Rep Ayanna Pressley Federal Jobs Guarantee Resolution: Read It For Yourself

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 and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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121 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    Well that is a Progressive Laundry List of Dreams. Good luck with that.

    Probably easier to just do a UBI…Report

  2. Dark Matter
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m not sure how this would work in practice.

    Will they pay min-wage? Does the gov not have the right to fire people?

    If that’s “yes” and “no”, then can I sign up for that job and just not show up?Report

  3. North
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ll take things that have even less chance of being pushed into law by the Democratic Party but’re being presented to signal virtue to the arch liberals for $200 Andrew.Report

  4. Chip Daniels
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    says:

    Would this jobs program cost more or less than the 6 Trillion being spent on futile Mideast wars?

    Which, in a sane universe, would have had even less chance of becoming a reality.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      11 million people x $30k a year is $330 Billion a year. If we use your 20+ year accounting we’ll probably end up with about the same.

      But it’s not clear to me…
      1) What they’d be doing?
      2) What effect this would have on the rest of the job market?

      The potential for economic distortions here seems really high.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
        Ignored
        says:

        Maybe some of them would be building seawalls on the coastlines to mitigate climate change.
        Or rebuilding Texas’ failed electrical grid.

        (Sort of joking, sorta not. Climate change will distort our economy in ways no one has yet calculated)

        But in any event, “distortion” is a poor word to use since there is no “natural” or “undistorted” state of the economy.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          “Distortion” was what we tended to say in class, but fair enough.

          The only countries which have tried this seriously have been economic dis-utopias.

          We would be employing very large numbers of people in make work jobs that would probably have minimal-to-no (hopefully not negative although China had that) economic output.

          In the normal course of things that labor would be used at some point by the productive part of the economy. Putting the gov in charge of vast amounts of labor also means putting significantly more amounts of the economy under the directive of political masters and not economic ones.

          Politically this might be a winner as a vast social program.
          Economically it sounds like a dumpster fire.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
            Ignored
            says:

            “We would be employing very large numbers of people in make work jobs”

            How do you know this?
            There isn’t a lot of work that can’t be done like, oh, maybe building housing that everyone says we need more of?

            I mean, whenever someone wants to build a new fighter jet, they boast about how many jobs it will create.

            Yet defense spending is practically the definition of “make work” jobs.

            Suppose we took a few dozen billions of dollars and instead of building a fighter jet, we build housing all across the country. Or upgraded electricity infrastructure, or whatever.

            I’m not saying that any federal jobs program will be good, or bad. It depends on what the work is and how it is administered.

            But we should be clear about the fact that right now, and since forever, we have had all sorts of federal jobs programs, but under different names.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              Are you familiar with the concept of “bullshit jobs”?

              If not, you can read the wiki page dedicated to the phenomenon here.

              If you don’t want to click on the link, the first paragraph of the summary reads:

              In Bullshit Jobs, American anthropologist David Graeber posits that the productivity benefits of automation have not led to a 15-hour workweek, as predicted by economist John Maynard Keynes in 1930, but instead to “bullshit jobs”: “a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence even though, as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case.”

              If you agree that this phenomenon exists under the current less-than-full-employment paradigm, I think that it’s easy to see how a huge percentage of the jobs that would be created would be less than so-essential-that-someone-would-pay-for-them.

              (One of the big problems with building housing in the current year doesn’t seem to be “we can’t find labor!” as much as “it would damage the historic culture of the neighborhood”.)Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              …maybe building housing that everyone says we need more of?

              You don’t think the reasons which prevent us from building now will keep preventing us? Or will the gov be allowed to ignore the gov’s regulations, roadblocks, court appeals, and so forth?

              If only the gov can ignore these things and build houses, then we instantly run into rule of law issues as well as others. The better solution is just to get rid of all of these ways the gov uses to prevent the creation of housing.

              Yet defense spending is practically the definition of “make work” jobs.

              Hardly. At the end of that process, we have military jets and can blow up foreign generals overseas. Spending the same money digging a ditch and then filling it in doesn’t seem like it’s comparable.

              Similarly building infrastructure also isn’t the definition of “make work”, but if we’re going to pretend that the gov MUST give everyone a job, no matter what, then we’re deep into “make work”.

              Now if this is marketing-spin (i.e. lies) on something the gov should be doing then that’s something else.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                “At the end of that process, we have military jets and can blow up foreign generals overseas. Spending the same money digging a ditch and then filling it in doesn’t seem like it’s comparable.”

                You know how absurd this sounds?

                Like, the near-cliché (but true!) about the military building a bridge then blowing it up as being emblematic of the absurdity and waste of war.

                Somewhere Joseph Heller is looking at a son fighting in the war his father started, fighting over the same hill with the same insane blandishments from the generals about imminent victory, and shaking his head wondering how his imagination was too small to conceive of this scale of dark comedy.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              Building housing and infrastructure is skilled labor. Do we have a large population of unemployed skilled labor? Or are current projects on hold for lack of labor?

              Are we planning to train up a skilled workforce? How many?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                All good questions to be answered.

                Like I said, there are ways this could be implemented and create awful results, or ways it could be implemented and create good results.

                For both those who love or hate this idea, a bit of tempered expectations is in order.

                Could every single person be given a productive job overnight?
                Of course not.

                Could a series of large federally funded projects be created to boost employment? Probably.

                The original New Deal WPA and CCC type programs had both successes and failures but overall benefitted the country.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                We just barely got rid of Trump and still have one political party that remains infatuated with the guy. My faith in the ability of the federal government to not have this be awful is lacking.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Federal Gov currently has 47 Job training programs.

                Various studies over the years have found that some programs may provide modest benefits, but others show no positive effects.

                More fundamentally, federal employment and training programs don’t fill any critical economic need that private markets don’t already fill. Instead, the federal programs provide an opportunity for policymakers to show that they are “doing something” to help the labor market. To policymakers, federal job training sounds like something that should boost the economy, but five decades of experience indicate otherwise.

                https://www.downsizinggovernment.org/labor/employment-training-programsReport

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Just send the budget for those agencies to Mike Rowe, he seems to be much more effective.

                https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/with-millions-looking-for-work-stigmas-create-a-dearth-of-skilled-tradespeopleReport

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Are you trying to argue that job training doesn’t work, or that government job training doesn’t work, or that the federal jobs programs as currently operated don’t work?

                These are three very different assertions with wildly different implications!

                First, we know that skills training works; The military and colleges and private organizations do it effectively every day.

                Second, school, just plain old ordinary school from kindergarten through university is “government job training” and we know it also works effectively.

                So really, the only plausible assertion here is that the 47 federal job training programs as currently constituted aren’t working.
                Which just needs some fleshing out, and suggestions for how they can be corrected.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Are you trying to argue that job training doesn’t work, or that government job training doesn’t work, or that the federal jobs programs as currently operated don’t work?

                This reminds me of the “masks don’t work!” discourse from last year.

                What is the goal?

                100% prevention of a malady?

                Then, no. They don’t work.

                32.7% prevention of a malady? Oh, they work pretty good, then.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Part of these arguments is often an underlying moral premise that something SHOULDN’T work, because the implications of it working are disturbing.

                One of the biggest obstacles for both “Government can do anything!” and “Government CAN’T do anything!” partisans is the military.

                Militaries, both ancient and modern, have demonstrated the ability of centralized planning and organization to do marvelous things on a grand scale.
                But they also demonstrate the limitations of that ability.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Part of these arguments is often an underlying moral premise that something SHOULDN’T work, because the implications of it working are disturbing.

                Obviously, the best solution to this is to change moral premises to how it *SHOULD* work because the implications of it working are uplifting.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If it worked, then the economy would always be at full employment.

                We’ve tried this 47 times. Other countries have also tried it.

                I’m thinking the issue isn’t with a lack of vision nor a lack of morality.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I love it when people point at the military as an example of how centralized planning can do great things.

                Yes, yes it can, when that planning has a great deal of discipline and control and the ability to punish and eject members who won’t get with the program.

                The UCMJ and the concept of “Orders are binding, legal instructions you are obligated to obey and execute*” won’t fly in general. Hell, it barely works in militaries with conscription (there is a reason most countries with a service requirement limit it to 2 years).

                It’s not something that is scalable.

                *With very narrow exceptionsReport

              • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                You know, maybe something like that *COULD* work.

                If we could get the kids young enough, though.

                Perhaps we could create something like this for the vanishingly small percentage of inter-generational welfare recipients?

                We can make “job training” work, if only we, as a society, are willing to put our backs into it. But we have to start young.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Didn’t we try something like that with Native Americans?

                No matter, we are all much more woke now, I’m sure we’ll get it right this time!Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I’d say the point being made is that the federal government is not being effective at getting people trained, and thus they would likewise not be very effective at finding people work.

                Thus, perhaps rather than trying to guarantee everyone a job, the federal government should be looking for ways it is interfering in, or disincentivizing, the creation of jobs.

                Now, something a federal agency could possibly be good at (something like this exists in the VA for service members exiting service) is helping people who want to work find work they can do, and/or help them find training they can be successful at, and then find work.

                You know, the coordination problem that a lot of people are very, very bad at.

                State unemployment agencies often offer such services, but the results vary a lot, probably because of budget concerns (I remember using such a service in WI before I joined the Navy, it wasn’t very good).Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                A jobs guarantee by fiat comes, ironically, from the same sort of thinking that gives us the term “Job Creators”.

                That is, that jobs are created by willpower or heroic effort by an individual.

                Instead jobs being the outcome of variables like consumer demand, access to capital, available natural resources, skilled labor, stable legal system, and so on.

                If “Job Creators”, government or private, could simply create jobs (were it not for those pesky impediments!) then they would and there would never be unemployment.

                Also ironically, part of a federal jobs program would indeed be removing what you describe as interference and disincentive.

                Along with creating favorable conditions for employment such as improved education and transportation and energy grids and other variables.

                For example- how many jobs have been destroyed by the poor response to the pandemic? How many more were destroyed by Texas’ failed energy grid?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                That is, that jobs are created by willpower or heroic effort by an individual.

                That’s a lovely sentiment and it has feck all to do with my point. Jobs are, as you say, created when conditions are appropriate. Not because of some heroic effort by employers.

                But just because a need for workers might exist, does not mean that other factors can’t interfere. Perhaps the government has limited access to capital, or imposed additional costs on the hiring of people. Perhaps the government has engaged in a decades long PR campaign to drive everyone to universities and unintentionally so damaged the supply of skilled labor that employers can’t find anyone to hire.

                You admit that the government has interference and disincentives, so if it can get rid of them for it’s make work programs, why can’t it just get rid of them, and not bother with make work programs?

                Why are you so determined to have the government do this? What magic competence do you think the government has for this kind of effort? Why should we have the government do anything that it does not need to do?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Instead jobs being the outcome of variables like consumer demand, access to capital, available natural resources, skilled labor, stable legal system, and so on.

                If we’re talking about small business, then the key part is someone taking their life savings and trying to start a company.

                I’ve done this. I failed. The owner of the Pizza store a couple of miles down did this and was more successful.

                Yes, other things are needed. However trying to airbrush the “guy risking his life savings” out of the picture seems like a mistake.

                part of a federal jobs program would indeed be removing what you describe as interference and disincentive.

                What will make this program much more successful than it’s 47 brothers?

                Why were those failures and what will be changed?

                For example- how many jobs have been destroyed by the poor response to the pandemic? How many more were destroyed by Texas’ failed energy grid?

                You’re pointing to governmental failures and insisting that if this sort of thing were done by the government, we should expect different outcomes.

                What are we changing that we should expect that?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m saying our real world experience with this sort of thing is, absent some obvious use/need for these people, the program instantly becomes a boondoggle.

                That “obvious need for these people” is the big thing missing from a “everyone gets a job” program.

