Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday mopes.

The thing about gardening in Bend, you can't let the weather stop you. Other than full on rain. Threat of rain? Clouds? Breeze? Slightly chilly?

Forget about it. Go garden.


There are five long articles about bank heists over on Slate which are fascinating to me.

The jewelry heist in Bend?

I have a customer who is a policeman, and he seemed insulted when I said, "That's the kind of crime worth doing. Grab the jewelry and run."

"It's a major crime," he intoned.

Hell, I go the speed limit and stop at every light.


The Affordable Housing Fee?

Despite my skepticism, in the end I think I would continue it. I buy the "leverage" argument; the matching funds from the feds.

And I like the irony of builders being put to work with this money, after it was the builders who complained about it.



RDC said...


Since when did you start refusing to stock product manufactured overseas?

If not then aren't you part of the problem of supporting the exporting of US jobs overseas?

Lets get serious here. The shifting of jobs overseas is not a retail function. It is a function that the manufacturers themselves have shifted operations. They have done so because the advantages that the US had 40 years ago (education system, stable utility costs, transportation infrastructure) are no longer unique. Its not so much that the US is worse off, but that the other countries have significantly improved. You can now take a manufacturing plant and build it in a number of countries and have a well educated work force, reliable utilities, and good transportation. That means that you have to compete on labor costs and productivity.

THe jobs that can be done effectively at lower cost else where, will be. Basic economics.

The US has spent the last 40 years trying to remove the concept of competition out of our education system, while the rest of the world has been honing their competitiveness. Why do you think more than half of the engineering PhD at MIT, CalTech, etc. are Indian or Chinese.

Anonymous said...

this is mythology
the usd is strong because their military kills 10x
the world is 'bend tired' (tm) of the usa killing children
post ww2 the usa enjoyed having their manufacturing intact, prior ww2 usa was a prison colony, now again usa is a prison colony.
Your argument only holds within a nation of sheep fed shit by MSM (bull)
the usa can import convicts but its only export is death

Anonymous said...

i agree about heists
i think today is so same-same as 30's now when a man robs a bank he'll be a hero.
Everybody but the cops has BEND fucked by the 'bank.
Then as now 'little people' will celebrate the bank being fucked. Hell can you imagine dillinger & bonnie-clyde now with reality tv.
Crime is so fucking serious a guy takes $1000 gets life a 'suit' takes +$10Billion (bankster) and walks

Anonymous said...

i dont think the jobs shifted
for a very short period of time german manufacturing was kaput & nippon
within 20 years usa boom was over and never came back
thats why our ozzie&harriet years are locked in 50's&60's, after that it was all down hill
sure the vietnam war created a 60's boom & raygun defense 80's, but after that it was all fed-res bubbles
then came the 1984-2006 bendbubble
now convicts wait to die, like cargo-cults
i read the other day that 60% of usa now wait for government check
its going to be ugly when they start bouncing

nobody in the world is impressed during the whole time usa literacy was worst in the world

H. Bruce Miller said...

I've lost all enthusiasm for gardening in Bend -- not only because of the chronically crappy weather, but also because of the ridiculously short growing season. It seems that no sooner do you get your plants in the ground than they're dead. From now on I'm just planting hardy ground covers and bark dust and calling it good.

H. Bruce Miller said...

In typical conservative fashion, RDC blames the victims. The problem with globalization is that capital is mobile -- it can travel freely all over the world in search of cheap labor -- while labor is not; it can't travel freely all over the world in search of higher wages. Therefore globalization inevitably makes the rich (those who control capital) richer and the poor (those who make money through work) poorer. It's not about searching for better-educated workers; it's about searching for cheap workers. Even if every American had a PhD it wouldn't change things much.

RDC said...


Now that is certainly a response that I would expect from you. It seems to be that everyone being "victims" is certainly consistent with your ideology. Now woh exactly are the victims in this case the students that cannot compete with the foreign students to make it into MIT or CalTech. The people who are working in manufacturing jobs that were paying 40-60k per year where the work is now being done in a country where the average annual income is $2,000 per year and where they are thrilled to make 10-15k because by the measure of their country they are rich.

