Remember that if fiscal austerity helps keep the unemployment high, it will just be “structural unemployment” resulting from the laziness and ineptitude of the American working class (via):
It really makes you despair: we’ve been over and over the evidence, and there’s not a hint in the data that a mismatch between occupations and jobs can explain any important fraction of the jobless rate.
Sometimes I think there may not be enough strapping young bucks to account for all the ingrates soaking up gubmint unemployment benefits, that there could be some meth-addicted white trash on the job too, maybe some former union workers too.
The U.S.-based CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds told me that his firm’s investment committee often discusses the question of who wins and who loses in today’s economy. In a recent internal debate, he said, one of his senior colleagues had argued that the hollowing-out of the American middle class didn’t really matter.
How about a big Charlie Rose round-table about how the American middle-class doesn’t deserve jobs or health care because they’re all a bunch of fat lazy fucks who couldn’t cut it in China?
Can we please just once and for all acknowledge the Republicans’ fiscal hypocrisy as we talk about this stuff? Please?
So it’s true: these assholes actually have no idea where their money comes from.
That’s the frightening thing – our Galtian Overlords really think the middle-class is irrelevant. They see Brazil in the 1980s and think “Hey, that’s not so bad.”
Why doesn’t the GOP adopt “Fuck the middle class, fuck the poor” as the complete party platform in 2012? Oh that’s right, they have to bash gays, talk about how the government has to ease up on oppressed rich, fat white guys, and bloviate about a strong military to compensate for their lack of manhood.
Pitchforks and tar. It’s the only thing they will understand.
They really have no clue how the economy works, do they? No clue as to who buys most of the stuff.
Yanno, I never hear anyone question the GOs’ patriotism. Their dismantling of the middle class is apparently a non-issue to the chattering classes. Good to know.
Maybe we can start saying that the deficit and debt are really bad but not really because our deficits and debt are “structural”. Some in the political class seem to like this term. After all, once the term “structural” is affixed to an issue, that means it isn’t a problem or at least not one we have to talk about because we can’t do anything about it.
Also, too, since high unemployment is helping drive our deficits, then we can say our deficits are “structural”.
As someone who was recently fired and is now scrambling to find a new job, I’d like to tell all those hedge fund managers they can fuck themselves with a rusty 10′ spike.
Hedge funds are the stage IV cancer of a capitalist society. The tumor grows out of control, sucking up all the nutrients and life force and, shortly, killing the host.
I’d like to point out the unpleasant fact that two wars are, in fact, a jobs program. I’m eager to declare victory and get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan but at this point the military itself is a huge employer of last resort. If we saw all those soldiers come back and get dumped on the non existent job market we’d really see some unemployment stats–and maybe some Bonus Marchers and some well prepared rioters.
Fred Barnes’ leg can be cured like any fine ham. Smoke, salt, spices, and it’ll be good to go.
Oh, and I’m sure that the libertarian rape gangs will love to chase Megan McArdle down.
Bush deficit: wars off the books.
Obama deficit: wars on the books.
Moral hysteria happens in which administration?
Can the fucking media do anything right??
"Fair and Balanced" Dave
People like this are the reason the French invented the guillotine.
Fuck U III: The Duck Fucks Back
aimai: Yes, but Greg Mankiw told me that military goods represent an economic dead-end, as no one has ever used a HIMARS system to build a better mousetrap and Bradleys make for lousy carpool vehicles.
Kudos DougJ, that “hollowing out” quote should be hauled out by everyone on the left every chance we get. IMO it is absolutely at the heart of much of what we now see in politics in the US, including abandoning investment in our infrastructure.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
That’s what always gets me about most of the Republican voters: They think that the secret codewords coming from the Republican leadership – which includes people like Rush – implies blacks, foreigners, and out-of-wedlock mothers. What they fail to realize is that the codewords are about them as well.
We should all become hedge fund managers…set up our own hedge funds, find stuff to invest in and start building up our capital…
Who needs doctors, teachers, taxi drivers, cooks, policemen, plumbers, etc.?
@BGinCHI: No, that was really an own goal by Obama. He should have continued to keep the wars off the books until the GOP complained loudly that the wars SHOULD be on the books. (I think that would be the fifth of never.) It would make his defiticts look that much better.
Better yet, ask the congress for a vote on whether the wars should be on the books or not.
The best quote from the Southern Beale piece:
“You just can’t keep letting one political party hit the reset button as soon as they come into power, while still holding the Democrats to account for shit that happened 40 years ago.”
And for the crappy low-paying jobs that are out there, Missouri GOP says, let’s bring back child labor:
You know what’s bitterly amusing? The fact that we have wingnuts demanding a gold standard all the while defending the industries that literally make money off of money and nothing else.
