A Multitude of Lynx

May 18th, 2018 at 12:59 pm

Various posts at WaPo for those interested:

Trump’s creating all sorts of waves in the oceans of international trade, and that’s led some analysts to worry that the reserve status of the US dollar could be under threat (63% of global reserve holdings are in dollars). While this isn’t the path I’d take to get there, of course–I’m solidly against Trumpian chaos–at this point, the costs of printing the premier reserve currency outweigh the benefits.

This one generated a fair bit of interest. It’s a local story with national implications about a head-tax on large businesses that the Seattle city council just passed to help them deal with their increasing homelessness problem. There are many levels to the story, including the basic revenue story, but also the costs engendered when large firms like Amazon come to town. Yes, they bring jobs, which is great, but they also raise housing prices and create more demand for city services. Yet, at least in this case, when you come to them for help, they stiff-arm you.

Dean Baker and I understand and support the motivation for a guaranteed jobs program.  But we’re wary of the public sector’s ability to create tens of millions of jobs to replace millions of lower quality jobs in the low-wage sector. That’s why Sen. Booker’s proposed 15-place pilot is a good idea to see how this works in practice before going national.

On a personal note, I’m sitting in a TV studio where my segment on the international trade fracas has been appropriately cancelled to report on the school shooting in Texas this morning. Of course, my cancellation is at should be–that’s not my issue.

According to the WaPo, this is the 16th school shooting this year. What should be shocking is how familiar this is to me and everyone else at the station. We all just go with the flow, as the anchors haul in commentators from their bench of experts in school shootings, and producers cut to whatever real time information they can glean.

The extent to which our country has normalized these horrific occurrences is the latest sign that there are ways in which the US is a failed state. I do not say that lightly, but a system that consistently fails to protect students and their teachers from death by firearms–that instead of solutions, has experts in school shootings on speed dial–cannot be called anything else but a failure.

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3 comments in reply to "A Multitude of Lynx"

  1. Edward Lane says:

    I totally agree with the sentiment behind Booker’s plan and I also believe in government support to make such a program feasible. That said, with a minimum wage of $15 and health care, how does this program deal with the situation of attracting those already working in less lucrative employment? Or, is it assumed that that would be ok on account of the openings in the less than lucrative jobs that would then be filled by those not employed in the new arrangements? Also, since some of the types of jobs set up under this program already exist in the private or public sector at lower wages/benefits, how does that impact Booker’s concept?


  2. john says:

    “But we’re wary of the public sector’s ability to create tens of millions of jobs to replace millions of lower quality jobs in the low-wage sector.”

    Okay, then outsource the work. Raise the minimum wage for ALL jobs to the UBI level, including a workaround for precarious employers. The money all comes out of the same pot, called aggregate income. Your wariness is just a financing issue.


  3. Fred Donaldson says:

    The danger of our trade policy is that exporting raw materials to a China – that then exports finished goods to us – makes our nation little more than an economic colony. https://goo.gl/CxC8US


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