Harsh Your Mellow Monday: Bolton, Bernie, Paula White, and Mike Pompeo

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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  1. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    1. I don’t think anyone on the left except the most naive (or concern trolls) see John Bolton as a “resistance hero.” But his book can still be a valuable document laying out the dysfunction and authoritarianism of the White House. Not that I am going to buy it.

    2. The prosperity gospel has been around for how long now? Over a hundred years? More probably. Perhaps Dr. Barber II and Dr. Moore should look at why the prosperity gospel continues to hold despite or because of its alleged heresies. Trump’s biggest core of support comes from white evangelicals and they seem to love themselves preachers like Paula White. It is all about wealth and power to them.Report

    • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      1. While the tone of the angle I took here is purposefully snarky, your point fair and is best asked seriously: Is it not well established, at this point, the dysfunction of the White House? We are how many “bombshell books” into this administration now? I don’t think Bolton’s will be any more long-term meaningful than the others, especially as the release date is right in the heart of primary season and folks will be focused on other things.

      2. Longer. The particular strand of Charismatic prosperity gospel rose out of the antebellum south, and most of that strand of thought claim the 1906 Azusa Street meetings as their genesis point, but the modern form is very much an evolution of the televangelist of the Swaggart/Bakker variety. It holds the same way any other scam does, folks want to believe the pitch.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      I think Andrew is right re:Bolton. From my reading over the last 24 hours it sounds like the progressive press is on the verge of anointing him the latest Bush II era nincompoop to be a silver bullet to the Trump presidency. He won’t be.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to InMD
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        I agree he won’t be – but that doesn’t mean this isn’t important news nor that it fails to add pressure to the millstone Republicans are hanging around their own necks. Knowing how non-security related interagency clearance processes work at the WH I’m also not sold on this being a release that Bolton engineered just to drive book sales later. If that was his desire I think he’d have waited.

        My take on Bolton is that he feels shafted by Trump over Iran, and so he’s pulling levers where he can to get even. Bolton is a regime change loving neocon hawk, and there’s no reason to believe he would be dis satisfied with a Trump removal.Report

  2. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    My take on Bolton is that someone on the NSC (!) leaked the excerpt after Bolton submitted it for approval. Because they are hopping mad that Bolton would hold out on testifying on this stuff. NSC people stuck their necks out and went before the House on this stuff, and they are probably pretty cheesed at the boss for not doing the same.

    But no, this guy isn’t going to be anyone’s savior. He’s a disgrace. He should never have held office.

    “Never mind about my country, the constitution, or due process. I’m going to cash in!” – John BoltonReport

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    Forrmer San Diego City Council person attacks Issa for being insufficiently Trumpist, Issa attacks the councilman for being gay. This says everything you need to know about the rot in the Republican Party: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/1/27/1914224/-Morning-Digest-Former-GOP-congressman-runs-bigoted-ad-highlighting-that-his-top-GOP-rival-is-gayReport

  4. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    My favorite from late last week/the weekend was Warren and the father talking about her loan forgiveness plan.

    I especially like how the overwhelming response from people who support this kind of forgiveness is that the father (and everyone else who is critical of such a plan) just want everyone else to suffer like they did. You know, I get it, there are people on the right* that are all about how people should be forced to pay a penance or what not.

    But this kind of criticism isn’t about suffering, it’s about the moral hazard of such a plan.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      One question I’d want answered:

      How would we deal with Degree Creep?

      (“Degree Creep”, as I’ve seen the term used, is when a job has tasks that do not require a Bachelor’s Degree of some kind but also has the HR requirement that the person have a Degree before they even get an interview.)Report

      • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Jaybird
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        The way the large corporate world is going to deal with it is get college students before graduation, military/other life experiences/exceptional HS students into the company fold early then work them up through the structure including school options with riders they will take care school but you have to stay with company for X amount of years. That way they are paying lower wages to get them in the door and vet them as they rise through the structure. You are already seeing this kind of “pipelining” become more popular.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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          says:

          I think before that really takes off, the corporate world is going to have to figure out how to deal with toxic managers. Part of the reason my wife is leaving her employer at the end of March is the executive she reports to has decided that anyone not in his inner circle is to be treated with contempt, and the executives above him don’t care to deal with him (they know about how he treats people, it’s been reported, multiple times).

          This is after the company has paid a lot of money to put my wife (and quite a few of her contemporaries, who are also jumping ship, or have already) through a number of external and internal leadership training programs.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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          I know that my company had a hiring decision, oh, three years ago where we needed a programmer and had a choice between a seasoned veteran who was moving out here and let us know that he’d only want to work for us for a year or so, while he was establishing himself and a young, hungry kid (22 or 23), who didn’t have a college degree but taught himself programming via internet tutorials and had a couple of certifications (he was in landscaping when he interviewed). I said “if we hire the hungry kid, he’ll stick around”.

          And he was *GREAT*. He wanted to learn and we taught him and he wanted to learn even more and we got him more certs and it was an amazing two years and then he found a job in Denver.

          Sigh.Report

          • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            Last company I worked for that was the direction they were going in for management trainees as well. It’s the downside, but there are fewer alternatives because a four year degree tells you nothing of leadership ability, and without a work record to go of off its a complete crapshoot. The theory was at least that way you know what you are getting before the degree part kicks in.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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              says:

              I’ll tell this story again: I’ve a dear friend who is middle-management at a place that is somewhere on the cusp between unskilled and skilled labor. He has said that he would rather hire a person who has spent the 4 years after high school as an assistant manager for Pizza Hut or Domino’s or McDonald’s or something than a graduate from a 4 year college.

              He knows the assistant manager knows how to shower, how to dress, how to show up on time, how to deal with crazy customers, how to deal with co-worker drama, how to deal with issues where three people call in “sick” on a Friday night when there is a party. “All I know about the college graduate is that s/he can outdrink me.”Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            So why didn’t you work harder to keep him happy?

            As an aside, another thing I think corporate culture has to come to terms with is that they utterly destroyed any sense of employee loyalty that once existed. Even my generation (and I’m in my 40’s) operates on the notion that I am loyal to the company only so long as the company shows it in return. If I get asked to sacrifice pay and/or benefits, but I see leadership living it up, I have no loyalty to the firm. I will jump ship as soon as I feel it is in my best interests to do so. Maybe that will be next month, maybe it’ll be in a few years.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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              Jeez louise, we did.

              He went from being a guy who did X work and touched Y from time to time as part of his job to being a guy who now does Y work (and another department entirely does X work).

              We wanted and tried to keep him and made him offers but… we only have but so much of what he wants to do available for him to do.

              And he now has a job where he spends 90% of his day doing the thing he wants to do (rather than a couple hours per week).

