Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

David Brooks on young people’s rejection of American values

He voted for Obamacare, and he got it

He voted for Obamacare, and he got it

I normally don’t read David Brooks anymore since his slide to the left, but Dennis Prager mentioned this article from the radically leftist New York Times, and I thought it was worth a look.

Excerpt:

When foreign visitors used to describe American culture, they generally settled on different versions of one trait: energy. Whether driven by crass motivations or spiritual ones, Americans, visitors agreed, worked more frantically, moved more and switched jobs more than just about anybody else on earth.

That’s changing. In the past 60 years, for example, Americans have become steadily less mobile. In 1950, 20 percent of Americans moved in a given year. Now, it’s around 12 percent. In the 1950s and 1960s, people lived in the same house for an average of five years; now people live in the same house for an average of 8.6 years. When it comes to geographic mobility, we are now at historic lows, no more mobile than people in Denmark or Finland.

Why is that? Here is his hypothesis:

[A] big factor here is a loss in self-confidence. It takes faith to move. You are putting yourself through temporary expense and hardship because you have faith that over the long run you will slingshot forward. Many highly educated people, who are still moving in high numbers, have that long-term faith. Less-educated people often do not.

One of the oddities of the mobility that does exist is that people are not moving to low-unemployment/high-income areas. Instead they are moving to lower-income areas with cheap housing. That is to say, they are less likely to endure temporary housing hardship for the sake of future opportunity. They are more likely to move to places that offer immediate comfort even if the long-term income prospects are lower.

This loss of faith is evident in other areas of life. Fertility rates, a good marker of confidence, are down. Even accounting for cyclical changes, people are less likely to voluntarily vacate a job in search of a better one. Only 46 percent of white Americans believe they have a good chance of improving their standard of living, the lowest levels in the history of the General Social Survey.

[Leftist] Peter Beinart wrote a fascinating piece for [Leftist] National Journal, arguing that Americans used to have much more faith in capitalism, a classless society, America’s role in the world and organized religion than people from Europe. But now American attitudes resemble European attitudes, and when you just look at young people, American exceptionalism is basically gone.

Fifty percent of Americans over 65 believe America stands above all others as the greatest nation on earth. Only 27 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 believe that. As late as 2003, Americans were more likely than Italians, Brits and Germans to say the “free market economy is the best system on which to base the future of the world.” By 2010, they were slightly less likely than those Europeans to embrace capitalism.

Thirty years ago, a vast majority of Americans identified as members of the middle class. But since 1988, the percentage of Americans who call themselves members of the “have-nots” has doubled. Today’s young people are more likely to believe success is a matter of luck, not effort, than earlier generations.

The funny thing about this story is that the young people themselves are voting for the very things that are destroying their hopes and dreams. They vote for the Democrat Party, the champions of social liberalism and fiscal liberalism.

What do young people need to get ahead? They need a stable family with a mother and father. Young people vote for the pro-no-fault-divorce Democrat Party. They vote for the pro-gay-marriage Democrat Party. They vote to call any family arrangement marriage, and any collection of people with kids a family. They are the ones who are the strongest opponents of the nuclear family that used to be the norm in America. Maybe they are doing it out of ignorance, but they are still responsible – they are voting for it. They are voting for more adult selfishness, and they are the victims of it.

What else to young people need to get ahead? They need a good education and a job. What do they vote for? They vote for the Democrat Party. The party that opposes school choice. The party of teacher unions. They party that undermines free market capitalism with taxes, regulations and nationalization of the private sector. They vote for judicial activism instead of the rule of law. They vote for redistribution of wealth instead of private property. And what’s more they are anti-corporations! Who exactly do they expect to work for? They keep voting for more and more government spending on adults, and they are the ones who are going to be stuck with the bill.

This will go on until the United States ends up like France and Greece, when there is no more money left to borrow, and then it will stop. But one thing is for sure – these young people will never have the standard of living their grandparents had. Either you believe in America, and what America represents, or you devolve into Greece, and live at home, unemployed, with your parents for your whole life.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , ,

Minimum wage: doing what feels good doesn’t produce good results

Labor Force Participation down to 62.8%

Labor Force Participation down to 62.8%

Will Obama’s plan to raise minimum wage help people?

