Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A Bright Future

Op-Ed Columnist - Relax, We’ll Be Fine -

David Brooks is the "conservative" at the NYT, which means he is a Socialist rather than a Marxist. I like optimism, especially warranted optimism. We finally have some optimism, I'm just afraid we already gutted the goose that lays the golden eggs.

The United States already measures at the top or close to the top of nearly every global measure of economic competitiveness. A comprehensive 2008 Rand Corporation study found that the U.S. leads the world in scientific and technological development. The U.S. now accounts for a third of the world’s research-and-development spending. Partly as a result, the average American worker is nearly 10 times more productive than the average Chinese worker, a gap that will close but not go away in our lifetimes.

A 2008 study? Gee, what policies had the US been operating under since '81, other than during a very short Clinton induced bender in '93-'94 before we were saved by a Republican Congress? I really don't think outlets like the NYT thought that we did so much R&D, top or close to top in every measure, 10x as productive as the Chinese -- but maybe I was asleep in '08. I could have sworn that '08 was the year that "Change" was the only thing that counted ... things were so bad that certainly ANYTHING would be better than Bush!

This produces a lot of dynamism. As Stephen J. Rose points out in his book “Rebound: Why America Will Emerge Stronger From the Financial Crisis,” when income is adjusted for family size, the percentage of prime-age American adults earning between $35,000 and $70,000 declined by 12 points between 1979 and 2007. But that’s largely because the percentage earning more than $105,000 increased by 14 points. Over the last 10 years, 60 percent of Americans made more than $100,000 in at least one of those years, and 40 percent had incomes that high for at least three.

Note ... 2007. I listen to MPR, I can't count how often I was made aware of the "decline in the middle class". Somehow (even though I've been aware of it from "biased conservative sources") they always failed to mention that the largest reason for that is the fact that 14% of folks went UP to earning over $105K. Shocking. How could they miss that statistic???

Well, we are in the 4th year of Democrats in congress and the 2nd year of BO, so the MSM is recognizing good news. That is good to see. It is a bit disconserting to realize how dense they feel that their supporters really are to believe that news from '07 / '08 is likely to help us much now. Nancy, Harry and BO have been very busy with "change" since '07. Added regulations, rewards for failure, penalties for success, kickbacks to their supporters in unions and industry, vast increases in low productivity government workers, etc. Yes, I whole heartedly agree that while we still had huge problems in '08 ( sub-prime mortgages heavily due to FANNIE / FREDDIE, structural deficits do to unaffordable FICA / Medicare, costly regulations like Sarbanes - Oxley, etc) -- we were WAY ahead of where we are now.

So, we were in great shape in '07 and '08 based on long standing policies. The smart thing was to CHANGE those policies to be more like the folks that we were beating back then. If football was like liberal thinking; if your team is running the West Coast offense and winning consecutive Super Bowls, while the teams you are beating are mostly running the Wishbone, the smart thing to do is to start running the Wishbone, start losing, then point back at the years you ran the West Coast and use that as an indication that you have a bright future!

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