              His job now is exciting and sexy (he’s programming for companies and products you’ve heard of and may even use regularly). His old job, here, was dull.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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          says:

          What is your evidence for this happening and on what time line? There used to be a time when corporations felt it was important to do this. There used to be a time when it was possible to go from the mailroom to the board room. Those days are long gone.Report

          • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Saul Degraw
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            says:

            I worked for two different companies that both had programs like this. There are even examples of folks with degrees going for more advanced degrees/training within a company, for example in the medical field a hospital system may pay a nurse to get nurse anesthetist training provided they sign a contract to remain in that system for X amount of years or conditions. These are the minority, though, to your point, but I think it will change slowly, especially if the long discussed “education bubble” really does become a popping thing.

            Part of the problem, and why my last company (This was a nationwide, top three in country its field company for reference) was turning to that model and internal hires up the ranks more and more was the HR/Taleo-type systems where grabbing large pools of really similar candidates all with the same degree box checked but not suitable for the jobs needed filled. It was costing them money constantly hiring the same folks that were “failing” as in not stay/succeeding/growing w/the company so out of necessity the approach was slowly changing. Business changes when the bottom line is affected and negative change-over in entry-level management definitely does that.

            One other thing I’ll add, and this is from experience: It used to be the big divide between – just for example here – a front line worker, a supervisor, and a manager was the educational ability for the administrative side of things, besides leadership and other skills. Throughout my career it changed that the biggest difference was being able to handle the massive amount of computer information involved in management, from analytics to data processing to communication. Something that has changed is with ubiquitous technology now, the base level general population computer skills is higher than it’s ever been, and you have more folks that can do that in a more traditional work/industrial/manufacturing environment, which gives you a bigger pool to look for those next level folks to move up. As always, the difference is want to, motivation, and applying themselves to do it and a company that actually give them a chance to do so.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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              says:

              Earlier in the thread I linked a New Republic article (CTRL-F for “Educated Fools”) that in part discussed the college education/employment problems from an unusual perspective on the left. Among his points was that the college educated have created a thick glass ceiling and seem determined to make sure that no ordinary working class people ever get promoted past a person with a degree. He brought that up because it’s political poison that would have been anathema to earlier generations of Democrats who worked their way up from the bottom, even at newspapers.

              But he also mentions that some countries don’t have the same college/work problems as the US, and praises Denmark for getting things right regarding how government and business can make sure everybody is taught anything they need to succeed at any point in their careers. I’m not sure what Denmark actually does, but it seems to avoid a lot of the problems we’re facing in the US.

              I of course have some problems with his article, such that he seems to think the large corporate/union model is the only thing out there, and he can’t shake off his own disdain for whole swaths of people, even as he points to that disdain as a horrible mistake and a doomed path for society to take.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Is Degree Creep even a hypothetical?
        I’ve seen ads for entry level admin assistants demanding a degree.

        As absurd as that is, I guess if you can pay an admin assistant with a degree as cheaply as a barista, why not?

        If you have a line out the door of eager interns willing to work for free, why not weed them out by demanding degrees and certifications?Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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          Well, if no one does anything to control the inflation of tuition, and instead the government just wipes out all the debt on a regular basis, why wouldn’t companies keep using higher education as a filter?Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            The moral hazard is why mass forgiveness should only be on the table as part of a comprehensive cost control plan. And I say that as someone who could support forgiveness, and definitely supports reinstating bankruptcy protection.

            I see the moral indignation as no more compelling than the idea that we should just wipe the slate clean no questions ask. Both sides of that tend to turn the situation into a morality play when its really a matter of freeing up consumers and responsible allocation of the cost of higher ed.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David in reply to InMD
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              I too support discharge in bankruptcy, as with other loans and debt. But, I feel there needs to be some other limiting factor going into loans, such as basing borrowing on expected future earnings.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                Agreed. My opinion is that federal backing of loans needs to become conditioned on controls. I’m open minded on what the controls should be but there needs to be some connection between tuition and anticipated earnings.

                The real answer to the dude in the video is to ask why universities are allowed to operate risk free as the beneficiaries of bad loans backed by the government. Alas, not clickbaity enough for modern political discourse.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD
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              says:

              It’s not the moral indignation that I find interesting, it’s Warren’s inability/unwillingness to address the actual problem.

              Also, someone comes to her with a valid concern (I did the right thing, your plan spits in my face), and she basically told the guy, yep, I’m going to spit in your face.

              I doubt that exchange is going to hurt her, much, but IMHO it explains why she isn’t doing better.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Warren seems bad at dealing with people who don’t share her basic assumptions about the world.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
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                It’s hard to be all things to all people!

                Personally, I think people carry a lot of priors into their views of Warren – east coast elite liberal academic female lawyer… – that hypersensitize people when they watch or interact with her. She’s checks a lot of the anti-Dem boxes.

                BUT! that’s the world we live in, and more importantly, the world *she* is campaigning in. My own worries about her happened a couple months ago, when, under some pressure on healthcare reform, she went hard left rather than towards the center. I’ll also concede that I’m primed to view that move negatively in part because of all her crazy I’m Native American behavior.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
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                It is hard to be all things to all people. This just seems like the kind of retail stuff I’d expect the nominee to be able to handle with some skill. You know turn it around, and say ‘yea, you did get screwed, but not by me. You got screwed by the system, the banks, the schools, the feds, my plan is to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore, not to your children or your children’s children. Our system puts people like you in an impossible position and I want to help.’

                Instead its almost like she never really prepared for a hostile encounter with a person spouting a pretty routine appeal to emotion.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD
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                Exactly! I mean, come on, you had to know that guy* was going to show up at a rally at some point, with a friend and a camera. That’s candidate prep 101. If that’s what she got, Trump is going to eat her lunch, and steal her lunch money, and giver her an atomic wedgie after school.

                *a person with an emotional appeal that flies in the face of one of your core positions.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
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                The “Gotcha Question” is a great way to frame such things.

                A question where the candidate says “that’s a great question, let me turn it around and say that *MY* policies will not only fix current problems but they would have *PREVENTED* the problem you’re talking about! Next question!” is a good question for the candidate.

                A question that makes the candidate sputter and say “um, well, uh, jeez, yes but no” is framed as a gotcha question.

                And the difference is not that the question can’t be answered. It can! It can be answered adeptly!

                It’s when the candidate can’t answer it and fumbles that the question (and questioner) is shown as bad rather than that the candidate is shown as clumsy.