                Now maybe I’ve missed it, maybe everyone gets a job is spin on “lets build infrastructure”; However what’s on the table looks a lot more like the 47 failures than it looks like “the military, colleges, and private industry”.Report

            • Mark Lieberman in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              Excellent comment. It’s so much easier for Republicans to shoot down every proposal that attempts to address a social problem.Report

            • Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              Housing shortages aren’t caused by a lack of manpower or government funding. The private sector is perfectly capable of building housing with no government funding at all, but local governments won’t allow it to do so.Report

  5. Marchmaine
    Ignored
    says:

    For the constituency that doesn’t like work-for-welfare requirements, have I got a plan for you!

    So much abuse this will see.

    In the future memes will be written about ‘if you could go back in time and kill *one* govt program, what would it be’Report

  6. InMD
    Ignored
    says:

    Seems like the usual stuff from a back bencher in an ultra safe district. I suspect traction is limited. Yet we must discuss.Report

  7. Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    Like the oft ballyhooed Green New Deal,this Resolution is a statement of sentiment. Even if it gets debate and a floor vote, it does nothing else. Resolutions don’t appropriate funds. They don’t authorize federal action by an executive branch agency. It won’t go to the president for veto or signature.

    While i support the sentiments being expressed, this won’t alter the economic landscape one iota.Report

  8. Murali
    Ignored
    says:

    You know how to get full employment?

    Repeal the minimum wage (state and federal) and replace with minimum basic income
    Roll out the covid vaccine.
    Lower the payroll tax. Ideally fund most of August security from income taxes. Leave some for counter cyclical policy leverage.
    I would also say lower corporate and capital gains taxes. Fund everything with income, luxury and sales taxesReport

    • Murali in reply to Murali
      Ignored
      says:

      * that should be social security not AugustReport

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Murali
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      says:

      Americans for better or for worse believe in work providing meaning and while UBI might be defensible, I don’t think it is quite politically realistic. Also you are missing the point, the purpose is to provide employment that also provides adequate wages. I don’t think there is anything wrong policy or morality wise with using government employment as a way to get and keep people in the middle class. Your policies might or might not lead to “full employment” but it won’t be employment at anything but sustenance wages, if that.Report

      • Murali in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I thought the idea of employment policy is for

        A) People who want a job to have one

        B) And that job be something that they want to do and

        C) They have an adequate income

        My plan does all of that and more while a federal jobs guarantee is unlikely to work (hence not providing A, B or C) and if it does work, only gets people A and maybe C provided that the federal minimum wage is adequate.

        Not everybody believes in work providing meaning and of those who do, not everybody ends up getting a job which provides them meaning. For those who do believe in meaningful work, UBI allows them to find meaningful work without having to tradeoff against more remunerative (but less meaningul) work in order to make ends meet. I’m picturing someone who would rather be an artist, author or teacher but becomes an insurance adjustor to pay the bills.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Murali
          Ignored
          says:

          I’m picturing someone who would rather be an artist, author or teacher but becomes an insurance adjustor to pay the bills.

          If memory serves, when I did the math on workable UBIs my observation was everyone who makes above $18k(?) would be a net loser (i.e. they’re paying for their own UBI plus chipping in to the general pot).

          Odds are that includes your teacher, author, and artist.

          There are a ton of ways to implement a UBI so that’s not a hard observation, but the big way to get around that would be to convert all of our current social spending into UBIs… which would be Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.

          325 Million people in the US.
          A UBI of $1000 would cost $325 Billion.
          A UBI of $10,000 would cost $3.25 Trillion.

          If we’re not going to choke the economy then a UBI is a tool to help the bottom 5% or 10%. And income for the bottom 10% maxes out at $10,500 (Census: 2005).Report

    • Jesse in reply to Murali
      Ignored
      says:

      Typical supply side “unless we give corporations and businesses everything they want, they won’t hire people.” In reality, conservatives continually said until you cut taxes and regulations, job growth wouldn’t come.

      We largely didn’t do that, and the economy continued to grow all throughout the Obama Presidency and through the Trump Presidency pre-COVID to unemployment lows that were thought impossible.Report

      • Murali in reply to Jesse
        Ignored
        says:

        Typical supply side “unless we give corporations and businesses everything they want, they won’t hire people.” In reality, conservatives continually said until you cut taxes and regulations, job growth wouldn’t come

        Payroll taxes is a matter of automatic stabilisers. Normally, in a recession, you want to cut the cost of employing someone without reducing how much they take home. We can raise those taxes back up when the economy recovers. Given that corporate taxes are normally passed on to customers and employees, you should want to cut those as well. And, if CEOs just use that as an excuse to pay themselves more, you can just recover the money by increasing the top bracket of the personal income tax.

        The problem with the US economy is the extremely low personal savings rate (~7%). It should be about 5 times the amount at least. With such a low savings rate,

        1) families are in a more precarious position during crises
        2) you should have sky high interest rates, but you don’t meaning that
        3) Your banks are dangerously over-leveraged.

        What you need to do is to shift some consumption behaviour to savings. (Because savings is ultimately just investment) luxury and sales taxes do that. Capital gains taxes hinder investment, so you need to cut that tax. You’re not in a liquidity trap where you have too much savings. Compared to the rest of the world, you have too little.

        Rather, the current recession is caused by high frictions caused by the necessary measures countries are taking to contain COVID. So, basically, you need to contain COVID quickly. If that means another lockdown, so be it. Once Covid is contained, you can start instituting travel bubbles with other countries which have contained COVID.

        Well, Trump did cut a lot of taxes (though not all of them were best placed to do the most good, especially the income taxes). If you have to cut income taxes, cut it on those earning 25k/year or less. Those people shouldn’t be paying any income taxes. Increase it for higher brackets.

        We largely didn’t do that, and the economy continued to grow all throughout the Obama Presidency and through the Trump Presidency pre-COVID to unemployment lows that were thought impossible

        The unemployment figures are misleading. Yes, it went below 4 for the first time in a long while, but that belies the fact that your labour force participation rate is still at the low 60s, barely about where it was after the great recession. That means that after the great recession, about 3% of working age adults (or about 5% of the workforce) gave up. In fact, you see another anaemic recovery in the aftermath of the 2000 financial crisis. Your labour force participation rate was at its highest in the clinton years at 67% and took a small sharp dip (to just below 66%) at the beginning of the bush years. It recovered to about 66% in ’05 and then fell again in ’08. It continued in free fall all the way to 2015 when it levelled off at below 63% and then slowly started to recover during the trump years. But again, this recovery was terrible. It barely managed to go above 63% in december 2019, but then COVID hit.

        The american economy is fundamentally unsound and looking at unemployment rates doesn’t tell you the whole story.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Murali
          Ignored
          says:

          What you need to do is to shift some consumption behaviour to savings. (Because savings is ultimately just investment) luxury and sales taxes do that. Capital gains taxes hinder investment, so you need to cut that tax. You’re not in a liquidity trap where you have too much savings. Compared to the rest of the world, you have too little.

          This is an _incredibly_ nonsensical way to look at this problem.

          The problem is not that the average American is spending instead of savings.

          The problem is a large chunk of Americans are doing _debt servicing_ instead of savings, because they have been dragged into debt by necessity. Sometimes this necessity is merely perceived, by believing they have to go to college or that they need to buy a house as an investment, but they are, nevertheless, in debt. And it’s not due to ‘consumption behavior’.

          And the rest of them are barely operating by spending all their money. Luckily not in debt, but unable to save.

          There is literally no problem, whatsoever, of average American _choosing_ to spend on luxuries instead of save. Almost no one is _choosing_ that.

          There is a particularly stupid and small segment of the upper-middle class doing that, yes, and occasionally will get dragged online for ‘How do I balance my budget with my family’s $30,000 a month wine spending?’, but these examples are not actually important, because the upper-middle class spending money on stupid things is a _good_ thing. They do already have all the savings they need, on average!

          Literally everything about how you framed the problem in that paragraph is utterly nonsensical and wrong.

          Mostly because you wanted to justify cutting capital gains tax, for no reason. Which, of course, has literally nothing to do with how Americans who _don’t have enough savings_ save. Most of the people struggling to do savings but who can manage a little of it put their money in either a) their house, which has tons of exceptions on capital gain that most people mostly fall under, or b) an IRA that is not subject to capital gains.

          Every single American who has ever worried about capital gains at a scale that might discourage them from investing in the market has a dedicated savings account and has already made plans for retirement. And is not someone who needs to be encouraged to save…they are someone who needs to be encouraged to spend!

          Assuming such people even exist _at all_, because people don’t actually stand there and go ‘Should I invest this money or buy things I don’t need with it?’ and calculate the answer to that question using minor variations on their return on investment.

          “Do I want this fancy coffee maker for $400? If I invest the $400 instead, at let’s say, 1.3% interest a year, compounded monthly, I’ll make another $55 in a decade…so maybe I’ll save the money. But, wait, I forgot about 30% capital gain when I cashed out, which would reduce my gain to only $38.50 over that decade! Coffee maker it is!”Report

          • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
            Ignored
            says:

            I can psychically predict someone is going to reply to me with: Okay, a lot of people are not really rich enough to ‘save’, especially people in debt, but they could spend less. (Which, of course, has nothing to do with capital gains, but whatever.)

            Which is a part of the response I didn’t even get into, but I will preemptively reply: Your solution to the amount of debt is less spending by people in debt? So you want the economy to contract massively?

            A lot of the economy is trickle-sideways. It is the moderately poor people having so little free time that they end up giving money to even _poorer_ people. I.e., poor couple that scraps together enough money to pay a neighbor to babysit and go out to Steak and Shake, where poor people work, and then go to a movie, where a bunch of other poor people work.

            Saying ‘They should cut out that luxury and stick that money in the bank for emergencies’ is actually bad for the economy _even if_ it’s good advice in any specific instance.

            Honestly, a hell of a lot of advice for poor people is _startlingly_ bad when judged by ‘What would happen to society if every poor person actually did this?’, even the stuff that is good advice if only that person does it! This is _literally_ how we got college degrees required for be a receptionist and other nonsensical positions. It was good advice for any random poor person to borrow to get a college degree….except that it resulted in all of them doing it, thus putting everyone back wherre they started except with a bunch of debt.

            Which makes me think either the people making those suggestions either just want to attack poor people and aren’t making these suggestions in good faith…or have no mental economic model whatsoever.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              Part of the problem is that different classes have different virtues.

              If we could make more people need their own virtues to protect them less, maybe we could make them adopt our virtues instead.

              (I mean, it’d sure suck if they only got rid of their old virtues without replacing them!)Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              Saying ‘They should cut out that luxury and stick that money in the bank for emergencies’ is actually bad for the economy _even if_ it’s good advice in any specific instance.

              It’s great advice.

              Which makes me think either the people making [college] suggestions either just want to attack poor people and aren’t making these suggestions in good faith…or have no mental economic model whatsoever.

              This feels more like mistaking the trappings of a class for being in that class.

              The MC/UC have houses because of their fiscal sanity and stability. So let’s make sure everyone has a house because that will make them fiscally sane and stable.

              Ditto college degrees.

              I’d guess it’s more “lack of economic model” than it is a lack of good faith. This whole “job’s guarantee” idea hits the radar as something like that. Why not just have the gov create as many Great Jobs as we need? This will sidestep the issues of supply/demand and skill and so on.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s great advice.

                The lack of people spending money has resulted in a recession right now.

                Every dollar not spend is not made. It is a lower GDP.

                Everyone understands this, right? Everyone understands the basic premise of the economy, right? That it is a measurement of goods manufactured and purchased by people?

                This feels more like mistaking the trappings of a class for being in that class.

                No, it’s basically the tragedy of the commons. Or…not really that, because it’s not free, but something like that.

                People told people who didn’t need degrees that degrees would make them stand out and get hired.

                Which was completely true at an individual level.

                This is the equivalent of telling someone they should show up to a job interview in a cashmere wool suit. Yeah, sure, it might get them a job…and another person a job…and another person…

                …and at some point, society has a shortage of cashmere, we are tearing down forests to maintain cashmere goat herds, the cost of the suits are $100,000 each and people are renting them for $1000 to go on a job interview, and no one has any explanation of why the hell this going on or how it helps anyone.

