novatownhall blog

Where you are held accountable for your convictions and record

Browsing Posts published by jack

All rhetoric about “rescinding” DACA is just that — RHETORIC.

Trump has NOT rescinded the unconstitutional DACA program, but simply said that he will NOT rescind it for at least six months. If Congress does not put DACA into law in that time, count on Trump to extend it again and again.

It’s a bit old, but a relative linked to it on Facebook, and I thought I would look into it. It is the “Wages Haven’t Kept Up With Productivity” mantra:

productivity-versus-wages

“Something happened in the mid-70′s”

Well, I went to BLS.GOV, and plotted Series PRS85006093 (Nonfarm Business, Labor productivity (output per hour)) and Series PRS85006103 (Nonfarm Business, Hourly Compensation). Guess what? The results don’t match!

In fact, adjusting the index to 100 in 1970, the productivity index was 231.7 in 2016, and the hourly compensation index was a whopping 887.2! Relative to their productivity, people were earning almost FOUR TIMES what they should have in 2016.

productivity-versus-unadjusted-wages
(This is a semi-log scale, which is more appropriate for the data.)

So how could this be? What could account for this discrepancy?

Well, I did more digging, and found Series PRS85006153 (Nonfarm Business, Real hourly compensation). This index is inflation-adjusted, while the others are not. This is the data series they were using in their comparison. They were comparing inflation-adjusted wages with non-inflation-adjusted productivity.

So, what happened in the mid-70′s? INFLATION.

It is said that racism is learned. (Of course, others say Whites are born racist.) If something is learned, then it must be taught, either directly or by personal experience.

Direct teaching occurs when one person teaches another, as in a parent-child relationship or a teacher-student relationship. We could expect racist parents to produce racist children.

Personal experience is altogether different. If one watches the news, and sees that people of one race are over-represented in positions of authority, and that people of another race are over-represented in prison, one might, consciously or unconsciously, develop a racist mindset. If one is in school, and sees one race outperform the others, while another under-performs the others, one might develop a racist mindset.

But what is a “racist mindset”? Is it racist to note that Blacks commit crime at much higher rates than other races? Is it racist to note the under-performance of Blacks in school? Is it racist to note that Blacks are disproportionately likely to be on the dole? Is it racist to note that Blacks are more likely to have children out of wedlock? Is it racist to note that “the black–white disparity in debt is greatest at the highest levels of parents’ net worth”? [^]

No, these are facts. Facts are not racist. The problem comes in using facts about groups to pre-judge individuals in those groups. And that happens. Two identical resumes, one from DeMayne Johnson and the other from Alexander Weinstein, will not be treated the same. Neither will two such mortgage applications.

Affirmative Action just exacerbates the problem. If lesser-qualified Blacks are as likely as more-qualified Whites to be admitted to a particular college, and if that college gives extra help to the Black student to get him through, then equivalent resumes do not really reflect equivalent ability and achievement. If companies promote lesser-qualified Blacks over more qualified White to meet racial quotas, then equivalent resumes do not reflect equivalent ability and achievement.

Affirmative Action in mortgage lending doesn’t help either. Lenders are not in the business of losing money, so are more likely to give sub-prime mortgages to those people who are more likely to default. Research in the industry indicates that “Black households have higher marginal default rates, controlling for differences in borrower and property characteristics.” In this case, as in others, “White Privilege” is the result of White behavior, taken in the aggregate. When controlling for other factors, Whites are less likely to default, so Whites get the privilege of better loan terms.

Is charging Blacks more for loans racist? You betcha! But what is to be done? Lenders make a lot of loans, and the aggregate actions of the borrowers affect the lenders’ returns. If you make it illegal to charge Blacks more, then lenders will find ways to make fewer loans to Blacks.

Black men, even when adjusting for income and other factors, have higher mortality rates than do White men. Should they pay more for life insurance? Of course! It is racist? You betcha! But what is to be done? If charging different rates for life insurance is illegal, then insurers will find ways to write fewer policies for Blacks. (Similarly, women between the ages of twenty and fifty cost health insurers more, and cost car insurers less. The prices of health insurance and car insurance should reflect those facts. Is that sexist? You betcha!)

Now, having higher mortality, do Blacks get more Social Security? No! Is that racist? Do Blacks get better returns on annuities? No! Is that racist?

Racism is, unfortunately, a reality. There are racial gaps in educational attainment, crime rates, life-spans, and loan default rates. The problem is not really racism, but prejudice. PRE-judging people based on race (or sex) is wrong.

Idiots waving Nazi flags probably have no idea that the same prog policies they oppose were policies of the National Socialist Party eighty years ago. Those calling the Nazi-flag-wavers fascists probably have no idea that many of the policies of the Democrat Party are those of the National Socialist Party eighty years ago.

Both are ignorant of history.

