Linky Friday: Apple Pie


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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73 Responses

  1. Avatar pillsy says:

    Why is has the US fallen behind the UK in labor force participation?

    The article suggests that it has to do with higher rates of non-participation in the US due to health and disability issues, and with more women in the US leaving the work force when they have kids.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Apparently having a social safety net and a welfare state doesn’t encourage people to get lazy and drop out of the workforce. It helps people who want to work, work.Report

      • Avatar InMD says:

        I think done correctly this is absolutely true. Yea there’s always some bums out there taking advantage of the system but since I had a kid I’ve been amazed at how expensive its become for my wife to keep working. From daycare costs to the tax hit I get why so many families end up with someone at home. Our system is horrendously outdated.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          Richard Nixon nixed a universal pre-K plan because Evangelicals thought it would lead to more women working outside the home. They were right. The conservative elements have this fixture of what American society should look like in their head and they are going to do everything they can to impose it. This includes opposing universal pre-K, universal healthcare, and really any safety net feature.Report

        • Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

          No kidding. I actually recommended a female colleague quit when I was discussing her maternity leave insurance coverage. She told me what her daycare expense would be and would have been about equal to her take home pay.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog says:

            Our friend started a day home for just that reason (our daughter went there for a bit too). She looked at her income minus childcare expenses if she stayed at her regular job, compared to her income if she stayed home with her kid and two others whose parents were paying the same rate, and it came out about the same. So she chose the economically equal path that let her spend more time with her kid.

            This being Canada, health coverage is way less of a factor than it would likely have been in the states.Report

          • Avatar InMD says:

            That’s the case for a lot of people. It makes sense for my family mainly because my wife’s company still offers a good ppo insurance plan whereas mine is just the high deductible crap.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        How to do comparative normative sociology:

        1. Find two countries that differ on some metric generally believed to be important.
        2. Find some policy difference between the two countries.
        3. Combine the two to generate a hypothesis: The policy difference identified in step 2 causes the difference in the metric identified in step 1.
        4. Do you like the policy implications of the hypothesis generated in step 3? If yes, continue to step 5. If no, return to step 2 and identify another policy difference.
        5. QED.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Point being?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          It wanders in and out of being important.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            Do the specifics of the conversation matter?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              The specifics of the conversation wander in and out of mattering.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Do you think U6 is the wrong measure to use when discussinf the topic addressed in that article?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I see that as kinda circular.

                I was more noting that it was, apparently, time for articles discussing U-6 to show up again.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Circular how? U6 measures something. There are times that measure is useful. And there are times it is not. Is this a time where it is useful?

                As to “just” noting it… why? What about its usage here is noteworthy to you?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                There certainly are times that measure is useful. And, yes, times that it is not.

                I don’t know that now is a time that is useful but I’m not certain why now would be more useful than 5 years ago.

                “What about its usage here is noteworthy to you?”

                Because we’re talking about it now without talking about why we weren’t talking about it 5 years ago.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                It is being used for a very specific purpose here. A purpose that may render any conversation of its usage 5 years ago irrelevant. Shouldn’t we first analyze the appropriateness of its usage here before we go all meta?

                Also, thr article looks at long term trends stretching back more than 5 years. Whoops.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                It is being used for a very specific purpose here.

                Oh, I have no doubt of that!

                Also, thr article looks at long term trends stretching back more than 5 years. Whoops.

                I wasn’t complaining that they weren’t talking about 5 years ago *NOW*. I was complaining that they weren’t talking about now 5 years ago.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                So what’s your complaint exactly?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                My complaint is that I’ve no idea why, suddenly, it’s noteworthy.

                Something as simple as a paragraph that covers “here’s what’s been going on the last 20 years… and here’s why we’re talking about it as if it’s a problem now when it’s on an upswing despite our not talking about it when it was in decline” would address my complaint.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                You DID read the article, right? The one that shows a graph going back 20 years documenting the trend and discussing in detail that what is of note is that over the last 5ish years, a fairly sizable lead in this metric that the US held over the UK has become a slight deficit?