Oh, I don’t know. Guillotines worked pretty well for the French.
ETA: I see Dave at #13 has been thinking along the same lines.
So awesome it almost hurts.
To be fair, it’s the same legislature that’s trying to overturn the anti-puppy mill law that the voters just passed. Since they already hate puppies and children, I’m fully expecting a law to ban rainbows next.
A Commenter at Balloon Juice (formerlyThe Grand Panjandrum)
Ahhhhh … Florida! Gov. Rick Scott just turned down $2.4 Billion in stimulus money for high speed rail. Which will result in what?
I guess the solution to Florida’s traffic congestion issues is to build highways with special lanes for people driving 35 mph with the left turn signal on.
That’s an amazing piece of work.
We had a lively thread here not two weeks ago where libertarians were assuring us no one would ever, ever dare bring back child labor, so we were wrong to even bring it up. That they were speaking only as a matter of constitutionality.
Not only does she want to bring it back, she wants to make sure it’s deregulated entirely.
@Mnemosyne: Damn right. Lazy-ass rainbows living the high life off all of the sunshine’s and rain’s hard work. They’d have banned them years ago if not for left-wing guitar-playing hippie frogs and their musical propaganda.
@A Commenter at Balloon Juice (formerlyThe Grand Panjandrum):
What? Hell no.
The Rick Scott solution is to ensure enough of the population is too sick or too dead to congest the highways.
@kay: I thought about that thread when I saw that article (hat tip to humorists Lester & Charlie, who posted it on their FB page).
It’s a sad world where, despite repeated examples, Laffer Curve is taken as truth and Race to the Bottom is not.
@different church-lady: Amen. Talk about being divorced from reality.
Remember that? We don’t need federal protections because we’re really, really nice people.
Conservatives in statehouses are busy showing us the disaster that was “state’s rights” every single day since the midterms.
I really don’t think many Republican voters really bargained for the shit storm the GOP is going to deliver to us. One of my parents’ friends is a pretty strong Republican who happens to work in the local school office. She’s now really concerned about the governor’s war on the school union. I hate to feel some schadenfreude, but I kind of do. I think the GOP’s going to find out their “mandate” was to deliver tax cuts and not cut spending, along with giving everybody a pony. Pretty soon, people are going to be screaming for tax increases on rich folks to keep all those government programs.
I believe they will be clueless to the very end. Industries who sell food know they will always be in some sort of demand; industries who, say, help people retire on investments… haw haw! They might have to turn to steel cage matches to attract clients if your typical middle class person is turning to dumpster diving.
(Good to be back… kitten, laptop keyboard… I should have been drinking whiskey instead.)
@A Commenter at Balloon Juice (formerlyThe Grand Panjandrum):
Oooh. The Mouse is going to be VERY unhappy with Gov. Scott. This could be interesting.
The Tea Party loses an Ohio sheriff.
He begins with “I am not a pro-union person”, but other than that, it’s a great rant.
He feels “attacked” as a public employee.
I’m finding it hard not to support beheadings after reading that atlantic article. Thanks a bleeding lot.
He is quite right. They don’t matter, and won’t matter up until they learn how to build IEDs and car bombs and start using them to kill the rich come what may. Then they will matter.
Land of the free and home of the brave, motherfuckers.
A few paragraphs down from the guy who isn’t worried about the middle-class:
It doesn’t sound like he’s really lamenting it. After all, American businesses will adapt, and that’s the only important thing.
What’s really crazy is that it’s the Warren County sheriff. Warren County is the Orange County of Ohio, rich, crazy Tea Party nutjobs, who only know people like themselves. If they lose support there, the GOP is true and rightly fucked.
I do think there is a certain group of conservatives, who look at the dirt poor illiterates, who are mired in poverty, with no hope of getting out or having their children get out of poverty, in Third World countries and lament the fact we could have that here, if only we did what they wanted.
I mean the U.S. sort of had it going on post-Civil War with tenant farmers and sharecroppers, but all that started going by the wayside in the last 50 years or so.
@kay: You do, of course, have my permission to giggle mightily. Especially since I find that as delicious as the firefighter’s union marching with state employees in Wisconsin. It feels like small steps, but we might just start reversing Reaganism here.
In North Carolina as the mills (especially textile) were shutting down because of a variety of factors — automation, different products desired, early off-shoring, expense of updating — I remember not just pragmatic or neutral-sounding economic arguments about the inevitability of this trend.
I heard an awful lot of utterly callous and snobbish derision of those stupid-ass backwards rednecks who should have known better for trying to keep these ancient shitty jobs anyway.
You didn’t hear this from the kinds of people who had a relative working in one of the mills, or who were their neighbors, especially in the old and sadly decaying mill villages.