The point is that the US had significant economic advantages that the third world did not have. Those advantages prevented effective industrialization is the third world countries for a substantial period of time. So if anyone was a victim it is those people. Those advantages enabled salaries in the US to be significantly higher than the rest of the world because some work could only be performed effectively here.

Those advantages nolonger exist so the conditions which pretected the outflow of those jobs nolonger exists. Nothing you or anybody else can do to stop that.

A person is a victim only if they allow themselves to be. In the US one still has lots of options and lots of opportunities. The key point is that you must go grab and create them, there is nolonger the unique circumstances that allowed them to be handed out here at the expense of the rest of the world. The rest of the world has become more competitive and will continue to do so. India graduates twice as many scientists and engineers as the US does each year. Some of their students get accepted to places like CalTech and MIT only after they are rejected as not being good enough for the top programs there.

The initial flow was low skilled jobs, the next flow was very highly skilled jobs and it continues.

The world evolves, competition exists. One better plan to compete because if not they will be left behind.

RDC said...


Yes capital can and will flow. What is so surprising about that.

It always has and it always will.

40 years ago investment is third world countries did not happen to a large degree, for the reasons I mentioned earlier. No education, no utilities, no tranaportation infrastructure, unstable governments, unstable currencies. Those hurdles are gone.

I suspect that quite a few people in the third world countries that are have moved and are moving into the "middle class range" in those countries will disagree with you about the impact of this flow on their lives.

Today it is easier to build a plant in Brazil than in the US. It is not just labor costs. Many of the plants being built in these countries are more modern and more labor efficient than those in the US. I recently toured a plant in China that had a totally lights out warehouse (all automated, no people). That is not a case of just looking for cheap labor. That is investing to maximize the value of the capital investment. The same plant could be built in the US but is not because of a multitude of reasons which include building issues, regulations, tax structures, the growth of the market that it serves, the available of capital, etc.

Anonymous said...

You consistently undermine potentially properly reasoned arguments by regularly making grand, false and indefensible statements that ruin the vast majority of your points. To wit: "A person is a victim only if they allow themselves to be". Tell that to the victim of an armed robbery, or the victims of bank or securities fraud. You might want to consider couching your rhetoric in with a less "know it all" attitude.

RDC said...

The context of this discussion had nothing to do with armed robbery or securities fraud, or Rape, or even for that matter a cancer diagnoses.

The context was the issue of jobs flowing overseas and the primary causes.

You can ask HBM about who he was classifying as a victim. I was interpreting it, within the context of this discussion, to mean those that lost jobs to over seas competition.

And as such that is the context of my response. It that context a person is a victim only if they allow themselves to be one. A victim is those circumstances is someone who waits for someone to rescue them, who waits for their old job to come back, who either is not willing or able to try something else. A person can either feel that they are a victim and let that rule their lives and wait for someone to change their victim status, or they can plan their own course of action, which can include relocation, changing careers, learning additional skills, etc.

This down turn is different from previous ones because a number of the jobs are gone for good and will not return. For example the number of peak construction jobs was considerably higher then historic norms. We will not reach that number ever again, we will return to the pre-peak normal levels at some point. However, that means that a lot of people that were in that industry are not going to find jobs there no matter how long they wait. Are they victims? Or are they faced with the consequences of their own decisions to enter a field that a lot of money could be made while it was booming. Different people would have different views on that subject.

One of the items that happens in down turns is people move to find jobs. That is not happening this time to the normal degree. Instead people are sitting and waiting for things to change where they are now. I suspect they will be waiting for a long time.

There really are jobs out there. You have to go to the locations where they are at. You have to develop the specific skills that are in demand. You have to compete for them. You have to give the employer a better reason to hire you then the person you are competing with. Or you need to start your own business, if you don't like the options you are getting from employers.

In other words you have to adjust to the changes in the world and not wait for for the world to return to the way it was.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"In the US one still has lots of options and lots of opportunities."

A meaningless platitude. The same might be said about Bangladesh or Somalia. In every situation there are some people who get rich. But my test of the success of an economy is not whether a few people can make a killing but whether most people can make a living. Increasingly the US is failing that test.

Incidentally, socioeconomic mobility in the US is now less than in the "socialist" countries of Western Europe, popular mythology to the contrary notwithstanding.

RDC said...

Uh Nope.

