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  • Reply to: Sunday News: From the Editorial pages   47 min 34 sec ago

    This week's loser is the N&O, for publishing Ivanka Trump's mischaracterization of U.S. job growth:

    The recent news that the economy blew past expectations and added 266,000 jobs in November, along with positive revisions of 41,000 additional jobs to the prior two months, show that the labor market is experiencing a new revival under President Donald Trump and remains strong well into the longest expansion in U.S. history. But looking behind the headlines about these impressive numbers reveals that this economic boom disproportionately benefits previously left behind Americans by offering paths to self-reliance rather than reliance on government programs.

    I wish you could see my computer screen. The ad bloc on the bottom of the N&O page keeps flashing a McDonald's logo, which is a perfect symbol of how wrong Ivanka is about that self-reliance thing:

    America's unemployment rate is at a half-century low, but it also has a job-quality problem that affects nearly half the population, with a study finding 44% of U.S. workers are employed in low-wage jobs that pay median annual wages of $18,000. Contrary to popular opinion, these workers aren't teenagers or young adults just starting their careers, write Martha Ross and Nicole Bateman of the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program, which conducted the analysis. Most of the 53 million Americans working in low-wage jobs are adults in their prime working years, or between about 25 to 54, they noted. Their median hourly wage is $10.22 per hour — that's above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour but well below what's considered the living wage for many regions.

    The shift from the middle-class downward did not begin with Trump, but it seems to be accelerating. I don't expect a silver-spoon baby like Ivanka to understand that, but I do expect the editorial staff at the N&O to grasp that fact. But apparently this nonsense sells papers:

    These gains are bringing people off the sidelines into employment. In October, nearly three-quarters of people entering employment came from outside of the labor force — the highest number on record. And the prime-age labor force is growing, reversing losses under the prior administration. Under the prior administration’s expansion period, the prime-age labor force shrank by roughly 1.5 million people, while so far under the current administration it has expanded by 2.1 million. The current labor market revival is not a continuation of past trends, but instead a direct result of Trump’s pro-growth policies.

    Since Trump took office, he has targeted programs like SNAP (food stamps) and Social Security Disability, pushing millions of Americans to the brink of homelessness and malnutrition. Of course the work force has grown, but it's out of desperation, not because of "pro-growth" policies which dear Ivanka has yet to actually list.

    The rise in labor demand is not only leading to more jobs, but also to higher pay and lower income inequality. The lowest wage earners have seen the fastest nominal wage growth (8.9%) of any income group since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was signed into law.

    So they're making $10 per hour instead of $9.25. Whooptie-fuckin'-do. They still can't afford a two-bedroom apartment, and they damned sure can't afford the $15,000 per month rent Ivanka and Jared pay for their DC house. Which they probably consider a bargain.

    This growth in jobs and wages has increased economic self-reliance rather than reliance on welfare programs. As Americans filled open jobs, the number of people in poverty decreased by 1.4 million last year, and the poverty rates for African Americans and Hispanics reached historic lows. Under the Trump administration, the number of people claiming unemployment insurance as a share of the population is the lowest on record. Similarly, Medicaid rolls are decreasing predominantly because of a reduction in the number of individuals eligible for the program, caused by income growth as opposed to eligibility restrictions.

    These are all features of the effort to force Americans into low-wage, menial jobs. Bumping somebody slightly above the poverty level also bumps them off Medicaid, especially in the states that haven't expanded it (hello NC). This is not just lipstick on a pig, it's putting rouge on the face of a cadaver.

    Another element of our efforts is the opportunity zones created by the 2017 tax reform. Opportunity zones provide tax-advantaged treatment for economically-distressed areas. These tax cuts spur investment and drive up labor demand, directly helping the disadvantaged achieve self-sufficiency through increased economic activity. Supply-side tax cuts are the opposite of the traditional, failed approach to fighting poverty, which entails higher taxes to fund demand-side subsidies for health care, food and other goods that incentivize people to limit their hours or stop working to qualify.

    This might be the biggest load of BS in the entire article. The Opportunity Zone program is nothing more than a new tax dodge for the wealthy, with a built-in self-destruct formula for whatever is actually built in mostly urban environments. And it's a good bet Jared and Ivanka are already using it to dodge their taxes, not to mention what art-of-the-deal Chump is doing with it.

    This article is begging for an in-depth counterpoint, but I am simply not qualified to make it. There are a lot of smart people reading this, and one of you needs to step forward with an Op-Ed or LTE.

  • Reply to: NC House races that need Democratic candidates   1 day 36 min ago

    I met him a few months ago, he's a great guy. Here's his campaign website.

  • Reply to: NC House races that need Democratic candidates   1 day 1 hour ago

    .

  • Reply to: NC House races that need Democratic candidates   1 day 1 hour ago

    I'm sure there will be a flurry on the last day or two. But it better be a big damn flurry...

  • Reply to: NC Senate races that need Democratic candidates   1 day 1 hour ago

    There's a lot of things I love about our platform here, but making lists is not one of them. There's probably a way to do multiple columns that don't get all wacky, I just don't know how to do it. Now on to the House list...