You heard this from professional and upper middle class types and their kids. Especially those who just lived around a mill area and worked elsewhere in a nearby city.
At the time it didn’t strike me as so cruel.
Now, it’s actually the same things that most analysts say, just without the vehemence, and with tossed-off phrases about “a social safety net” and “retraining” and the like.
I once read a book about how to get Africa to develop as more modern economies so as to improve national stability and a better quality of life for the people.
It deployed crude Marxism in one of the openly cruelest arguments I’ve ever heard. (Most of the time the astoundingly callous and harmful programs upon poor 3rd world nations which actually were implemented at the behest of US and Western advisers and ‘economic experts’ via the IMF’s and World Bank’s supply-side anti-gubmit genius.)
You see, in Marx’s historical view, you have stages which must be passed through. The next stage cannot happen until a society passes through the prior.
The stage before capitalism (the system which can relieve the Africans of scarcity and separation from the modern world economy and a wider middle class) is feudalism, with an exploited class of peasants.
(“Peasants” are in reality throughout the world farmers who own or are informally recognized by their community as controlling small areas of land, and produce crops for both their own subsistence but also to sell for money income, along with other trades. Typically women are in charge and are the primary producers of cash income.)
They can only ascend if they become workers as an industrial proletariat.
Hey, you know what? If you can get peasants to get jobs as workers, then you got capitalism, a workforce for an industrial economy.
Solution? Force these small-holding farmers off their lands. Appropriate the properties, for example. Apply taxes which make it uneconomical for them to continue. Remove any food or agricultural supply aid and subsidies.
And so on and so forth. And this was from a scholar and “development” specialist with a “Marxist” view.
The difference between that approach and the IMF / WB’s “Structural Adjustment Programs” for Africa and the “Austerity Programs” for Latin America and this guy’s is that he was much cruder and more direct in his economic warfare, whereas the sophisticates in the US-dominated IMF/WB allow more indirect effects to smash the lower classes.
John Arbuthnot Fisher
Have to post and run, without reading comments no less, but there’s an important point on which I was hoping to receive the feedback of the BJ community…
I (~25, degree in economics and political science from a fancy private school) often discuss politics and economics with my father (~60, degree in art education from a small public school), and though he’s usually coming to me for advice, I value his opinion as being far from the intellectual and cultural confines of my education.
One of the more compelling points that he’s made frequently over the years is to ask why “big business,” or really anyone with exposure to the consumption economy, so disfavors programs that enable and empower the working class. He rightfully points out that the likelihood of these individuals taking their welfare dollars, foodstamps, etc. and plowing them back into Wal-Marts, Targets, Lowe’s, Old Navy, etc. is very high, because they need food, clothes, home staples, etc. As such, the major owners and managers of these entities would benefit significantly from increases in these programs, yet they are marginalized and discredited constantly.
All of this is true, and readily apparent to someone who themselves would admit that they are no economic genius! So why is it that our favorite Masters of the Universe have such disdain for these programs and their recipients? Perhaps they know all of this, yet are still more interested in condemning strapping young bucks than making money? Just amazing to me – here I think these people just love jerking off on fucking gigantic piles of money, but the only thing that gets them off even more than that is making some poor minority single mother suffer. In the view of the community, is that actually true?
Herbal Infusion Bagger
” In a recent internal debate, he said, one of his senior colleagues had argued that the hollowing-out of the American middle class didn’t really matter.”
I’ve realized that this is a pernicious effect of globalization. I believed in the whole Ricardian comparative advantage thing. But free trade and movement of capital has meant the wealthy elite in this country no longer have a compelling economic interest in the growth and prosperity of this country. It used to be that investment in infrastructure and education, R&D, and a working/middle class getting enough of the pie to stimulate demand, as it’s good for the economy in general, would have the support from the Wall St. elite.
Now, why should a bankster give a crap whether the schools are laying off teachers in California or Missouri or Minnesota? Their kids go to private school, and if economic growth is f**ked in the U.S., well, then the smart money will go overseas. A recession also will make it easier to get the household staff, nannies, cleaners etc.
We’ve turned into a country run by a self-anointed aristocracy.
The only reason I miss the global march of Communism (I reject Uncle Joe’s frozen broccoli treats, yadda yadda) is that it kept some of these wealthy right-wing MF’ers in line;
Better to give in to the proles a little so they don’t line you up in front of a wall when the revolution comes…
@John Arbuthnot Fisher : I’ll go with the fact that sociopathy is a psychological disorder.
It bothers me that the middle class is just sitting here taking it. I know several working class individuals who will argue in favor of big business, because they believe that someday that will be then.
I was thinking about that over the weekend while I mended some torn jeans and watched TV (I can’t afford to buy new jeans anymore.) There were millionaires everywhere on TV, everyone was rich and fabulous and wonderful, except on A&E.
