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I'd be really interested to hear opinions about this. I found some of the statistics in it close to unbelievable, but I trust the writer.

It's about poverty in Ohio.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1076608,00.html

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Comments

leadensky
Nov. 3rd, 2003 10:04 am (UTC)
It's not the stats, it's the spin.

Check where they're mixing real numbers - 'more people living in poverty' and percentages - they don't mention that while the real numbers are rising, the percentages per capita are falling.

Also - it would be interesting to compare the 'material goods' of American poor vs poor in other parts of the world.

Yeah, we got poor people here. Yeap, when the economy sours, the unskilled and low-productive workers 1)lose their jobs first and 2) can't find new jobs.

(What, the high-producing, in high demand, highly skilled workers are supposed to be fired first?)

And when you're poor - you can't afford stuff.

(So the solution is to use a highly expensive labor force to make goods (like in the US) instead of a cheap one (like most places overseas)?)

The article glosses over the fact that the highest percentage of jobs lost in the recent down turn were fairly high paying middle management jobs. Not the working poor or working class jobs.

FDR's jobs and welfare programs took an ecomony that was starting to turn around and drove the Great Depression even deeper.

Easy answers are not there.

- hossgal
coffeeandink
Nov. 3rd, 2003 10:20 am (UTC)
(What, the high-producing, in high demand, highly skilled workers
are supposed to be fired first?)


How does that accord with

The article glosses over the fact that the highest percentage of jobs lost in the recent down turn were fairly high paying middle management jobs. Not the working poor or working class jobs.?

The high-paying, by industry definition highly-skilled jobs went--which meant that the unskilled ones went first.

The increase in middle-class unemployment doesn't do anything to decrease the working-class/working-poor unemployment -- it means that more people shift from one category to another, and there's an increase in people who are no longer making enough to pay for food or for health insurance.

FDR's jobs and welfare programs took an ecomony that was starting to turn around and drove the Great Depression even deeper.

I'd really like to see what you're using to support that statement.

In re: what people can't afford: I think the article is pretty clear that what they can't afford is food.

leadensky
Nov. 3rd, 2003 02:15 pm (UTC)
Well, infinitemonkeys said she wanted opinions.


How does "What, the high-producing, in high demand, highly skilled workers are supposed to be fired first?"
accord with:
"The article glosses over the fact that the highest percentage of jobs lost in the recent down turn were fairly high paying middle management jobs. Not the working poor or working class jobs."?


1)Nationwide - and, as I said below, one of the article's weaknesses is that it uses both local and national numbers (as well as percents and absolutes) as suits it's purpose - more jobs were lost in middle management. That's what's made this an easier downturn than it could be - educated skilled more flexible workers were out of jobs, rather than those already living hand to mouth.

2) And, yes, I was mocking the article's concern over lower skilled workers getting fired first. No matter the wage or skill range - and barring such hampering rules as senority - the less productive worker goes first. Or - rather - the worker who's producing the least per wage paid goes first. If your counter clerk is producing more per dollar of pay than your machinist, and you have extra machinists and clerks, you get rid of the extra machinists.

The high-paying, by industry definition highly-skilled jobs went--

But no longer in demand jobs. Too many people with the same high skills.

The increase in middle-class unemployment doesn't do anything to decrease the working-class/working-poor unemployment -- it means that more people shift from one category to another,

No. It's a shift in percentages - more of the unemployed are middle-class, means that fewer of the unemployed are working class. We're talking income levels before unemployment.

It's not correct to assume that everyone unemployed is now poor.

and there's an increase in people who are no longer making enough to pay for food or for health insurance.

That's different than an increase in unemployment - at least, in the US (as a whole). 90% of our unemployed get a job within a year. (In France, it's 5%, I think.)

What you're talking there is a increase in poor people- and here the article does it's percentage/whole numbers switch again.

FDR's jobs and welfare programs took an ecomony that was starting to turn around and drove the Great Depression even deeper.

I'd really like to see what you're using to support that statement.In re: what people can't afford: I think the article is pretty clear that what they can't afford is food.


I'm so tempted to go on a tear about how really, basicly, fundamentaly frelled up that conclusion is. But I'll leave it as - US food is cheaper than any other country in the world. And US government stats on how much food should cost per person per week are so grossly inflated as to be nearly unuseable.

And I'll get you stats on that, too.

- hossgal
leadensky
Nov. 3rd, 2003 03:11 pm (UTC)
For the effects of FDR on the Great Depression, try starting with this:

http://washingtontimes.com/commentary/20031011-113010-6227r.htm

- hg
coffeeandink
Nov. 3rd, 2003 04:17 pm (UTC)
And two minutes' Googling gets me this criticism of one of Powell's major sources, as well as discussion of whether the New Deal's success should be measured in terms of overall unemployment or numbers of people going hungry.
qowf
Nov. 3rd, 2003 10:42 am (UTC)
Dude. Where ever you live, you don't live in Southern Ohio otherwise you'd try not to debunk this.