                We know Joe the Plumber’s tax info.
                We know that Ken Bone has a vasectomy.
                What are we going to know about the guy who talked to Warren? Has he been doxed yet? Do we know where his kids went to college? What they majored in? What jobs they have (or don’t have) now?Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to InMD
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                See my response to Oscar and reply. I think if Warren were a politician who changed her answer depending on the speaker, you would accuse her of being a panderer.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                Why would I take your silly response to Oscar seriously? If you can’t make a point without a hand wave reference to immutable characteristics you probably don’t have one, especially on something as fundamentally non-race related as this (and no, the disproportionate impact stuff is at best ancillary to the universal problem of student debt/financing higher ed).

                I’ve said multiple times on OT I think Warren’s basic ‘two income trap’ thesis has a lot of merit but she can be quite woeful at selling it to people who aren’t already on the same page. This is example Z. If I was as myopic as you’re being I might ask why you don’t go hang out with your rich Brooklynite or SF friends for their kind words of affirmation about how Warren really handled it well and is a great retail politician, it’s everyone else who is wrong. But that would be stupid.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                She did the same to black parents who came to her in Atlanta to push her on charter schools. She seemed proud to lecture them to their faces about how their kids should be in failing public schools. It didn’t play well.

                Another thing that irritates me is her claim that she can wipe away student debt with a stroke of her pen, which is nonsense. Either Congress has to pass a spending bill to cover the costs of the debt, or she intends to somehow void a financial contract and rob the party that’s owed without due process of law.

                And all of that still does nothing to fix the problem of skyrocketing costs.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Isn’t that the exact argument used about bankruptcy protection?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Only by idiots who think that being able to get a credit card a few years after a bankruptcy means that it’s not a hardship that will work against moral hazard.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                I find this “I’m going to spit in your face” issue perplexing.

                It is literally impossible to come up with a policy plan that pleases everyone and yet that is what we seemingly want from politicians. We want them to come up with policy plans that please 100 percent of the population regardless of ideological position or changes in history.

                There is also a question of what “do the right thing” means here. Under what world view/guiding philosophy? Who gets to decide what doing the right thing is?

                Another way to describe “spit in your face” is sticking to her ideological commitments and what she believes is the best solution to a real policy problem that could be a disaster down the line. I always thought we wanted politicians who kept to their guns. Or is that only when it is a middle-aged white dude with an R next to his name?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw
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                A) “Do the right thing” is, in this context, what the government and society suggest is the “right thing”. Not allowing your children to take on crushing debt at the start of their adult lives is typically considered a “good thing”, given the current state of affairs. A better thing might (MIGHT!) be having publicly funded higher education, but we don’t have that right now, so a parent working and saving so their child has better opportunities is unarguably a “good thing”.

                B) No, no policy is going to make everyone happy, and yes, people like politicians who are not wishy washy, flippy floppy. That does not, however, mean that we need a progressive version of Trump who openly and loudly shits on everyone who disagrees with them. Part of being an effective politician is being able to employ diplomacy (a term with a number of definitions, but in this case, it means “the art of letting someone else have your way.”)

                If Warren does not have a solid, diplomatic argument ready for why her debt forgiveness plan is not going to screw people over, or at the very least a good argument for why people like that guy should accept the solution as necessary, she’s not going to clear the primary.

                And TBH, this goes back to what I feel is the biggest problem with the far sides of our politics (and hearkens back to my last post), in that, left or right, they are so utterly convinced of the ‘rightness’ of their positions that they have limited to no capability to argue for those positions to people who are not also convinced of the rightness of those positions. And thus they don’t even try, they just dismiss those people as irrelevant.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to InMD
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              The debt forgiveness plan, in its scope, proposed procedural approach, and just general refusal to reckon with possible downstream effects (a problem hugely magnified by the scope and procedural approach) is what really got me off the Warren Wagon.

              At some point having the right goal isn’t enough, and her debt cancellation plan is well past it.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to pillsy
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                On the other hand all candidates sometimes flub questions, and occasionally people insist that they flubbed a question when they really didn’t. So that part is pretty meh to me.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            We are both asserting that degree creep is a symptom of an underlying problem, just different problems.

            Right now, even with debt, degree holders on average earn more than non-degree holders.
            Containing tuition cost would only add to the demand for degrees (That whole Econ 101 supply/ demand thing).

            Unsurprisingly I see the underlying problem as one of demand for labor. People resort to increasingly desperate measures to somehow add to their market power, of which degree creep is only a symptom.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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          Well, I’ve heard defenses of “Degree Creep” (though it certainly wasn’t called that). “It’s important that people demonstrate that they’ve mastered the skills required to get a degree in… um… Latinx Dance Theory.”

          I think it’s more that employers want employees that are $40k in debt.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
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            “It’s important that people demonstrate that they’ve mastered the skills required to get a degree in… um… Latinx Dance Theory.”

            Said skills including, say, six hours of history, a dozen hours in some sort of science classes, a certain level of math, probably English composition, possibly some fluency in a foreign language, demonstrated ability to organize a small project, finish unsupervised work on time. As one acquaintance put it, demonstrate a certain mastery of “learning how to learn” across a range of subjects. That’s not the only important thing, but it’s an important thing.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
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        Degree Creep and some other important problems were touched on in an article yesterday in The New Republic. Educated Fools: Democrats misunderstand politics and social class.

        I think some here will find it interesting. I’d say the author only partially “gets it”, but is much closer to the truth than the Democrats who are preaching that college education will solve everything. It won’t and it can’t, in part because if everyone is a manager then there’s nobody for them to manage.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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          The article is interesting, but ultimately has no proposals to put forward that would result in a material change in the lives of the noncollege educated working class. It dwells mostly on the “feels” of the working class who “feel ” left behind, maybe because they are.

          I don’t blame him. Both parties have committed themselves to the idea that the fundamental relationship of labor to capital should be allowed to float freely with only a minor assist from the public, and only in cases of dire need.

          The idea of an “industrial policy” which would require what he terms an investment in human capital in the form of across the board job skills training is something that was popular during the New Deal, but faded during the 70s.

          As we’ve discussed many times here, there really isn’t any plausible way to create a world in which short order cooks, waiters,baristas, retail clerks and other non-college jobs would see a real wage increase.

          Because the trump card in every one of these discussions is, “OK, faced with higher wage demands, we will just automate the damn job.”Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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            ultimately has no proposals to put forward that would result in a material change in the lives of the noncollege educated working class

            Hrm. So would a lockdown on immigration (illegal or otherwise) be likely to result in a material change in the lives of the noncollege educated working class?Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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              You mean, like forcing fast food employers to hire only workers who hold a government issued card, thereby driving up the wage?

              Maybe. Or maybe we would see ordering kiosks.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                “Forcing”.

                Isn’t that the law, like, right now?

                I’d be down with discussions about how just because something is a law doesn’t make it moral or crap like that.

                There are all kinds of immoral laws. We shouldn’t recognize the laws that are immoral.

