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Thread: Running out of options

  1. #1 Running out of options 
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    The income of a man in his 30s is now 12 percent below that of a man his age three decades ago [inflation adjusted]. Per-person productivity has grown considerably since then, but most Americans have not reaped the benefits of those productivity gains. They've gone largely to the top.
    In a nutshell:

    1. Women went to work in the 70’s
    2. We all started working longer hours in the 80’s
    3. We still couldn’t make ends meet so we borrowed, and then borrowed some more
    4. There are no more options available to maintain the standard of living we are used to; and we have to repay what we borrowed
    5. Our (collective – your results may vary) standard of living is bound to go down

    I’m no economist, but Robert Reich’s essay “The Heart of the Economic Mess” seems to make a lot of sense. Also recommended reading is the one below it “A Short Primer on McCainomics Versus Obamanomics: Top-Down or Bottom-Up”.

    http://robertreich.blogspot.com/

    Critiques invited.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    It's a nice nutshell, and like all nutshells may eventually suffer from seeming too simplistic to get all the mechanisms that might affect an iterative (and hence eventually mathematically chaotic) system like a modern economy.

    But as you may know - I'm all on the side of what Reich describes as bottom-up economics, though my support of it is more moral than empirical...


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  4. #3  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    One could look at Reaganomics and its results, described truthfully by Bush 1 as voodoo economics, as empirical support for its opposite.
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  5. #4  
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    How has the number of years spent post-retirement changed in the past thirty years? How is standard of living defined? Enquiring minds and all that.
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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Now, don't go and complicate a nice simple hypothesis.
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    Sorry 'bout that.

    Rather, the long-term answer is for us to invest in the productivity of our working people -- enabling families to afford health insurance and have access to good schools and higher education, while also rebuilding our infrastructure and investing in the clean energy technologies of the future. We must also adopt progressive taxes at the federal, state, and local levels. In other words, we must rebuild the American economy from the bottom up. It cannot be rebuilt from the top down.
    Is Reich saying the answer is communism?
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  8. #7  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    No. He's saying that a progressive tax system is more effective than a regressive one in stimulating the economy. I don't have the data at hand but I'm not making this up: every dollar in tax reduction given to a middle or working class family puts $1.50 into the economy. Every dollar given to a wealthy family puts $0.75 into the economy. Yes, actually, I am making this up because I can't remember the exact figures, but it's something like that.

    He's also saying a massive infrastructure program would be a better deal than giving tax rebates. Plus we'd get our potholes fixed.

    But really, he's just overcompensating for being short.
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