers would go out of business and the larger operations would buy up their land and continue producing.
The fact is that the US has more arable land than is needed to produce food for our population. We have a tremendous amount of excess food. This is a result of our relatively low population density, and our climate and the fact that we’re the third largest country in the world in terms of land mass. However, Canada and Russia while larger don’t have nearly as much land they can devote to growing mainly because of their climate.
Any Econ 101 student will tell you that excess supply results in lower prices in a commodity market.
We can only increase those prices by increasing demand. I.e. exports, or other uses such as ethanol production.
And, finally, it should be noted… that the farm bill sets a target price for commodity goods and pays the farmer the difference between what they actually sold for versus the target price.
So as prices go up, because of demand from exports and such, there are less subsidies paid out. Right now with corn up around $5/bushel and soybean at $15, that’s right at the target price so all is good.
Tom in Texas:
Despite my criticisms on other issues in the above post, I just wanted to add my complete agreement with this point.
Since the money for current bail-out of our whopping deficit already comes from the Social Security fund, where will the geniuses get the money to pay for this bail-out? Raise taxes? You must be joking! Unless you mean raising taxes on the middle class and working class.
Then again, that’s what they always do, isn’t it? And they’ll likely try to hide it by raising the FICA rates, which they did back in the last “fix” for SS; that’s what led to having the extra funds they’ve already spent.
Where have all my taxes gone? (Long time passing)
Where have all my taxes gone? (Long time ago)
Where have all my taxes gone? Spent on weapons, wars and guns!
When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?
Wasn’t this the moral of the South Park “Goobacks” episode? If I recall correctly, that ended up with Kyle exclaiming that “[Helping people] is even gayer than all the men getting in a big pile and having sex with each other”. Trust me, it’s funny in the proper context.
WRT the issue of investing SS funds into the stock market, I’m in favor of it in theory… but in practice, it’s just going to be more chum to feed to the sharks. My last 9 years of 401(k) returns have left me a bit cold to this concept, thank you very much.
No, no, no, no, and NO!
The moral of the “Goobacks” episodes is precisely the opposite – that a pile of men fucking each other to stop the future is a whole lot LESS gay than working to make a better world. Next time, pay attention :).
The last point in the post is sublime, since its exactly what Nafta was supposed to do. The argument was that the trade agreement would increase economic output, and trickle down. It has raised economic output but also redistributed wealth upwards. There has been an explosion in immigration from the rural areas of Mexico in the South into the US as opposed to the local labour migration that characterized previous immigration waves. The south was full of family plot sized farming, but because of new land laws, the south has become enclosed, and the peasants are landless. One outcome of this has been the Zapitista movement. Another is a net increase in immigration to the US.
I would cite our increasingly lazy and incompetent labor pool. We’ve been trying to hire someone for an entry level administrative assistant position, and I can’t believe the parade of ridiculous applicants we’ve had.
I really hate to over-generalize, but all we’ve seen is one college graduate after another with no relevant work experience wanting a corner office, a company car, their name on the door and a $35,000 salary plus benefits.
I weep for the future.
There’s one big difference that I think Canada is wise to ask for clarification on.
Hillary wants a trade time-out, Obama doesn’t. That’s not always obvious when Obama does his ‘policies 95% the same’ issue deflation jedi mind trick. That time-out is a big fucking deal, and if Goolsbee was clarifying that Obama is pro-trade with labor and environmental provisions and is not threatening to stop NAFTA up-front, but rather as a last-ditch effort, I think that’s fair to do. I also don’t see such a position as evidence that Obama has been dishonest with his campaign or supporting the CTV assertion. Obama doesn’t seem to be misrepresenting his position – rather he might be omitting details, but that always happens when time is an issue. I don’t see Clinton knocking out every last healthcare detail herself.
I don’t know where you are, but here in SoCal that’s barely enough money to live on your own. $35K minus taxes will have you putting over 60% of your take-home into a 800 sq ft 1BR apartment before utilities. Toss in car insurance (essentially no mass transit), college loans, >$3.50 gas as of this morning and absurd food prices and you’re pretty much breaking even. I’ve lost a lot of $35K starting employees (oftentimes with MA degrees) because they were slowly going broke so they up and moved out of the area. The ones that have stayed either have a roommate or got married soon after starting and have a 2nd income.
Caidence (fmr. Chris)
SS doesn’t HAVE to go onto the market.
The whole idea of “hey lets put SS on the market” is one of the most egregiously hey-everyone-lookit-me jackass moves in history.
