|Steven Pinker and the Decline of Violence||2012: It's Bain Capital vs. Obama Capital|
by Christopher Chantrill
January 20, 2012 at 2:10 pm
CONSERVATIVES are anxious to see bad news in the drop in the headline unemployment rate to 8.5 percent. Yes, its fabulous that employment is finally turning upwards, but the labor force isnt expanding as it should in a healthy recovery. The following two charts using data from the Household Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the problem. Here is the trend in Employment.
It looks pretty good, finally. But here is the trend in Labor Force, i.e., the total of people with jobs and those looking for jobs. Not good at all. Compared to the so-called jobless recovery of the Bush years, its pathetic.
We know why the labor force isnt expanding, and it isnt because the baby boom is retiring. Its programs like 99 month unemployment benefits and relaxed eligibility for disability.
Everyone wants to be compassionate to people that have lost their jobs but, as we know, government doesnt do compassion. Government is force. The reason that the politicians passed the 99 month limit on unemployment is that, to them, its a cheap way of forcing the unemployment rate down. Give people money to keep them from looking for a job and they wont get counted in the Labor Force.
Unfortunately, the experts tell us, long-term unemployment is harmful to workers, because people start losing job skills the moment they stop working.
As promised, the president is working to make the US more like Europe.
In many European countries, the total of people of working age on unemployment, welfare, or disability never drops below 15 percent of the workforce, even in the good times. This started during the 1980s when the recessionary aftermath of the inflationary 1970s when politicians were desperate to do something about sky-high unemployment. They did it by relaxing the qualifications for disability benefits.
In Britain, the disability program for working-age folks is called incapacity benefit. The welfare state underclass call it going on the sick.
In the US the disability rolls have been expanding rapidly for 20 years since the eligibility rules were relaxed in the 1990s. Back in 1985 the disability rate was 2.2 percent. In the mid 2000s it was four percent, and was expected to top out at seven percent of 18 – 64 year-olds. Ive got a nickel that says it will hit 10 percent after we are done with Obamanomics. Here are links to several articles about the problem.
Of course, disability is just one component of our eras great moral problem that will end up as divisive as the plantation slavery question of two hundred years ago. It is the program of cultural desertification that liberal politics has visited upon the lower orders.
To be fair to our liberal friends, let us revisit why they built the welfare state. Labor inspector Helen M. Todd explained Why Children Work in McClures a century ago in April 1913 (H/T Instapundit). Why did children work? Because their fathers were dead or disabled. You can see that its a short step from there to Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the Great Depression era program that gradually morphed into todays vast entitlement state. But heres the kicker in Todds article. The immigrant children she interviewed in her work mostly preferred work to going to school. They hated school because the teachers treated them like morons. Instead of a regular paycheck that their families appreciated they got lousy report cards that got them in trouble.
(Oh really? You mean to say that the public schools were doing a lousy job of educating immigrant children 100 years ago and they still havent figured it out?)
The problem is that all this liberal compassion, paid for with our tax dollars, leads to my favorite chart: the stats on children living with one parent.
Things are pretty good in America for the college-educated upper-middle class. Upper-middle class children get to live in two-parent families. And why not? The educated upper-middle class is the ruling class and the whole point of a ruling class is to make things comfy for the ruling class.
But for other Americans things are not so good. Everybody knows that these other Americans are uneducated bitter clingers that really arent educated enough to run their own lives. But there is a danger that, in the aftermath of yet another Great Crash cock-up by the ruling class, they might get fed up with their educated and enlightened rulers.
Some people define our present form of government as an ineptocracy. But they are wrong. Our modern rulers are extremely adept when it comes to looking after themselves and their immediate supporters. They are only inept when it comes to looking after the rest of us: little things like our education, our welfare, our health care, our money, our retirement savings. And what ruling class ever got its knickers in a twist about that?
A government that manipulates unemployment insurance and disability policy to get through the next election is going to do the same thing with education, health care--even national defense.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America