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Jobs Wars - Part III: Revenge of the StimulusFollow

#1 Sep 06 2011 at 2:29 PM Rating: Decent
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Back in January 2009, the overwhelmingly popular President-elect was starting to peddle what ultimately ended up as an $800+ billion fiscal stimulus package, without which, in the words of the President-elect's own economic team, "the economy would lose another 3 million to 4 million jobs and unemployment would hit 8.8 percent." Shortly after being sworn-in as President, the bill passed.

Since then, unemployment has increased as high as 10%, is currently hovering right around 9%, and Obama has candidly admitted that all of those "shovel ready" projects that were supposed to save the economy weren't as "shovel ready" as the White House had hoped.

Now, the President is planning to propose another fiscal stimulus package at the jobs speech on Thursday, except that he'll be careful not to call it a "stimulus" plan lest people associate this new proposal with the old one:

ABC News wrote:
With President Obama set to unveil his plan for job creation at a Joint Session of Congress next week, a former White House economic adviser said today that economic “stimulus” will be part of the package – but won’t be labeled as such.

“You won’t hear the word ‘stimulus’ — the ‘s word’ — because that just is politically unappealing right now,” Jared Bernstein, who left his post as Vice President Joe Biden’s top economist in June, told us on ABC’s “Top Line” today. “But you will hear targeted measures, which I think is actually a more apt description of what I think the president will talk about.”

And yet, based on recent polling, that likely won't even be an issue:

Politico wrote:
... a majority (51%) supports a large-scale, federally-subsidized construction program to put Americans back to work building roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals, including 40% of voters who support it strongly. Fifty-two percent of independent voters and a majority of blue-collar voters support this proposal.

How is it possible for anybody to look at the previous stimulus package passed under Obama (or the one passed under Dubya, for that matter), and come to the conclusion that yet another one would be a swell idea?
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#2 Sep 06 2011 at 2:38 PM Rating: Excellent
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Well, a third of the original stimulus was tax cuts (funny how the stimulus always "cost" a full $800b but God forbid anyone say Bush's tax cuts "cost" anything... heh), a large portion was in direct state assistance for state employees, teachers, police, etc (which was successful in that it kept them employed for the couple of years) and the rest was grants for this, that and the other including infrastructure projects.

Has there been any research done on the economic impact of the actual infrastructure spending?
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Obama has candidly admitted that all of those "shovel ready" projects that were supposed to save the economy weren't as "shovel ready" as the White House had hoped.

He's also candidly admitted that they didn't have the full extent of the collapse's impact yet when they said the stimulus could keep unemployment below 8% and that the coming crisis was worse than anyone expected. That's not to say that the stimulus was ineffective -- most economists surveyed have said that it would have been even worse without the stimulus spending. The "gotcha" was in the numbers cited ("He PROMISED 8%!!"), not in the ability of the stimulus to act as a bulwark.

Edited, Sep 6th 2011 3:41pm by Jophiel
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#3 Sep 06 2011 at 3:03 PM Rating: Default
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Well, at least you're still repeating the same rhetoric!

Jophiel wrote:
Well, a third of the original stimulus was tax cuts (funny how the stimulus always "cost" a full $800b but God forbid anyone say Bush's tax cuts "cost" anything... heh)...


Wait! So when people call for ending the "Bush tax cuts", they really mean that we should eliminate the stimulus checks handed out back in 2001 and 2003? One of these things is not like the other, so how about you stop pretending they're the same just because you've erroneously labeled them both "tax cuts"?

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... a large portion was in direct state assistance for state employees, teachers, police, etc (which was successful in that it kept them employed for the couple of years) and the rest was grants for this, that and the other including infrastructure projects.


That's still not a ringing endorsement.

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Has there been any research done on the economic impact of the actual infrastructure spending?


Dunno. Has there? I'd think that would be the responsibility of the folks who are trying to convince the public to give them more money for this stuff.


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Obama has candidly admitted that all of those "shovel ready" projects that were supposed to save the economy weren't as "shovel ready" as the White House had hoped.

He's also candidly admitted that they didn't have the full extent of the collapse's impact yet when they said the stimulus could keep unemployment below 8% and that the coming crisis was worse than anyone expected.


Funny how the second use of the phrase "candidly admitted" looks an awful lot like "made up an excuse".

