Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My Southern Bronx strategy to down Bloomberg

My Southern Bronx strategy to down a Bloomberg candidacy -- one picture is worth a thousand words (two even better):

My art-deco high school -- opened 1941

Bronx County Court House -- opened 1939 -- a ten minute walk from Cardinal Hayes

Both remain in pristine condition, today.
In 1977, in response to the national crime wave, the city was forced to open a new $120 million (2016 dollars) courthouse down the hill from the 1939 courthouse to catch the overflow.

In 2004, long after the crime wave had receded 75%, Mayor Bloomberg opened a new $500 million courthouse across the street from the old-new one and down the block from the old-old one.

Bloomberg perpetrated the same financial folly in Brooklyn in the same year to the tune of $750 million.  Don't have personal knowledge of Brooklyn courthouse(s) that already stood but I never spotted any dilapidated structures passing through Brooklyn civic center (just the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge).

Before posting the old-new and new-new courthouse pictures I should throw in my eighth-grade math take on Bloomberg's stop-and-frisk circus.  Stops went up 7X under Bloomberg, after crime had subsided 4X = 28 times as many stops per reported crimes.  Thought this: if it is a thousand to one that a cop has justification to stop any one kid on the way to school, it must be a million to one against two together, a billion, etc. etc. -- but it would be the same four, five school kids together over and over again.

The old-new and old-old Bronx courthouses are probably being put to some use by now -- don't know; haven't been in the Bronx for a long time

Friday, January 15, 2016

Re: Is Vast Inequality Necessary?, Paul Krugman, JAN. 15, 2016

If the question is whether cutting rewards at the top will cut incentives for the most able to produce -- here is the final MOTIVATIONAL answer; look no further. The power of incentives are RELATIVE not ABSOLUTE -- in the way human nature works.

Relative, that is, to what we PERCEIVE to be the maximum capability of the economy (of our time and place) to reward us -- for our skill set.

Lately, I've been explaining why two sets of gangs -- Chicago street gangs which have something like half (100,000!) of our young, minority males and my old American born taxi driver gang -- refuse to work at jobs available: because the pay may be half of what they (we) are willing to work for (in our time and place). While we (our two gangs) might enthusiastically have been willing work for HALF OF THAT PAY -- in 1915 (100 years ago) if we perceived that that was the maximum (there's that word) that that much less productive economy was capable of rewarding us with, then.

Ditto for CEOs, QBs and TV anchors who now make 20X what their fellows made two generations ago even though US per capita income only doubled since.
* * * * * *
Meantime (back in the ghetto) the federal minimum wage is almost $4 an hour below what it was in 1968 -- er, uh, double the per capita income since. I personally see $800 a week as the norm for most low skill work (at firms like supermarkets with 10-15% labor costs) -- with the very minimum wage at $600 (for firms like fast food with 33% labor costs).

The beauty of collective bargaining is that we know we have extracted the maximum that the (ultimate) consumer (not the boss) is willing to fork over.

Unless I'm mistaken, labor racketeering does much less harm to the worker than outright union busting. Why is the later subject to no market warping felony? Especially since the latter makes any other form of democratic governance impossible.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Low union density = secular stagnation (and a host of other ills)

What is the core economic difference between Germany and it’s’ economic dynamism — and — the US and our (secular?) stagnation?

Union density. Anybody offer a more important — or even any another — core difference?

Leaving other macro angles aside -- wouldn’t abandoning the vast majority of economic actors in a theoretical economy trapped in unopposed monopsony (one buyer: the employer --  unopposed by one seller: a collective bargaining unit) be expected to result in economic stagnation? Couple the inevitable demand log jam at the top (actors who cannot spend it as fast as they make it) — with — debilitated personal lives (tens of millions) at the bottom (sub-par education, health, job networks, etc., etc. — paired with much economic drag on everybody else trying to partially remedy the symptoms) and what else could be expected of our imaginary economy.

The universal union busting that leaves our (the US’s) working majority in an inescapable monopsony black hole happens to be ipso facto against the laws — both state and federal. So when are Americans simply going to attach felony penalties instead of no penalties to breaking what should be our most important economic empowering and politically enabling laws on our books?

What other form of market muscling is left completely unsanctioned? What other form of market muscling is not treated as a felony? Every form of market muscling except the most important one.

Almost forgot to mention -- for those not in the know (I didn't used to be) -- federal labor law preemption means individual states cannot subtract but they may add. In Maryland for just one instance Democrats have a 33-17 edge in the State Senate and a 91-50 edge in the House. WA, OR, CA, IL, NY, anybody listening?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Re: The Closed Marketplace of Economic Ideas - Federico Fubi

 " ... you might wonder what to make of Robert Lucas’s view that rational expectations enable perfectly calculating “agents” to maximize economic utility."

Not totally on topic but, the rational expectations thing triggers this response from me: Economists as a whole (including too many progressives?) fail to appreciate what can truly be likened (explanation below) to a "black hole" of monopsony that the vast majority of American "economic agents" (a.k.a., employees) are (doubly) sucked into, unable to escape.

A black holes works on a vicious circle of increasing mass which in turn increases gravitational acceleration which in turn increases mass -- it all starts when a neutron star creates gravitational acceleration at a fraction of the speed of light that is able to increases its mass.

Simpler labor market explanation: one buyer (an employer) unopposed by one monopoly (a collective bargaining unit) pays subsistence-plus wages: subsistence plus an increment or increments more depending on added increments of value to be gained from labor -- to be sold as cheaply as possible to the (ultimate) consumer. Unorganized labor for its part cannot escape whatever such wage scale employers lay out without LITERALLY starving to death. Wheels within wheels of monopsony.

To round out the picture: the check on the balance of monopoly v. monopsony should be the (ultimate) consumer of the mutually produced product. First balance off the power to trap and hold labor (which accounts for the vast majority of "economic agents") -- then rational expectations theory might better represent reality.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Hell for minimum wage "opo researchers"?


I’ve been thinking that minimum wage advocates should launch a national challenge to minimum wage opposition researchers (e.g., Richard Neumark) — daring them to admit that minimum wage hikes very well may (actually) cost job losses in the middle income range.

As I theorize, some money spent on (diverted to) higher prices for low income produced products would have been spent on middle income produced products — had not the minimum wage risen. This is based on the assumption that people in different income ranges tend to spend somewhat disproportionately for products produced by employees in their own income range.

Allow me to cite: from a 1/ll/14, NYT article “The Vicious Circle of Income Inequality” by Professor Robert H. Frank of Cornell:
“… higher incomes of top earners have been shifting consumer demand in favor of goods whose value stems from the talents of other top earners. … as the rich get richer, the talented people they patronize get richer, too. Their spending, in turn, increases the incomes of other elite practitioners, and so on.”

The fun is: if we can get minimum wage “opo researchers” to admit that min wage increases very possibly mean money and jobs are lost to middle income earners, they are forced to admit min wage increase must help low income earners overall. Our position is unassailable (in public debate credibility) because it admits (is based upon!) admitted job loses caused by higher min wage.

What a hell for “opos”?!    :-0