From the Daily Caller. (H/T Conway)

Excerpt:

The Obama administration’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could result in as many 1,084,000 jobs eliminated from the work force, according to a new study conducted by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI)

“No amount of denial by the president and his political allies — and no number of ‘studies’ published by biased researchers — can change the fact that minimum wage hikes eliminate jobs for low-skill and entry-level employees. Non-partisan economists have agreed on this consensus for decades, and the laws of economics haven’t changed,” Michael Saltsman, research director at EPI, said in a statement.

He offered an alternative to the president’s plan: “Instead of raising small businesses’ labor costs and creating more barriers to entry-level employment, the president and the Senate should focus on policies that help reduce poverty and create jobs.”

The  study was released in the wake of an expected vote on a Senate bill that aims to raise the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour — a nearly 40 percent increase.

Many Democrats argue that increasing the federal minimum will reduce poverty without having an adverse effect on unemployment.

EPI’s report, which used analysis from economists at Miami and Trinity University, reached a different conclusion.

Researchers used recently updated Census Bureau data from 2012 and 2013 to calculate how each individual state would be impacted by the proposed wage hikes. As a lump sum, Americans would see a loss of at least 360,000 jobs, and perhaps even over one million if hourly wages are increased to $10.10.

The number of job losses would be the most dramatic in large states, such as California and Texas. Economists found that California could lose as many as 100,016 jobs and Texas could see up to 128,617 jobs disappear from its economy.

But’s it’s not just this proposal that is the problem, it’s his past policies.

After FIVE YEARS of Obamanomics, we still have a record 100 MILLION people still out of work from when he became President. There has been NO RECOVERY since the housing bubble, which was caused by the Democrats in Congress. Policies like raising the minimum wage only make that worse, although it sounds great to Obama’s low information supporters.

Minimum wage raises cause higher unemployment

Government Spending Vs Jobs

Government Spending Vs Jobs

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

How amusing to watch Democrats wring their hands over what they can do to get businesses to create jobs, when one of the biggest job killers is the minimum wage they keep hiking.

Recall that it was Democrats who raised the federal wage floor a whopping $2.10 an hour in the middle of the recession. The record 41% increase has led to record unemployment among young people, especially black teens.

Congress started ratcheting up the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour in mid-2007, arguing it would help abate poverty. But retailers looking to slash costs eliminated low-skilled, entry-level jobs rather than pay the mandated increases.

Now 1.5 million fewer teens are working. Last year’s unemployment rate for workers ages 16 to 19 shot up to 26% from 2007′s 15%.

As for black teens, their joblessness soared to a record 43% after the final raise to $7.25 took effect in mid-2009. It helped put more than half of young black men out of work — a first.

The president proposes cranking the minimum wage even higher to $9.50. Then he wants to raise it every year thereafter as a “living wage” indexed to inflation.

Yes, this is the problem that happens when you elect someone who knows nothing whatsoever about economics. And when I say nothing, I mean he is in disagreement with virtually all economists across the ideological spectrum.

A large majority of economists agree

Moderate economist Gregory Mankiw of Harvard University lists the policies that are accepted by virtually all economists.

Here’s Greg’s list, together with the percentage of economists who agree:

  1. A ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available. (93%)
  2. Tariffs and import quotas usually reduce general economic welfare. (93%)
  3. Flexible and floating exchange rates offer an effective international monetary arrangement. (90%)
  4. Fiscal policy (e.g., tax cut and/or government expenditure increase) has a significant stimulative impact on a less than fully employed economy. (90%)
  5. The United States should not restrict employers from outsourcing work to foreign countries. (90%)
  6. The United States should eliminate agricultural subsidies. (85%)
  7. Local and state governments should eliminate subsidies to professional sports franchises. (85%)
  8. If the federal budget is to be balanced, it should be done over the business cycle rather than yearly. (85%)
  9. The gap between Social Security funds and expenditures will become unsustainably large within the next fifty years if current policies remain unchanged. (85%)
  10. Cash payments increase the welfare of recipients to a greater degree than do transfers-in-kind of equal cash value. (84%)
  11. A large federal budget deficit has an adverse effect on the economy. (83%)
  12. A minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers. (79%)
  13. The government should restructure the welfare system along the lines of a “negative income tax.” (79%)
  14. Effluent taxes and marketable pollution permits represent a better approach to pollution control than imposition of pollution ceilings. (78%)

You can find out more about how raising the minimum wage increases unemployment, especially for young people and minorities, from this comprehensive, 50-year, government study.