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That's not to say that the stimulus was ineffective -- most economists surveyed have said that it would have been even worse without the stimulus spending. The "gotcha" was in the numbers cited ("He PROMISED 8%!!"), not in the ability of the stimulus to act as a bulwark.


Yeah. Are these the same economists who got it so horribly wrong in the first place? Doesn't this leave us with just two possibilities for that group:

1. The economy wouldn't have been worse, but they advised the wrong course of action and made it worse.

2. The economy would have been worse anyway, and they completely missed just how bad things were.

Either way, I see a whole lot of incompetence going on with that group of economists. On the flip side you have that alleged minority of economists who believe that we did accurately understand the scope of the problem and who were also correct that spending too much stimulus money would have a negative effect.

Who to believe? One group was either 100% correct or 100% incorrect. Or the other group was just 100% incorrect. Maybe we should go with the guys who might just have been right all along? Just a thought!
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#4 Sep 06 2011 at 3:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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#5 Sep 06 2011 at 3:16 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
Quote:
Obama has candidly admitted that all of those "shovel ready" projects that were supposed to save the economy weren't as "shovel ready" as the White House had hoped.

He's also candidly admitted that they didn't have the full extent of the collapse's impact yet when they said the stimulus could keep unemployment below 8% and that the coming crisis was worse than anyone expected. That's not to say that the stimulus was ineffective -- most economists surveyed have said that it would have been even worse without the stimulus spending. The "gotcha" was in the numbers cited ("He PROMISED 8%!!"), not in the ability of the stimulus to act as a bulwark.

Forgive me if I'm skeptical of giving another try to the economists who badly misjudged the scope of the economic recession and designed a stimulus plan that was ineffective (for whatever reasons) to combat it as promised. One could say that at least they now have the benefit of hindsight, but that doesn't appear to have changed the proposed solution. If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Also, "it could have been worse!!" is a close logical cousin to "it's obvious!!"

Edited, Sep 6th 2011 4:18pm by Demea
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#6 Sep 06 2011 at 3:18 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Wait! So when people call for ending the "Bush tax cuts", they really mean that we should eliminate the stimulus checks handed out back in 2001 and 2003? One of these things is not like the other, so how about you stop pretending they're the same just because you've erroneously labeled them both "tax cuts"?

If you'd like to break out the numbers and prove how wrong I am, by all means feel free. I'm sure I'll be happy with the tally.

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That's still not a ringing endorsement.

It's also not what's being asked for now so... umm... okay?

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Dunno. Has there? I'd think that would be the responsibility of the folks who are trying to convince the public to give them more money for this stuff.

I'm not trying to convince anyone so I'm the wrong guy to ask. I was asking generally in a "Hey, maybe someone's seen something" sense.

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Yeah. Are these the same economists who got it so horribly wrong in the first place?

Smiley: laughSmiley: laughSmiley: laugh
I was JUST reading the thread where you said the same thing and then backpedaled all over yourself when it was pointed out that, no, they weren't at all the same people.

"I didn't mean THEM! I meant.. umm.. people like THEM! When I said 'same' I meant.. umm.. uhh NOT THE SAME BUT SORT OF THE SAME!!"

Then you went all spastic trying to spin how the "experts" (scare quotes!) were fooling everyone but six guys you didn't know the identies of were the only people telling the tryuth... because you liked their answer more.

Ah, that was good times.

Linked to where it starts to get good.
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#7 Sep 06 2011 at 3:29 PM Rating: Excellent
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Demea wrote:
Forgive me if I'm skeptical of giving another try to the economists who badly misjudged the scope of the economic recession and designed a stimulus plan that was ineffective (for whatever reasons) to combat it as promised.

Be as skeptical as you'd like. I was just pointing out the admission of fault since you pointed out the other one. I'm not looking to convince you of anything since I haven't been following Obama's upcoming plan aside from a vauge understanding that it's based around infrastructure spending and middle-class tax cuts.

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Also, "it could have been worse!!" is a close logical cousin to "it's obvious!!"