                Oh, I think I know what it’s called. It’s peacocking? A wasteful and prolific waste of resources to demonstrate how ‘good’ a choice the person doing it would be.

                It’s stupid when evolution results in animals that do it, but it’s absurd nonsense when humans start doing it. ‘Look, I can spend four years doing nonsense and incurring huge amounts of debt to show how awesome I am. Please hire me for light clerical work.’

                The MC/UC have houses because of their fiscal sanity and stability. So let’s make sure everyone has a house because that will make them fiscally sane and stable.

                You are arguing as if politicians are stupid. Whereas I suspect politicians knew this wouldn’t work well, and that houses are a very shitty investment, but politicians don’t do smart things, politicians do the things they are paid to do, specifically, reorient the economy around house ownership….or, rather servicing the debt of house ownership. Or…possibly, they just didn’t care. Maybe they even had good intentions and then just got paid to never fix the system.

                Now, yeah, the average American fell for it. Home ownership had always been a good thing, but home ownership usually meant _actual_ home ownership, not decades of payments, and it took Americans until…well, until Millennials to figure the system was a complete scam. (Cue dozens of articles about: Why aren’t Millennials dumb enough to participate in a scam where banks take huge chunks of their income for decades and all their supposed savings if they can’t keep up payments?)

                I’d guess it’s more “lack of economic model” than it is a lack of good faith. This whole “job’s guarantee” idea hits the radar as something like that. Why not just have the gov create as many Great Jobs as we need? This will sidestep the issues of supply/demand and skill and so on.

                The government actually can create jobs out of thin air, because the government can print money, and just pay people to do things. The government is not limited to supply and demand, and, in fact, shouldn’t be.

                That’s a weird thought. How much demand is there for meter readers? Are people ever thinking ‘I wish someone would come through here and give me a parking ticket’? Like, almost nothing the government does has much of a ‘demand’.

                And we currently have plenty of things we could pay people to do, things that we all agree really do need doing. For example, something like 70% of all firefighting is via unpaid volunteers. Why are we relying on volunteers to do something that is such a critical public service? Because…people were willing to volunteer? But is that the best way to attract people?

                Same with cleaning trash on the side of roads. Or making license plates…both of which, notable, we ‘volunteer’ prisoners for in very scammy ways, below min wage, often in ways they really can’t refuse. (Just read horror stories of female prisoners having to work to buy enough tampons.)

                Replace all prison labor, and all ‘for the public good’ volunteer labor, with actual normally-paid jobs. And that actually short-circuits a lot of concerns about ‘skilled workers’…if we’re willing to let random volunteers and prisoners do stuff, I have to suggest they don’t actually require much training.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “People told people who didn’t need degrees that degrees would make them stand out and get hired.”

                Oh, those degrees did make them stand out. From black people. Which, as I keep saying, is mostly where the recent push for “everyone needs a college degree” comes from; it’s just about the only way employers can legally discriminate against nonwhite/nonrich/nonsmart persons.

                How do you fix that? Dunno. But “stop requiring everyone to have a job to live” would be a good start, but, well, everyone’s yelling at Murali that this probably impossible and certainly a gift to large corporations, so.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                it’s just about the only way employers can legally discriminate against nonwhite/nonrich/nonsmart persons.

                The key word there is “nonsmart”. My company has engineering (especially software) positions open. It’s not “discrimination” to think a BA in some fluff degree doesn’t qualify you for any of them.

                Colleges like to blur the lines between the serious and non-serious degrees so everyone can be a winner. That works until you graduate.

                “stop requiring everyone to have a job to live” would be a good start,

                We already do this. The number of people who starved last year is roughly zero.

                The problem isn’t you need a job to live, the problem is it sucks at the bottom.

                1) Some of the suckiness would be fixed if we fixed the housing situation (where the supply is deliberately restricted by local forces).
                2) We’re a competitive species, some of the suck is intrinsic.
                3) Some of this takes us into the realm of what to do with people who make poor choices because of mental illness, addiction, or just in general.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Every dollar not spend is not made. It is a lower GDP.

                If you hide it under your bed, then yes.
                If you keep it in a bank then it can be loaned out.

                Nor does that change that it’s STILL great advice to live below your means as opposed to pay check to pay check.

                It’s peacocking? A wasteful and prolific waste of resources to demonstrate how ‘good’ a choice the person doing it would be.

                Good name. It’s a way to show fitness. On a side note, the human brain is to us what the peacock’s tail is to it.

                It’s stupid when evolution results in animals that do it, but it’s absurd nonsense when humans start doing it. ‘Look, I can spend four years doing nonsense and incurring huge amounts of debt to show how awesome I am. Please hire me for light clerical work.’

                Yup. I’ve spelled that out to my kids. For the eldest (and least fiscally sensible) I took extreme steps but she got the college she needed and not what she wanted.

                Preventing people from doing foolish things is hard, especially when those things aren’t foolish for many of the people who do them.

                home ownership usually meant _actual_ home ownership, not decades of payments,

                This is another exaggeration. It’s perfectly reasonable to never pay off your home, even by design. Say if your stock market investments are expected to have returns higher than the interest you’re paying on your house.

                The government actually can create jobs out of thin air, because the government can print money, and just pay people to do things. The government is not limited to supply and demand, and, in fact, shouldn’t be.

                The countries which have seriously tried this are Communist China and the USSR. The USA has made due with those 47 failed job’s training programs, some of which date back to FDR.

                Real world evidence suggests, strongly, that the gov can’t simply do this with a wave of a wand and/or it’s something the gov is really bad at.

                something like 70% of all firefighting is via unpaid volunteers. Why are we relying on volunteers to do something that is such a critical public service?

                1) Fires are seriously boom/bust.
                2) It’s cheaper, and ideally gov services are paid for.
                3) Apparently there are enough people who want to volunteer that it’s a thing.

                Replace all prison labor, and all ‘for the public good’ volunteer labor, with actual normally-paid jobs.

                There are two million prisoners in the us, not all work, I doubt their work is productive enough to survive in the real world. Insisting that those jobs be paid a real world income is probably also insisting those jobs not exist. It’s not clear to me that this would be a good thing but we’re stepping into prison reform as opposed to economic reform.

                Further we, currently, have 9 million gov workers and we have 10 million unemployed. Doubling the size of the gov seems like a problem even if it weren’t funded by “Weimar Republic” style money printing.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                If you hide it under your bed, then yes.
                If you keep it in a bank then it can be loaned out.

                Basically all money is in banks, and all money can be loaned out, statistically speaking. It doesn’t matter if you buy a pizza with it, so the pizza shop gets it, and puts it in their bank, or you don’t spend it, leaving it in your bank. That has no impact on the money supply.

                It does, however, impact the GDP. Because that particular pizza purchase wasn’t made, in fact, the pizza itself was not made.

                Nor does that change that it’s STILL great advice to live below your means as opposed to pay check to pay check.

                You can stand there and keep saying ‘It’s a good idea!’ but I will still point out you are violating Kant’s Imperative there, and are suggesting that people should, individually, behave in a way that would disastrous for society.

                This is another exaggeration. It’s perfectly reasonable to never pay off your home, even by design. Say if your stock market investments are expected to have returns higher than the interest you’re paying on your house.

                I didn’t say it was unreasonable to pay off your home. I said that an entire generation got lured into the concept of home ownership (Which used to be actual home ownership.) with what was basically _pretend_ home ownership via massive debt that would be fine because it was ‘an investment’…actually, I guess two generations got lured into it, and it actually worked for the first of them, until it didn’t.

                The countries which have seriously tried this are Communist China and the USSR. The USA has made due with those 47 failed job’s training programs, some of which date back to FDR.

                Real world evidence suggests, strongly, that the gov can’t simply do this with a wave of a wand and/or it’s something the gov is really bad at.

                Job ‘training’ is scam promise by politicians. I said the government can provide jobs. By hiring people.

                1) Fires are seriously boom/bust.

                Huh? I mean, I understand you mean that fire cycles are semi-random cycles, but…lots of government things are. That’s literally why we have the government do them instead of private industry.

                Not that having private industry do fire protection is even vaguely a good idea even if it was some predictable thing. We have more than enough historical evidence about what happens when you privatize fire fighting…they make sure to create plenty of demand for their services.

                2) It’s cheaper, and ideally gov services are paid for.

                It would be rather easy for firefighting to have an effect on the economy that would more than pay for itself. That’s why we have professional firefighters at all.

                Now, in a lot of places, where they are still volunteers, professionals might not _fully_ pay for themselves. I get that. But that doesn’t mean we should pretend they are a complete drag…not only would they at least partially recover their cost, but they could save lives, outside of an economic effect. If upgrading a fire department from volunteer to (mostly) professional cost the government $400,000 a year, but saved $200,000 in property due to response time, and one life…

                And, this isn’t usually a real financial ‘decision’ that is being made, anyway. A lot of smaller communities just don’t have the money. Even if hiring professionals would hypothetically save money by bringing in more tax revenue…they can’t get to that point. They just play the odds that a devastating fire _won’t_ burn down half of downtown and cripples their tax revenue.

                And it’s interesting…we have the US government spend all sorts of money to subsidize police. At every level: https://www.npr.org/2020/06/09/872387351/how-federal-dollars-fund-local-police

                And yet…firefighting, not so much. At best, there are ‘fire safety’ grants to make cities safer, but actual money for a fire department? To pay firefighters? Not really.

                3) Apparently there are enough people who want to volunteer that it’s a thing.

                Yes, but that doesn’t mean that’s a reasonable way to operate society.

                There are two million prisoners in the us, not all work, I doubt their work is productive enough to survive in the real world.

                Every Federal prisoner actually works, the entire time. Mostly in the prison, mostly operating it. A few working ‘outside’ jobs. (Often inside the prison.) This means, if we stopped them from working, we’d theoretically have to pay people to do those jobs. But you’re right…a huge chunk of those are pretend jobs, it’s ‘Here a mop, keep this area clean’. Maybe only half are real. Maybe it’s only quarter. I don’t know. And I also don’t know, and I’m not sure it’s even compiled anywhere, how many state prisoners work.

                But even if it’s just 10% ‘real jobs’ average across all prisons, only creating 200,000 jobs is…good. And, as a bonus, we no longer force people to work what is essentially involuntary servitude, even if it is the _constitutional_ sort of involuntary servitude. Yes, that’s more about prison reform than jobs, but…both of them are good things.

                Further we, currently, have 9 million gov workers and we have 10 million unemployed. Doubling the size of the gov seems like a problem even if it weren’t funded by “Weimar Republic” style money printing.

                In 1980, all levels of government in the US employed a total of 16 million people, under a total population of 226 million, or 7.0% of the population.

                At the start of 2020, all levels of government in the US employ a total of 22 million people, under a total population of 329 million, or 6.7% of the population. (Note we have now lost a million and a half government employees under Covid, not in those calculations.)

                That’s not very different, so what is my point? My point is we could easily add another million and a half government jobs just to bring us back to 1980 percentages. We haven’t added any real government jobs in a decade…we had exactly that same amount in 2008. And then we had a recession, governments cut jobs, and we’re just getting back to where we started…or, rather, we _were_ doing that before Covid.

                See, there’s the problem with local government jobs: Local communities are forced to cut back during recessions, which is, obviously, counterproductive. There are two ways we could fix that…either by making more things under Federal control, which I don’t like and I don’t think a lot of people would, or making long-term guaranteed grants to those communities to…hire firefighters, for example. Or ‘hire people to work in your prisons instead of using prisoners’. (Although honestly, I’m not sure giving states grants to run prisons is a good idea, but whatever.)Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                This is the rub. First we need to identify jobs that need doing by the federal government that do not require specialized training or knowledge, and then we need to look at why those jobs are not currently being done by federal employees.

                Take your prison janitor example. You got two things going on. One, it’s already crazy expensive to run a prison (I think we both agree it would be better to have fewer prisons, and fewer prisoners, anyway). So adding someone else to the payroll only adds to the cost.

                Two, keeping prisoners busy is a good thing. Ideally, we should have them busy taking classes and getting an education, rather than mopping floors, but unless we actually do that, we are making things worse by not having prisoners work to operate parts of the prison.

