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Monday, October 08, 2012


larry kurtz

Gotta hand it to you earth haters, Ken: you sure know how to pile on for maximum effect. The mystery is your target audience: whom do you think you're shitting?

Donald Pay

KB,, We've been over this before when you've used these same statistics to make a false point. You seem not to understand very basic statistics and demography, so you keep making the same mistakes over and over.

Consider this:

(1) Republican policies hadn't yet worked to hollow out the middle class in the 1980s, as these policies were just beginning to take hold. Thus, the middle class spending could help lift the economy in the 1980s, but not so much in the 2010s when much of the wealth had flooded up to the top of the income scale.

(2) The increased percentage of people working in 1980s and decreased percentage of people working in the 2010s has to do with two demographic shifts: (a) women went to work in the 1980s, partly due to economic forces (lower wages/lower employment for males in construction and manufacturing forcing women into the labor market), and partly due to women's liberation, and (b) the entrance of the baby boom generation into the labor force during the 1980s and its beginning retirement in the 2010s.

(3) The stimulative effect of lower interest rates and massive deficit spending during the upturn in the Reagan years, was not matched by enough of a stimulus in the Obama years. While Democrats worked with Reagan to get the economy moving in the 1980s, Republicans have engaged in economic treachery to assure there will be a slow recovery.

Stan Gibilisco

Two observations here ...

(1) Both graphs suggest to me that the Clinton years (1992-2000) were the best in recent memory for workforce numbers in general.

(2) My best years personally were 2003-2008 during the Bush administration.

Donald Pay

If you look at this statistic over a longer time frame, you begin to understand that it is basically a demographic issue. I looked at the data from 1960 through this month and the undulation you see wash out, turning into ripples in a demographic ocean.

You can go to the BLS website and play around with the data.

Bill Fleming

Demographic Mr. Pay, as in the Boomers retiring? (for the second time...)

Donald Pay

Well, it's complicated, but yeah, a good chunk of this is demographics. But also look at KB's scale. It's a 12% range. Put it on a scale from 0-100% and those undulations are washed out.

Half of KB's range is demography---boomers and their echo generation. Another third of KB's range is women coming into the workforce in higher proportions for a longer time during the 70s on. Men and women now rotate into and out of employment much more than they used to.

So you're left with maybe 3-5% to be explained by economic conditions. That's important.

Bill Fleming

Ah thanks Don. I see what you mean about scale. Hadn't noticed that. Molehills become mountains.

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