PASSING ALONG

I often express my disdain for the "Here are some links, now leave my lazy ass alone" school of blogging, but these two pieces are just too good to pass up. There's little I can do to improve upon either of these arguments.

1. Mike is pinch-hitting for Ezra Klein this week and has a great comment about the long-term effects of unemployment. That is, the effects that persist after the worker has re-joined the labor force after a period of being out of work. Simply put, you never make up what you lost, and the gap (for both communities hit hard by economic downturns and individuals who end up jobless) never closes regardless of how many years pass:

Figure 1 summarizes evidence from a study that compares the earnings trajectories of workers who lost their jobs in a sudden mass layoff in the early-1980s recessions to workers who maintained their jobs throughout those recessions (von Wachter, Song, and Manchester 2009). Prior to the recessions, the earnings of displaced and nondisplaced workers followed a similar pattern. After the recessions, however, displaced workers faced devastating long-run earnings losses. Even in 2000, almost twenty years after the 1980s recessions, a sizable earnings gap remained. According to the study, the net loss to a displaced worker with six years of job tenure is approximately $164,000, which exceeds 20 percent of the average lifetime earnings of these workers. These future earnings losses dwarf the losses associated from the period of unemployment itself.

Nice. The other day I was wondering how long it would take me to catch up to the gainfully employed members of my age-cohort, but it's good to be reminded that I never will.

2. Anne Applebaum checks in with a terrific essay on the latent conflict (and hypocrisy) of today's Tea Party-flavored GOP. Despite three years of Palin's attempt to sell Alaska as the frontier of personal responsibility, rugged individualism, and a rejection of Big Government, the state is of course a giant cesspool of Don Young's and Ted Stevens' pork barrel projects. Alaskans are practically drowning in other people's tax dollars, which highlights the tensions I spoke about last week.

If nothing else, Alaskans' interesting choice must be keeping the Republican leadership awake at night: When faced with the reality of actual funding cuts, a year or two from now, might not other Republican voters suddenly feel they need someone like Murkowski, too? This must be a particular dilemma for the new Republican speaker, John Boehner. During his two-decade career as a Washington insider, Boehner has resembled Murkowski a lot more than Miller. As chairman of the House Education Committee, for example, one of his primary tasks was to entertain and indulge the companies that make hundreds of millions of dollars from federally funded student loan programs and that have been major donors to his campaigns.

Will the new GOP Heroes pay anything more than lip service to their promises to "cut spending" and "eliminate earmarks"? Or will Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, et al have their lips firmly attached to the Federal teat as soon as they hit K Street? Yeah, I'll put money on the latter.

24 thoughts on “PASSING ALONG”

  • Now if there was only an independent group of information gatherers who would, oh, let's use the phrase "investigate" the blatant failure of these new office-holders to adhere to the principles upon which they ran. And then, I don't know–just throwing this out here–"report" their findings with enough consistency to keep voters "informed" of said failure.

    I can dream.

  • If government serves no purpose but to burden us with unneeded services, then who will delivery my netflix movies once the USPS is soon dissolved? Liberal minds want to know.

  • The Man, The Myth says:

    This may be slightly irrelevant and off topic but I think it should be said. In my judgment, government broadly does an inadequate job at telling people what happens after April 15th and we send checks off. Where does that money go? What would happen if I didn't send that money? I've been wondering around the last couple of weeks looking for things I use and would disappear if tea party people did what they say they want to do. Here is a brief list: public bus service, radio ads for a government website telling us to move around and get some exercise. Well I can't remember anything else right now (so much of the stuff already exists, things may not be maintained but that won't be seen for several years).

    The additional point about how large, rural, western, anti-government states are actually huge welfare recipients is really amazing. I don't remember the numbers of the top of my head but per capita Montana receives 1.50 for every 1 dollar we send Washington and New York receives like .70 for every 1 dollar they send to Washington! Yet Rep. Denny Rehberg has joined the "Teaparty Caucus" with bat shit insane lady Michelle Bauchman and now has officially sworn off all "earmarks" (1% of the Federal budget). The rumor is he wants to become a Senator by beating Jon Tester in 2012… What makes us all so dumb? Why do people vote for such morons?

  • @Man the Myth: Public Bus Service?!? Well that's just gotta go! And go now! That's just Commie talk!!! There's perfectly good private enterprise ppl out there who're missing out on serious profits!!

    Oh yeah! That's right. In order for a private firm to run something like that they'd either have to raise fares well beyond what the avg bus passenger could ever afford or run at a loss. Which they won't do. *Unless* they get a HUGE govt subsidy to do so. Funny how suddenly tax dollars can find their way on to a company's profitability column. But that's ok! Isn't it? Seems to work for the arms manufactures.

