An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman | TigerDroppings.com

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RedStickBR
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An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


Typically, I despise all Paul Krugman has to say because I feel like the subject of economics is one of those holy grails (like science in general) that shouldn't be tainted with political bias. And Paul Krugman has made zero effort to hide the very biases that shape his economic thinking. His economic rationale has always seemed like an outgrowth of his political philosophy, while I contrarily believe one's political leanings should be grounded in sound economics. Simply put, Krugman is a Liberal first and an Economist second.

But in the first half of this article, I actually found myself agreeing with much of what he has to say. To some extent, the traditional model of "get a fine education, acquire a solid job, collect wealth slowly" has been broken in recent years, though why that is so is likely a huge point of disagreement between myself and Krugman. In my belief, employers simply can't afford to give employees raises that outpace the higher expenses those employees face in the form of higher taxes, higher healthcare costs, and the like. This tends to be quite destructive to one's ability to build wealth.

Regardless of whether we disagree as to the cause, here's what he says that I agree with:

quote:

A few days ago, The Times published a report on a society that is being undermined by extreme inequality. This society claims to reward the best and brightest regardless of family background. In practice, however, the children of the wealthy benefit from opportunities and connections unavailable to children of the middle and working classes. And it was clear from the article that the gap between the society’s meritocratic ideology and its increasingly oligarchic reality is having a deeply demoralizing effect.


quote:

These numbers should (but probably won’t) finally kill claims that rising inequality is all about the highly educated doing better than those with less training. Only a small fraction of college graduates make it into the charmed circle of the 1 percent. Meanwhile, many, even most, highly educated young people are having a very rough time. They have their degrees, often acquired at the cost of heavy debts, but many remain unemployed or underemployed, while many more find that they are employed in jobs that make no use of their expensive educations. The college graduate serving lattes at Starbucks is a cliché, but he reflects a very real situation.


But this is what I really disagree with:

quote:

So what can be done? For the moment, the kind of transformation that took place under the New Deal — a transformation that created a middle-class society, not just through government programs, but by greatly increasing workers’ bargaining power — seems politically out of reach. But that doesn’t mean we should give up on smaller steps, initiatives that do at least a bit to level the playing field.


I don't believe it's a lack of bargaining power against employers; it's a lack of bargaining power against an ever-more demanding government.

And then this is where he completely loses me. And the reason I disagree with this is because I agree with the first two items I posted above (particularly the second one; the family stuff is a bit overboard):

quote:

Take, for example, the proposal by Bill de Blasio, who finished in first place in Tuesday’s Democratic primary and is the probable next mayor of New York, to provide universal prekindergarten education, paid for with a small tax surcharge on those with incomes over $500,000. The usual suspects are, of course, screaming and talking about their hurt feelings; they’ve been doing a lot of that these past few years, even while making out like bandits. But surely this is exactly the sort of thing we should be doing: Taxing the ever-richer rich, at least a bit, to expand opportunity for the children of the less fortunate.


So while arguing that more and more education is essentially doing nothing to give the middle and working classes a shot at upward mobility, he then poses one solution could involve taxing the rich to provide for ... wait for it ... more education for the less affluent.

Here's the link to the article in its entirety:

LINK

Thoughts?



This post was edited on 9/13 at 12:13 pm



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navy
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


PK:DR





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UGATiger26
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:

Take, for example, the proposal by Bill de Blasio, who finished in first place in Tuesday’s Democratic primary and is the probable next mayor of New York, to provide universal prekindergarten education, paid for with a small tax surcharge on those with incomes over $500,000.


We can make pre-kindergarten, pre-pre kindergarten, and pre-pre-pre kindergarten education universal and still not see any benefits.

The problem with education is not lack of funding or lack of years of schooling available. It's family units that don't put any value on it.

ETA: the other problem is lack of truly qualified and talented teachers.