                But given that there are laws, I’m not sure that leaping to “forcing people to follow the law” is the best framing?

                Though, seriously, there’s a lot of overlap with a handful of thoughts that I have on the law, culture, and morality here so maybe we have more overlap than I suspect.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                But that’s what you were asking, right?

                What if we rigorously enforced immigration law, such that it became nearly impossible for employers to hire anyone without a valid ID or green card?

                What would you think would happen if we did that?

                Would low wage employers just pay the higher wage, or would they do more automation and outsourcing?Report

              • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Outsourcing to whom? Other companies also required to card their workers? I’m confused by this.

                What would actually happen (if you could enforce this perfectly, and ceteris parabis) would be the cost of food would go up dramatically. Tomorrow. Today even. Food shortages in major metro areas tomorrow. Maybe riots.

                There was a song of ice and fire quote about the poor and king bread.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Ozzzy!
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                Indeed.
                Imagine a Day Without A Mexican.

                https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0377744/Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                No, what I was asking was whether putting the brakes on immigration (and certainly undocumented immigration) would give the noncollege educated working class additional leverage when it comes to wages.

                Some of them would just pay the higher wage. Others would resort to automation and outsourcing. (Maybe they could open factories in Wuhan!)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                I’m unclear on the difference between “putting the brakes on immigration” and “rigorously enforced immigration law, such that it became nearly impossible for employers to hire anyone without a valid ID or green card”.

                But in either case, what we are talking about is just a mechanism whereby employers are compelled to pay more for labor.

                Which, as a liberal I support!

                But what would be wrong with doing it via minimum wages or stronger labor unions?

                Or for that matter, we can effectively increase worker’s pay by giving them more public goods like free transportation and health care.

                My point is, there are a lot of ways to increase the living standards of workers. Immigration restrictions seem like one of the least effective.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                What you say reflects a deep flaw in liberal thought which also showed up in California’s AB5 bill that killed gig jobs. Minimum wage laws and labor unions only help a narrow class of worker. Is there a lawn-mowers union? Do people get paid by the hour to do yard work?

                Much of the college educated left has apparently spent so much time reading Das Kapital that they don’t understand what the working class does for a living, apparently other than labor in garment factories lit by 18th century windows and whale oil lamps.

                Offering them free stuff, like they’re on the dole, isn’t going to win any hearts and is rightly considered a vicious insult to their dignity.

                If that’s the best liberal thinkers can come up with, they might as well write off the support of workers, including minority workers who, despite their long struggle from slavery to independence and equality, just had their neighborhood taken over by Guatemalans and their jobs taken by Hondurans, all because they voted for white liberals who think they should have to struggle harder.

                If Democrats would let any actual working people or poor people’s voices be heard within the party, maybe these kind of catastrophic political blunders and easily avoided social disasters would be less common. I think that was the point that the New Republic article’s author was originally trying to zero in on.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                From the standpoint of a job-creator, what’s the difference between the government saying “You gotta pay your workers more!” any different than the government saying “You can’t make a contract with those guys over there, but only these guys over here!”Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                And how do you make a homeowner pay more to get their lawn mowed?

                You’re focused on the subset of working people that have corporate bosses. Lots of liberal Californians apparently share that problem.

                Well not everybody runs in the lane that college educated liberal whites think that the “proletariat” should run in.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Would something like “E-Verify” qualify as rigorously enforcing immigration law?

                But in either case, what we are talking about is just a mechanism whereby employers are compelled to pay more for labor.

                In this case, the mechanism is “following the law in the first place”.

                But what would be wrong with doing it via minimum wages or stronger labor unions?

                If you don’t want to enforce laws, I’m not sure that adding more laws will help (and the minimum wage laws aren’t helpful for undocumented dreamers wanting to work anyway). As for labor unions, what percentage of union coverage currently covers “noncollege educated working class”?

                “Or for that matter, we can effectively increase worker’s pay by giving them more public goods like free transportation and health care.”

                Free child care, provided by undocumented immigrants, could add a lot more people into the workforce! Our GDP could skyrocket!

                Immigration restrictions seem like one of the least effective.

                Surprisingly, it’s actually pretty effective!

                If I linked to a recent government report showing that, would you read it? Well, here. (Hey, you even left a comment in the comment thread there!)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Well do you want to increase worker’s pay and living standards, or not?

                Labor unions are highly effective at raising wages, as are minimum wage laws and public goods.

                Whereas immigration restrictions are a clumsy backhanded way of restricting supply requiring massive amounts of enforcement.

                I mean, if I replaced “green card” with “union card” would you feel the same way?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Well, what documentation do you have that raising the minimum wage will actually result in increased pay and living standards? I mean, if I had a report that showed that increased minimum wages result in fewer hours given to employees and that resulted in them getting additional jobs, I think we’d agree that the increased minimum wage backfired, right?

                As for unions, I am still uncertain as to what percentage of union coverage currently covers “noncollege educated working class”?

                (And I still don’t know how setting it up so that there will be fewer “scabs” bussed in is a backhanded way to help union workers. It seems a straightforward way to help them.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, we’ve already agreed that higher wages will result in fewer hours, so it stands to reason that immigration restrictions will have the same effect.

                Let me put it another way:
                Aside from immigration restriction, do you have any OTHER proposals for increasing wages or living standards for workers?
                Or is that like, your only proposal?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, we’ve already agreed that higher wages will result in fewer hours, so it stands to reason that immigration restrictions will have the same effect.

                No, we haven’t agreed with that. We agreed that a legislated minimum wage has, in fact, resulted in such things.

                The wacky thing about labor shortages is that it results in higher wages without cuts in the hours.

                Making it so that scabs aren’t available to management actively helps union members.

                Who knew?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Aren’t you the guy who posted stuff about self service kiosks and such?

                I think it should be noncontroversial that higher wages drives a corresponding push towards automation and offshoring.

                It just seems weird, this fixation with one and only one tool to increase wages.

                It just seems like raising the living standards of workers isn’t really the goal.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Yeah, and how those popped up in response to stuff like #FightFor15.

                You know what’s weird about management organically not being able to hire scabs when the workforce gets tight?

                Here’s an article from May 2019 from the New York Times.
                Here’s an article from May 2019 from CNBC.
                Here’s an article from December 2019 from Axios.

                I already pointed out what happened in response to some of the solutions you’ve pointed out.

                And I still don’t know what percentage of union coverage currently covers “noncollege educated working class”.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                What you’re calling for is for the government to take command of the marketplace in labor and artificially constrict it so as to drive up prices.

                This is like the drug war on steroids.