  • The Tool Party will be too busy Koch-blocking Obama to dodge Fed money. (Is there anyone who still thinks the TP is not just rich pragmatists and poor idealists? Is Animal Farm still taught in school?)

  • From this morning's Inside Higher Ed, re: Rand Paul and earmarks–

    ***
    Rand Paul Is OK With Earmarks (for His State)
    Tea Party candidates such as Rand Paul were emphatic in their campaigns about the evils of earmarks and the need to eliminate them. But Paul, the senator-elect from Kentucky, has developed some flexibility on the subject. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he said that while earmarks are a bad "symbol," he will push for earmarks for Kentucky, as long as the earmarks are sought and voted on in public. "I will advocate for Kentucky's interests," he said. That change of heart may comfort Kentucky colleges and universities that — in an Inside Higher Ed analysis of earmarks this year — did quite well with earmarks.
    ***

    Gee, how'dya guess?

  • Elder Futhark says:

    Mitch McTurdle showed Randy the gravy train vision soon after he vowed he'd accept no help from the turd. During the fundraiser, many, many hands were slipped up inside Randy's asshole. He loved it.

    I propose that any representation of Rand Paul be that fucking puppet Randy from Peewee's Playhouse.

    http://benzurawski.deviantart.com/art/Randy-Pee-Wee-s-Playhouse-77788750

    And that a daily Vowbreakers Tally be started and published beginning right now.

  • That's why I have opined that if the T-party is real, they will revolt against any co-opting of the hybrid T-R candidates and the whole R party they have just elected.

    Y'all Lefties posit, as Fancy Nancy allowed, that the T Party is an astroturf creation of former Rep Armey and the Koch Bros.

    If that is so, I believe one of two likely results (or combination) will show for 2012:

    1.) The real Ts will bolt the R party for some sort of Conservative party (the Libertarians are just a tad weird, probably not them)

    2.) The Ts and a lot of other Rs will turn away in disgust and despair from the political process thus assuring the Ds of long term dominance.

    //bb

  • displaced Capitalist says:

    I was actually cautiously optimistic about Paul since although I don't agree with him on many topics, I did like his plan to wasteful cut military spending that feeds the neo-con's war machine.

    But I guess it's just business as usual now.

  • displaced Capitalist says:

    Also, how on earth do Earmarks and "Kentucky's share" reconcile with the theories of Ayn Rand? Rand Paul isn't just betraying his campaign pledge, he's betraying his ideology (and his first name.)

  • Monkey Business says:

    @bb in GA:
    Both of those are worst case scenarios for the GOP. A hyperconservative splinter party headed by Sarah Palin and her ilk would render the GOP irrelevant, perhaps permanently. Also, a large bloc of disenfranchised conservative voters just giving up on the electoral process would cement a Democratic majority for a generation or more.

    As of right now, the GOP is a Zombie party. They're dead, they just don't know it yet.

  • @bb

    I don't believe the TP is clever enough to have their own agenda, so they'll fall in line with their Republican masters. I've yet to see any indication that the Tea Party is anything but a dumb and angry mob spewing vitriol about things they know not and shitting in the well of public discourse.

  • I can't really think of real world examples where "what you say to get the job" is so much in direct conflict with "what you do once you have the job". In 2010, you need to say you'll cut spending, that government must be smaller, that we must lower taxes, that we need to eliminate waste, all just to get the job. Then once you have that job the only way to keep it is to ensure that a big truckload of government money arrives at the doorsteps of your constituents come hell or high water.

    The baffling thing is that almost none of the voters seem to understand that the person they elected must inevitably become either a complete hypocrite or deeply unpopular. Given that one means they keep their job and the other means they don't… we cannot help but end up with a congress stuffed with hypocrites.

  • The Man, The Myth says:

    @ BB

    You keep on mentioning that theory of yours and I think it is incorrect. The TP people (retired former mall walkers and diabetics) don't really care about anything except for the others they think are spending too much money. If spending too much money meant cutting *there* money they would go back to mall walking.

  • Besides the lost wages, one "sticky" consequence of long-term unemployment may be heavy drinking (as seen in http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2678120/ ,for example). This could conceivably cause some of the reduced post-unemployment wages, and of course it can cause other social problems. It's just another reason that pro-employment policies are so important.

  • @bb (hope you don't mind all this attention), I think that almost all bona fide Ts will stick with the Astroturf party. They have enough old school Conservatives to know that splintering gets you nowhere, despite the irony inherent in their TP self-impression as revolutionists. They know that being inclusive and respectful of difference (rather than supporting a single party platform) is what kept Democrats from accomplishing much. They know that riding the current wave of financial support is their best chance at getting somewhere on the ballot.