SS enjoys one of the only things necessary to help invest it responsibly: a big fat treasure chest of money (albeit not big enough to stay big indefinitely).
THIS IS SO SIMPLE: Place a fiduciary in charge of it.
You got caught with pictures of naked altar boys on your computer? You get a lawyer: they’ll counsel you professionally.
You had a really bad sexual dream involving your uncle? You get a therapist: they’ll counsel you professionally.
You have a fat wad of money that you need protected from risk, and possibly made to grow at a sizeable rate? You get a fiduciary: they’ll counsel you professionally.
And *any* fiduciary would tell you: you gotta be fucking kidding me that you want to put SS on the market. Step away from the checkbook.
If anybody *really* wanted to put a more aggressive stance on the money, they’d place a couple of fiduciary companies at the head of difference sizeable pieces of the money and sit back. The companies would be instructed to protect it from risk at all costs, and grow the money only under minimal-risk conditions.
And it would work. Without this adolescent Bush-land pretend-president shit.
All this NAFTA nonsense is just that, nonsense. Regardless of who is in the White House, the chances of NAFTA being re-negotiated are slim to nil as are the chances that the USA would abrogate it. Opening one part of the Treaty to re-negotiation opens the treaty for other changes: Mexico wants greater labour mobility and Canada wants a strengthened dispute settling mechanism. (Parenthetically, Canadian business would cheer for Obama’s demand for adopting USA labour and environmental standards which are weaker than the Canadian ones). Abrogating the treaty would mean the loss to the USA of the assured access to hydrocarbons provision whereby the its #1 and #4 foreign suppliers guarantee the USA a consistent supply of gas and petroleum and not re-direct exports to other countries.
Once away from the campaign trail wiser heads will certainly prevail.
The real story here concerns how the original report and now a restricted memo have found their way into the public domain. Is the right wing Conservative Government of Canada trying to help McCain by embarrassing Obama and less so, Clinton?
oh mi gawd.
You’re not really serious, are you.
The sole reason that Clinton was talking about “investing some of the Social Security Trust in 1999” is because his long term budget surplus projections would have paid off all the available non-Social Security debt, while the Trust Fund was still running annual surpluses. There would have been insufficient federal government debt for the Trust Fund to hold, and the growung Trust Fund surplus would have to be invested in something other than Treasury Notes issued by the government.
My narrow observations counter this argument. An uncle of my wife’s owns quite a bit of land in Mississippi, and according to my wife, her uncle brags about receiving $1M a year from the Govn’t to not plant crops. This does not seem much like the operation of a small business.
With respect mark, SoCol, BFD? Most of the country ain’t it. $35,000 is more than enough to live though it is treading water if you’re more than a single person. A lot of career fields top out at that.
Caidence (fmr. Chris)
Well, luckily Clinton’s small liberal brain didn’t foresee that the nation would do what it had to, and would elect a God-chosen *Conservative* to set this nation *back on track*
Thus G.W.Bush wisely threw us into a reckless, endless war, assuredly throwing us into extraordinarily higher debt so that S.S. could keep operating the status quo. God Bless You, Ronald Reagan Jr.!
I know exactly what you mean. My wife is a dentist and we’ve had dental assistants not come to work and not call in sand say why, they don’t come in.
I’ve had conversations with ex-foreman in a assembly line and he was telling me the same thing, the labor force thinks short term riches. It’s like they don’t want to work hard and they have a feeling of entitlement. WTF? People seems to have forgotten that you have to work hard to get to the top.
I wonder if this is yet another thing that these series of financial bubbles are doing to our culture. People just waiting for the next bubble to come along and ride it to riches. Useless.
Considering that 5% of the US population lives in this market or similar ones like it in CA alone, and considering that NYC and a number of other urban areas are little different, I think it was a fair question. If he’s in Kentucky, then yeah, $35K is tons. If he’s in San Francisco, then he needs to be realistic about local costs. I have no idea where he is, but people shouldn’t think that $35K is even generous in many places. I live in a city of about 200K (about the size of Des Moines) and median home prices here, even after the sell-off are hovering around $900K and that’s down 10% from their peak.
Yeah, because those college loans are really easy to pay off on minimum wage.
Honestly, 35K is pretty much the bottom wage for anyone with a college degree. If you want to pay less, you’d best look to the pool of high school graduates.
Even then, it’s not exactly a salary that’s gonna make anyone rich, or even grateful, being about 45% of the average salary, and only 75% of the median.
I think your expectations are a little out of whack for the wage you’re offering (assuming way
What about those Obama supporters that also support NAFTA?