                We can see right now that in order to actually enforce this, the government has to assume massive police powers, everything from confiscating property along the border, to constructing a 1500 mile wall, to sending teams of agents out into the community to sweep up people to then housing them in concentration camps. Along the way it has to create a national database of records and then a system to track and record every change of job and keep constant surveillance to ensure that no one is cheating.

                And after all this,it has barely made a dent in the supply of undocumented labor!

                And yet, you casually suggest “locking down” immigration, both legal and illegal.

                For a guy who is generally skeptical of government power, this seems bizarre.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                And what *YOU* are arguing is (complete misstatement of your argument)!

                What do you say to that?

                Anyway, while I’d love to discuss whether enforcing the law artificial constriction of the workpool, I’m always confused when lefties take the side of Capital in these arguments.

                WON’T ANYONE THINK OF THE FACTORY OWNERSReport

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                You literally argued for “a lockdown on immigration”.

                If you have a solution that does it without massive government power, this would be a good place to enlighten us.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                The government already *HAS* that power, Chip.

                I’m not arguing for the government to acquire anything it doesn’t already have.

                And, get this, I’ve even shown a number of sources that demonstrate what I’m arguing as well as sources that demonstrate that what you’re arguing for doesn’t work.

                If you’d like to argue for giving the Federal Government less power, I’d happily entertain the argument, though.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Right, and all the things I mentioned- property confiscation, surveillance, sweeps, internment camps- are powers that the government is currently using in its effort to take command of the marketplace for labor.

                This is what you are proposing. To continue with this exercise of massive government power.

                And it still isn’t enough to “lockdown immigration”.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I’ll compromise and say “now that workers are actually getting paid more, let’s keep the status quo”.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I’m always confused when lefties take the side of Capital in these arguments.

                I think this is him trying to be clever, trying to get us to recognize that yes, this thing that we say we don’t want is actually the direct result of the policies that we say we want. You have to imagine a sort of smarmy tone, kind of “well gee, this is what you asked for, that the market would make it clear when someone’s labor, and their life, was not of value to society, right?”Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                A study of decades of labor unions in Appalachia, conducted by an imminent communist academic at UK, concluded that the labor unions did absolutely nothing to increase wages in coal mines, or in coal mining regions. He concluded that the only effect was lots and lots of dead owners, managers, and workers due to all the violence.

                He couldn’t find any evidence that the industry’s wages increased any more than they would have due to market pressures, or at any rate that was faster than completely non-unionized industries. He found that mining wages still just followed the law of supply and demand, but with lots of extra murders.

                New data coming out of Seattle and other cities that raised their minimum wages has shown a corresponding drop in jobs and lots of closed restaurants. There’s only so much people will pay for a burger or taco before they decide it’s cheaper to make dinner at home.

                I’ll put this in SJW minority terms to see if it resonates a bit better with an example instead of a nebulous “working class person”.

                The trouble with unrestricted immigration is that you’re making American workers, many of whose ancestors used to be slaves, compete with Guatemalan immigrants who are happy to sleep five to a room and eat cheaper than Irish living in Victorian slums.

                You can mandate whatever wages you want, but the Guatemalan is going to work harder for less pay, or work extra off the books, or find little private sector niches to fill (like ticket scalping, cleaning gutters, and selling flowers), and he’ll work three jobs. Many of them are used to fighting for scraps at the bottom rungs of a racist society (which is the norm down there). But the people they displace are the ones who’ve been religiously voting for Democrats for generations in this society.

                At some point those long-suffering American minorities might ask you about that job they felt they were unfairly denied because of white racism, and you’ll have to explain that you gave all those jobs to Manuel, Ortiz, and Juanita to prove you weren’t racist – and sorry about their continued run of bad luck.

                This kind of thing can be a delicate issue when you have a “diverse” society. It’s one thing for Japan to decide to allow some Koreans in, because the Koreans aren’t displacing some prior subjugated or disadvantaged group. But do the Democrats, who have some “history” of racial oppression, get to decide, for blacks, to replace blacks with “less problematic” – and much more powerless people? Does giving away someone else’s pie perhaps reflect an enormous sense of entitlement?

                And note that upper-middle class and upper class whites aren’t inviting the Guatemalans to live in their neighborhoods, they’re inviting them to live in the other people’s neighborhoods, and then patting themselves on the back for it.

                One could view it almost as some dystopian future where rich elites in immaculate white suits pay to watch poor minority groups fight each other in cage matches – for food, and then congratulate themselves on how they’re providing sports jobs in the inner city.

                Some of those poor folks, who’ve been busting their butts and fighting the man for a couple of centuries, might wonder why they don’t get to wear the fancy white suits. If the only response was “We raised the minimum wage and gave you free bus service!”, then don’t expect their continued loyal support on election day.

                And for the non-SJW folks, remember that the same argument applies to poor whites, that trailer park trash you always make fun of, and and many other groups the left dismisses and disparages.

                As with Europe, many working class people feel they’re being displaced and replaced by waves of low-skilled immigrants, kicked out of their jobs and priced out of their own homes to make way for workers who are less insistent about defending worker’s rights.

                Some dismiss this as nativist, nationalist paranoia. Somebody might ask some Native Americans if that kind of thing can actually happen.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                “One could view it almost as some dystopian future where rich elites in immaculate white suits pay to watch poor minority groups fight each other in cage matches”

                What if I told you Neo, that the poor immigrant and the poor American could join together and demand equality with the rich elite?

                Take the red pill and find out…Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                George, that kind of claim needs a link to the study.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Which claim? The study of union mine wages was published by the Univ of KY several decades ago, and the author said he shocked by his own results (as he was a communist and had been convinced he’d prove the opposite).

                Or just ask yourself if the unions were so great for Appalachian miners, why was the region so poor the whole time? What kept mining wages as high as it was wasn’t unions restricting the supply of labor, it’s that nobody really wanted to move to the hills and work in a coal mine. There was no big supply of eager labor to restrict when folks looking for work would rather just move to Cincinnati, Oak Ridge, or Detroit.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Yes, that link! Please (it’d be interesting, if nothing else).Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                I don’t have a link because I read about it on a dead-tree publication back in the days of Arpanet. ^_^

                It was a book, though, and I don’t recall that anybody really challenged his conclusions, I assumed because nobody could outflank him on the left and because the UMWA was dying out anyway.

                Googling around really quickly, I didn’t find it (but it must be out there somewhere), but I did find plenty of articles on the economics of coal in the region, such as a QZ article on coal an Appalachian poverty.

                Unions are only mentioned in the article mostly in passing, which is one indicator that they weren’t very important to the great economic picture. More noted was that Appalachia focused on one industry instead of building a robust and diverse range of industries, and such areas tend to fair poorly.

                One thing that keeps wages high in many areas is that you have to pay workers a lot because they have so many other options they can pursue. That’s not true in Appalachia, where the other choices is perhaps logging, or nowadays working at Walmart.