    Those who are satisfied with the election results now get to see how the office reveals self-serving greed and naked power lust in their new blood. Soon, their office holders will soon be supporting measures to make the obscenely rich legally more so, and their own poor folks much poorer — if they stay true to their principles.

    It's like the first time I went to Hooters. I was expecting cheerful girls to be bringing out huge beers to a rowdy, good-natured crowd, sort of like Oktoberfest; but it turned into tired co-eds in orangey tights asking screaming children, "You want fries or coleslaw with that?" while silent parents sip Cokes and watch the aerial races. Occasionally some drunk fratboy would get handsy and be ejected.

    I expect the true believer TPs to have a similar experience with Congress: disappointment, dwinding hope, and a horrible realization that this is the opposite of what was desired. To them, deregulation and elimination of programs such as Medicare means freedom and independence and low taxes, but what they'll get is freedom to starve, independence from medical care, and an incomparably small tax break. But the mission will be accomplished, as their obscenely rich leaders will become (legally) even more so.

  • I'm not PhD political scientist, but aren't each of these people only accountable to the people of their districts or states? When Rand Paul is up for re-election, he can gloat at will about how he fought the pork barrel project in California and the sweetheart deal in Dem Congressman X's district, then tout the "infrastructure investment" in Kentucky. Why is this even a question of what's going to happen? It's already been written in stone.

  • @TMTM
    You could well be right about my theory being wrong. I'll not ride that horse so much and let it play out. If we are all here in a year or so, we can talk some more…

    I do think your characterization of the TP people is smart assedly humorous (takes one to call one,) but I think you are being a little infatuated with your own shine.

    @both Ladiesbane and TMTM

    IMO the TPs are a lot more diverse and earnest then you give them credit for, but again we'll see. LB's story reads like Dickens, scary but I hope against hope…

    //bb

  • I'll address point 1, if I may be so presumptuous. And please, I understand how lucky I am to be employed.

    Your mistake, Ed, was in getting a Ph.D. I know there must be some data about this, but my experience is that there is also a large earnings gap induced by the choice to continue to the magical land of becoming a "doctor" vs. getting out with a masters and entering industry. I made the mistake of doing additional postdoctoral research. D'oh! I don't know what it's like for a political scientist, but as a physical scientist I can tell you that all that esoteric shit that I got into in grad school just doesn't matter in the job. There is often neither the time nor the money to delve into the root of a problem, however much people may talk about how that's the path to Fixing the Problem (TM).

    Not to bitch too much, but it is weird to see people ten years younger than me that are so much further along in their life trajectory (kids, house, career track, salary, etc.).

    The sheer whininess of what I just wrote makes me want to delete it all, but I will go ahead and submit anyway.

    Okay, I'll end with an honest question: Is there any data that would indicate what effect union membership has on that earnings gap for those individuals that go back into the work force after a prolonged layoff? Because seriously, if we don't get unions strong again, we're effed for a long, long time.

  • Is there any data that would indicate what effect union membership has on that earnings gap for those individuals that go back into the work force after a prolonged layoff?

    I'm most familiar with how unions work in Europe, so I hope this has some relevance.

    1. I think it could be argued that in countries where union penetration is significant, then unions themselves have increased influence over economic and labour market policy. The exact mechanisms for this depend on the political flavour of the governing administration, but e.g. in Sweden (>70% union penetration) LO, and other union confederations, were 'social partners' with government. This lends itself to demand-side interventions to try and decrease unemployment, rather than pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps programmes.

    2. There is markedly less tolerance for individual pay negotations, or even local pay negotiations, in countries with high levels of union membership. (There isn't an exact relationship between union penetration and centralised wage setting. France has ~8% union membership, but they have some national arrangements.)

    In Sweden, Italy, Finland, and many others, most occupations have national pay bargaining arrangements, and employers are not able to vary pay rates. Lengthy pay scales (where it takes a long time to reach the maximum rate for the job) are rendered unlawful by European anti-discrimination law on the grounds of age and sex (women take more time out of the labour market for child-raising, so long pay scales are indirectly discriminatory).

    I think it could be argued that these two things taken together mean that it's more likely that workers who are unemployed and then become re-employed, are more likely to be paid a similar salary to those who have not been unemployed.

  • I'm convinced that the Tea Party is made up almost exclusively of right-wing Republicans. They don't like "earmarks" or "socialism" or "Nancy Pelosi," but they really, really HATE "liberals," and if they become disillusioned with their GOP masters, FOX News is ready to scare them back into formation. (They already sucked Bush's cock for eight years, and Palin would sell them out for a large order of fries.) And the "center" will move ever farther to the right. It's just good for business.

  • @acer – I honestly find it hard to believe that anyone – anyone – who has given the matter serious thought can believe any different.

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