                But the larger question is still there – what work is there for all these people to do? Do federal or state agencies need a bunch of inexperienced and untrained people to do, what? Are we going to fund lots of federal agency OJT? Hell, how many of the unemployed/underemployed are actually legally prohibited for working for a federal agency?

                You can’t just say, “Build Infrastructure!”, because there is no infrastructure that the federal government builds (except through the USACE, but USACE will have the same issue). It’s all contracted out, and contractors are not going to want to deal with a bunch of inexperienced and untrained people showing up to build a new bridge.

                We could put them to work in the federal parks/forests/BLM doing the maintenance work of trails and what not. That’s mostly low skill, hard manual labor. Honestly that would be great for quite a while. But that will only go so far, and a lot of those kinds of jobs require folks to be out in the wilderness for long stretches at work camps, so not good for people who have to go home at night to care for dependents.

                A federal jobs guarantee is just… it’s unworkable without significant and inefficient changes. It’s either forcing agencies to deal with people who couldn’t get a government job in the first place, or it’s forcing agencies to employ what amounts to apprenticeship programs. And what about people who are just not suited to work. They have mental health issues, or substance abuse issues, or are just all-around horrible employees? Do they get a job too? Can they be fired?

                Seriously, it’d just be easier to do a UBI and a perhaps more inclusive federal education grant system (one that pushes more money to good tech schools and apprentice programs, rather than universities).

                Hell, maybe Pressley is playing 11D chess and is using this as a way to get a UBI in place, because a federal jobs guarantee is just such a cluster-feck that a UBI looks attractive.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Of the work the federal civilian side of government now does, about 1/2 to 2/3rds is performed by contractors already anyway. That’s close to 4 million people employed by private firms doing everything from cleaning federal buildings to processing income tax returns and Social Security Claims. Many of those contractors are really talented, but we can’t convert them to federal employment because Congress sets the legal number of federal civil servants every so often, which in turn means we don’t generally hire unless we have to when someone leaves.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Even if you did bring all that work in-house, so to speak, you’d either be hiring those contractors directly, or they’d suddenly be unemployed.

                But that isn’t the question. The question is, what work needs to be done, that isn’t being done, that could conceivably be done by persons who are inexperienced or untrained?

                If we look at the demographics of the unemployed/underemployed, is there a glut of people who have the skills and experience that the federal government needs to do it’s job, or is the vast bulk people with limited skill sets and experience? The person who has maybe a HS diploma and a work history of low end retail/food/service industry, and maybe a criminal record, can not suddenly walk in one day and start working at the FAA or the patent office. This is not to say there aren’t jobs those people could do, there just aren’t enough of them. Unless our federal agencies are chronically understaffed (maybe they are, I don’t know, perhaps they can all go work at the DMV).Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                What work needs to be done [by the private sector], that isn’t being done, that could conceivably be done by persons who are inexperienced or untrained?

                Are there enough jobs to employ everyone in America who wants one?

                Or is there a surplus of labor?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I think there are close to enough jobs, but (from what I’ve heard, so this may not be the whole story), there is a lack of skilled labor.

                We also know there is a lack of willingness to do certain jobs for the offered wage (hence immigrant workers from south of the border).

                So, yes/no?

                I guess we could institute a federal jobs guarantee and anyone who lacks skills and experience becomes a federally subsidized farm worker.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree with your first two paragraphs, which is why I wonder why we bother with distinguishing between what the federal government can do in response, versus what the private sector can do in response.

                The federal government’s hiring arm can’t magically create skilled labor, but neither can the private sector.
                If they could, they would have already.

                Or can they?
                Both the federal government and private sector could increase the price of labor to stimulate the supply, but so far neither is willing to do that.

                So we appear to be stuck with an intractable problem of a mismatched supply and demand in the market for labor, by choice.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Like I said, I think we should do two things:

                1) A UBI. And I mean basic. Enough to keep folks from starving and being homeless, but not much else (if I had to pull an equivalent, I’d say it would align with military E1/E2 pay with ComRats and a housing allowance).

                2) Practical job training. I believe you’ve talked before about how CA used to have the first two years of secondary education for free, right? The more I think about it, the more I come around to that being a good idea. I’m still loathe to have the public fund a 4 year degree, mainly because that’s mostly a handout to the UMC and above, but paying for 24 months of tech school, or community college, that could be workable, within constraints. Alternatively, we could have the fed/states spend that money further upstream, in the public schools. We’ve killed too many of the high school vo-tech programs in favor of the all academic/all the time pipeline. There is no good reason to demand that every kid be university ready at the end of high school.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                1) A UBI. And I mean basic. Enough to keep folks from starving and being homeless, but not much else

                Starvation we already avoid.

                A UBI preventing homelessness is impossible if we’re not willing/allowed to build enough housing.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                A UBI preventing homelessness is impossible if we’re not willing/allowed to build enough housing.

                Fair point.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Before Covid we had something that looked like full employment.

                why we bother with distinguishing between what the federal government can do in response, versus what the private sector can do in response.

                When the Private Sector offers money for skilled labor, the odds of that job being productive is very high.

                Creating skilled labor is a problem, but the larger issue is how to create good jobs. Ideally jobs which will be generating, as opposed to consuming, taxes and so on.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Basically all money is in banks, and all money can be loaned out, statistically speaking.

                Money in savings accounts can be loaned out, checking not so much.

                Dark Matter: Nor does that change that it’s STILL great advice to live below your means as opposed to pay check to pay check.

                DavidTC: You can stand there and keep saying ‘It’s a good idea!’ but I will still point out you are violating Kant’s Imperative there, and are suggesting that people should, individually, behave in a way that would disastrous for society.

                Yes and no. It would be “disastrous” in the short term, we’d have a recession, all of the check-loan places would go under, but society would adjust and be better for it. We’d have some consumption get shifted to investment. We’d have fewer people on welfare. Fewer dead loans and bankruptcies. Living from pay check to pay check has deadweight costs to society your evaluation ignores.

                _pretend_ home ownership via massive debt that would be fine because it was ‘an investment’…actually, I guess two generations got lured into it, and it actually worked for the first of them, until it didn’t.

                Houses are an investment. Investments have risk attached to them. Having investments is a good idea in general. Enron’s stock self-destructing doesn’t change that investing in stocks is mostly a good idea.

                Some level of sanity should be exercised here and personal situations override “in general” advice.

                If upgrading a fire department from volunteer to (mostly) professional cost the government $400,000 a year, but saved $200,000 in property due to response time, and one life…

                “Volunteer” departments have a core of professional firefighters and only bring out the volunteers when needed (which should be rarely). If you need 10 active firefighters 99% of the time and 100 1% of the time, insisting that the gov convert its 90 volunteers to professionals is unlikely to pay for itself. They need something else to do that 99% of the time when they’re not needed.

                This is why some places unify their police and firefighting departments.

                But even if it’s just 10% ‘real jobs’ average across all prisons, only creating 200,000 jobs is…good.

                As far as I can tell, about 4% have non-joke jobs (link below). “Not a joke” isn’t the same as “competitive”.

                40k jobs means this is a prison reform issue and not a “find lots of jobs” issue. We could hire lots of people to work in prisons doing the joke jobs that the prisoners do… but there are a ton of side effects bundled in there which make this hard or undesirable.

                If we’re looking for millions of jobs that the gov could open up productively, this doesn’t seem promising. If we don’t care about productivity then that will cause problems.

                https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/dec/09/prison-work-program-ohsa-whole-foods-inmate-labor-incarcerationReport

              • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                “Volunteer” departments have a core of professional firefighters and only bring out the volunteers when needed (which should be rarely).

                Not at all true. There are hundreds and hundreds of truly all volunteer departments all over the place who have zero professionals on staff. They exist in fly over country, and a surprising number of city adjacent counties and parishes.

                There are an estimated 29,705 fire departments in the United States. Of these, 3,009 (10 percent) of departments are comprised solely of career firefighters, and 19,122 (64 percent) of departments are
                comprised of all volunteer firefighters. An estimated 2,368 (8 percent) are mostly career, while 5,206 (18 percent) are mostly volunteer firefighters.

                https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/Emergency-responders/osfdprofile.pdfReport

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Concur. None of the ones near where I grew up had any professional firefighters. That’s not to say a good number of the volunteers weren’t firefighters once upon a time, either as civilians or in the military (everybody in the Navy gets trained on the basics of firefighting, and those working in engineering or aircraft maintenance, get a hell of a lot more), but no one was paid to sit in the fire station.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Fair enough. We’re the exception and not the rule.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
            Ignored
            says:

            The problem is a large chunk of Americans are doing _debt servicing_ instead of savings, because they have been dragged into debt…

            Consumer Debt is down, a lot, since it’s high point in 2008-2009. From the looks of it (see graph at link), it was paid down to comfortable levels in 2014. I say “comfortable” because it’s been flat since then.

            I see no reason to believe it’s more of a problem now than it was in 2014 (feel free to post data that says I’m wrong).

            https://s.marketwatch.com/public/resources/images/MW-HP514_debt08_ZH_20190815100704.pngReport

            • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
              Ignored
              says:

              Consumer Debt is down, a lot, since it’s high point in 2008-2009. From the looks of it (see graph at link), it was paid down to comfortable levels in 2014. I say “comfortable” because it’s been flat since then.

              What? How does that read as ‘comfortable’ instead of ‘can’t get it any lower’?

              And what is this ‘more of a problem now than it was in 2014’?

              My argument is that it has been a problem for almost _four decades_.

              The people who deliberately sat down and said ‘You know what? We can underpay people in actual money if we somehow give them a way to live _without_ that actual money, on credit, and even think they own a house’ certainly didn’t show up under Obama. They showed up under Reagan.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                What? How does that read as ‘comfortable’ instead of ‘can’t get it any lower’?

                Because the lower it gets the easier it is to get rid of it. If X% is impossible to get rid of then X+Y% is worse.

                Paying off $50k of debt is easier than paying off $500k. If you have reduced your debt from $500k to $50k and then stop, it’s not because “it’s impossible” to get lower.

                My argument is that it has been a problem for almost _four decades_.

                That would link it to the super-cycle of interest rates, i.e. they’ve been going down for about that length of time. As interest rates go down, credit becomes easer to manage and existing debt becomes cheaper.

                The people who deliberately sat down and said ‘You know what? We can underpay people in actual money if we somehow give them a way to live _without_ that actual money, on credit

                It is a mistake to personalize economic trends.

                The people offering credit are largely not the people who are supplying jobs. Wages are set by the market.

                Stripped of the conspiracy theory, you’re suggesting credit card companies and banks extended credit more than we should allow and it’s caused problems?Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Stripped of the conspiracy theory, you’re suggesting credit card companies and banks extended credit more than we should allow and it’s caused problems?

                I guess I’m ‘suggesting’ that, yes. I’m not sure if I’ve ever explained theory this, so here I go. (And, yes, I am conspiratorizing a little. I don’t think anyone deliberately decided to do this.)

                There are at least two generations of American who could not distinguish having more and more credit from having more and more money, the Boomers, who were mostly right, and Gen-X, who was, as they have discovered, horribly wrong.

                And it’s easy to say ‘Well, spending more than they had was their own fault, people should have been smarter’, except that’s not the problem. The problem is inflation. Weirdly broken inflation.

                Inflation is a societal thing, based off how much money society ‘feels’ like exists. If people feel there is more money, they are willing to pay higher priaces, but they demand higher wages. And wages, of course, lag a bit behind. That’s how inflation works.

                Except…we had added a bunch of fake money, in the form of credit, into the economy. Fake money that only existed during _spending_, and not during employment.

                So everyone felt like they had more money to spend, so we got price inflation, but…they didn’t need higher wages to cover those prices, so we didn’t get wage inflation. Wages just…stayed steady.

                This is not the fault of anyone. It is a psychological failure…human society wasn’t used to having easy credit, and even if individuals _intellectually_ understood it wasn’t money, and made sure to stay within their mean, they couldn’t help but think of as money when looking at what prices were reasonable…and even if they didn’t, the tide of humanity was too much against them.