*Shrug* 36 to 6, economists feel "it's obvious", I guess. Given that no one here is about to start publishing economic studies on the effects of the stimulus, I can accept the opinion of economists the WSJ thought worthy to survey or the opinions of random schlubs on a gaming website. Both are "just" opinions, but for lack of a better option I know which ones I'll weigh heavier.
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#8 Sep 06 2011 at 3:30 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Wait! So when people call for ending the "Bush tax cuts", they really mean that we should eliminate the stimulus checks handed out back in 2001 and 2003? One of these things is not like the other, so how about you stop pretending they're the same just because you've erroneously labeled them both "tax cuts"?

If you'd like to break out the numbers and prove how wrong I am, by all means feel free. I'm sure I'll be happy with the tally.


Huh? What numbers? I'm talking about the difference between what you're calling "tax cuts" when talking about 1/3rd of the recovery Act, and what you're calling "tax cuts" when talking about the Bush tax cuts. Those are two completely different things. The "tax cuts" in the Recovery Act were more like the stimulus checks handed out in 2001 and 2003 and *not* anything at all like the actual tax cuts Bush passed in 2001.


You can't just apply the same label to them and pretend they are the same thing.

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That's still not a ringing endorsement.

It's also not what's being asked for now so... umm... okay?


Really? You honestly don't think that Obama's speech on jobs this week will include spending (or "investing") in infrastructure and public sector jobs? I think we can pretty much guarantee it. He will talk about public employees. He will talk about union jobs. He will probably even talk about teachers. He'll talk about public works, like building bridges and roads. He'll talk about building green energy jobs.

So yeah. He's going to ask us to spend more money on the exact sort of jobs programs that failed the last time. Does anyone actually think otherwise?

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Dunno. Has there? I'd think that would be the responsibility of the folks who are trying to convince the public to give them more money for this stuff.

I'm not trying to convince anyone so I'm the wrong guy to ask. I was asking generally in a "Hey, maybe someone's seen something" sense.


But Obama is. And you'll most likely support whatever he says even though you admit you have no clue if that spending really did anything useful the last time. Obviously, I'll retract that if either Obama doesn't say what I think he will *or* he does and you post here saying that he's making a mistake. But if he does call for the same kind of spending then shouldn't *you* be demanding to see those numbers before supporting it?

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Yeah. Are these the same economists who got it so horribly wrong in the first place?

Smiley: laughSmiley: laughSmiley: laugh
I was JUST reading the thread where you said the same thing and then backpedaled all over yourself when it was pointed out that, no, they weren't at all the same people.


Uh Huh... So somehow there are two completely separate groups of "most" economists? How does that work mathematically?
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#9 Sep 06 2011 at 4:07 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'm no Liberal, but the ace up his sleeve is that our infrastructure really is f'ucked. This isn't debatable as a scare tactic or green job rhetoric or "based upon flawed economic theories". Our infrastructure IS collapsing.

Sooner or later, someone is going to have to do something ( expensive) about it. I'm all about "burn me once..", but then again, just because your mechanic failed to fix your leaky sink doesn't mean you should deny him the chance to fix your car.


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#10ThiefX, Posted: Sep 06 2011 at 4:40 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) Who are these "most economist" Joph? Did someone go and ask every economist in the country and then tally up their answers? List them for us Joph. List every economist that was surveyed to get that answer Joph.
#11 Sep 06 2011 at 4:41 PM Rating: Excellent
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#12 Sep 06 2011 at 5:56 PM Rating: Excellent
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First numbers I found indicated that infrastructure spending produced ~14,896 job-months* per billion dollars between 2009 and early 2010. So that's around $67,000 per job-month. Obviously, most of that isn't in wages, it's in the actual cost of the infrastructure project -- $67,000 in spending on infrastructure employs the equivalent of one person for one month in addition to the tangible results of the project (road, dam, bridge, rails, runway, whatever).

*Average of highway (10,490/bil) and public transportation (19,300/bil) totals.

So now I don't have to demand or retract anything since I took some initative and learned something Smiley: smile
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#13 Sep 06 2011 at 5:58 PM Rating: Decent
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ThiefX wrote:
Who are these "most economist" Joph? Did someone go and ask every economist in the country and then tally up their answers? List them for us Joph. List every economist that was surveyed to get that answer Joph.


Apparently, there was a survey of 36 economists, which appears to not include a single person involved in any actual decision making regarding the passage of the Recovery act, but now they are the sole 36 economists responsible for determining whether said Recovery Act saved us from a worse fate.

