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Monday, May 4, 2015

Paul Krugman, "Race, Class and Neglect": Provide Training for Which Jobs?

Let's take a trip back in time, four months to be precise. In a January 4, 2015 New York Times op-ed entitled "Presidents and the Economy," Paul Krugman concluded:

"So is the president responsible for the accelerating recovery? No. Can we nonetheless say that we’re doing better than we would be if the other party held the White House? Yes. Do those who were blaming Mr. Obama for all our economic ills now look like knaves and fools? Yes, they do. And that’s because they are."

Ah yes, an "accelerating recovery." How sweet it all looked back then!

But now, fast forward to the present. As reported yesterday in a CNNMoney article entitled "America's capsizing economy: Can it right the ship?" by By Patrick Gillespie:

"April was rough all around. It started with news that the economy only added 126,000 jobs in March, and previous months of job gains were revised down. Retail sales for March arrived in mid-April and they were sluggish.

Then last week we learned that America's economic growth was next to nothing, a mere 0.2% in the first quarter. Maybe the worst news about the growth: Businesses haven't been investing in themselves this year.

The newest projections for economic growth published by the Atlanta Fed show this spring could be disappointing too -- less than 1%."

Or stated in the vernacular, the US economy sucks, which bring us to the rioting in Baltimore. In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Race, Class and Neglect," Paul Krugman today writes:

"[T]he riots in Baltimore, destructive as they are, have served at least one useful purpose: drawing attention to the grotesque inequalities that poison the lives of too many Americans.

. . . .

Lagging wages — actually declining in real terms for half of working men — and work instability have been followed by sharp declines in marriage, rising births out of wedlock, and more.

. . . .

The poor don’t need lectures on morality, they need more resources — which we can afford to provide — and better economic opportunities, which we can also afford to provide through everything from training and subsidies to higher minimum wages. Baltimore, and America, don’t have to be as unjust as they are."

It's a 55-minute drive from the White House to Baltimore. Obama didn't bother to undertake the journey.

Cure the malaise with training, subsidies and higher minimum wages? US manufacturing is almost certain to be harmed by Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership with an anticipated decline in the wages of non-college-educated workers. And this leads to my next question: Which jobs should persons living in America's inner cities be trained for? Go ahead and tell us, Paul! I'm all ears!


  1. It is possible that the entire USA 1Q2015 GDP rise of 0.2% was from snow shovel sales, and ticket sales to "American Sniper".

    It is startling sad that Krugman can not admit that de-industrialization as a deliberate policy in the 1990's was a Great Mistake.

    As for job training 2015? When Mayor Bloomberg shut down the automotive vocational training in high schools because Mayor Mike thought everyone should go to college and become a lawyer, even the auto dealers of Manhattan could not convince the ideologues that we really do need good auto mechanics. (that was maybe 2003)

    Manufacturing matters. Just ask Germany.


  2. The root problem is that WallStreet responded to the 1970's inflation & high interest rate response with a paradigm that demands double-digit earnings increases quarter after quarter.

    That paradigm has not changed despite twenty+ years of low inflation. That is why publicly traded corporations stress earnings in favor of the only stakeholders who count: shareholders.

    Instead, all Krugman now spouts is the platform of Brooklyn's Working Families Party.

    the shrinking pie is poison.