These statistics are accurate. My family is from Southern Ohio. They and their friends have varying degress of education. Most members are not middle management. There have been so many layoffs; they live in fear for their jobs because jobs in Southern Ohio are hard to come by and harder to keep.

Southern Ohio has been experiencing a depression since the early eighties due to the fact that so many of the jobs in the region, in fact, the region's prosperity was built in manufacturing. Computer technology, the shipping of jobs overseas to cheaper labor and automation of jobs that it took people to do before have stripped the work places of jobs. Machining is not a big focus anymore which means the job market is not booming in Southern Ohio. In the jobs that are there, many people have been forced to take pay cuts to *keep* their jobs. Unemployment has sucked in that region of the country for a long, long time.

The only thing that is there is govermental contract work and that's hard to get. My husband and I have considered moving back there because one thing the area has is excellent schools and a low standard of living. However the only way we'd consider that is if I could land a job on Base because *that's* the only job with security in the area.

This is the wrong section of the country to pull out spin statistics. I'm sure in others it would suffice, however, not in Southern Ohio.
timesink
Nov. 3rd, 2003 11:29 am (UTC)
the region's prosperity was built in manufacturing

And coal, right? High-sulfur coal, the kind that causes acid rain. The kind that costs companies a lot in scrubbers and other environmentally-friendly whatnot, so why not buy low-sulfur coal instead?

leadensky, I recognize your name from other political discussions, and generally you and I share a worldview. But this article is dead on. Rural America is taking the brunt of the paradigm shift to a service-driven economy, and there's little that's been done about it -- unless you count government cheese.

qowf
Nov. 3rd, 2003 12:33 pm (UTC)
>>And coal, right? High-sulfur coal<<

Yep, said the woman who's grandfather and uncle worked at the steel mills in the area, whose aforementioned uncle still walks the coke pits on holidays for quadruple pay. It's the only way he and his family can afford Christmas.
leadensky
Nov. 3rd, 2003 01:48 pm (UTC)
Rural America is taking the brunt of the paradigm shift to a service-driven economy, and there's little that's been done about it -- unless you count government cheese.

As a person whose family has traditionally been farmers on both sides for several generations, I am well aware of this. The problem is that there is, actually, fuckall that can be done.

Farming, logging and mining jobs are going away. The people involved in those will have to re-train, and, in most cases, re-locate. Most people are resistent to that. In addition, the people most able to do so, have already done so, before the situation got desperate.

Wages are linked to the value of product produced. Jobs are linked to the number of manhours required to produce the product.

Automation lowers the cost of the product by decreasing the manhours required. Iron, coal, wheat and lumber are commodities that face pressure from overseas producers who can pay top wages for their products in that area and still undercut American wages by 50 to 90%.

There is not a government program on the planet that can make companies employ people at a loss to that company. And there's very little one can say to make me pay more taxes to support people who aren't working.

(Charity I do. Charity I do a lot. But I won't pay the government waste monster in the middle.)

And with dairy price supports declining, there's not even much cheese to go around.

- hg
leadensky
Nov. 3rd, 2003 01:55 pm (UTC)
NATIONWIDE a greater percentage of jobs have been lost in middle management. The article uses both national and local stats, as benifits it's message.

I am aware there are pockets of the country where automation and industry decline has decreased the number of jobs required.

Southern Ohio has been experiencing a depression since the early eighties due to the fact that so many of the jobs in the region, in fact, the region's prosperity was built in manufacturing. Computer technology, the shipping of jobs overseas to cheaper labor and automation of jobs that it took people to do before have stripped the work places of jobs. Machining is not a big focus anymore which means the job market is not booming in Southern Ohio.

Right. I don't argue this. But what's the solution? What sort of companies can employ these people? What sort of jobs can they do?

And what sort of hurdles (environmental and otherwise) do new companies face starting up in the region?

The situation there sucks for a lot of people - okay, I get that. So now what?

- hossgal
lenadances
Nov. 3rd, 2003 10:48 am (UTC)
So the solution is to use a highly expensive labor force to make goods (like in the US) instead of a cheap one (like most places overseas)?

No good solution there. The traditional closed ecosystem of employed people buying things which keeps other people employed which means they can buy other services which keep other people employed... well, it doesn't work anymore because we have to think on a global scale, not an enclosed national one. Now, on the national scale, we have this: "No jobs for you, but please buy our stuff so that we can employ people elsewhere." I can't help but wonder how long a demand for goods can stay up if people can't buy it. I guess we'll find out.