It's Joph desperately moving the goal posts around.
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#14 Sep 06 2011 at 6:00 PM Rating: Good
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Better than polling the economists who were responsible for the Recovery Act. I think I can accurately predict what their responses would have been.
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#15 Sep 06 2011 at 6:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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#16 Sep 06 2011 at 6:03 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Apparently, there was a survey of 36 economists, which appears to not include a single person involved in any actual decision making regarding the passage of the Recovery act, but now they are the sole 36 economists responsible for determining whether said Recovery Act saved us from a worse fate.

Actually, I linked to the WSJ article about the survey before but, as we know, you don't get your news from anywhere and saying that the majority of respondents agreed is probably just, like, an OPINION man and it doesn't count!!

But, yeah, your petulant little princess hissy works as well when you don't want to admit that maybe the stimulus helped Smiley: laugh
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#17 Sep 06 2011 at 6:18 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
First numbers I found indicated that infrastructure spending produced ~14,896 job-months* per billion dollars between 2009 and early 2010. So that's around $67,000 per job-month. Obviously, most of that isn't in wages, it's in the actual cost of the infrastructure project -- $67,000 in spending on infrastructure employs the equivalent of one person for one month in addition to the tangible results of the project (road, dam, bridge, rails, runway, whatever).

*Average of highway (10,490/bil) and public transportation (19,300/bil) totals.

So now I don't have to demand or retract anything since I took some initative and learned something Smiley: smile


Ok. But that doesn't tell us if it was worth the cost. Just eyeballing the company I work for (and making some very very broad estimates and averages), revenues are around 12B/year, with net income around 3.5B/year. So if we were to pay to operate the company, with no accounting for profits, but just looking at operating expenses, we'd be looking at about 8.5B/year to operate. There are about 16,000 employees, so that works out to about $530,000 per year per employee. Which works out to about $45k/month per employee.

Remember, this is a company filled with highly skilled (and relatively highly paid) people. I imagine that a company like McDonald's probably hires many times more people for the same operating costs, for example. I suspect that most private employers would beat out the cost per employee of the government infrastructure method.


So, if your objective is to hire more people (ie: create jobs), it's better to leave that money in the hands of private business and encourage them to hire people (or at least not discourage them from doing so like the current administration is doing). I guess my point is the same point I have with all government spending and employment. It's worth doing *if* the thing we're spending money on serves some necessary function which justifies the cost. But we should not make the mistake of spending money on those things with the goal of creating jobs. The argument for infrastructure spending should be based on the relative need of that infrastructure, just as the argument for food stamp spending should be based on the need for people to eat. We should *never* try to make economic arguments in favor of them. They are a cost for those services, and we should never lose sight of that fact.

Edited, Sep 6th 2011 5:19pm by gbaji
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#18 Sep 06 2011 at 6:29 PM Rating: Excellent
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Well I was pretty happy our lab got extra income to the tune of about $25,000; which is less direct benefit then I usually see from a government program. It helped put us within 10% of our FY goal during a time our revenue was shrinking.

That being said it's a multi-year program costing less than one trillion dollars in an economy that's productive to the tune of $14 trillion a year or so. I know the two big ticket items out here (a replacement bridge and a new light-rail line) haven't started yet. I don't know, how much effect did we really expect it to have? TBH when it passed I kind of figured it was more about re-assuring the public then any actual 'boost' to the economy. People getting elected to 'fix the problem' and what not.

Drop in the bucket, etc.

/ramble

Smiley: rolleyes
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#19 Sep 06 2011 at 6:30 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Apparently, there was a survey of 36 economists, which appears to not include a single person involved in any actual decision making regarding the passage of the Recovery act, but now they are the sole 36 economists responsible for determining whether said Recovery Act saved us from a worse fate.

Actually, I linked to the WSJ article about the survey before but, as we know, you don't get your news from anywhere and saying that the majority of respondents agreed is probably just, like, an OPINION man and it doesn't count!!


That's not it at all. You're treating the respondents to that survey as though they are representative of all economists when considering whether the recession would have been worse if we hadn't passed the Recovery Act, but then not treating them as representative of all economists when accepting the assumption that "economists" misjudged the severity of the problem when estimating the resulting effects of that Recovery Act.