                And like I said, I don’t believe anyone set this up on purpose. I do think the wealthy took huge advantage of this, and maybe even encouraged it after it had started.

                And then…Millennials.

                Millennials, (And the tail of Gen-X. Like me.), grew up on horror stories from their parents about the over-extension of credit, so generally don’t think this way. Or at least, think it less.

                Which is why _they_ think they are massively underpaid and very poor. (Which they are.) Because they aren’t including credit in their internal calculations…and I don’t mean the actual math, I mean the _instinctual_ calculations, of how much they make, and how much things should cost, and all that stuff we like to pretend we’re doing math but really just operate off what ‘feels right’. ‘Is eight dollars the right amount for a meal at McDonalds, or should it be closer to six? What do I _feel_ that should cost?’ (1)

                They feel they are poorer than a Gen-Xer would be in exactly the same circumstances, because the Gen-Xer’s brain subconciously thinks credit is real, and they don’t.

                And it’s a vicious circle…because Millennials don’t believe in credit, they don’t operate on credit, which means they don’t build a credit rating, so even if they glance at the concept, they immediately say ‘Well, I’m not doing that!’

                This then results in them actually spending within their means, which, as I have pointed out elsewhere here, is rather disasterous for the economy if everyone were to start. For example, they have realized they can’t actually afford housing. And the things is: A lot of older people can’t afford their housing either! They just get housing anyway, on credit! Millennials just _noticed_ this fact.

                So there you go, my theory of what has happened to the economy, due to easy credit. It’s easy to blame Reagan for wages staying flat, and think some of that is his fault, but I think, fundamentally, the American people mis-assigned credit as income, at a subconcious level, for a very long time.

                1) Notable, they have no idea how to value a college education. They are told they _need_ it, and that they will pay it off under entirely different financial calculations, so they are willing to pay for that. The fact they are willing to go into debt for that doesn’t really change anything I’ve said here…if anything, it doubles their resolve once they realize it _didn’t_ help, because they see that debt looming over them as a giant ominious thing.Report

          • Murali in reply to DavidTC
            Ignored
            says:

            The top 30% in society earn 94% of the wealth. The spending/savings habits of the bottom 70% is going to have a negligible effect on the overall economy. Meanwhile, a large aggregate amount of savings means it’s easier for those whose situations are more precarious to receive credit.

            So, you want the uppermiddle classand the superwealthy to be keeping more of their money in banks/investment portfolios. This will open up, at the margins, more investment opportunities and hence create more jobs.

            Uppermiddle and upper class spending their money on stupid things is somewhat adjacent to the broken window fallacy, if not identical to it.

            because people don’t actually stand there and go ‘Should I invest this money or buy things I don’t need with it?’

            They don’t do that precisely, but they do something adjacent. They say that this thing is too expensive, let’s not buy it. Then when they have foregone so many consumption decisions, they find they have a lump sum of money in the bank and they decide to put a bit extra into their 401ks or they decide to start a stock portfolio and get some passive income.

            Given the current, depressed labour force participation rates, I’d say that at this point in time, increasing the savings/investment rates of the super-rich and upper-middle class will have a higher multiplier effect than increasing their spending.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to Murali
              Ignored
              says:

              So, you want the uppermiddle classand the superwealthy to be keeping more of their money in banks/investment portfolios. This will open up, at the margins, more investment opportunities and hence create more jobs.

              Sometimes I run across comments where I don’t even understand how people think reality works, and this is one of them. To start with: More money in investments obviously means _less_ investment _opportunities_. Because the existing opportunities get filled by this ‘more money’. Likewise, investment _opportunities_ don’t create jobs.

              I think maybe you’re trying to argue that _investment_ creates jobs, which is wrong, but at least it is a rational point within the boundaries of logic. So let me assume the word ‘opportunities’ merely does not belong there. At which point you at least have coherent point. It’s just utterly wrong.

              So what your theory is, is to create, the wealthy need to…invest instead of buying stuff, so they should invest to create jobs to…uh…sell things to…uh…you do realize there’s literally only three ways this can work, right:

              1) The wealthy invest a lot of money creating businesses to try to pry even more money out of the poor. Thus allowing them to hire the poor, and the poor get some of that money back. But money keeps going mostly upward.

              2) The wealthy instead invest money creating businesses to cater to other wealthy people, which also allows them to hire the poor to do that, and the poor get some of that money. Possibly even to the point some money goes downward and inequality is lessened.

              3) The wealthy instead just…spend their money at businesses that cater to them, thus putting some of their money in the hands of employees. Possibly even to the point money goes downward.

              And, notable, #2 and #3 are actually the same thing. It’s just stated from different directions.

              The fundamental, and _really obvious_, fact is that the wealthy have almost all the money, and to make the economy operate, the poor need more of it. And they cannot get it from other poor people, that isn’t how math works.

              Thus, outside of government interference, the only way the poor can get this money is if the wealthy pay them to do things. This payment could be an outright job, or, yes, in some weird hypothetical it could be them starting a business with the help of wealthy investors…but that business would _still_ need wealthy people as customers!(1) Also that doesn’t really happen.

              You have decided to phrase this as ‘investment’, because you want lower taxes on investment because you’re a conservative and don’t care about anything else.

              But this is utter nonsense and literally the opposite of how the free market works. Businesses exist because there is a demand. People need things, and a business expands to supply it, or is created due to a gap in the market. Businesses don’t spring into existence because investment money is there. It’s basic supply and demand and it honestly would blow my mind how many conservatives don’t understand this…if I hadn’t become well aware that conservativism is just a way to shovel money to the wealthy and has no actual ‘free market’ principles in any manner whatsoever.

              Anyone who _actually_ believed in the market and wanted to help the economy would work on increasing demand for things in some manner.

              1) Unless we’re going to go with the Lyft version of reality where corporations literally don’t bother to make a profit while venture capitalist investors watch all their money drain out subsidizing low-cost services for poor people in an attempt to bankrupt the Taxi industry, but…uh…that’s stupid.

              Uppermiddle and upper class spending their money on stupid things is somewhat adjacent to the broken window fallacy, if not identical to it.

              Do you not understand what the broken window fallacy is a fallacy of? Breaking windows and fixing them does not make society better off from broken windows. No wealth is generated. Wealth is, in fact, lost. But breaking windows is incredibly useful at _redistributing_ existing wealth, though, especially if the windows broken are of the wealthy and the people hired to fix them are not wealthy.

              But that doesn’t apply anyway. Spending money on pointless stuff isn’t the ‘broken window fallacy’. It’s literally how the economy grows. It grows by makes things that people want to buy (Aka, wealth generation) and selling it to them.

              But you just argue that _wealth generation_ was a bad thing, and that people should ‘invest’ instead!

              Invest in WHAT? Something besides businesses that make things that people are willing to buy? Where is this other thing that investment can be that isn’t the other side of corporate investment? Straight up rent-seeking property ownership? Is that what you want the wealthy to invest in?

              Yes, it would be nice if we would make the necessities for poor people instead of yachts for the rich, but the rich HAVE ALL THE MONEY. Can’t really sell to people who don’t have any money!

              …I swear to God, I end up arguing _conservative_ points on this blog so often, having to explain the damn _free market_ and how it functions, because ‘conservatives’ operate in complete nonsense fantasy universes, and I end up having to say ‘By your own rules, this is how reality works’.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “The fundamental, and _really obvious_,[sic] fact is that the wealthy have almost all the money, and to make the economy operate, the poor need more of it. And they cannot get it from other poor people, that isn’t how math works.”

                It’s funny to watch you yell this at the guy who proposed a UBI but, sure, go off.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                The fact he proposed a UBI doesn’t change the fact that his idea of reducing capital tax gain is very dumb.

                In a list of ideas, you can have both good ideas and stupid ideas.

                A good idea is UBI.

                A bad idea is ‘Reducing capital gains will shift the poor people from consumption to investment[false]’, which then magically changed to ‘Reducing capital gains will shift the wealthy people from consumption to investment[that part is true], which create jobs more than the consumption will [this part is false and backwards]’.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Jesse
        Ignored
        says:

        One of the Huge things Trump did was regulation reform (which may not last past Trump).

        Below wall of quotes are from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/waynecrews/2020/06/29/how-donald-trump-has-cut-regulationbut-also-added-it/?sh=7fbf73bb30d3

        there are six prominent ways the Trump administration has streamlined regulation so far:

        Right of the bat, delay or withdrawal of 1,570 of Obama administration rules in the pipeline;
        Early on, elimination of 15 rules and one guidance document via the Congressional Review Act;
        Multi-pronged streamlining of permitting for pipelines, bridges, 5G broadband, rural broadband, and other infrastructure;
        Agency restraint in initiating large, significant rulemakings;
        Continued progress on the presidential requirement that agencies eliminate at least two rules for every one issued;
        Steps toward addressing agency guidance documents and other sub-regulatory decrees. This has been one of the most important innovations of this administration.

        Some bulleted highlights from the report follow.

        In fiscal year 2019, the administration’s ratio for significant rules out to significant rules in was 1.7 to 1. Employing all rules eliminated, the ratio was 4.3 to 1, still meeting goals of Executive Order 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.”
        Agencies’ stated priorities and “inventories” of rules signal some warning signs for Trump’s deregulatory agenda. While the Trump administration can be said to have met the goal of implementing a “one-in, two-out” process for federal regulations over the past three years taken as a whole, the longer-term horizon shows agencies poised to reverse this and to issue substantially more regulatory actions than deregulatory ones as soon as the pressure is off.

        The burden of regulatory intervention is equivalent to over 40 percent of the level of federal spending, projected to be $4.6 trillion in 2020.

        • Regulatory costs of $1.9 trillion amount to 9 percent of U.S. GDP, which was estimated at $21.54 trillion in 2019 by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

        • When regulatory costs are combined with estimated federal FY 2019 outlays of $4.447 trillion, the federal government’s share of the entire economy reaches 30 percent (state and local spending and regulation add to that).

        • If it were a country, U.S. regulation would be the world’s eighth-largest economy (not counting the U.S. itself), ranking behind Italy and ahead of Brazil.

        • The regulatory hidden “tax” is equivalent to federal individual and corporate income tax receipts combined, which totaled $1.914 trillion in 2019 ($1.698 trillion in individual income tax revenues and $216 billion in corporate income tax revenues).

        • Regulatory costs rival corporate pretax profits of $2.063 trillion.

        • If one assumed that all costs of federal regulation and intervention flowed all the way down to households, U.S. households would “pay” $14,455 annually on average in a regulatory hidden tax. That amounts to 18 percent of the average pretax income of $78,635 and 24 percent of the average expenditure budget of $61,224. The regulatory “tax” exceeds every item in the household budget except housing. That means that an average American household “spends” more on embedded regulation than on health care, food, transportation, entertainment, apparel, services, or savings.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Dark Matter
          Ignored
          says:

          In summation:

          1) One of the ways Trump increased the economy was serious regulation reform.
          2) This has largely been ignored by the media.
          3) This was a massive policy with his administration but Trump himself loved economic intervention on whatever his cause of the moment was.
          4) The cost of regulation is non-trivially high, even in the context of the GDP as a whole, so yes, it costs jobs.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
          Ignored
          says:

          And before folks go nuts on this point, Trump didn’t specify anything regarding the quality of the regulations removed, only that it was 1 in, 2 out. Therefore, agencies had an incentive to dig around their volumes of regs for old crap that was still on the books, but no longer relevant.

          Perhaps Philip could talk more about whether or not regulatory agencies normally do this, but I suspect that they don’t do regular reviews and culling of outdated regs.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon
            Ignored
            says:

            Perhaps Philip could talk more about whether or not regulatory agencies normally do this, but I suspect that they don’t do regular reviews and culling of outdated regs.

            They all do that. Thanks to Democrats.

            I don’t really want to get into it, but Democrats take regulatory reform seriously. Obama started to modernize them using EO 13563, in 2011, as a continuation of the executive order 12866 from 1993. (Weird how it’s only Democrats setting review policy of regulations.)