Latte liberals who deserve our contempt.
J. Michael Neal
Hey, you. Get back to work. Those countertops aren’t going to install themselves. I bet you expect to make $35,000, too.
Sorry man, but I was hearing the same stupid shit from my Grandmother when I was 2.
Every stupid generation the old folks completely idealize their own past while thinking that the young kids are just a bunch of spoiled brats who “don’t know the value of a hard days work”.
No, the truth is that the old farts either just forget how lazy they were back in the day or forget that the only fucking reason they worked so hard was because they would have starved or sat in bread-lines if they didn’t.
The idea that our ancestors worked harder than us simply because they had “character” is the biggest fucking lie ever told to
I’m sick of hearing it – and I’m not even all that young anymore.
But in my days kids worked all-weekend for a nickel and then sucked you off just to say “thanks”.
Seriously, though. You want someone to work at a wage where they won’t be able to afford to live, eat, and pay off the debts they incurred going to get the college degree you demand …. and you think THEY are the lazy bums who want something for nothing?
Pay market rates or accept the market for the rates you are willing to pay – either way stop your bitching!
That really is a crock of shit.
Most people aren’t going to get to the top, and most of them know it. They aren’t looking to get rich; they’re looking for a wage that will permit them to lead stable, comfortable lives on a 40 hour work week, rather than spending a lifetime constantly struggling on the edge of poverty.
That our economy shifts more and more wealth upwards, while putting more and more of the rest of the population in that economic bracket of constant struggle just to stay above the poverty level, is a fucking disgrace.
Throw south Florida into the mix. That’s about what I make, and my student loans are in economic hardship deferral–not forbearance–and I have a full time job in my field. If I weren’t living with my girlfriend, I’d be living in a studio in the bad part of town just to make ends meet, and gods help me if my ’99 Hyundai breaks down, because there’s no public transportation to speak of here either.
The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.
~SOCRATES (469–399 B.C.)
Few parents nowadays pay any regard to what their children say to them. The old-fashioned respect for the young is fast dying out.
Okay, it’s Oscar Wilde, so you have to read that sarcastically.
Aww, Hillary hearts McCain…
Yes, if you can’t vote for Hillary, feel free to vote for Big Mac. What a great Democrat.
People seems to have forgotten that you have to work hard to get to the top.
What a load. Americans work longer hours than ever before.
Tell it to Big Russ.
You know, I have a lifetime of experience too. My entire life, I have experienced things. I have even experienced phone calls at 3 a.m. Usually, they have been people drunk dialing me. My experience at fielding those calls has given me the experience that I need to answer the phone at 3 a.m. and to tell those idiots to drink some water and get home safely. It’s just too bad Strom Thurmond is dead, because he really had a lot of experience.
35K is my annual countertop budget.
Channeling Alec Baldwin:
You see this counterop? You see this countertop? This counertop costs more than your car.
It would have been funny if when Hillary picked up, it was Ted Kennedy drunk dialing her to apologize for endorsing Obama.
Dennis - SGMM
I’m running for president too. She has eight years of being fucked in the White House, I have sixty years of being fucked by the White House.
The Other Steve
You damn kids, get out of my yard!
~ First attributed to Pliny the Elder 75 AD.
We need a youtube ad based on that.
No, not over the top at all, when you consider the damage “libertarian economic theory” has done to our country. Just the whole concept of trickle-down economics has just poisoned any reasonable debate about what the tax brackets should actually be.
Throw in the other other not-related-at-all-to-the-real-world thought experiments (voucher schools, environmentally self-regulating corporations) CATO and their ilk spew out on a regular basis and I don’t think it’s ridiculous to be really angry about them at all.
It’s through the veneer of respectability provided by these bogus think (drunk) tanks that Republicans get to claim any seriousness at all.
You obviously haven’t benefited from being trickled upon like I have by the glorious Republican economy. $35k is my budget just for my interior decorator to pick my countertops.
“What is telling is his campaign’s inability to be unequivocal on his NAFTA policy…”
Earth to T in T.
When Obama accepted the invitation to join the Council On Foreign Relations (His wife is a member of the Chicago Foreign Affairs Council (an auxiliary organization).) he agreed to abide by its non-partison globalization agenda. Plain and simple.
The CFR (established 1922) is the same think tank that dreamt-up NAFTA, FTAA, WTO, and the Security and Prosperity Partnership (Canamex). As well as NATO, the UN, the Atlantic Council, and the Bretton Woods Agreement. There are whole armies behind these pacts.