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But, yeah, your petulant little princess hissy works as well when you don't want to admit that maybe the stimulus helped Smiley: laugh


From where I sit, it seems far more likely that economists misjudged the effect of the Recovery Act than that they misjudged the severity of the economic crisis. Doesn't it occur to you that it's terrifically convenient that pretty much zero economists (I'm not aware of any) predicted these "much worse" economic results until after the Recovery Act was passed and it didn't produce the results that were promised? That sounds a hell of a lot like an excuse for failure to me.


Which is more likely? That the economy really was so much worse than we expected and every single economist missed it? Or that the Recovery Act made things worse (which was predicted by "some" economists), and those who supported and/or agreed with it had to invent a reason why things got worse after it was passed?
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#20 Sep 06 2011 at 6:37 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
TBH when it passed I kind of figured it was more about re-assuring the public then any actual 'boost' to the economy. People getting elected to 'fix the problem' and what not.


That's pretty much what "stimulus" is about. It's a placebo. It makes people feel like their government is doing something, so they go out and do the things they should do to help the economy recover (invest, get a job, buy stuff at the stores, etc).

The problem is that if you spend more than token amounts, there is a very real negative effect from the spending (in the form of increased debt). You're not supposed to be stupid enough to think that spending a whole ton of money in a recession is a good idea. But unfortunately for the US, a party full of people just that stupid took power right as the economic crisis was hitting.


What's amazing is that anyone still supports the idea of stimulus being any sort of solution to our economic problems.
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#21 Sep 06 2011 at 6:46 PM Rating: Good
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I'm no Liberal, but the ace up his sleeve is that our infrastructure really is f'ucked. This isn't debatable as a scare tactic or green job rhetoric or "based upon flawed economic theories". Our infrastructure IS collapsing.

Sooner or later, someone is going to have to do something ( expensive) about it. I'm all about "burn me once..", but then again, just because your mechanic failed to fix your leaky sink doesn't mean you should deny him the chance to fix your car.

I'm in this camp. Our infrastructure really is in a sorry state and we really do need to do something about it. And I'm more than willing to pick up a shovel myself and go do the work (especially since my current contract runs out at the end of the year).
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#22 Sep 06 2011 at 7:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Ok. But that doesn't tell us if it was worth the cost.

Of course not; that's a value judgment left to the individual.

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Just eyeballing the company I work for...

It's pretty ridiculous to attempt to compare a single tech company with infrastructure construction as a whole. On multiple levels.

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It's worth doing *if* the thing we're spending money on serves some necessary function which justifies the cost

That would be why they spend the money paving roads rather than buying a mountain of cellphones.
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#23 Sep 06 2011 at 9:09 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Jophiel wrote:
First numbers I found indicated that infrastructure spending produced ~14,896 job-months* per billion dollars between 2009 and early 2010. So that's around $67,000 per job-month. Obviously, most of that isn't in wages, it's in the actual cost of the infrastructure project -- $67,000 in spending on infrastructure employs the equivalent of one person for one month in addition to the tangible results of the project (road, dam, bridge, rails, runway, whatever).

*Average of highway (10,490/bil) and public transportation (19,300/bil) totals.

So now I don't have to demand or retract anything since I took some initative and learned something Smiley: smile


Ok. But that doesn't tell us if it was worth the cost. Just eyeballing the company I work for (and making some very very broad estimates and averages), revenues are around 12B/year, with net income around 3.5B/year. So if we were to pay to operate the company, with no accounting for profits, but just looking at operating expenses, we'd be looking at about 8.5B/year to operate. There are about 16,000 employees, so that works out to about $530,000 per year per employee. Which works out to about $45k/month per employee.

Remember, this is a company filled with highly skilled (and relatively highly paid) people. I imagine that a company like McDonald's probably hires many times more people for the same operating costs, for example. I suspect that most private employers would beat out the cost per employee of the government infrastructure method.


So, if your objective is to hire more people (ie: create jobs), it's better to leave that money in the hands of private business and encourage them to hire people (or at least not discourage them from doing so like the current administration is doing). I guess my point is the same point I have with all government spending and employment. It's worth doing *if* the thing we're spending money on serves some necessary function which justifies the cost. But we should not make the mistake of spending money on those things with the goal of creating jobs. The argument for infrastructure spending should be based on the relative need of that infrastructure, just as the argument for food stamp spending should be based on the need for people to eat. We should *never* try to make economic arguments in favor of them. They are a cost for those services, and we should never lose sight of that fact.