            Part of which was ‘each agency shall develop and submit to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs a preliminary plan, consistent with law and its resources and regulatory priorities, under which the agency will periodically review its existing significant regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed so as to make the agency’s regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives.’

            Same with Clinton. He had basically the same order.

            Republicans, meanwhile, just have nonsensical concepts of ‘number of regulations’, without noticing that large chunks of them have basically been internalized by companies as part of doing business or that a ‘number’ is a completely nonsensical concept WRT any sort of law. (Is requiring that Federal buildings require local building code _one_ regulation or tens of thousands of them?)

            And, of course, Republicans ignore that to determining which regulations are useless require _people with extra time_. And at some point, this becomes one of those ‘Republicans cut funding for things, then complain those things don’t do things they want.’. We’re still under _sequestration_. Maybe if we want meaningless regulations looked at, we need to hire people to do that?

            But, anyway, the idea that there are a bunch of bad regulations on the books getting enforced is…not correct.Report

          • Philip H in reply to Oscar Gordon
            Ignored
            says:

            @DavidTC hit the nail on the head. we have these nasty constraints called federal statutes as well, and few of those ever direct an agency to STOP doing something. And even when a Democratic White House directs us to do so, we still have to have a process – public notice and comment sometimes lasting months. And then public circulation of drafts of the new streamlined regulation. And then Final Notice of some kind, which is almost always followed by litigation by someone which can take years to resolve. And all the while COngress passes new laws and tells us to do more stuff, generally with shrinking budgets, since the sequester still applies. Because its law.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              So you are saying that congress spells out each regulation in very clear, unmistakable language, and the agency tasked with crafting such regulation is just transcribing the stated will of congress?

              Because I’m pretty sure congress slacks off a ton, hands an agency some broad strokes, and leaves it up to the experts in the agency to craft the regulations that hopefully meet the desired goals of congress. That tells me there is plenty of opportunity for political or ideological desires to be encoded, and for lobbyists to talk to the political appointees in charge of said agency, or key lawmakers, to insert a bit of capture or rent seeking. The kind of things that are objectively bad. The kind of regs that make any honest employee of the agency look up and say, “Dude, that’s fecked up!”

              And given how terribly on the ball the American public is when it comes to public review of regulations, getting something bad past the review is a fair bet (even if some watchdog group spots it and objects during comments, they also need to get a groundswell of other public comments in opposition to have a chance of getting it struck or changed).

              Note: That I’m not objecting to the process, I’m saying the process is not a foolproof filter for bad regs, so every agency is going to have regs that are objectively bad.

              So it seems to me any given agency should be able to review their body of regulations that they are responsible for and find things that are no longer relevant, or are obviously capture/rent seeking/etc. Because despite @DavidTC’s very disingenuous implication that every regulation is clearly a just and necessary rule that saves lives/fortunes/whatever, people who deal with reality know that isn’t true.

              There is chaff among the wheat. Maybe not a ton for any given agency, maybe not enough for a 2:1 exchange, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there, and it isn’t imposing a cost that need not be imposed.

              As for getting rid of the chaff; first off, EOs that set out orders to examine and remove, that’s lovely, but if it doesn’t include a metric… I’ve worked for the federal government, I’ve worked for state government, and I’ve worked for two corporations large enough that they fecking near behave like governments (probably because of all the government contracts they serve), and in all of them, I’ve seen orders from on high to do X, and I’ve also seen departments and orgs who object to X playing the passive compliance game. POTUS orders agency to cull bad regs, agency reports back and says, “We reviewed our regs, and none are bad (or a token number are offered up as bad). Task complete!” Do the bare minimum needed to meet the letter of the order, and nothing more. Maybe it’s because (as you both say) no one bothered to allocate budget to the task (which tells me any POTUS who issues such an EO and doesn’t allocate budget or a metric isn’t expecting a serious effort), or maybe it’s because the agency objects to the implication that it’s regs are not all about goodness & light and saving the world from bad men.

              All of this is to say that I do not trust agencies to police their own any more than I trust police to police their own. The incentives all run to not looking to hard at their own. Trump, in his ham-fisted way, provided an incentive that forced agencies to look for something.

              Now, if I had my way, the GAO would have an office whose only task is to examine the federal register for objectively bad regs and get the ball rolling to remove them.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Because I’m pretty sure congress slacks off a ton, hands an agency some broad strokes, and leaves it up to the experts in the agency to craft the regulations that hopefully meet the desired goals of congress. That tells me there is plenty of opportunity for political or ideological desires to be encoded, and for lobbyists to talk to the political appointees in charge of said agency, or key lawmakers, to insert a bit of capture or rent seeking. The kind of things that are objectively bad. The kind of regs that make any honest employee of the agency look up and say, “Dude, that’s fecked up!”

                Well except for those pesky OTHER statutes that require us to issue federal register notices of new regulations, take and respond to public comment, and which give citizens standing under a variety of scenarios to sue us for arbitrary & capricious decision making.

                Note: That I’m not objecting to the process, I’m saying the process is not a foolproof filter for bad regs, so every agency is going to have regs that are objectively bad.

                Objectively bad. Thats funny. because my experience is that ervey regulation has proponents and opponents. Every one. Not sure who would thus make the objectively bad determination.

                Maybe it’s because (as you both say) no one bothered to allocate budget to the task (which tells me any POTUS who issues such an EO and doesn’t allocate budget or a metric isn’t expecting a serious effort), or maybe it’s because the agency objects to the implication that it’s regs are not all about goodness & light and saving the world from bad men.

                Again, you dodged the part where federal regulations are based in federal statutes, as whether any President or agency head likes it or not, we are legally required to keep stuff on the books relating to extant statutes until Congress tells us otherwise.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                So you are claiming that the system is rock solid against any kind of capture except at the legislative level. The personnel who take the final legislative product and turn that into law have zero wiggle room, and that somehow the final regulations perfectly expresses the will of congress, regardless of the vagueness of the law as written?

                Well except for those pesky OTHER statutes that require us to issue federal register notices of new regulations, take and respond to public comment, and which give citizens standing under a variety of scenarios to sue us for arbitrary & capricious decision making.

                I addressed your first two points in my original comment. Please re-read it. As for suits, last time I checked, judges tend to give regulatory agencies a lot of leeway when it comes to rule making, as in you gotta be way out into the arbitrary and capricious weeds before a judge rules against you. I imagine those who craft rules have a pretty good idea just how arbitrary and capricious they can be, and that there is plenty of room there.

                As for objectively bad, fine, there is a subjective element to it regardless. TurboTax & H&R Block absolutely love the complexity of the US tax code* and find it to be a wonderful thing. That does not necessarily mean how we do personal taxes is good.

                The fact is, in ANY agency, you will be able to find regulations that should be culled as either pointless, vague, or harmful**, and which do not necessarily require legislative action to correct. The question is not, do such things exist, but how many are on the books? Is it 2:1? I doubt it. But you seem quite determined to imply that such things simply do not, and can not exist.

                And frankly, I find that notion preposterous to believe.

                *Yes, I know the tax code is a legislative, and not regulatory, beast.

                **Pointless – might have had a point once upon a time, but no longer does. Harmful – as in it impacts some group far more than another, e.g. the complex rule that a large corporation can easily adopt, but which smaller businesses or individuals struggle to.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
          Ignored
          says:

          When regulatory costs are combined with estimated federal FY 2019 outlays of $4.447 trillion, the federal government’s share of the entire economy reaches 30 percent (state and local spending and regulation add to that).

          LOL. When random numbers are added together, they are big.

          Incidentally, this is dumb logic. A lot of Federal regulation would end up getting done anyway, or would cost even more when not done.

          For example, imagine the Federal energy grid is regulated and required to be winterized, which has cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

          Imagine if we didn’t do that! Or imagine if a state, by not being connected to any interstate grid, managed to legally avoid such regulation! Why, a single cold-weather single event could cost billions in productivity, in the actual event itself, and the cost of human lives, and recovery from that event. Talk about a drag on the economy.

          Just as a hypothetical.

          For a more realistic example, imagine if the Federal government didn’t standardize car computer data ports. This standardization costs car companies some money, and some lost revenue…but…that’s the broken window fallacy.

          The money it ‘cost them’ is mostly lost money in selling mechanics something specific to deal with their cars. It’s not actually to be benefit of _anyone_ besides car companies to let car companies do that, just like it’s not to the benefit of anyone except glass companies to wander around breaking glass.

          Regulatory costs of $1.9 trillion amount to 9 percent of U.S. GDP, which was estimated at $21.54 trillion in 2019 by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

          Hey, would you spend $4.55 instead of $4.99 for that Big Mac if you could get it without paying for the ‘making sure it’s not made of rotten meat’ rules?

          The things is: There plenty of people who would do that…because they have no other choice.

          And…we are now at ‘dealing all those instances of food poisoning, and lawsuits, and missed work, and hospitalizations for people who can’t afford it’ would make such a thing being available a net _loss_. On paper, we spent 9% on ‘regulation’ to stop something that wouldn’t happen that often, in reality, we spent 9% to save way more than 9% on average, because what we stopped is pretty harmful when it does happen, and it’s not worth letting people take the risk.

          That means that an average American household “spends” more on embedded regulation than on health care, food, transportation, entertainment, apparel, services, or savings.

          You can’t just imagine that burdens are distributed equally. If the US government cost the yacht industry $1.9 trillion a year, that rather obviously is not distributed equally. That might sound absurd, but there is an entire section of the regulatory code dedicated to Native Americans.

          But the thing I always find interesting about these ‘let’s pretend this is divided across all American equally’ is no one ever seems to do that with the GDP.

          Did you know that Americans make an average of $167,421.87, if we assume all the generated wealth from the GDP flows down all the way to households? It makes that $14,445 look rather small, doesn’t it? We have to spend a 9% more than we would have, due to the cost of requiring companies to makes sure parts of their airplanes don’t fall off.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
            Ignored
            says:

            I work for an industry where we can measure compliance documents by the ream. Covid has shown it’s possible to get a safe vaccine in less than a year even after you cut regulatory corners. Ideally this would rise the question of how much value those corners actually add.

            If we focus on what regulation has done with the EpiPen market, then our cost per pen is $400 while Europe’s is something like $50.

            This looks a lot like regulatory capture.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
              Ignored
              says:

              1. Don’t confuse regulation with litigation. A great many things companies do is due to legal activity going not their way, as opposed to Uncle Sam telling them to do something.

              2. As with so many scientific advancements, the federal government contributed something ELSE to the vaccine developers besides reduced red tape (which IMHO isn’t the jettisoning of regulations so much as a new model for their implementation). What was that other thing?Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                “As with so many scientific advancements, the federal government contributed something ELSE to the vaccine developers besides reduced red tape…[w]hat was that other thing?”

                …nothing?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                From your link:

                The government will pay Pfizer, in collaboration with German company BioNTech, $1.95 billion if it receives FDA approval for its candidate vaccine and produces 100 million doses by the end of the year. The government also has reserved the right to order 500 million more next year.

                Pfizer/BioNtech developed their candidate vaccine without government assistance and recently started a phase 2/phase 3 trial, which they also will self-fund. The two have already invested billions of dollars in their work, according to a Pfizer spokesman.

                =============
                The bulk of this money seems to be a guaranteed market (I promise to pay you $X for $Y units if it works) although it’s described at other points in the article as paying for ramp up and so on.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                My point is that those companies were persuaded to do what they did by BOTH regulatory relief, AND money on the table. Take away EITHER and we wouldn’t have vaccines.

                That’s also the first article I came to. There’s more recent reporting that the total payout so far is $19 Billion, though a lot of that has been funding distribution and vaccine clinics.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                This seems to be an effort to say that without the government paying for something (vaccinations), they wouldn’t exist. This is saying there wouldn’t be a market for this without the gov.

                That seems untrue on the face of it.

                There is a huge amount of political pressure for the gov to “do something” which makes the gov paying for this forced… but I’d think the size of the market and the urgency would make these companies involvement also forced.