                And unlike the big three in Detroit, unions couldn’t lock up the supply of labor because the companies couldn’t lock up the supply of coal. If wages at one operation got too high, anybody could start a competing non-union mine two hills away and split the extra profit with his workers (the extra profit coming from the higher coal prices due to higher union wages). My dad did that one time, hiring his friends to help him work the mine.

                Once more advanced mining equipment took hold, unionization didn’t matter much because the capital costs shot up but the labor requirements plummeted.

                One argument might be that the more unionized areas in Pennsylvania paid more, but again, everybody in Pennsylvania got paid more, union or not, miner or not, because Pennsylvania had a more diverse and dynamic economy where people could farm, work in steel mills, or any number of things.

                It all comes down to how much you have to pay folks, whether local or luring them to the region, to go down in a dangerous hole, and whether you can make money at that labor cost. Unions don’t really change the basics of that equation.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            Well, the author is a labor lawyer, and I got the impression that he really didn’t think much outside the management/labor paradigm of his likely cases. To him the problem is getting a high-school graduate past a college-educated HR department, whereas most business don’t even have an HR department, they’ve got some owner named Frank or Francine who also locks up and dumps the trash.

            College degrees aren’t needed for the vast majority of US jobs, and certainly not required for starting a business. It should be obvious that since in prior decades almost all non-professional (doctor, lawyer) jobs were done quite well by people without degrees, that the degree isn’t what enabled wide scale job performance. For some reason the US is fixated on the four-year degree route, but that isn’t true for much of Europe.

            I did agree with his complaint that the Democrats with degrees were stealing the moral high ground and sending a message to the non-college educated that they were essentially worthless, or at least had no future in America, but he couldn’t really seem to acknowledge that anything but racism inclined them toward Trump. There is certainly a message problem confronting Democrats, since if they associate themselves entirely in workers minds with Wanda in HR, they’re not going to get many more votes from the shop floor.

            And I should remind folks that LA is currently in mourning for a heroic non-college educated man whose personal $13 million dollar helicopter crashed on the way to his sports academy.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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              says:

              “sending a message to the non-college educated that they were essentially worthless”

              Isn’t this what the free market is telling us?

              When the very best wage that a free worker can negotiate is below what a robot or worker in Malaysia costs, isn’t it perfectly true that the skill of the American human is essentially worthless?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I spent decades working for non-college educated people. They hired engineers to handle the drudge work of designing things, and accountants to manage the millions rolling in from Fortune 500 companies, while they built mansions next to golf courses as tax shelters.

                One of them owned the largest house boat in the state until railroad magnate RJ Corman built a bigger one. RJ Corman, by the way, barely even made it through high school. His only connection with college was that he let Kentucky coaches fly on his business jets.

                People without college degrees can just focus on getting rich, hiring college grads to do the tedious work while they make the big decisions.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                When the very best wage that a free worker can negotiate is below what a robot or worker in Malaysia costs, isn’t it perfectly true that the skill of the American human is essentially worthless?

                Chip is someone holding you hostage and this is your way of calling for help?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                As it has been since man started using tools, the answer to that question depends on the skills the human possesses.

                You repeatedly come back to this and act as if the most basic of skills (the kind that should be easily mastered by adolescents) should somehow still afford a functional human a middle class existence?

                But why? Why should those with level 0 skills have an equal claim to the things those with more developed skills have?

                I could see a claim that an older person, who had once had the skills that were regarded as ‘Middle Class” when s/he was in their prime, has some claim to a measure of that lifestyle. But that scale slides with time and advancement.

                I would avoid being critical of the labor market leaving people behind, and instead save your criticism for a public education system that fails to keep pace.*

                *One of the things I do in my off time is tutor basic comp sci for high school kids. I am more than a little disturbed by the quality of the teaching these kids are getting in their classes, and that such classes are still not only optional, but also considered advanced.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                I was responding to George’s statement that :

                “Democrats with degrees were stealing the moral high ground and sending a message to the non-college educated that they were essentially worthless”.

                Yet, that’s exactly what the marketplace, and you and I both, are saying.

                It isn’t elitist Democrats, or snobby college professors saying this. It is a simple brutal fact of the modern world.

                We can argue about how to fix it, but first we have to confront the truth of the matter.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                There is a bit of tragic overdeterminization in sawing off every rung on the skills ladder below minimum wage and then turning around and calling the people who don’t have those jobs “worthless”.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                -double comment-Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                But that is decidedly NOT what the marketplace has said. It has said that you need to have skills that are not simply the level 0 basic skills if you want to access the MC.

                Trust me, the carpenters, and electricians, and plumbers, and roofers, and drywallers who are currently working on my house are making middle class wages (or better), and I doubt any of them need a college degree to do that.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Well right, not ALL noncollege educated trades have been deskilled.

                I was thinking more of the other non-college educated such as retail workers, food service workers, manufacturing workers.

                Speaking of the trades you mention; There is a vast gulf between the trades which technology has not de-skilled such as electricians, and those it has, such as drywallers.

                Drywallers are what used to be plasterers, which was a unionized skilled trade commensurate with a middle class income. A plasterer earned about the same as a carpenter or plumber.

                But the technology of drywall sucked all the skill out of it, and today a lot of them are pieceworkers, barely above the completely unskilled day laborers.

                In other words, there are vast swaths of labor in America whose market value is what you are calling level 0 basic skills. Its entirely possible that within a short time truck drivers will meet the same fate.

                And again, this isn’t just something a coastal elitist says. This is the verdict of the marketplace.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Drywalling is actually a skill (I can do it, poorly, which is why I pay someone else to do it). Drywallers make, on average, $20-$25/hr (not piece work).Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Yes. The fact that you, me, or anyone standing on a streetcorner can do it without any special training is the point.

                It may not be Level 0 skill, but its getting there.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                No, that is not what I said. Drywalling is a skill, it takes training and practice. It is a relatively easy skill to learn, but it’s still a skill.

                It is also physically demanding, so even if you have some skill with tape and mud, you still have to be strong enough to haul sheet rock around and hang it on a wall or ceiling.

                It also requires knowledge of fire codes for commercial and residential properties, and why kinds of sheet rock go where, and what, if any, treatments they need.

                Hence that knowledge, skill, and the physical demands, command a middle class wage.

                Not as much as, say, an electrician or a plumber, but more than a kid running the fast food counter.

                Seriously, where do you get from my previous comment that drywalling required no training or skill? The fact that I said I could do it? Yes, I can (poorly) because I worked on jobs hanging drywall and people taught me the basics. Turns out it’s a perishable skill.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                We’re getting a bit off track;
                The original point here was that George and the article he linked to, asserted that liberals were disrespecting noncollege educated people.

