America Doesn’t Measure the Difference Between Good Jobs and Bad Jobs

This is, of course, true. To the jobs report, a 5 hour a week job at minimum wage counts the same as Jeff Bezos raping the economy for hundreds of thousands an hour.

Schwartz and all these other journalists didn’t ask the most important question of all: we know the quantity of jobs. But what about the quality of those jobs?

It’s actually pretty easy to figure that out. Two scenarios to illustrate the point:

  1. The economy generates a million jobs in a quarter. The quarterly rate of increase in GDP was 2%.
  2. The economy generates a million jobs in a quarter. The quarterly rate of increase in GDP was 3.5%.

So, the question is begged: In which scenario were the better jobs created?

Since the productivity of a job is correlated with the wage paid for that job, it’s obvious that the better jobs were created under scenario #2. And as everyone with a pulse knows, one of the failures of the Obama economy was GDP growth; in fact, Mr. Obama was the first president since Hoover to not have a single calendar year above 3% GDP growth.

So, clearly, the higher quality jobs have been created under Mr. Trump.

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This is a really tough chart for Mr. Obama. The first thing that jumps out at you is “Why was FDR so high?” Well, FDR presided over an horrid economy that nonetheless was light years better than the one Hoover presided over. So, he got the benefit of “reversion to mean”, which is the statistical snapback you see (normally) after a recession. And the bigger the recession, the bigger the mean reversion.

So, that SHOULD beg the second question, which is “If the Recession of 08 was the second worst during this period, why didn’t Mr. Obama get a reversion to mean effect?” Well, Mr. Obama’s policies were not, to say it politely, growth friendly. (Others liked to say that Obama Administration had their foot on the throat of the economy for seven of eight years, but that’s just a more colorful way of saying the same thing.)

Point is that Obama ran growth-preventing policies. Mr. Trump has taken the opposite tack.

But I could sit here and list stats all weekend long proving that quality jobs in America are disappearing:

Yes, we know that. That’s one of the reasons both Mr. Obama and Mr. Trump wanted to do corporate tax reform, which Mr. Trump succeeded in passing.

The truth is, this isn’t a jobs story at all. It’s an inequality story.

Well, the SHORT TERM story is a job story. It’s a great jobs report.

However, and to your point, LONG TERM, yes, there’s an inequality story out there. Because even with an improving quality of job creation, over time, we are losing ground in the inequality war which has been going on since the late 60s.

…Donald Trump is deliberately forcing millions of Americans into financial ruin, cruelly depriving them of food and other basic protections while lavishing vast riches on the super-wealthy…

Cock and bull nonsense. Income inequality in the US has been on the rise since the late 60’s. Attributing it to Mr. Trump borders on insanity.

Further, although there’s been all sorts of catastrophic predictions from the unhinged left about what’s “gonna happen” after Mr. Trump’s tax reforms, reality is that the economy has a lot of moving parts, and economic forecasting is more art than science. We simply don’t know what the following inequality chart, or any other economic forecast chart, will look like when the 2020–2022 numbers get posted. Betting that inequality is going to get worse under Trump? You’re better off betting in Vegas.

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But hey, at least those poor, sick, and hungry people have work, right? What do they have to complain about? We added 223,000 jobs in May, baby! Wooooooo!

Hypocrisy. The exact same criticism could have been leveled against Mr. Obama, and wasn’t, when he hyped his strong job growth numbers. Kind of a screaming double standard, there.

Other indicators contradict the notion that things are getting worse for the lower income groups, short term. For one, there were MORE people on food stamps under Obama than there are today, which is an indication that *something * is improving economically for lower income individuals.

There’s a brilliant speech by Bobby Kennedy that I think about a lot in times like this.

You may think about whatever you like. But when he talks about GDP, Kennedy was just flat out wrong. EVERYTHING gets better when there’s economic growth. EVERYTHING.

By blindly promoting economics numbers as though the highest score is all that matters, we as Americans are agreeing that the most important thing, above all else, is being employed.

Well, nobody is saying that it’s the most important thing; I personally think being a person of character and living according to the precepts of your faith are more important than data.

But, if you want eat, then being employed is a kind of important. You can bemoan that reality if you wish, but I am unaware of any country on the planet where a person can be permanently unemployed and have a fulfilling life.

Never mind if you have to work two or three part-time gigs to pay the rent. Never mind if none of your employers provide health insurance. Never mind that workers are too tired and stretched too thin to find a new job, or to get training that might improve their conditions. Never mind that jobs which were once considered good careers are now paid a pittance.

Bingo. This is precisely why Mr. Trump was elected. He spoke to these issues, while Mrs. Clinton was tone deaf to them. You’ve hit the Trump Value Proposition right on the nose.

Except that’s not true. Gradually, over the last half-decade, and without our consent, the deal has changed. Eventually, no amount of deft media manipulation will be able to hide that fact.

Oh, it happened a lot longer ago than that. :-) See the GINI numbers above.

There are other points to be raised. CNBC reviewed the jobs report like this:

…the biggest job gainers have been groups that have historically suffered from stubbornly high levels of unemployment, including younger workers, black workers and so-called marginally attached workers, whose employment is tracked by the BLS with the so-called U-6 rate. That measure includes part-time workers who want a full-time job and people who want to work but have given up looking and aren’t in the official count of the labor force.

Which produces a chart which looks like this:

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Hope that helps.

Written by

Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.

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