This is why it is important for voters to understand economics. When you raise the price of labor, fewer employers will purchase labor. Supply and demand. This is so basic, that I am surprised that someone as educated as Obama doesn’t understand it. It’s probably because he has virtually no experience working in the private sector.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why is the unemployment rate for young people so high?

A few of the policies that are causing the problem are explained in this article from the American Enterprise Institute. I have highlighted the policies that discourage employers in the snippet I excerpted below.

Excerpt:

If Washington is serious about helping this vulnerable population, it should focus on increasing workers’ take home pay and lowering the business employment costs. Conventional wisdom preaches increasing minimum wages. But a far more effective policy would be to simply exempt younger workers and their employers from paying taxes related to their employment.

People in the workforce typically get their start when they are young – beginning with some entry level job where they learn basic job skills, develop effective work habits, and earn a modest wage. This important first step gives them a chance at earning wages and achieving a level of success that facilitates advance up the economic ladder. Work habits and skills are generally learned early in life or unfortunately for too many, not learned at all.

The long term damage caused by this lack of employment is very large. Income mobility has declined. The sad fact is the probability of people at the bottom moving up the income ladder is lower than it was 20 and 30 years ago. Many studies have demonstrated that three factors determine most of the difference between those who start in poverty and stay there and those who don’t – finishing high school; avoiding becoming a teenage parent, and getting a full-time job. Those who do all three have only a 2 percent chance of living in poverty and a 75 percent chance of joining the middle class.

Many economists and social scientists have suggested both demand and supply reasons why youth unemployment is so high. On the demand side, the national safety net – Food Stamps, Earned Income Tax, welfare and subsidy programs of all kinds – substantially reduce the relative benefit of working. In other words, the wage premium for working versus taking advantage of benefit programs on an after-tax basis is simply too small to encourage many people to work.

If a young person enters the work force at the minimum wage, he grosses $7.25 per hour. From this, in a place like Los Angeles, he pays federal and state income taxes and Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes which total $1.11. So, out of the $7.25 earned, he keeps just over $6. If he is single and without children, he won’t qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or food stamps.

On the supply side, the cost of employing young people is high relative to their economic contribution to potential employers. An entry-level employee costs his employer much more than $7.25. In addition to his wages, the employer also pays Social Security and Medicare taxes, plus unemployment insurance, that add on an average of 92 cents. So today, the new employee costs the business $8.13 per hour, of which the young employee keeps only three-quarters.

This cost will increase further when the Affordable Care Act kicks in. Beginning in 2015, if the employer has more than 50 employees, he will have to provide health insurance for full-time workers or pay a $2,000 fine – which comes to $.96 per hour. That will make an abysmal employment situation even worse.

Overall, public policy ought to be aimed at encouraging businesses to create entry level jobs. Perversely, attempts to increase the minimum wage and institute so-called living wages would do the exact opposite. If government wanted to help create a permanent economic underclass, it would implement exactly the policies that are in place. All of us who want people to enjoy earned success ought to be outraged at these government policies.

This is important, because very often the policies proposed by people on the left are not designed to solve the problem. Thomas Sowell argues that the real purpose of leftist policies is for leftist leaders to feel self-important by getting applause from those who are economically ignorant. They push policies that sound good but that don’t actually work.

The good news is that young people are waking up. According to a Harvard University survey, 57% of young adults now disapprove of Obamacare. Even they are starting to think about what is happening to them. Maybe they can avoid the slavery that awaits them under the Democrat’s massive program of intergenerational theft, but I’m not optimistic. They have really short attention spans, and you don’t learn the fundamentals of economics on Instagram and Pinterest.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New study: premiums for young people to rise in all 50 states under Obamacare

The Washington Free Beacon reports on a new study.