Economic Mobility in the United States
Daniel P. McMurrer, Isabel V. Sawhill

Cross-National Comparisons

How does the United States compare with other countries with regard to income mobility? We know that inequality is greater in the United States than it is elsewhere; does a higher rate of mobility serve to offset that inequality? The few studies that have compared mobility in the United States and other countries have concluded that, despite significant cross-national differences in labor market structures, mobility rates seem to be quite similar across countries.

The Burkhauser, et al. (1996) study discussed above compares earnings mobility in the United States and Germany during the 1980s, using the PSID in the United States and the German Socio-Economic Panel in Germany. The authors find remarkably similar rates of quintile-to-quintile movement in both countries for transition periods of between one and five years. As reported above, the one-year mobility rate in the United States during the 1980s was 29 percent. In Germany, it was 28 percent. The five-year mobility rate in the United States during the same period was 45 percent; in Germany, 44 percent. There are slight differences in the magnitude of the movements for those who change quintiles. Individuals are more likely to move one or two quintiles in the United States, while they are more likely to move three or four quintiles in Germany. 19

Duncan, et al. (1993) use a variety of national longitudinal data sets to study transitions out of poverty in seven countries for families with children 17 or younger during the early to mid-1980s. 20 Examining post-tax, post-transfer income, they find that one-year transition rates out of the bottom decile of the income distribution are generally quite uniform across countries, with rates in six of the seven countries between 21 percent and 27 percent (the rate in Sweden was 16 percent). The United States was near the middle of the distribution, at 23 percent.

Aaberge, et al. (1996) consider income mobility in the United States and three Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden), but do not examine quintile-to-quintile transitions, and are therefore less comparable to studies discussed previously. Nevertheless, their results (using a mobility measure based on the Gini coefficient) also indicate that income mobility is quite similar in the United States and other countries with significantly different labor markets.

RDC said...


The bottom line? It is clear that there is substantial mobility — both short-term and long-term — over an average life-cycle in the United States. The studies reviewed above suggest that approximately one-quarter to one-third of the population moves into a new income quintile in any given year. Given a longer time horizon, an even greater percentage of individuals switch income quintiles — perhaps slightly less than one-half over a five-year period, and about 60 percent over a ten-year period.

At the same time, however, there is little evidence that this mobility has changed substantially over time. This indicates that the recent increases in inequality have not been offset by any increase in mobility. 21 Thus, the disparity in economic rewards is increasing, while there has been no positive change in the openness or availability of those rewards to everyone in the population. There is also no evidence that mobility is significantly different in the United States than it is in other countries. This suggests that the United States has not only the highest year-to-year inequality in the industrialized world, but also likely has the highest lifetime inequality among similar countries.

Overall, therefore, it is possible that one cause of the increased in public discontent in the United States is the growth in the inequality of economic rewards, unaccompanied by any increase in the accessibility of those rewards to workers. An additional factor that may affect public attitudes is the extent to which mobility for young individuals today compares to that of previous generations, as well as how much their current standing is independent of that of their parents. We turn our attention to these questions in the next brief in this series.

RDC said...

That research comes from a paper from the Urban Institute.

The research was done in context of the the increasing range in income between upper and lower incomes. As a result it does include components of that discussion is the article. Their conclusion is that economic mobility in the Us has neither increased or decreased.

Lets see your references.

RDC said...

Here is another one from the Treasury department

The key findings of this study include:

There was considerable income mobility of individuals in the U.S. economy during the 1996 through 2005 period as over half of taxpayers moved to a different income quintile over this period.

Roughly half of taxpayers who began in the bottom income quintile in 1996 moved up to a higher income group by 2005.

Among those with the very highest incomes in 1996 – the top 1/100 of 1 percent – only 25 percent remained in this group in 2005. Moreover, the median real income of these taxpayers declined over this period.

The degree of mobility among income groups is unchanged from the prior decade (1987 through 1996).

Economic growth resulted in rising incomes for most taxpayers over the period from 1996 to 2005. Median incomes of all taxpayers increased by 24 percent after adjusting for inflation. The real incomes of two-thirds of all taxpayers increased over this period. In addition, the median incomes of those initially in the lower income groups increased more than the median incomes of those initially in the higher income groups.
The degree of mobility in the overall population and movement out of the bottom quintile in this study are similar to the findings of prior research on income mobility.