I then realized why in part the middle class buys in to the idea that they can be millionaires too someday. It is because the don’t realize just how many of us there are who all hope to someday be millionaires. There are just so many people struggling to make it. Most of my friends in my generation haven’t even been able to buy their own couch at this point.
@John Arbuthnot Fisher:
tru dat. If your dad could fake vapid and stupid, we could get him on Charlie Rose. Then he could toss of the mask and freak Bobo out.
Hey guys, just saw a GIGANTIC RED BREAKING NEWS UPDATE on the top of FoxNews.com.
There’s no need to panic yet but apparently, “NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE SPEAKS AT AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE”. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in this time of unexpected crisis.
I know you will all want to contact your loved ones and make sure they are all right, especially your smaller loved ones who may have been eaten or become trapped in Gov. Christie’s greasy folds.
It’s sad to say that the Democratic party is finally making some inroads in places like Warren. But unfortunately the state party has no idea what to do with them. it is far too entrenched in old guard politics to take advantage of the disenfranchised youth vote. they don’t know how to get the old union workers (thinly veiled tea partiers) to grasp the fact that all of the GOP dog whistles are aimed at them. not the brown people, teh gays, femenazis, and other traditional untermenschen.
Seriously, Chris Christie is a disgusting waddling blob of a man. What a monstrous deformation of humanity he is, a howling freak show who could stand in, sans makeup, for some sort of movie mutant who wriggles out from under double-wides to eat small children.
@John Arbuthnot Fisher:
The old paraphrase of Milton (Paradise Lost, lines 258-63) “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven” is a gross oversimplification but at least it has the advantage of being both consise and poetic. Use it as you see fit.
The county prosecutor here, who is a Tea Partier only out of pure political ambition, told me “I’m tired of the anger”.
Really? Just now, you noticed?
I should laugh, but I didn’t. I don’t know how to respond to that.
How did he think this was going to end? He thought he’d be spared budget cuts and the loss of arbitration rights, why, again? It was okay as long as they were going after teachers and not cops?
I actually had time to read the whole article and I agree with the comment about the American middle-class. If 3 people in India and China are uplifted because of globalization and one American is hurt, in the grand scheme of things that’s a net gain.
People in America, especially in considering where America was with the post-World War II economy, really fail to grasp how much wealth has been concentrated in a few nations. Right now we’re seeing a couple of centuries of capital flows that went from India, China, etc. to Europe and the U.S. correct itself.
In the end globalization will move everyone to first world nation wealth, rather than people’s fears of a race to the bottom. South Korea or Singapore didn’t get to the point they rival First World living standards by pushing their people to the brink of poverty, so wealth gets concentrated in a few hands.
What bothers me with these billionaire financial types is they seem to think they can eat their hedge funds, fix their clogged toilets with their financial derivatives, and that basically they somehow don’t rely on the rest of us for anything.
They all need a good dose of what happened to King Midas, when everything he touched turned to gold because they need to realize man can’t survive on finding good arbitrage spreads alone.
It’s odd but I’ve long felt American business’ could save a whole bunch more by lopping off the big boys at the top of the income chain and replacing them with cheaper help than going after the production (lower ranks) folks.
That’s the socialist in me talkin’ though. Send them to Galt without the company money.
I’m sure all that anger will die down after the GOP delivers all the bullshit they promised. If they can’t, well, there’s always more anger.
Because it is the new American dream. It isn’t about making a better life for yourself, it is to be rich and not pay taxes.
Riiiight! The world doesn’t have the resources to enable everyone on the planet to live a first world lifestyle.
And nobody is investing in the type of efficient technology needed to allow that to happen.
What we’re going to see is cancerous wealth concentration followed by a collapse. What emerges from that won’t be pretty.
The American worker isn’t any more or less lazy than other workers, but it is rude to not pander and let him know that. And pander we must. Something as mundane as working forms the backbone of our industrious people.
Middle class consumers are the backbone of society and doing what everybody does when they have a little money (buy stuff) was part of the heroic plan that defeated communism. Never have so many heros bought so much and spent so hard and asked so little of their fellow countrymen, taking on the tremendous risks of shopping.
Except for saving of course. Nothing says backbone of the republic like the thrifty people in front of me here today. Whatever you guys are doing, unless of course it involves sleeping with each other our having to learn English as an adult, is the bedbone of our great nation.
Now vote for me.
@Dr. Morpheus: South Korea and Singapore a perfect examples of how trade won’t improve the living standards of its people. Those guys are totally screwed, with a few wealthy people just pissing on everyone else.
Well, it’ll be interesting to see how resources get allocated as consumption increases around the world. I have a more optimistic view of how we will manage things going forward. I think humanity learns from its past.