                I’d be tempted to think the gov may have sped some things up with money… but Pfizer (i.e. the speed winner) apparently didn’t use any gov funds during development (your link).

                Now regulatory relief definitely speeded things up.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Dark Matter
              Ignored
              says:

              “Covid has shown it’s possible to get a safe vaccine in less than a year even after you cut regulatory corners.”

              It is very important to remember that the vaccines are out under an EUA. They’re not “approved” the way other things are; they’ve got a Special Limited Temporary Approval that the agency can rescind at any time, without review or notice, because the last thing the FDA wants is for people to get the idea that you can get things approved without doing a Full And Complete Study The Way The FDA Likes It.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
              Ignored
              says:

              I work for an industry where we can measure compliance documents by the ream.

              Size of generated compliance documents is not the same as cost of compliance. Let’s take building codes, for example. They’re _huge_…and 99% of the building code is basically just followed automatically. Does home insulation need to be fireproofed within these exacting standards? Well, it’s a good thing that’s literally the exact standard of the insulation that is supplied to construction crews, then.

              And recording that in a computer, and adding the insulation’s manufacture’s documentation of the compliance of the insulation, might fill dozens of pages.

              Did doing that cost a single thing? Well, the insulation company had to, at some point, test their insulation…which they needed to do anyway.

              And they needed to pass the specs on to the people they were selling to, which probably happened automatically. Which then was put in a document, again automatically.

              And conservatives point at this end rsult, which contains that information not just just for the insulation but everything else, and talk about ‘government regulations requiring reams of paper just for one house’.

              But this ‘ream of paper’, literally didn’t cost anything. Not for this house specifically. What materials go into a house is obviously known during construction when they buy stuff, and that system keeps track of it, and has data sheets for them. And the testing already happened. There isn’t a single dime spent on compiling this specific ‘giant stack of compliance documents’.

              So I ask the question of not what volume of compliance documents physically exist, but how much of that volume is created by actual human beings instead of being record-keeping copied around?

              Because it’s the stuff created by actual human beings that matters, which is actually a ‘drag’ on production. And not ‘Thing we use has a thirty-page data sheet that gets inserted into every single thing we do with it’.

              If we focus on what regulation has done with the EpiPen market, then our cost per pen is $400 while Europe’s is something like $50.

              That isn’t why EpiPens cost that much. In 2009, the wholesale price of a pack of two EpiPens was $103.50. And there was no new regulation that they had to fit within, there has been no change in that.

              The cost of EpiPens went that high because of marketing, mostly. And bribery of doctors, but we pretend it isn’t bribery.

              Now, competitors did have some difficulties introducing competitors, but that’s not because of the FDA’s drug regulations per-se…it’s because the injector was patented and designing an alternate was difficult. There was no ‘drug testing’ (The drug is literally just adrenaline, which has standard doses and needs no testing), just ‘Does does this injector provide a consistent amount of it?’.

              I.e., that is not a good example of this, unless you think ‘The FDA should test that automatic dosage systems provide correct dosages’ is ‘too much government regulation’.

              Although there _was_ too much government regulation, in a very interesting way…in a ‘influence the government way’. Specifically, many places, including schools and even state governments, were lobbied by Mylan to create policies that said they had to have a EpiPen on hand at all times…and they _specifically_ wrote the policies to use their specific thing and not any sort of generic.

              In fact, Mylan _always had_ a generic, and sold it, literally made by the same company and the same injector, and a third the price, and you might ask yourself ‘How the hell does that make sense?’, and then realize they were required to do that by the government, and then worked their asses off to make sure everyone would buy the higher-priced one and not the cheaper one. (US Health Care: Not a system that makes sense.)Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                The argument that I always go to is not “the alternative to the FDA is anarchy” but “the alternative to the FDA is the EMA” and pointing out that the lax standards used by the Belgians and Germans resulted in 8 EpiPens being approved.

                So when you argue “unless you think ‘The FDA should test that automatic dosage systems provide correct dosages’ is ‘too much government regulation’.”, I think that there’s room for the mere amount of oversight provided by the Germans in the middle that you’re excluding there.

                My evidence for this is Europe.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Okay, we’re doing this, I guess. The reason we don’t have most alternatives is because the existing alternative of Adrenaclick, which eventually sold for a fifth the cost, did not have much of a market. Why would anyone else enter that market?!

                Yes, that’s correct, EpiPen have always have an alternative called Adrenaclick. Which was roughly $50 a pen. Because, again, there’s no patent on the medicine. It was always on the market, you could always get it.

                So why that wasn’t used as an alternative? Why didn’t people just switch to that?

                Because the EpiPen people spend _billions_ bribing doctors. Oh, sorry, ‘sending drug reps’, and billions is probably an exaggeration Resulting in doctors writing ‘EpiPen’ on the prescription pad.

                Whether doctors were smart and unethical here, or just REALLY stupid, is an interesting question.

                And, technically speaking, Adrenaclick is not identical to use…you have uncap two things instead of one. So, medically, it’s not considered a generic. (Note that the EpiPen literally sued someone who had designed a closer injector that could maybe work as a generic.)

                And, not being a generic form, thus pharmacists would have to, *gasp*, call the doctor to confirm the change.

                Various states have actually passed laws changing now this, allowing pharmacists to switch them out without doctor approval, but for some reason (Lobbyists) the US Congress hasn’t gotten on board.

                The entire EpiPen price nonsense happened because doctors didn’t write prescriptions that would _allow_ people to change to the existing alternative, and no one bothered to actually care about this, because the only people who could…were walking money from it.

                Huh. It’s almost as if the problem here is not regulations, but the money flowing around the system into the pockets of doctors and pharmacists.

                And it’s interesting you’ve emphasized there’s been ‘eight approved’ in Germany (This is not correct, you mean the entire EU.), when the actual question here is _time_, how long between starting the regulatory process and ending was it, and whether it was longer than the two years it for US companies (once they started trying to make them) to get them past the hurdles.

                And since I know where you actually got this information from, (It all traces back to a document that the EU has listing them), I know you don’t know that. I don’t know it either.

                For fun, let’s pick one, and see when it existed. Emerade. That became available in 2014. Hmm. Jext? It looks like 2012. I’m not going to do all of them this is very hard to track down, and it’s impossible to know when the process started anyway, I will just ask: Is there literally any evidence that anyone got through the EMA’s regulatory hurdles faster than Adrenaclick?

                Or is it just that, thanks to our shitty health care system that allows EpiPen to buy the market, no one even bothered to try?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                We discussed Epipens a million years ago here and here.

                I admit to mostly limiting myself to this thought experiment:

                I mean, let’s all imagine some sort of weird situation where the people who need epipens all suddenly have a non-FDA approved connection in Germany and they get their epipens shipped to them for cost plus a bottle of something, you know, for the trouble.

                Are the people in my above example putting themselves and/or their loved ones in harms way by using devices that have not been approved by the FDA? Are these people being foolish?

                Since *MY* conclusion is something like “good for them!” rather than “they’re putting themselves and/or their loved ones at risk!”, my conclusion is that the fact that we are legally prevented from buying them here *BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED BY THE FDA* is bad.

                If you want to argue that our shitty health care system is shitty and needs to be replaced, I’d love to have a conversation about that too.

                But if we want to discuss whether those 8 epipens are safe for you and your loved ones to use…

                I’m going to conclude that they are and I’d like to hear your argument for how Europeans are putting their own lives in their hands by using these Epipens that have not been approved by a real administration like the FDA first.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You, and everyone else, keep acting like this is a regulatory _delay_ or _rejection_.

                No. It’s not.

                Those companies have simply not tried to sell them here. At all. (Except one, see below.)

                Yes, that choice would require FDA approval, which would take time (Although, again, it is _much_ less testing than any other drug, because the _drug_ is already approved.), but they usually literally have not tried to do that.

                ‘Hey, look, everyone, I can’t buy Fatburger burgers in Georgia! It must be those dastardly Georgia health regulations! And not the fact that chain only operates on the west coast.’

                I feel I should point out about those eight ‘alternatives’: There is literally no country in the EU where you can buy all of them. In most countries there’s actually roughly the same selection as in the US right now, which is four.

                Incidentally, Canada only has three sellers.

                Are the people in my above example putting themselves and/or their loved ones in harms way by using devices that have not been approved by the FDA? Are these people being foolish?

                Depends on which device. The only company that I know that tried to get their injectors approved here but gave up is Emerade. There’s a reason for that: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/emerade-pens-patients-reminded-to-carry-2-pens-at-all-times

                Of course, the FDA did approve Auvi-Q and Allerject, and _those_ gave inconsistent dosages and were voluntarily withdrawn from the market.

                It’s almost like this is actually a hard thing to do correctly.

                Incidentally, one of the companies selling outside the US, (I don’t want to try to find their name right now, I read this earlier), is working on a new device that will replace what they currently sell in parts of Europe and will be sold in the US too. It’s almost as if they think their current device won’t pass US regulatory inspection _but_ US inspection is indeed passable with a good device.

                All this talk about regulation is based in a conspiracy theory about the delays of the FDA to approve the Teva generic, which…the delays were correct. Like, the logic sounds stupid, but is correct. What Teva had cannot be called a EpiPen generic, and they desperately wanted it to legally be considered one…which they eventually got.

                And they desperately wanted to be classified as a ‘generic EpiPen’ instead of just an ‘epinephrine autoinjector’ for reasons I just explained in my previous post…one of those has been on the market for _years_ and sold poorly because of counter-marketing.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                If regulatory hurdles are bad enough, people won’t try to jump through them.

                I suppose we could blame this on the people instead of the hurdles, but if we’re complaining that there’s only one guy out there jumping over the hurdles and nobody else is even trying and he’s charging out the nose because he’s the only game in town…

                Well.

                I’ll go back to my thought experiment.

                Would you say “man, it’s good that they’ve got a German connection!”?

                Would you say “they’re using a product not approved by the FDA and are thus endangering themselves!”?

                I say the former.

                And your argument is that these Epipens are like Fatburger rather than like a local place that has been bribing the health inspectors for a while?Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “[T]he FDA did approve Auvi-Q and Allerject, and _those_[sic] gave inconsistent dosages and were voluntarily withdrawn from the market.”

                A) Auvi-Q and Allerject are the same thing, and if you actually knew what you were talking about instead of just Googling you’d have known that.

                B) We talked about Auvi-Q in that last post’s comments. The “voluntary recall” came shortly ahead of an FDA decree mandating one. And there was never any evidence of actual under-delivery or failed delivery; all the adverse events reported were allergic reactions, none of the supposedly-failed devices were ever returned to the manufacturer for examination, and they never reproduced the failure in testing or even determined what it was (the closest they came to a problem was “a potential issue in the quality-inspection process”, and the new manufacturer is making the same exact device as Sanofi did so there can’t have been all that much wrong with it.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Auvi-Q and Allerject are the same thing, and if you actually knew what you were talking about instead of just Googling you’d have known that.

                I do know what I was talking about, and I also know how pronouns and subject-verb agreement work! Do you really think I should have said ‘the FDA did approve Auvi-Q and Allerject, and _that_ gave inconsistent dosages and _was_ voluntarily…’? Huh?

                The “voluntary recall” came shortly ahead of an FDA decree mandating one.

                So, what’s your explanation of them withdrawing it from the Canada market? Was the FDA about to invade Canada and make them stop selling it there? Sorta weird the manufacturer settled a class-action suit in Canada, too.

                Hey, incidentally, what _is_ everyone’s explanation for Canada’s epinephrine autoinjector market? Canada literally had _zero_ EpiPen alternative once that voluntary recall happened. ZERO. Whereas we, as I keep saying, had one, Adrenaclick.

                Does Canada have the same set of regulatory hurdles as the US? Is that the theory?

                and the new manufacturer is making the same exact device as Sanofi did so there can’t have been all that much wrong with it.

                It’s always been the ‘same device’. It was the ‘same device’ in Europe, too.

                The defects were assumed to be in the manufacturing process, which is why North American productions (Which was under one licensee, not the same people who made them in Europe.) was affected. They no longer have that license, and aren’t the people making them anymore.