Edited, Sep 6th 2011 5:19pm by gbaji


Sure. The jobs argument comes from that these are projects we would need anyway, and having them done now, when private industry doesn't need the labor, such that it would not need to be done later, when private industry is hungry for labor to create infrastructure. This would smooth out the demand curve making it cheaper for business later with little cost to them now, baring interest on the public works project funding.

Although, there is some problem with these jobs tending not to really be "shovel ready" but that is another problem.
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#24 Sep 07 2011 at 1:14 AM Rating: Excellent
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Sure. The jobs argument comes from that these are projects we would need anyway, and having them done now, when private industry doesn't need the labor, such that it would not need to be done later, when private industry is hungry for labor to create infrastructure. This would smooth out the demand curve making it cheaper for business later with little cost to them now, baring interest on the public works project funding.
I kinda have to agree. Let's get things that need to be done taken care of now while labor's cheap. If it creates a few jobs in the process, then groovy. If not, then at least we got that sh*t done while it's cheaper.

As long as it's focused purely on needed infrastructure repairs and upgrades rather than pet or pork projects, I can't see a major downside to it.
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#25 Sep 07 2011 at 6:10 AM Rating: Decent
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A lot of you seem to have shifted the conversation to public spending in general. Yes, we need to build roads and repave highways.

That still doesn't begin to explain how anybody could consider fiscal stimulus spending as a viable solution to rampant national unemployment, which was the question posed.
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#26 Sep 07 2011 at 6:32 AM Rating: Excellent
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Who's offering it as the sole solution?

Is this like Gbaji's "Democrats claim eliminating the Bush tax cuts would fix everything!" canard?

The Hill wrote:
President Obama is expected to call for a combination of tax cuts and federal government spending which will total $300 billion in his jobs address to a joint session of Congress Thursday reports the Associated Press.

The speech to Congress will propose extending both the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits for workers, measures which would account for $170 billion of the president's package according to reports.

Among the proposals the White House is examining are tax relief for businesses that hire unemployed workers, a measure which could cost $30 billion. The plan might also include measures for school construction. Another initiative would provide tax breaks for corporations that invest in new equipment.

Administration aides though cautioned that the final details of Obama's jobs agenda were still being discussed.


Edited, Sep 7th 2011 7:35am by Jophiel
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#27 Sep 07 2011 at 6:44 AM Rating: Good
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There are ways it can be done more "cheaply" that via infrastructure development. This is mainly done by lowering the capital required in the jobs it pursues, so that a higher percentage of the job is paid out in wages rather than actual output generation. But then, depending on what the actual outputs of the projects are, you'd be better with an unemployment package where technically *all* (realistically almost all) of the inputs go into paying for people.

A large part of the supposed problem here is that unskilled labor isn't as valued highly as it used to be (For a variety of reasons; market glut, resource pooling, alternative markets etc.), except for in situations where regional arbitrage doesn't work as well. Knowledge work tends to be valued, and a lot of those places are actually hiring. But we're built on a model which all but requires an certain employment level close for sociological reasons, legacy industry requirements etc, and trying to shift from that model is really hard.
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#28 Sep 07 2011 at 6:48 AM Rating: Good
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Yeah, what raving nobody suggested we use deficit spending to stimulate the economy?

Surely he died a penniless madman.
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#29 Sep 07 2011 at 6:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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I'm only answering the "doing stuff more cheaply" argument. The whole goal here is really to get people who would otherwise not spend money, to spend money, in an effort to increase utility, not specifically in cost control.

EDIT: for those who don't get why:

Decreasing costs for something increases the multiplier on the usage of labor, ie generating more wealth for a certain input of labor. Private industry is already good at this. Well designed bid contracts will already use this to their advantage.

But if the issue is that labor is not being utilized, unless you change their skill-set to be more appealing to the groups who *are* spending money (Which is something I'm not opposed to, but it typically takes the form of education/retraining investments/subsidization) you can't really get traction in the private sector unemployment numbers by increasing the price of labor.

What you can do, is create temporary projects that end up loosening capital markets, in other non-infrastructure projects, and providing jobs for those who do build the infrastructure. This ends up creating more buyers and making it more desirable to spend, which fixes some various stagnation issues.

