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.