And incidentally, both sides of the coin have "easy answers" which are complete bullshit.
leadensky
Nov. 3rd, 2003 01:39 pm (UTC)
Stats I've heard is that for every work dollar we lose over seas we gain back $1.86 in cheaper goods.

And poor people buy more cheap goods than they do expensive ones, making poor people especially harder hit when prices rise. Or, in this case, don't fall.

The problem is that we are becoming a world economy, and we live in a nation with a very expensive labor pool. Not as expensive as Europe, but still, far above that of the rest of the world. How can we keep our labor in demand?

Well, we can't compete strictly pricewise - we'll have to compete value wise. Which means having more skilled labor. (I think, I'm not entirely sure on this.)

And incidentally, both sides of the coin have "easy answers" which are complete bullshit.

Oh, yeah. The hard part is that economy is something the government can't help, can hurt, gets blamed for but cannot take the credit for.

And nobody really wants to hear the hard answers - which are: "You live in a country with a high standard of living, in a world that has a low standard of living, and things are starting to even out."

- hg
(no subject) - se_parsons - Nov. 3rd, 2003 02:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jonquil - Nov. 7th, 2003 02:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - se_parsons - Nov. 7th, 2003 04:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - infinitemonkeys - Nov. 4th, 2003 06:26 am (UTC) - Expand
se_parsons
Nov. 3rd, 2003 01:46 pm (UTC)
My best friend and her husband went to Ohio University for grad school. Ohio University is in Athens, OH, which is Appalachia. College educated people were bussing tables there for minimum wage IF they were so fortunate as to have a job at all. During the Clinton boom years unemployment in that region was above 30%. Same thing in Ironwood, MI, where my family is from. My home town in Jackson averages 20% unemployment in boom years. This because all these places had economies dependent on heavy manufacturing which is moving out of this country.

All of them are rural. All of them are filled with people who routinely line up hundreds deep for one single decent job with benefits. These aren't lazy ass spongers who are looking for a handout, but they ARE people who know that working three minimum wage no-benefit jobs won't feed their families. (Both parents can't work because of daycare costs.)

You are talking out your ass about the New Deal. I can recommend you a number of excellent books that prove the exact opposite of what you've written. I had a class on this in college and did a major survey of New Deal improvements in my own home town, including flood reduction, the Post Office and paved streets.

Did the New Deal end the Depression? No, the War did that. But it certainly did NOT worsen it. It also created vast amounts of needed modern infrastructure for this nation and alleviated the starvation of millions, including the members of MY family that weren't surviving by poaching deer and illegal trapping. Not to mention creating great art, modern historical record-keeping, rural electrification, highways, dams, I mean seriously, where are you getting your information?

Rural poverty is as serious a problem as urban poverty. And there's a TON of it. And not because people are unwilling to work or aren't trying. There simply is nowhere to get a job.

In my home town I was offered a full-time no-benefits college teaching position for $12,000 a year, with a Master's Degree. That was considered the going rate because the area is so depressed and jobs are so few. Somebody took that job because they had a husband who was probably making about the same amount and so could squeeze by. I couldn't, becuase I couldn't live on that. I had interviewed all over the state. There were about 10 jobs that I was qualified for offered per year. And hundreds and hundreds of applicants for each one. Now quadruple that figure for unskilled people and you might be in the ballpark.
leadensky
Nov. 3rd, 2003 02:48 pm (UTC)
You are talking out your ass about the New Deal.

Bullshit.

I can recommend you a number of excellent books that prove the exact opposite of what you've written.

Do it. Provide me one reference by an economist that shows the US economy improving under the work programs or welfare that FDR implemented.

The stockmarket crashed, started to recover, and then did a nose-dive again when FDR started screwing with things.

CCC and the rest did a lot for the country - greatuncles on both sides help build Boulder - but it fucked businesses and prevented the regrowth that was occurring prior to the implementation of those programs.

It's like saying that the price limits on gas during the seventies helped people.

You can't take money from people, channel it through the government, and give it to other people, and expect more money to come out than went in.

- hossgal
(no subject) - se_parsons - Nov. 3rd, 2003 07:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
infinitemonkeys
Nov. 4th, 2003 06:12 am (UTC)
Where would I find the per capita statistics? Because it strikes me that these would be an average, which might disguise the fact that while some people are very rich indeed, some others are getting poorer and poorer in comparison and that's the part that worries me. How do you resolve that tension, given that comparative poverty leads to crime?

This is the thing upon which I think we part company, the role of the government in all this. I realise that you are pretty much on the Nozickian end of the scale when it comes to government intervention but I see it as the job of the government to provide for all, not just to provide opportunity for all. If that means carrying along a few lazy wasters for a free benefits ride, then so be it. I'll pay those taxes, if it means universal healthcare and a free, good education for all.