Excerpt:

Health insurance premiums for young people will rise in all 50 states under Obamacare, with an average increase of 260 percent, according to a study released Thursday.

The young and healthy segment of the uninsured is considered crucial for the Affordable Care Act to succeed. Former President Bill Clinton suggested last week that Obamacare only works “if young people show up.”

However, an analysis of premiums both before and after the implementation of Obamacare shows that 18- to 35-year-olds are likely to opt out of high rates in the exchanges in favor of cheaper penalties for not having insurance.

According to a study released by the American Action Forum, post-Obamacare premiums will average $187.08 per month, up from $62 per month in 2013, a 202 percent increase.  Overall, states averaged an increase of 260 percent.

Forty-four out of 50 states saw a three-digit percent increase, and in Vermont the cheapest available premium for a 30 year-old male nonsmoker will increase by $332.69, or 600 percent.

[...]Massachusetts had the lowest increase at 9 percent, though the state is considered an “outlier” since it already had similar health care reforms put in place under former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney.

“[T]hat state’s insurance market has been subject to ACA-like reforms since 2006, bloating the premium for the lowest-cost pre-ACA policy to nearly $214, making it the highest of the 2013 premiums analyzed in this study,” the report said.

But what about the subsidies, won’t they help cover the cost of all the free condoms and birth control pills and abortion drugs?

No:

Given the high costs of the premiums, the study predicts that even with subsidies, most of the young uninsured will opt to pay the penalty rather than sign up for health care.

Individuals between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for subsidies under the law.

Only those who earn up to 133 percent of the poverty line will have a financial incentive to join the health exchange.  An individual with an income of $15,281.70 would receive a subsidy to cover 100 percent of their health care premiums.

Moving up the income bracket creates disincentives for the young to enroll.  Those making $20,107.50, or 175 percent of the poverty line, will still face a $449 premium, which is three times higher than the penalty they would incur in 2014 ($103.57) if they did not purchase insurance.

An individual earning $37,342.50 will receive no subsidy at all and will face a minimum premium of $2,839, as opposed to a $275.92 penalty in 2014.

I’m pretty sure that most people who get jobs out of college will make more than $37,342.50. Petroleum engineers start at around double that income.

So, I’m thinking that the young people – especially college-educated people with jobs – shouldn’t have voted for Obama. Do you think that their teachers and professors explained to them what would happen to them if they voted for Obama? I think not. I think that their teachers and professors wanted their little wide-eyed charges to vote for more funding of education, with no performance checking, so that they could be paid more money. And the children believed their teachers and voted accordingly. This is a particularly bad deal for bright young men – the kind you might expect to be interested in marriage. Now not only have they inherited massive amounts of debt and a crappy socialist economy with no jobs, but they are being forced to buy expensive health care coverage that they don’t need and won’t use. Why? To subsidize the health care claims made by women and the elderly, who use more health care products and services.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

First black president: unemployment rate up for blacks and women since Obama’s election

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

 Unemployment for both women and African-Americans is higher today than it was when President Barack Obama first took office in 2009, according to federal government data.

Despite an economy that has technically been in recovery since June of 2009, many economic indicators are the same or worse than when President Obama gave his first address to a Joint Session of Congress in February 2009.

“We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before,” Obama said in that speech.

However, employment for African-Americans and women has not recovered and, in fact, is worse today than it was when Obama said those words.

At the end of January 2009, 12.7 percent of African-Americans were unemployed. Four years later, January 2013, the situation was worse, with unemployment higher at 13.8 percent.

Further, an additional 1.2 million African-Americans had left the workforce entirely during the same time period, with the number of those reported as not in the workforce rising from 10.3 million in January 2009 to 11.5 million in January 2013.

People not in the labor force are those who are younger than the retirement age who are unemployed and no longer looking for work, indicating they have either given up looking for work or gone into early retirement.

For women, the story is not much better. In January 2009, 6.9 percent of women in America were unemployed. By January 2013, 7.8 percent of women were unemployed.

He’s had four years, and his new plan to raise the minimum wage is not going to help younger workers, unskilled workers or minority workers.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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