                The one that ends with:

                The US, once comfortably ahead of the UK in labor force participation, has lost all of its ground since the late 1990s. Much of this shift is just due to diverging patterns in US and UK demography. But health and disability is a large driver of the shrinking wedge, as well as discouragement and home / family care among prime-age women. Meanwhile, elderly participation continues to run much higher in the US, with rates of nonparticipation due to retirement far lower in the US.

                There are a broad array of possible explanations for these divergences, including differences in health, disability, and family support systems as well as different macroeconomic dynamics. As policymakers in the US continue to look for ways to encourage participation to recover back to its pre-crisis levels, such differences between the US and other countries will prove instructive.”


              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Erm… yes? I also looked at the charts. Did you see how there was a recent turnaround? Like, the line stopped trending down but started, instead, trending up?

                (Oh, god. I’m going to be accused of claiming that there isn’t a deficit anymore, aren’t I?)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                And none of that is sufficient in explaining to you why this particular writer wrote about this particular topic at this particular time? You think there’s something complain worthy about this? Why is talking about this now and not 5 years ago so bothersome to you?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                And none of that is sufficient in explaining to you why this particular writer wrote about this particular topic at this particular time?

                If the chart shows a trend happening for 20 years and then, at the tail end of the chart, the trend reverses, and then the article is about this awful, awful trend… yeah. I’d kind of like a paragraph talking about why we’d not been talking about it.

                You think there’s something complain worthy about this?

                Kazzy, my original comment was “Huh. U-6 is back.”

                As Brandon Berg points out below, it’s not even U-6. It’s Labor Force participation.

                Why is talking about this now and not 5 years ago so bothersome to you?

                Because the trend is reversing now. It wasn’t 5 years ago.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Where did they say “awful, awful trend”?

                Priors are a powerful thing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Oh, they didn’t say “awful”. They certainly didn’t say it twice.

                But it’s my position that, much like unemployment, it being measurably more ungood than found in Europe is something that would concern American economists rather than something that would make them say “well, some numbers are higher than other numbers, that’s what numbers are for.”Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                So, again, your point is?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Well, the original point was “Huh. U-6 is back.”

                But now I know that this isn’t U-6. It’s LFPR.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                If you’re going to continue to be disingenuous, I’ll just say TTFN here.

                I’ll remind you it’s okay to admit when you’re wrong. Good even.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I did admit that I was wrong! What I thought was U-6 was actually something else! I came out and said that!Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                “Is there a U for what the article is talking about?”


              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Oh, you’re back.

                Yeah, and I stopped referring to the trend under discussion as “U-6” as soon as I saw the correction.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                That’s something other than admitting you’re wrong. Especially since you didn’t reframe your position in light of new information.

                Your error was not one of terminology.

                And I’m sure you know that.

                And am even more sure you don’t care. It’s more important you maintain this game. So you do you.

                And yes I’m back because I’d rather deal with your obnoxious cutesiness and make sure we’re dealing with facts than let your lies stand.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                That’s something other than admitting you’re wrong. Especially since you didn’t reframe your position in light of new information.

                I’ll just repeat something I said above:

                Kazzy, my original comment was “Huh. U-6 is back.”

                As Brandon Berg points out below, it’s not even U-6. It’s Labor Force participation.

                Why is talking about this now and not 5 years ago so bothersome to you?

                Because the trend is reversing now. It wasn’t 5 years ago.


              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Still nope. Cute though.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        That article’s not really about U6. U6 is U3 (headline unemployment) plus marginally attached workers and workers working part time because they can’t find full-time jobs. Of those, only marginally attached workers (currently equal to about 1% of the labor force, and defined as people who indicate that they are willing and able to work but have not looked for work in the past four weeks) are considered labor force nonparticipants.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Is there a U for what the article is talking about?Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

            AFAIK it’s just called the labor force participation rate (LFPR). Usually they break it out by demographics, like prime-age (25-54) male or female labor force participation rate. Changes in the LFPR for the whole adult population can be hard to interpret when there are changes in the demographic makeup (aging, baby booms, women entering the labor force, etc.).