                My point is that it is technology and the marketplace which is posing a mortal threat to many jobs, and “disrespect” is a distraction.

                When we talk about “the kid running the fast food counter” we are looking at a job which itself was a middle class skillset before technology sucked out the skills of knowing how to cook food.

                I could assert that even today running a fast food counter requires a lot of skill, but why bother? The marketplace has told us what the value of this labor is.

                And the article in question doesn’t dispute this or offer any idea of how to improve it.

                So sniveling about “disrespect” from college educated liberals misses the point.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I’ll give you a few personal anecdotes from one gas station. The tow-truck driver/repo man I occasionally hang out with makes $150 to $200K a year. He thinks it’s hilarious when all those college educated people he tows assume he’s a lowly serf. They have no clue that they’ll never make as much as he does.

                The gas station’s clerks are quite a contrast. They had degrees in marketing, astronomy, and one had an undergraduate history degree and a masters degree in political science.

                One of the regulars was paying uneducated kids $80K a year to paint horse fences for him. He’d built a tractor that straddled the fences that was equipped with photoelectric sensors and an array of spray guns, so it was just driving around and letting the smart-printer do its job. He made so much money that the only limit to his business was finding people who knew how to drive a tractor. They don’t teach that in college.

                The average lineman, out there in their bucket truck, makes about $80K a year. OIl rig workers make about $100K. Elevator mechanics make about $90k, and HVAC folks make about $70K. The average person at Toyota makes about $80K, which is not lost on the locals here. I worked with one young Toyota line manager on an engine test project who was pulling down well over $100K (lots of overtime) and he quipped “My only job before this one was cleaning out gutters!”

                One of my friends didn’t like college and instead spent his money on a special Florida school to become an offshore deep-sea commercial diver. They make an insane amount of money.

                Another didn’t like school at all, dropped out, and started doing regular shovel and weed-eater work on horse farms. In a little over a year he was in Ireland making over $100K, then he was lured to New Zealand by an even more lucrative offer, before finally returning for even more money. His college friends, still working on their degrees, wouldn’t hang out with him because they couldn’t afford to eat at the four-star places he hung out.

                When you go shopping, at places like Walmart, Best Buy, or even your local gas station, get to know your clerks. A surprising number of them have college degrees. My company, the one run by non-college educated millionaires, hired quite a lot of college educated people as electricians, who had degrees in things like sports marketing.

                According to Moneywatch, one in seven waiters and one in six bartenders have bachelors degrees.

                It’s not the sharp economic dividing line that universities so often claim it is. They’re selling a product and marketing a lifestyle, and although they’re correct in many cases (STEM, business, highly specialized professions, etc), there are some people who aren’t going to benefit all that much from it.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                So…rather than pay a skilled painter to paint his fence, he invented a machine that does the work, and only needs a raw unskilled laborer to drive it along?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Yep, and the “unskilled” laborer who has the skills to drive, operate, and maintain a very sophisticated machine was getting paid about $80K. That might because the guy who developed it needed people who knew how to drive a tractor, and could focus well enough to not crash all the fancy automated painting gear right into the fence or something.

                So right off the bat you’re looking for the pool of people who can drive large tractors, which limits the pool to people whose family probably own large tractors, or who already work for such families and probably paid very good money to do so. In horse country, it might take $80K to lure any of them in.

                I know plenty of people who were lured away from college with big paychecks because they had “mad skillz”, some of them just management and leadership skills.

                On the other hand, I used to live with a house full of geology majors who were barely sober for four years, yet who got huge job offers upon graduation. Lots of companies are desperate for geologists, and mining graduates get higher initial offers than Harvard Law graduates.

                That’s supply and demand, and when you look at someone who has yet another English Lit degree with a minor in Spanish, you’re looking at a huge imbalance of supply and demand.

                I had a housemate who got his masters in Renaissance literature from Morehead University, which is on down the highway from Eastern Kentucky University. He was smart as a whip, vacationed in the Czech Republic, and would’ve fit right in at Berkeley, but I think he became a preacher because there’s not much else to do with that degree from that institution. I mean, when was the last time a Kentucky company needed to throw a team of Renaissance literature experts at a project? Painting horse fences in a single afternoon, on the other hand…Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Here in California, we get those tractor drivers from Guatemala who do it a lot cheaper.

                You should suggest that to your friend.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                There you go again, assuming that something is low skill when George just explained that there is more involved than just keeping a a tractor moving in a straight line.

                What do you have against the skill sets needed to do a job evolving? You probably hate that auto mechanics have to know much more about electronics and computers than they did back in the 70’s. Or that engineers and architects don’t need to master the drafting skills we once had to?

                PS Driving a tractor can also be quite a challenge, depending on the terrain. I wouldn’t let someone haul up and start driving an expensive and powerful tractor around just because they managed to pass a driving test.Report

              • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                A lot of farming on any kind of scale, tractor use now involves using things like on-board GPS topography to lay out your fields. Like everything else, technology ingrains in everything.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                My point is twofold:

                One, technology is generally lowering the amount of skill needed to do any given task.

                Two, this happens unevenly and unpredictably; Plasterers became obsolete but not plumbers for example; Manufacturing can be offshored to cheaper locales, but agriculture work can’t;

                I don’t object to job skills evolving, I just don’t see a broad rise in real wages and living standards and job security; I see stagnating wages and a surplus of replacement workers.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                The basic problem is, a factory that in the past required a staff of thousands can now be run by dozens. Yes, those are probably good jobs that pay okay, but their are hundred times fewer than before.

                I once had drinks with a crane operator who had a higher salary than I do. I have no doubt he was worth it. Operating one of those big cranes is not something you want an idiot to do. You certainly wouldn’t want me doing it. I’m clumsy and weird.

                That said, how many such cranes are in operation at one time? How much employment can that provide, versus manufacturing?

                It’s dismal out there, and for a very strange reason: one person can now do the job of hundreds, and the ratio keeps growing for more and more types of jobs.

                “We’ll innovate out of the problem,” says the guy who reads about economics on Reddit.

                No we won’t. Innovation got us here.

                On the one hand, efficiency is pretty great. On the other — well — things are going to get tricky.

                “People will use their free time to come up with novel ideas.”

                Sure, a few will, but how many novel ideas are there really? How many jobs will be created?

                /me looks around

                Well, I see Uber created jobs. Sort of. Maybe. Those resemble “jobs” in some way. The Amazon warehouses seems busy.

                Anyway, something will happen. In some ways it will be like what happened before. In some ways it will be different.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s how I would put it: Lets consider some metrics of prosperity and compare previous generations to ours.