This post was edited on 9/13 at 12:21 pm


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jcole4lsu
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:

PK:DR

pretty much
his answer to everything these days is more government intervention. find a problem in which his answer didnt include it and ill be happy to retract my statement.

having said that, i think there is a lot of difference between govt subsided early childcare - including prek and govt subsided education later in life.






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Teddy Ruxpin
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:

This tends to be quite destructive to one's ability to build wealth.


quote:

Meanwhile, many, even most, highly educated young people are having a very rough time. They have their degrees, often acquired at the cost of heavy debts, but many remain unemployed or underemployed, while many more find that they are employed in jobs that make no use of their expensive educations.


I'm somewhat the poster child of this. My fiancee and I are both Top 10% wage earners (by the Wikipedia page I found, which is >$75,000) yet debt payments are taking $700 a month from me, and that doesn't pay down any principal. I have to get to $11 to $1,200 to break even. She has her own substantial education debts but makes more than me.

Our household income would be Top 5%.

The situation sucks, but a lot of my friends are dealing with it too. The interesting part is, we're probably near the target zone for higher taxation (being too "rich," fair share, rabble rabble). Just swell!




This post was edited on 9/13 at 12:37 pm


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Taxing Authority
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:

I actually found myself agreeing with much of what he has to say
Don't worry. In six months, maybe two years, he will be claiming the exact opposite.






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UGATiger26
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:

I'm somewhat the poster child of this. My fiancee and I are both Top 10% wage earners (by the Wikipedia page I found, which is >$75,000) yet debt payments are taking $700 a month from me, and that doesn't pay down any principal. I have to get to $11 to $1,200 to break even. She has her own substantial education debts but makes more than me.

Our household income would be Top 5%.


You each make over $75,000? So over $150,000 combined annual income? Do ya'll have kids?



This post was edited on 9/13 at 12:53 pm


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GumboPot
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:

: the other problem is lack of truly qualified and talented teachers.


Right. But more than that, talented students with talented parents and taught by talented teachers will have the highest chance of success. It has always been this way and it always be that way. The danger is accepting the premise that this is a problem that needs a political solution. It's only a problem at an individual level. It a problem for the student when he/she does a poor job of studying. It's a problem when the parents are not there, when the parents don't provide guidance, discipline, support, for their child-student. The problem is when the person that signed up to be a teacher ends up being terrible at their job. The premise that a politician can come in and solve these problems by confiscating societies labor through taxes is what is fricked up. But that's what politicians do. They see a problem, create a real or fake problem (see AGW) and say the only way to fix this is by more taxes and please don't forget to tell me how great I am as you leave the room.






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UGATiger26
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:


Right. But more than that, talented students with talented parents and taught by talented teachers will have the highest chance of success. It has always been this way and it always be that way. The danger is accepting the premise that this is a problem that needs a political solution. It's only a problem at an individual level. It a problem for the student when he/she does a poor job of studying. It's a problem when the parents are not there, when the parents don't provide guidance, discipline, support, for their child-student. The problem is when the person that signed up to be a teacher ends up being terrible at their job. The premise that a politician can come in and solve these problems by confiscating societies labor through taxes is what is fricked up. But that's what politicians do. They see a problem, create a real or fake problem (see AGW) and say the only way to fix this is by more taxes and please don't forget to tell me how great I am as you leave the room.


Yep.

People associate the terms "education" and "public good" so they assume that any problems with it must be solved by the public.

Quality education starts with individuals placing value on it and actually caring about learning. Most young kids are too naïve to understand the value and importance of education so parents need to fill the void until they understand on their own.



This post was edited on 9/13 at 12:50 pm


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RedStickBR
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:

The situation sucks, but a lot of my friends are dealing with it too. The interesting part is, we're probably near the target zone for higher taxation (being too "rich," fair share, rabble rabble). Just swell!


Damn right you are, at least to this administration.

This is how I would go about it. Say a potential tax increase would cost all tax payers an additional 2,000 per year.