Edited, Sep 7th 2011 9:06am by Timelordwho
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#30 Sep 07 2011 at 7:04 AM Rating: Good
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I was talking to Demea.

Quoting might lessen ambiguity, but it just isn't cool.
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#31 Sep 07 2011 at 7:07 AM Rating: Decent
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In which case I ended up answering her question!
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Timelordwho answers "Just as Planned."
#32 Sep 07 2011 at 7:09 AM Rating: Excellent
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Timelordwho wrote:
In which case I ended up answering her question!

Her? Did everyone on the board get a sex change??
#33 Sep 07 2011 at 7:13 AM Rating: Decent
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Did you not get the memo?
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#34 Sep 07 2011 at 7:17 AM Rating: Excellent
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I guess not. Do you know when I'm scheduled?
#35 Sep 07 2011 at 7:28 AM Rating: Decent
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11 AM.
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Nobunaga answers, "Kill it!"
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#36 Sep 07 2011 at 7:39 AM Rating: Good
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I don't get the feeling that this 'boost' is a part of any long-term economic recovery. I feel like it's goal is very straight-forward - get a chunk of people a pay-check (versus an unemployment check) bring that number down (below 8% would be good), provide Obama a chance at re-election.
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#37 Sep 07 2011 at 8:08 AM Rating: Excellent
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Somewhat relevant:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/09/07/rushkoff.jobs.obsolete/index.html

Quote:
But there might still be another possibility -- something we couldn't really imagine for ourselves until the digital era. As a pioneer of virtual reality, Jaron Lanier, recently pointed out, we no longer need to make stuff in order to make money. We can instead exchange information-based products.

We start by accepting that food and shelter are basic human rights. The work we do -- the value we create -- is for the rest of what we want: the stuff that makes life fun, meaningful, and purposeful.

This sort of work isn't so much employment as it is creative activity. Unlike Industrial Age employment, digital production can be done from the home, independently, and even in a peer-to-peer fashion without going through big corporations. We can make games for each other, write books, solve problems, educate and inspire one another -- all through bits instead of stuff. And we can pay one another using the same money we use to buy real stuff.


No real answers in the article, but it's an interesting read. And maybe going back to bartering wouldn't be such a bad thing.
#38 Sep 07 2011 at 8:31 AM Rating: Excellent
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If you want to depress yourself, read the cover story for this month's Atlantic: Can the Middle-Class Be Saved?

Quick take-away: The income gulf is ever widening, the middle class is ever shrinking and today's "moderately educated" families are becoming more and more economically and socially like families of high school dropouts as they find themselves on the wrong side of the chasm.

Edited, Sep 7th 2011 9:58am by Jophiel
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#39 Sep 07 2011 at 8:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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Yeah Joph, that's pretty damn depressing. Thanks. Smiley: mad
#40 Sep 07 2011 at 10:30 AM Rating: Decent
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That was depressing, and more so because I feel the article, I have 8 years of college over 3 degrees, none of which I have been able to pursue because their just hasn't been the openings in the labor market. So I am working at a factory that is hanging on by the skin of its teeth.
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#41 Sep 07 2011 at 11:08 AM Rating: Decent
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rdmcandie wrote:
That was depressing, and more so because I feel the article, I have 8 years of college over 3 degrees, none of which I have been able to pursue because their just hasn't been the openings in the labor market. So I am working at a factory that is hanging on by the skin of its teeth.

It's times like these that I'm glad I never wasted my money on an education.
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#42 Sep 07 2011 at 11:21 AM Rating: Decent
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That's actually a really good article.

Was I the only one who didn't think it was depressing?
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#43 Sep 07 2011 at 11:28 AM Rating: Excellent
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Debalic wrote:
rdmcandie wrote:
That was depressing, and more so because I feel the article, I have 8 years of college over 3 degrees, none of which I have been able to pursue because their just hasn't been the openings in the labor market. So I am working at a factory that is hanging on by the skin of its teeth.

It's times like these that I'm glad I never wasted my money on an education.