            The U-1 through U-6 measures are defined here. These explicitly only count people who are in the labor force (i.e. are either employed or willing and able to work and have looked for work in the last four weeks) or marginally attached (willing and able to work and have looked for work in the last year, but not in the last four weeks).

            When the unemployment rate (any of them, really; they’re all very strongly correlated) is high, that means people are looking for work and can’t find it, which implies slack in the labor market, which is something the Fed can address. When LFPR is depressed, that could mean any number of things, and it’s not necessarily a problem that can be addressed by macroeconomic policy.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:


              Does the rise and fall of LFPR mean anything by itself? Or are there numbers that are good for one context but not another?

              From what I saw in thr article, they weren’t necessarily identifying the trend/change as a problem but rather trying to make sense of a big change and pointed to different circumstances in the two counteies.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Thanks for the info.

              Checking your chart, it looks like all of the numbers have improved between Jan 2017 and Jan 2018.

              U-1 went from 2.0 to 1.5.
              U-2 went from 2.7 to 2.0.
              U-3 went from 5.1 to 4.1.
              U-4 went from 5.5 to 4.4.
              U-5 went from 6.2 to 5.1.
              U-6 went from 10.1 to 8.2.

              Those numbers are all pretty good, all things considered (when I was growing up, the narrative was that 5% was “full employment”).

              The LFPR, however, is one of those things that someone who thought that unemployment was bad would also see as bad. Worse than Europe, even.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Here we are. It is your non-contention that the article was anti-Trump.


                Could have saved lots of time by just contending that from jump.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                It is your non-contention that the article was anti-Trump.

                I didn’t bring up Trump at all.

                If anything, you’d think that this 20 year trend would reflect poorly on (maybe) Clinton, Bush, or Obama.

                Heck, you could even argue that the economy isn’t “officially” Trump’s yet and he’s only reaping the benefits of the tail end of Obama’s governance. If you wanted to argue that, the original article wouldn’t be about Trump in the slightest.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Cr1: There is a bad joke about criminals slipping on ice that could be made here. The real reveal is that the safest states are those blue states that conservative politicians like to depict as crime-ridden apocalyptic hellholes.

    Cr3: I’ve always wondered if the Viking berserk was a similar phenomenon to the running amok that existed in the Malay world.Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Do cigarette taxes have something to do with running amok?Report

  4. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Cr4 made me chuckle.
    No, not the fact that the entire premise is based on “a guy I follow on Twitter”.

    No, the funniest part is the claim that no one wants to live in San Francisco anymore because too many people live there.Report

  5. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    Fr5: The Beaverton wonderfully summarizes the sinister campus censorship described in the article.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      linky no worky… 🙁Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      I can’t think of any major campus-speech related controversy that was about someone complaining about not being invited to speak, or not being paid. They’ve all been about cases where an agreement was reached between the speaker and some on-campus organization, and then the speakers were violently harassed, shouted down, or had the invitations rescinded by university administrators due to pressure from students other than the ones who had invited them.

      I get that satirists have some creative license, but there has to be some element of truth. This fundamentally misrepresents the nature of the controversy, and in doing so crosses the line into propaganda.Report

  6. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Since it’s an Apple Pie day, and we have a labor heading, here is a story about the impacts of an ongoing truck driver shortage.

    I was unaware of this. I’m hoping RoadScholar sees this and comments.

    This does, however, tie into LB1, since one answer to a labor shortage is, obviously, automation.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott says:

      IDK that much about trucking, but isn’t this basically the chickens coming home to roost on the owner-operator model?

      Forcing everyone to be an independent contractor means that the job is much less attractive for potential new workers. And now that most of the drivers are owner/operators, they have very different incentives than the people whose goods need shipping.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Now you know why I am hoping RoadScholar is lurking about. I’d really be interested in his take on it.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar says:

        I don’t know the actual numbers on that, @alan-scott , OO’s versus company drivers versus independents. I’m a company driver, never been an OO, though I’ve seriously considered it.