                That’s also why only a few specific manufacturing lots were reported with problems, which would be a really weird coincidence if the problems weren’t real.

                I mean, it’s right there in the Canadian recall notice: Sanofi-aventis Canada Inc., in consultation with Health Canada, is recalling two lots (2857508 and 2857505) of Allerject (0.15 mg / 0.15 mL auto-injector) due to a manufacturing defect that may prevent the device from working properly.

                Sanofi had a manufacturing process that could produce defective devices, and it did occasionally. So they stopped making them. Someone else believes they have fixed any problem, and is now producing them.

                Not believing this, and thinking the FDA (And also Canada?) decided to go after them for no reason because…EpiPen paid them off or whatever (?)…is just a straight-up conspiracy theory.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “Various states have actually passed laws changing now this, allowing pharmacists to switch them out without doctor approval, but for some reason (Lobbyists) the US Congress hasn’t gotten on board.”

                bruh

                you just did that thing where you typed words and words and words and words and words and words yelling at someone, and just about the first thing you did was agree with them.

                Jaybird: “If you want an example of how regulations aren’t always a good thing, look at EpiPen.”
                DavidTC: “well YES, you dumb TURD, let’s LOOK AT EPIPEN, where there’s a REGULATION that says you AREN’T ALLOWED to switch to the generic!”Report

              • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Jaybird: “If you want an example of how regulations aren’t always a good thing, look at EpiPen.”

                DavidTC: “well YES, you dumb TURD, let’s LOOK AT EPIPEN, where there’s a REGULATION that says you AREN’T ALLOWED to switch to the generic!”

                LOL, what is your theory there, that pharmacists should be allowed to dispense any legal medication they want when handed a prescription for something else?

                Pretty sure Europe doesn’t allow that either!Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s take building codes, for example. They’re _huge_…and 99% of the building code is basically just followed automatically….

                Because it’s the stuff created by actual human beings that matters, which is actually a ‘drag’ on production.

                Building codes are a big way locals prevent the building of housing, by raising the cost of building housing.

                For example, the building code says “the house must be at least X sqft and be on a lot of at least Y acers”. Ergo you have to buy more land and build fewer houses, the cost to do this is hardly “zero”.

                And yes, this counts as a “drag on production”.

                Now the complexity of building codes can also rise to the level of being a problem by making it hard for one-man-band “groups” to build their own houses. My brother in law has run into this. My impression was the issue was less “safety” than an inspector who didn’t like the idea of small groups which didn’t have a relationship with him.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                For example, the building code says “the house must be at least X sqft and be on a lot of at least Y acers”. Ergo you have to buy more land and build fewer houses, the cost to do this is hardly “zero”.

                Your examples are not building code, that is zoning.

                Building code is state-wide, and it’s _way_ less for house size. The International Residential Code 2018 (Which a ton of states us.) says that houses must have at least one room of 120 square feet (A living room/kitchen/whatever.), and other rooms (Presumably bedrooms), if any exist, must be at least 70 square feet to count as ‘habitable rooms’.

                That’s basically nothing. 12×10 is not a big room, and 7×10 is basically ‘a room with a bed, an inward-opening door’. The average non-master bedroom in the US is 13×10, which means, the average bedrooms could technically speaking, be built as standalone house. (Well, they also legally need a bathroom.)

                Except they couldn’t, because zoning usually requires houses be much larger. I’ve lived in an ~900 square foot house _with_ a large useless living room, _and_ three bedrooms, and it was not that cramped (Well, except for the smallest bathrooms that could physcially exist.)…but you couldn’t have built it where it was, because zoning required 1000 sq feet, for some stupid reason.

                But we all agree about about the misuse of zoning, or whether we should even have zoning like that.

                I mean, I think we all agree that people shouldn’t be able to buy six empty lots in a subdivision and put in a factory, that sort of zoning seems reasonable. Whereas zoning of the sort ‘You cannot build a 50 person apartment building anywhere nearby’ is not reasonable and just drives up the cost of housing.

                However…does that really have anything to do with ‘government regulation’, as anyone here is talking about it?

                Yes, in some very broad sense, it could be considered regulation…the zoning of individual lots isn’t a ‘law’, but a process laid out under the law, and even has the same sort of input allowed.

                But…it’s also very different in that the sort of government regulation is something decided by long-rule making processes, whereas zoning…isn’t. Zoning is deciding by people yelling NIMBY very loudly.

                And regulations are industry-wide things, whereas this is _extremely_ local. It’s local governments on a case-by-case situation.

                I’m not trying to argue if we should technically consider zoning ‘government regulations’ or not, I’m asking if it really falls under what we’re arguing about, because to me, the FDA saying ‘All beef producers must clean their facilities in a certain way’ because the US government have gone through some regulatory process that came to that conclusion appears very different than a county government saying ‘314 East Main St cannot be rezoned to multifamily residential’ because ten people got up and screamed about it impacting property values and those people vote.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                However…does that really have anything to do with ‘government regulation’, as anyone here is talking about it?

                You are presenting a “No true Scotsman” argument for regulation.

                You’re claiming the gov’s ability to regulate is never misused and every regulation is there for our benefit (as opposed to the benefit of the groups creating the regulation).

                The problem is we have housing and eppy pens as clear examples of misuse.

                The way to bet is these clear examples aren’t even close to the bottom of the “regulatory capture” barrel. Our HC industry is silly inefficient, it is also heavily regulated to the point where it’s not a market. Those two things are probably related.

                And with those examples, we need to worry about how deep that barrel is. The fishing industry is heavily regulated, it also has serious issues with fish stock depletion, to what degree is regulatory capture part of the problem?Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “Did doing that cost a single thing?”

                Ah yes, regulatory gaslighting. “This shouldn’t ADD any cost to you, if you were a PROPER business that was run PROPERLY then you should ALREADY HAVE BEEN DOING THIS, and if you have to scrap an entire warehouse of product because we moved the date of compliance paperwork back four years, well, that’s just TOO BAD for you.”Report

              • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                “Hey, let’s make up stuff that David must have somewhere said was okay.”

                Do I need to explain how car regulations work? You know, my example? They’re actually laid out years in advance, and only apply to new models. And they follow the industry, they don’t lead it.

                For example, car data ports to the computers already existed. They were invented in the late 80s, almost a decade before they were required. Same with anti-lock brakes. Anti-lock brakes were already a feature on every model of car, as far as I know…it just made them it where they could no longer be optional, starting a specific model year.

                Regulations do not appear out of thin air. Regulations are almost something that the industry has decided to do more than half the time anyway, and are almost always phased in over a long period. They do indeed implement best practices, or at worst, stop allowing very crappy alternatives. (Which are then claimed as ‘costs’ by conservative idiots, like cars skidding out of control didn’t _also_ introduce costs. The cost just wasn’t on car companies…in fact, that was to their benefit.)

                This is on top of the fact that regulatory changes are required to be _announced_ and have comment periods. So people know they are coming, they are approved, and there’s a transition period. No, it doesn’t randomly get bumped forward by four years.

                And even if the transtition period is short, they don’t apply to things already made. If you have a ‘warehouse full of product’, that you already made…you can still sell them.

                And I’m not denying that regulations have costs. I’m denying nonsense that such a cost is, in any way, measurable by ‘paperwork’, which is basically computers passing giant copy-and-paste files around that no human touches. That is hyperbolic nonsense.

                The actual cost of a regulation saying ‘A house must use an insulation with this level of fireproofing’ is that someone had to test said insulation, and maybe redesign it, and maybe such insulation is more expensive than a cheaper insulation that didn’t work as well. That’s the actual cost of regulation, the cost of the different material…if there is any.

                But stating it like ‘They are required to use more expensive stuff that burns slower’ isn’t anywhere near as much a horror story as ‘Reams of pointless documentation! Oh no! Such waste!’Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                While regulation’s cost may not measurable in the number of reams of paperwork needed, the number of reams is a very rough measure of the complexity and size of the issue.

                If you need to measure the level of compliance and the effort needed in reams, then you need multiple people, probably a team.

                This is why big companies love, and call for, large amounts of regulation. They can afford the overhead while small shops can’t. It also does other things, but regulation is a weapon the big/rich companies use against the small ones.

                Regulations do not appear out of thin air. Regulations are almost something that the industry has decided to do more than half the time anyway, and are almost always phased in over a long period.

                Building code regs remain instructive, i.e. “you must build X square feet and Y acres”.

                And no, it has nothing to do with “best practices” and everything to do with preventing the creation of housing.

                We should expect that sort of thing in the HC system too. We should expect the Eppy pen situation is showcasing this.Report

  9. Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    My first thought was that this could be a reasonable replacement for the welfare system, if the pay isn’t too high. If we’re handing out freebies, we might as well get something of value in return. So of course there are stipulations in there that the jobs must pay at least $15 per hour and that this must not replace any existing welfare programs. The latter is actually mentioned twice, so you can tell that it’s really important to her.

    It’s not really clear why we would need traditional welfare if anyone who wants a job is guaranteed one paying $30,000 per year. There’s even a clause that says that disabled people should be guaranteed jobs, so disability isn’t an excuse. This is the “If you don’t want to work we’ll just give you money” provision that was “accidentally” included in the original GND meme proposal and then walked back when people called them on it.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Brandon Berg
      Ignored
      says:

      We seriously should start counting income AFTER welfare and the related programs and not BEFORE.

      People have an income of zero, oh that’s bad, let’s give them money, but according to gov accounting when we’re done they’ll still have an income of zero.

      This has huge implications for inequality and the state of the state of the poor.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Dark Matter
        Ignored
        says:

        Income inequality is generally calculated on two bases: Market income (before taxes and transfers) and discretionary income (after taxes and transfers). There’s a good chart here. Note that this article in the Washington Post compares market income inequality in the US to European countries’ discretionary income inequality, as journalism’s crisis of competence continues with no end in sight.

        The official poverty measure in the US, the one they use when you hear “the poverty rate,” counts cash welfare, but not in-kind benefits like food stamps, housing assistance, or Medicaid. There’s also a Supplemental Poverty Measure, which includes non-cash benefits, but also raises the threshold, so it results in a higher poverty rate for adults and especially seniors, a lower poverty rate for children (because families with children get more benefits), and a slightly higher poverty rate overall.

        As far as I know, there’s no poverty measure that takes assets into account. In 2011 I was in “poverty” with a few hundred thousand dollars in liquid assets. I know this isn’t what the financial situation of the modal person living below the poverty line looks like, but I do suspect that this kind of thing might increase the poverty rate by a nonnegligible amount.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Brandon Berg
          Ignored
          says:

          I do suspect that this kind of thing might increase the poverty rate by a nonnegligible amount.

          Ditto all of that. Even the “2011” part.

          If you’re reporting business income on your personal taxes, you income is negative if the business loses money.

          Hmm… there are 30 million small businesses. Their median lifespan is about 5 years. So about 6 million die a year? (I don’t trust that number).

          So yeah, “nonnegligible” is implied in all this.Report

  10. Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    Even if this were to pass, this is a ‘sense of Congress’ and plan to make plans resolution; nothing is actually actionable within it.

    It cites the precedents of some New Deal & Great Society legislation, as well as the stated aspirations of Civil Rights Era activists – but if anything the limited amount of actions directed brings to mind the conclusion of the Kevin Kline Sigorney Weaver Dave movie.Report

  11. Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    From Hawley, a bill to have the federal gov cover the difference in wages for people making less than $16.50/hr.

    https://www.axios.com/hawley-minimum-wage-tax-credits-2087ac1e-a007-4095-b2b8-c0aa6d202dc2.htmlReport

    • Philip H in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      Interesting idea. But as noted Republicans will balk, and it will add to the deficit . . . . so while he appears to be trying to offer an alternative so we can have a “great debate of ideas” it’s more functional as a distraction. And his minimum wage proposal is laughable since the vast majority of underpaid workers work for small and medium sized businesses with nowhere near $1B in revenue. which means that part would only apply to the Amazons of the world, who already pay well above the minimum wage.Report

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