Some people blame the police for the violence, because the police did not separate two groups of fascists. Balderdash. People are responsible for their own actions, whether the police are there or not. The police cannot be blamed for not closing roads. The counter-protesters did not have a permit to be on those roads, or they would have been closed. The driver is responsible for driving his car into the crowd, and the crowd is responsible for their illegally blocking the road. All should face charges accordingly.

An article on Intellectual Takeout, Mothers Are Not Widgets, points to an IMF working paper that states that, “if the gender [participation] gap were to be closed…, the level GDP [in Canada] would be higher by 4 percent.”

There are multiple flaws in their arguments. Primarily, there is the assumption that it is the participation of women, particularly well-educated women, in the workforce that increases productivity. More likely, it is the increased productivity that attracts well-educated women to participate.

The IMF paper also does not examine what sort of education those “well-educated” women actually got. Over the years, more and more women have gotten degrees in STEM fields, which are in demand by employers, rather than getting M.R.S. and pre-Wed degrees. Perhaps it is not that there are more educated women in the workforce, but that there are more usefully-educated people in the workforce. Adding more uselessly-educated women to the workforce would be of no benefit.

One striking point of the IMP paper comes in their discussion of demographics:

Why is gender equality an especially important economic issue now? The Canadian economy, like other advanced economies, is expected to face growth headwinds, arising from unfavorable demographic pressure. The Bank of Canada has assessed that labor input growth could be almost halved (from 0.7 percent a year in 2015 to 0.4 percent in 2020) due to the slowdown in the growth rate of the working age population (Bank of Canada 2016). But female labor resources have not been fully tapped, and policy reform to bring more females to the workplace could effectively counterbalance the demographic pressure that is predicted to rise in the future.

So their “solution” to the population collapse is for more women to be working, which would just accelerate the collapse of the population! Brilliant.

Liberalism and Feminism are literally killing off Western Civilization, and their solution is more Liberalism and Feminism.

But wait, they want more government-paid child care. So, leave your kids with a stranger to go to work so you can pay the taxes that pay the stranger to raise your kids.

The Intellectual Takeout article also quotes a prog woman who says that motherhood is selfish. Here’s the opening paragraph:

I was taking a few weeks’ break from work over the summer. My family and I — my husband and my sons, then 9 and 7 — planned to spend the time at our house on the New Jersey shore. When my mother asked what we would be doing on our vacation, I told her we would be together — going to the beach and the nearby amusement park, cooking, playing in the yard.

Motherhood is not selfish. Selfishness is refusing to have enough children to continue the civilization so that you can afford a vacation home at the shore.

When tuning a radar system, the operator sets a detection threshold. It a signal does not reach that threshold, no detection event occurs. Not wanting to miss any real returns, an operator might increase the sensitivity (decrease the threshold) so that any real radar returns will exceed the threshold and show up on his screen.

The problem with that is that a lot of noise will also exceed that threshold and show up his screen too.

This is exactly the problem with oversensitive progs, who see normal differences in everyday life and their racism, sexism, and poor-poor-pitiful-me-ism detectors go off.

Black people get arrested more than Whites, so it must be racism, not the fact that Blacks commit more crimes. Black people make less money than Whites, so it must be racism, not the fact that Blacks tend to do less well in school. They see women getting paid less than men, so it must be sexism, not the fact that women are less likely to go into engineering, math, and real sciences, and are less likely to work overtime.

On the other side of the coin, I suspect my bullshit detector is too sensitive, since it seems that everything the progs say sets it off.

It’s getting a bit stale now, having been released in January of 2015, but I am sure they will come out with a new steaming pile soon. Anyway, allow me to present Who Pays? (5th Edition) A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All Fifty States. Even the title is wrong, since they include the District of Columbia, but I digress.

While complaining, as progs are wont to do, that the State tax systems are not “fair,” they never actually bother to define the word FAIR. Be that as it may, when we get down to the section on real estate taxes, we have this:

Renters do not escape property taxes. A portion of the property tax on rental property is passed through to renters in the form of higher rent — and these taxes represent a much larger share of income for poor families than for the wealthy. This adds to the regressivity of the property tax.

This is quite reasonable. If the property-owner is to make a profit, he needs to pass his tax burden on to his renters. But the authors then follow up with this:

The business tax component reduces the regressivity of the property tax as it generally falls on owners of capital….

That’s right. Somehow, one type of business (rental property) is able to pass the cost of taxes to its customers (renters), but other types, such as retailers and manufacturers, cannot. This simply makes no sense.

The authors want to emphasize their assertion that lower-income people pay a higher percentage of their income to State and local taxes than higher-income people do. To do that, they say that property taxes on rental property are passed through to the renters. However, if they admit that retail and manufacturing business can do the same, and pass their property taxes on to their customers, then they must also admit that businesses can also pass on to their customers the cost of corporate income taxes, and thus the corporate income taxes are as regressive as sales taxes are. This they cannot do.