Part-time Work and the Recovery: Some Evidence to Counteract the Noise

July 18th, 2014 at 11:15 am

Over at PostEverything.

Key points: Clearly, this economic recovery has evolved too slowly and is still not reaching enough of us.  Just as clearly, it is improving, particularly in the job market.  I stress both these themes in my recent testimony before the Joint Economic Committee (JEC).

But based on a June spike in the monthly number of part-time workers, too many critics are trying to make the case that we have a structural problem of too much part-time employment–some add that Obamacare is too blame.

Not so.  Involuntary part-time work, while still elevated, is down almost 20% over the recovery, while voluntary part-time work is about where it was five years ago.  According to White House economists, “88 percent of the jobs added [over the recovery] have been full time, and that number is 99 percent in the last year.”

And there’s nothing wrong, btw, with voluntary part-time work.  In fact, as I boldly assert:

There’s nothing wrong, and a lot right, with voluntary part-time work. There’s not even anything wrong with affordable health care coverage allowing involuntary full-time workers to work less and still maintain coverage. That’s unequivocally good!

pt_recov

Source: BLS

Friday Musical Interlude: Johnny Winter Moves On…

July 18th, 2014 at 8:44 am

The great Texas blues guitarist Johnny Winter died this week.  I’ve been a huge fan since his first album which I recall blasting out my window so my friend Ben, who for some reason wasn’t allowed to come in, could hear it.  Though this had to be like 45 years ago, I vividly remember Ben pressing up to the screen as this electrifying music lit up both of us.

Here’s a later cut showing up his mastery of slide on Dylan’s Highway 51.  (I’ll resist connecting this to the Highway Trust Fund debate…)

All I can offer is the epithet of any great bluesman: “He done rambled…”

Cutting Corporate Taxes Won’t Help the Middle Class

July 17th, 2014 at 9:59 am

Sounds obvious, I guess, but the idea gets taken too seriously.  Over at PostEverything, I explore two channels by which lower corporate taxes could reach the middle on down: supply-side trickle down, and you know my views on that particular vial of fairy dust, and direct lowering of tax liability for the middle class, to which I bring evidence from CBO of how that wouldn’t work either.

Testify!

July 15th, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Just finished testifying Committee on the state of the current recovery in front of the Joint Economic Committee, wherein I mixed it up with my old friend Larry Kudlow (he was the R’s witness), a great friend with whom I’ve strongly disagreed on matters economic for about twenty years.

Here’s a link to my testimony, which I plan to summarize forthwith.

But for now, I need to straighten out a mis-statement I made; it’s a weedy point, but an important one.

Larry K said that if you cut corporate taxes, 70% of the benefits of the tax cut will accrue to wage earners.

I said I believed that was too high and that I thought it was closer to 50-50 but I’d check.

In fact (h/t: CCH), here are the assumptions by the top tax analysts as to the share of business taxation borne by workers (and thus, the share of any corporate tax cuts that would accrue to them):

Joint Tax Committee: 0% within the 10 year budget window; 25% outside the window.
CBO: 25%
Tax Policy Center: 20%

So, sorry to have misspoke on the breakdown here but and my inclination that Larry’s “70% of the benefits of a business tax cut would go to wage earners” was too high was correct.