                Compared to your parents/grandparents, can you:

                Accumulate enough capital to buy a house at an earlier age?
                Work fewer hours per week?
                Take longer vacations?
                Retire at a younger age?

                For average person of the WWII and Boomer generations, the answer was unequivocally yes.
                For the average person of the present generation, the answer is no.

                Yet, the average worker today is several times more productive than his parents or grandparents.
                How is this possible?

                We are producing more wealth, yet somehow have less economic security to show for it.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                But this is how it has always been. Deskilling/automation/etc. never happen evenly, nor should they, innovation always happens in fits and spurts.

                Our problem is not that we are innovating ourselves into trouble, it’s that we are not balancing the equation. We are really, really bad about keeping the workforce informed* & trained on what is needed in the market right now, and in the next 5/10/ 20/40 years. If we take the claim about Denmark at face value, then maybe that is what we need to do, focus on a commitment to lifetime education that is less about the sheepskin and more about constantly retraining the workforce.

                Here is my bet (and maybe someone already did this). If you poll people, which do you think they would be more willing to accept:

                A) Public funding of 4 year degrees regardless of major
                B) Public funding of job training programs at local community colleges

                My bet is B will get a lot more support, because what people envision with A is kids getting 4 year degrees in subjects that are not easily translatable to the current market, and those kids being unemployable at a level that will allow them to ‘pay back’ the cost of that education, whereas B is envisioned as cheaper and gets more people working faster because it doesn’t waste time and money teaching useless topics. It’s also easier to turn a displaced worker around with such a program.

                Personally, I’d go for a variant of B, the public funding of training programs and college prep programs at community colleges (the kind I took, that get you through all the common 101 & 201 classes), with some rather robust cost controls. I’d be very resistant to giving the Academia any more public funding (beyond what state schools already get), because as a sector, they have proven horribly irresponsible with it. Additionally, I don’t want the answer to simply be “Bachelors for Everyone!”.

                Regardless, it’s not about innovation devaluing certain kinds of labor here and there, it’s about us not doing much of anything to make sure those impacted negatively by such innovations can get put back to work somehow.

                *If people are getting education and training that does not allow them to enter the workforce at a level commensurate with the effort of that training, then they are ill-informed about what the market needs, and frankly, a lot of that is on the Academy.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Except this time, the technological change isn’t producing the benefit of higher living standards.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                The hell it isn’t.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                If you ask the Gen Xers and Millennials those four questions I asked above, how do you think the majority would answer?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                That is some pretty specific, and very modern, metrics to judge by. But hey, let’s look at that.

                It’s a bit of a mixed bag, and I can’t help but wonder how much of the whole delaying a house or family has less to do with labor compensation and more to do with younger people being unwilling to move out of urban (expensive!!!) centers.

                I mean, we’ve just had a very good decade, and I am inclined to think that the case for income inequality is overstated.

                So if things are good, why are younger people saying they are bad? Maybe because that is the constant refrain they hear from the media? Couple that with the urban real estate issues and sure, I can see why they think it’s a problem, but is the solution to jack up wages, or is the solution to fix the housing issues?

                Because it seems to me that if you don’t fix the housing issues, the sole effect of jacking up wages will be to cause rents & real estate prices to spike accordingly.Report

  5. Avatar Kristin Devine
    Ignored
    says:

    I have nothing to add, other than that I love the photo that goes along with this piece!Report

  6. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    Normally I only believe in conspiracy theories on alternate Tuesdays, but I’ll make an exception for Bolton’s book today.

    Given the speed with which things show up in Library Genesis, and the nature of some of those things, it is clear that the non-fiction publishers leak like sieves. That the Russians have cracked those computer systems is a reasonable explanation. My first thought when the NYTimes got a leaked draft of Bolton’s manuscript was that it was from the Russians by some route or another.Report

    • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Michael Cain
      Ignored
      says:

      I suspect it was leaked either by Bolton’s team themselves or whoever in NSC was vetting it.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Michael Cain
      Ignored
      says:

      The only people with copies of Bolton’s book were the government folks conducting a security review. One of those people is Lt. Col Vindman’s brother.Report

      • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        Just the editing process with publisher and gov’t vetting alone there are hundreds of people with access to that, not to mention whatever circle Bolton worked with to write it, assuming he wrote it himself or with a ghost writer and didn’t farm it out entirely.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        Unless you actually know NSC staff – and have convinced them to break the law by telling you who has the book copies, that’s pure supposition as to who has it. Yes, its probably a tight circle at the NSC since there’s usually less then a dozen people working any one portfolio. And yes, there are news reports it got copied as part of the clearance process when it shouldn’t have. But just because you WANT there to be a Deep State that is sabotaging your very best President doesn’t mean there IS a Depp State sabotaging your very best President.Report

  7. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    Maybe Bolton will testify if Schiff promises to invade Iran.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Thinking about The West Wing today:

    and

    Sadly, I can’t find a clip of this scene:

    JOSH
    You knew we were for free trade. You knew it when you endorsed us five years ago.

    PARSONS
    Yeah, ’cause you told us we might lose old economy jobs – shoe manufacturing – to some dirt-poor country, but if we trained ourselves we’d get better jobs. Now they’re being vacuumed out of here, too.

    JOSH
    We’re going to fight for more job training, more transition assistance…

    PARSONS
    I have members on their third and fourth career. What are they supposed to train for now, nuclear physics? Cello playing? Or should they just give up and bag groceries for minimum wage?Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m on my 3rd career and I’m only in my 40’s. Why is this a problem?Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        I too am on my third-forth career at around the same age, but the question might be better framed as How often have you needed to be retrained due to gov’t actions and not a desire to move on?

        I don’t honestly know if it makes a difference, but there is a feeling there of things not going well. Of not having any say in your future. The wife and I were talking about the various proposals to remove the dams on the Snake river in eastern WA, (Inslee got an appropriation to study this) and what that would do to the areas economy. We both grew up in rural college towns, and have a bit of knowledge about the effects things like this can have. And if the response is simply to retrain the locals, who might have no/little imput on this, it is a recipe for disaster for the local community. Those third and forth careers don’t help, as everyone is now job searching.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Aaron David
          Ignored
          says:

          This is a solid point. So I will qualify my previous:

          Switching careers multiple times is not a bad thing. Being forced to switch careers multiple times is indicative of a failure. A whole community or demographic being forced to change careers is a systemic failure.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
        Ignored
        says:

        Yeah, you’d think that those people on The West Wing would have a better attitude.Report

  1. February 3, 2020

    […] I’m on the record doubting Senator Bernie Sanders’ prospects, let’s play along for a moment, because Team Trump has been stoking the fires of the Bernie […]Report

  2. February 10, 2020

    […] Held Up Good — John Bolton: […]Report

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