        Fact is, the job just kind of sucks. Is commuting your favorite part of the day? Yeah, that’s my life, all day, It has its upsides as well, though.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar says:

      Your wish is my command, my friend… Interesting article. I can’t actually speak with much authority on the state of the industry as a whole. Forests and trees sort of thing. Anyway, a few observations/data points:

      A couple years ago I was mentoring new drivers. This amounts to taking a new guy — usually a graduate from driving school with a brand new CDL — out on the road for ~4 weeks to get some experience actually doing the job. Buy me a beer next time I’m out Seattle way and I’ll describe that fresh hell for ya. Anyway, I was talking to one of the guys running that program and he told me we had to hire and train 19,000 new drivers every year to keep 18,000 trucks on the road. The turnover is that bad. I’ve been with the company ~6 years and that makes me a senior driver and, yes, that gets me perqs.

      2. The company just announced a pay increase shortly although they didn’t specify how much. So, indeterminate yay!

      3. I’ve been noticing since a couple months before the pre-christmas rush that I’ve been getting a lot of load assignments that are already late when they come to me. Like we’re having trouble covering our freight.

      So yeah, that article rings true. And this has been an exceptionally crappy winter for weather and weather delays. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it this bad in the 20 years I’ve been driving.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        What tends to be the reason(s) for the high turnover?Report

        • Avatar Road Scholar says:

          I’d say the lifestyle more than anything else. At least doing what I do, over-the-road (OTR), you’re away from home for 3 or more weeks at a stretch. Plays hell with family life or just having a girl/boyfriend.Report

  7. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Lb2: I don’t doubt the findings, but discussing “choice” absent context feels a little shortsighted.Report

  8. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    So, one of the traditional arguments for gun regulation goes something along the lines of “The Founding Fathers wrote the 2nd amendment in a time where the most powerful guns were single-shot muskets. The technology of firearms has changed in the last few hundred years so does the rationale of the 2nd amendment still apply?”

    A traditional counter to that argument has been “The technology of speech has changed and awful lot since the founding, too. Do we also need to rethink the first amendment?” It’s supposed to be an argument ad absurdem. But I think for a lot of folks, including me, the response has become “that might actually be a good idea.”

    I favor adopting that 7% number as a rough estimate of how much of the pay gap can be ascribed to not our fault/not our problem. If people want to talk about “pay gap is down to women’s skills and choices blah blah blah”, I’m gonna go: Let’s look at the numbers. When your pay gap is at 15%, and Uber’s is at 7%, you still have an 8% pay gap to answer for and until that’s gone I’m not going to shut up about sexism in pay.Report

  9. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    The robot didn’t take their jobs.
    It just took the jobs of the guys they were going to hire.Report

  10. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Wa4 – Here’s(PDF) the specific Rumsfeld memo. It’s far too generous to credit him for asking the question “are we generating terrrorists faster than we kill them?”; he’s only asking if we are killing (or causing to quit) more terrorists than the “madrassas and radical clerics” are recruiting.

    The infuriating thing about this memo is that he’s asking huge existential questions about the wars happeing on his watch, and all this nearly two years into the Afghanistan campaign and several months into the Iraq one.Report

    • Avatar InMD says:

      I’m always startled by the lack of rigorous understanding of history that prevails in our political class and the poli-sci experts they rely on. Maybe the former has rendered the latter too ideological for real reflection. It’s not like these kinds of questions haven’t been asked in well recorded fashion for 2500 years. It’s mind boggling to me that a memo like that gets written only after the big decisions have been made.

      Either way there seems to be too much emphasis on solving big problems largely out of control and not enough on mitigating/avoiding catastrophes. We can’t stop Islamist extremism, but we can probably limit our appeal as a target by applying some basic Westphalian principles. You know, stay out of other peoples’ civil wars, stop putting our fingers on the scale for the Israelis and the Saudi monarchy in international affairs. I know all thats just crazy hippie talk though.Report

  11. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Ted Cruz is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law? At Harvard, he formed the world’s snottiest study group with Alma mater and grade requirements. He is married to a managing director of Goldman Sachs.

    He called Democrats, the Party of Lisa Simpson.

    How does he do this with a straight face? How do his supporters nod in affirmation?Report