What are you talking about, unemployment listed for different edu levels are stark; 12% for hs edu 4.5% in college edu and 2% in postgrad.
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What if the bird will not sing?
Nobunaga answers, "Kill it!"
Hideyoshi answers, "Make it want to sing."
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Timelordwho answers "Just as Planned."
#44 Sep 07 2011 at 11:48 AM Rating: Excellent
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Timelordwho wrote:
Was I the only one who didn't think it was depressing?

Were you reading it from your golden throne on an ermine-lined laptop? Smiley: grin
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Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#45 Sep 07 2011 at 11:54 AM Rating: Decent
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Timelordwho wrote:
Debalic wrote:
rdmcandie wrote:
That was depressing, and more so because I feel the article, I have 8 years of college over 3 degrees, none of which I have been able to pursue because their just hasn't been the openings in the labor market. So I am working at a factory that is hanging on by the skin of its teeth.

It's times like these that I'm glad I never wasted my money on an education.


What are you talking about, unemployment listed for different edu levels are stark; 12% for hs edu 4.5% in college edu and 2% in postgrad.

Who said I'm unemployed?
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we all know liberals are well adjusted american citizens who only want what's best for society. While conservatives are evil money grubbing scum who only want to sh*t on the little man and rob the world of its resources.
#46 Sep 07 2011 at 11:56 AM Rating: Good
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No, I just find that knowing the direction of progress allows people to better react to it, giving them a better chance to progress along with it, rather than not.
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Nobunaga answers, "Kill it!"
Hideyoshi answers, "Make it want to sing."
Ieyasu answers, "Wait."
Timelordwho answers "Just as Planned."
#47 Sep 07 2011 at 12:00 PM Rating: Good
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Debalic wrote:
Timelordwho wrote:
Debalic wrote:
rdmcandie wrote:
That was depressing, and more so because I feel the article, I have 8 years of college over 3 degrees, none of which I have been able to pursue because their just hasn't been the openings in the labor market. So I am working at a factory that is hanging on by the skin of its teeth.

It's times like these that I'm glad I never wasted my money on an education.


What are you talking about, unemployment listed for different edu levels are stark; 12% for hs edu 4.5% in college edu and 2% in postgrad.

Who said I'm unemployed?


Good to hear you are among the 88%.
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What if the bird will not sing?
Nobunaga answers, "Kill it!"
Hideyoshi answers, "Make it want to sing."
Ieyasu answers, "Wait."
Timelordwho answers "Just as Planned."
#48 Sep 07 2011 at 12:00 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'm glad I got my education. Actually I'm glad I did all those internships and work study jobs as an undergrad. There's no way I would have gotten a job in the field without them. Smiley: frown
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#49 Sep 07 2011 at 3:04 PM Rating: Good
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Nadenu wrote:
Timelordwho wrote:
In which case I ended up answering her question!

Her? Did everyone on the board get a sex change??

You've seen the picture, right?

MentalFrog, if you still have that, PM me the link.
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#50 Sep 07 2011 at 3:35 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
Quote:
Just eyeballing the company I work for...

It's pretty ridiculous to attempt to compare a single tech company with infrastructure construction as a whole. On multiple levels.


It's not ridiculous if we're examining the relative number of jobs created for the same operating cost. Which is precisely what I was doing.

Quote:
Quote:
It's worth doing *if* the thing we're spending money on serves some necessary function which justifies the cost

That would be why they spend the money paving roads rather than buying a mountain of cellphones.


Sure. But then that needs to be the argument. We should not be arguing that we'll "create jobs while building infrastructure". The more honest assessment is that we will "build infrastructure but lose jobs in the process". We have to decide that infrastructure work is more important than jobs. It's dishonest to say that we're doing both because the money for the infrastructure work has to come from somewhere. And if that money would have employed more people than it will being spent building bridges and roads, then we are trading infrastructure for jobs.



We don't get both. Jobs are the cost of doing that. We do not gain them, we lose them. You have to look not just at the jobs created by spending on infrastructure but the number of jobs lost by taking the money we spend from somewhere else in the first place. IMO it's because of this lack of assessing the costs of public spending that we are in this mess in the first place. It doesn't matter what you spend the money on. It will cost us jobs. But somehow I doubt that bit of fact will make it into Obama's speech.
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#51 Sep 07 2011 at 4:50 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
It's not ridiculous if...

No, it is. Really.
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Sure. But then that needs to be the argument.

You apparently misunderstood the argument. Which is nothing surprising.
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