Assuming everyone's budget line items are considered in terms of percentages of one's income, any increase in tax/expense really begins not to be felt when it doesn't round up to, let's call it, 1% of one's income. So that would mean 0.4%

2000 / 0.004 = 500,000

That seems reasonable. But to this administration if you make 100,000-200,000 or so, you're still "rich."






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Volvagia
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


So the basis of his argument is that having a college degree=an example of one of the best and brightest?







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Oenophile Brah
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:

The Times published a report on a society that is being undermined by extreme inequality

It's accurate to say the Times posited this notion, it's debatable to say that society is undermined by inequality.

I believe mobility is much more important than equality. Mobility isn't discussed in the Times piece.

I agree that he argues to tax(for equality) for additional education which he admits will likely produce few results.



This post was edited on 9/13 at 12:58 pm


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AlaTiger
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


It wasn't the New Deal that created the American Middle Class. It was winning World War II, America's industrial might, and being the last industrial power standing and the only hope for the world against Communism.

Krugman is out of his mind.

Once we lost the manufacturing/industrial edge and globalization revved up, we lost our creative capacity. Sure, we are the number one consumer market, but that only lasts so long.

We are experiencing the discontents of globalization and massive dependency in our own country. It wasn't the New Deal. It was WWII.






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GumboPot
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:

Once we lost the manufacturing/industrial edge and globalization revved up, we lost our creative capacity.


We haven't lost your manufacturing edge.



What we've lost/losing/decreasing are employees in the "manufacturing" sectors:



But this is due mostly to automation and robotics. I mean what manager wants to put up with personnel problems when it's much easier and cheaper (over time) to deal with a robot.

quote:

we lost our creative capacity.

Ummm, NO.






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RedStickBR
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


The Journal had an interesting article recently that said due to the natural gas boom in the U.S. (and lower associated costs with running a plant or what have you), the U.S. will actually become the lowest cost manufacturer in the world over the next few years (yes, even lower than China, India, Mexico, etc.) In other words, lower energy costs are expected to more than offset the higher cost to employ U.S. workers.

That's a huge development if, as you've mentioned, we can find workers for those jobs.



This post was edited on 9/13 at 1:28 pm


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TerryDawg03
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


As long as we continue to run huge trade deficits and maintain a composition of roughly 80/20 services/manufacturing in the US economy, it'll be tough to grow the middle class. The service industry appears pretty polarized as far as education goes: medical & financial services versus those jobs that require less skills.

How much of this could be fixed by producing our own energy?






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Taxing Authority
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:

But this is due mostly to automation and robotics
Some of it is outright productivity. Computers vs paper files. Email vs letters. Typing vs stenographers.

If the "middle class" wants to succeed they need to focus on being the absolute best at what they do, rather than the idea of mediocrity we're accustomed too.

Unfortunately our culture is going the other way. Toward more dependency. It won't end well for the dependents. Never does.






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Bayou Sam
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:


ETA: the other problem is lack of truly qualified and talented teachers.



If they exchanged a substantial pay raise for removing the protections that keep bad teachers from being fired (and made promotions based on quality instead of longevity) then I bet this problem could be fixed. But that would be rational....






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jcole4lsu
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:

If they exchanged a substantial pay raise for removing the protections that keep bad teachers from being fired (and made promotions based on quality instead of longevity) then I bet this problem could be fixed. But that would be rational....

yep, no room for that kind of shite in a govt bureaucracy backed labor union.






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Teddy Ruxpin
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re: An Uncharacteristically *Decent* Half of an Article from Krugman


quote:

You each make over $75,000? So over $150,000 combined annual income? Do ya'll have kids?



170k combined but it will be a little bit higher. No kids, not for five years. Same thing on house, not for 3-5 years. I'm 28 and she is 26. Both lawyers if that wasn't obvious.

The loans we have are huuuuuuge.



This post was edited on 9/13 at 2:20 pm


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