So for Obama, a member, to undo the Club’s work would be considered a kind of treason. And since every CIA director and Lt General and NSA advisor is a fellow member, and since Obama is no Oliver Cromwell, and since Michelle is an insecure social climber, I imagine he’ll Go Along.
What if someone called Obama at 3 am and asked if he supported NAFTA? Would he even know what to say?
More importantly what would Keanu Reeves do if Dennis Hopper was threatening his partner with a gun?
Bob In Pacifica
NAFTA is shorthand for all the trade agreements (GATT, WTO et al). That part of NAFTA between Canada and the U.S. is maybe the least offensive of all the agreements.
Sorry, but if you are unknown quantity, you don’t get to command median wages. For someone you are taking a chance on who is capable of royally fucking up your entire operation, a 30k salary with benefits is more than respectable and hardly “minimum wage” as you call it. And around here, a person can live on that capably. After you prove that you are competent, you either get compensated or you move to something better – as a somewhat known quantity where you may command a higher wage.
That’s how job experience works.
Florida. No state income tax. Makes quite a difference.
I’m not looking for a Harvard graduate. And if you have a degree from a fucking tier four school, your ‘debt’ shouldn’t be that significant unless you made some very stupid decisions (like take the max loan and buy amps for your car).
I think I just paid those lousy amps off a year ago. I don’t need to pay for someone else’s just yet.
Um, I think what people are suggesting to you is, if you’re paying $35K, for someone “you are taking a chance on who is capable of royally fucking up your entire operation,” you’re not facing the reality of the free market. People are both bitching about the decline of the middle class since 1973, and pointing out to you that you’re cheaping out.
If you’re offering 35 large and getting hosed, well, maybe you ought to think about paying more for someone with experience. And stop slagging on college grads who thought they were making an investment in their future by going to school, and find themselves being offered Bob Cratchit’s position (it being Florida, I suppose you can skimp on Scrooge’s coal ration to heat the office).
Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!
[thank you Bob]
The big damage is being done by our trade relations and massive current account deficit with a certain large country that practices blatantly mercantilist policies to grab manufacturing share at the expense of short-term profit (and the wages of its own workers), exports its inflation back to our shores fueling a massive credit driven asset bubble (which is now deflating – quick! more rate cut viagra please BenB!), drinks a lot of tea, and rhymes with shhmmishINA.
NAFTA makes a nice whipping boy because it ties trade fear and fear of the dirty brown hordes from South-O-Da-Border into one nice tidy subliminal package.
We would be hearing a lot more about NAFTA right now if it were not for the terribly inconvenient fact that Texas and Ohio are both having primaries on the same day! It has been most entertaining watching both campaigns try to pander to pissed off white people in Ohio without offending Hispanics in Texas. Damn those Canadians. Eh!
Good luck. If you’re not wiling to give a shit about your employees, you will find they will return the favor.
$35K is peanuts these days. Assuming you don’t give them an automatic raise to cover inflation and go by ‘merit’, that college grad is looking at a 10-15% *DROP* in the real value of that pay per year.
Oh there will be someone who will work for crappy wages. But they won’t be happy. And the company will suffer for it.
Car, insurance, rent, utilities, medical care, food. And a regressive sales tax.
After taxes, $35K doesn’t really stretch far enough…
Investing social security funds in the stock market is only trading one pyramid scheme for another. Libertarian complaints that social security is nothing more than an income-redistribution scheme are correct, but it’s the goals of that income redistribution that matter.
For example, the goal of the old age pension and survivors insurance trust is to make sure that older persons who are no longer able to work and widow(er)s have some guaranteed minimum level of income with which to pay for the basic necessities of living. To keep the system robustly financed, it was designed so that a larger number of younger workers would pay for benefits older workers are receiving now. As long as the workforce continues to grow over the long term, such a system is sustainable. Factors such as life expectancy, immigration, and birth rates influence that long term growth as much as economic performance does.
Apparently, many people don’t think such a system is fair, because it levies a tax on you to pay for someone else. Your social security number is not a bank account accruing interest on your behalf. But it was designed that way, because the pyramid scheme scenario is the only way to ensure a steady stream of income to the old age pension & survivors insurance and the disability insurance funds.
Transforming the current system into a privately owned one would open up too many cans of worms. If, for instance, you could invest part or all of your social security contributions, what happens if you don’t invest wisely? The government would have to place some constraints on how you can invest your money, or it would end up bailing a lot of people out for their short-sighted or irresponsible behavior. Just look at the current sub-prime mortgage crisis. Just saying tough luck to those people may give libertarians a warm, smug feeling inside, but do we really want a society that is based on social Darwinism? Victorian era work houses?
