In The Race To The Bottom, Coming In Last May Be The Best We Can Hope For

Settling for second best has never been the American way. But, as the developed nations of the world continue their insane race to the bottom, coming in last may seem like a victory of sorts.

An article at Monty Pelerin’s World used this quote from a Daily Beast article:

And yet, as the rest of the world goes to hell, politically and economically, the U.S. is standing tall economically—at least on a relative basis. China is slowing down rapidly. Countries tethered to China’s erstwhile insatiable demand for natural resources, like Australia, are downshifting. Brazil is struggling, an immature market with immature political systems. Europe is mired in a seemingly never-ending cycle of austerity and sovereign debt crises. The Middle East? Forget about it. As the BRICs seem to be broken, analysts are now looking to sub-Saharan Africa for growth. Yet throughout it all, the U.S. economy continues to chug along.

And, Pelerin’s response was much like what mine was”

The quote strikes me as both forced and faint praise. The fact that we are not going to hell as fast as the rest of the world doesn’t mean that isn’t our ultimate destination.

I suppose it might be comforting to some that we are not as bad as the others, but does that make Hell any less painful? To think, this is all we have gotten for squandering trillions of dollars of wealth, most of which will be borne by those yet unborn.

When one is feeling pain, it’s not much comfort that someone else is feeling more pain. Be that as it may, coming in last in the race to the bottom is better than coming in first.

The Daily Beast article quoted by Pelerin is correct, however. The US is doing better than the other guys. Here are some links to articles discussing the woes in China and Japan, and Europe. So, as the US economy chugs along like a train with square wheels, we are doing better than our competitors in the developed world. We will get where they are going, it will just take a little longer.

It must be very frustrating for Obama and the rest of the politicians that don’t represent us that we are loosing this race. I’m sure they thought that ObamaCare would give the boost we needed to take the lead. But then, ObamaCare isn’t fully implemented yet, so they may yet be vindicated. ObamaCare is one of and many the most important factor in the disproportionate growth in part-time jobs relative to full-time jobs. I reported on the subject of part-time jobs just the other day. This trend is not going away, folks, so it bears repeating. I’m not sure but I think it was the TOTUS blog that ran a humorous satire on this subject recently. The author was lauding Obama for his new jobs program that promised to double the number of jobs in America. The punch line was that every adult American would have two part-time jobs. Sadly, the joke is on us. To illustrate again how serious this trend is, I found this graphic at National Review:

Scary, isn’t it? Now the Bureau of Labor Statistics has two methods of measuring employment. The above graphic comes from the Household Survey method. The other method is a survey of information reported by employers which would indicate the part-times jobs for the same period was 50% of the total jobs added in 2013. Reality probably is somewhere between 50% and 70.6%. Whatever, Americans should find the trend very disturbing. And, as ObamaCare is implemented in the coming year, this trend will likely get worse.

My good friend, 5eteaster, in a comment on yesterday’s post made the point that the Republicans in the House have the power to stop this nonsense; that is, they have the power of the purse and they could defund ObamaCare and a lot of other nonsense. But, they won’t because they don’t have the political will to force a government shut-down to get their way. And, a part of the reason they don’t have the will is that there are not enough conservative/libertarian freedom lovers left in American to give the support they would need to take on that fight. That is a god-awful shame!

Does anyone understand why the regressive “progressives” so intent on our finishing this race? The prize for finishing the race is a pile of ashes.

Good luck to those who take comfort in the fact that America is the best of the worst.

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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12 thoughts on “In The Race To The Bottom, Coming In Last May Be The Best We Can Hope For

  1. Don’t worry. Once obamacare is implemented our nation will become the socialist worker’s paradise our dear leader wants. Which of course means empty shelves in stores, long lines for gasoline, etc etc etc.

    But it will be paradise.

  2. There is that very high part-time to full-time employment number cropping up again.

    I don’t know who Veronique de Rugy at National Review is, but if she is gonna make a graph and publish it then at least get the goddamned numbers right (she didn’t) and tell us the rest of the story that she leaves out… like, for example, the roll of people who take take part-time jobs for non-economic reasons and how may of her total that is. Table A-8 makes the distinction.

    Did you know that they error level on the Household (also called the Population) Survey is +-400,000? I bet de Rugy doesn’t! I can understand Rush Limbaugh not knowing that, but not her.

    Geeze…she is worse than the Obama Administration. Though misleading, at least Obama’s actual numbers that he quotes are accurate!

    1. That’s a mighty high horse you’re riding today, AZ. Those are rather harsh words ou laid on Veronique de Rugy. I’m surprised you don’t know who she is. There are other economist out there besides Paul Krugman and Robert Reich. Over the years, I have always found her work to be very reliable. Here is a short biography on her:

      Veronique de Rugy is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center. Her research interests include tax competition, financial privacy, bioterrorism, and fiscal sovereignty issues. She is the coauthor of Action ou Taxation, published in Switzerland in 1996. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Paris-Sorbonne and previously directed academic programs for the Institute for Humane Studies — Europe in France.

      Did Rugy make a mistake? That is always possible, but I would be surprised. Did ahw cerry-pick her data? That’s possible. But then, Krugman and Reich have been known to cherry=pick, also.

      The important thing as far as this post goes is that we have a serious trend occurring in the US labor market. I think on that you and I agree.

      1. You are correct, we agree the number of people working part-time for economic reasons is way to high. That is driven by a sluggish economy and Obamacare.

        A person’s credibility is as good as their facts; no better, no worse.

        As you correctly pointed out having a PhD or even a Nobel Prize still produces politically motivated economists the likes of Krugman and Reich.

        This time de Rugy is pushing incorrect numbers, leaving out important details and making implied generalizations based on the Household Survey whose error levels are 4X greater than the Employment Survey. The Household is better for looking at trends over years, not months. Over the short term it’s error level often exceeds the result.

        If expecting someone to do better than that means I’m riding a high horse, then I’ll put on my Stetson and ride tall and proud.

      2. Fair enough, my friend. But it is not like you to curse at someone you disagree with and it is not like you to claim someone has errored (deliborate or otherwise) without giving the correct data and the source of that data. I hope all is well with you, AZ.

  3. What often its not mentioned with part time work is not only the lack of health benefits, but the other benefits that make life worth living. Vacation and sick time. Gone for the most part.

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