And what about the half of social security tax that’s paid by employers?
The system as it is now will require some changes, but a complete transformation may have some severe, if not unforeseen, negative consequences.
Sorry, but if you are 23 and have 25k in college debt, a 30k starting salary is ample. I can pretty much tell the age of most of the people whining about it not being so. And we have found a few excellent candidates, it’s just that we had to sift through a lot of shit first because apparently a lot of them comment on this blog.
What fucking planet do you live on? Jesus, pull your head out of your ass and think about what you are saying.
Um, I supported myself and my wife while she finished college through 2001 on $40K (after having been in the workforce for a few years already), so that’s total rubbish. Funny you think that a single person can’t hack it on slightly less.
When I entered the workforce after college in 1998 as a graphic/web designer, my starting salary was $26K. I was recruited by a headhunter and placed with a vacation company that handled American Express, Delta and Continental airlines vacation brands. It was a competitive salary with decent benefits.
Adjusted for inflation, that salary today would be $33.5K, and you’re going to tell me that 35K for an entry level Administrative Assistant is crap? Right. You would have to pretend that an entry level graphic designer is worth less than a similarly qualified administrative assistant. Never mind the fact that with a designer, you can look at their portfolio and get a sense of what you’ll be getting from them, whereas you have no such metric with an assistant.
Ah well, don’t let me rain your parade. If college grads can convince potential employers that life is really like MTV an they are rock stars that deserve a corner office and a company car, more power to them.
John S, you’ve clearly admitting that the Market has Spoken – you are not getting the quality you want for the wages you’re offering. Now frankly, I think that you’re lying; I’ve seen good people working for far less. However, according to your confession you have Transgressed Against Market.
Goeth thou, floggeth thyself, repenteth and sinneth noeth moreth.
Iraq: A Hopeless Cause
It has been far to long and I am sick and tired of our country fighting a war we don’t need. With all the problems in our country, why are we concerning ourselves more with others. It has been 4 1/2 years too long and we need to take action NOW!!!! The Bush Administration needs to take a closer look at their Bible, “remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5) While America has been paying attention to every other country, the U.S. has been experiencing economic problems, unemployment, a stalled housing market, and a growing deficit. Every day we fight this war all of those problems listed worsen, and as they worsen our country fails it’s citizens more and more. If we don’t end this war now it will never end. The world is moving to fast for us to waste time on meaningless conflicts.
Lying? About what exactly?
I’m not saying good people won’t work for less – what I’m saying is that it is harder to find them because the labor pool is clogged with not-so-good people who want the moon, the stars and the sky.
We are operating well within the norms of the market, except that right now I see an employment bubble.
You seem to be complaining that you can’t get the quality of worker that you’re looking for at the wage you’re offering – calling your applicants ‘lazy and incompetent’. Now, I know it’s hard to believe that people want a better salary than 30K, and that they don’t want to work for someone who might subtly be indicating to his applicants that they’re ‘lazy and incompetent’, but hey, that’s the market speaking. If they won’t take the job you’re offering, at the salary you’re offering, it’s no doubt because they feel confident of finding better offers elsewhere.
Someone with enough responsibility to fuck up your whole company arguably should be paid more than 30K.
Also, if you’re company is structured such that an admin assistant can royally fuck up the entire operation… well, I think you might have bigger problems to worry about.
You sound like a delight to work for. I can’t imagine why you’d have trouble finding competent and qualified, college educated, applicants who would want to work for you at a below average salary. Obviously the bonhomie, genial company, and pleasant working atmosphere would compensate for the low wage and lack of health benefits.
My apologies. That’s a heckuva good deal you’re offering there, John. Clearly, only someone with their own best interests at heart, rather than yours, would even think of turning it down.
An administrative assistant talks to the customers and is normally the first point of contact for people dealing with our organization. That means they can hurt our image and our relationship with our customers if they don’t do their job well.
And you sound like the sort of whiny prick that thinks they should start at the top without having to work to get there because they know everything already.
FYI, all the people that work here have been here for 2 or more years, and love coming to work every day.
Oh, and we found a great candidate this afternoon. It just took a while to find her after weeding through a mountain of turds like you.
SQUAWK SQUAWK REPEAL NAFTA,REPEAL NAFTA,REPEAL NAFTA SQUAWK SQUAWK SQUAWK
Thank you. You make my case ever so well. I couldn’t have possibly done it as forcefully and convincingly as you.