PeterMP

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About PeterMP

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  • Birthday 07/11/1972

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  1. Coal is still heavily used to make steel and as such is far from obsolete and likely always will. For decades WV has actually generated more coal, while employing fewer people in the coal industry (more automation and more strip mining). West Virginia's economy is heavily tied to steel demand. When the economy tanked, things lagged a bit for West Virginia because there was a lag in the price of coal associated with steel. The flip of that was also true. When things recovered for most, there was a lag for WV because people didn't start building again until they were more in the clear, and it was clear the economy was well on the road to recovery. Now, steel demand has gone up as there have been increases in building globally and that's driven up the price of coal and so WV is doing better (all of which has nothing to do with anything that Trump has done) and so the economy is doing better there and unemployment is down to 4% (though I suspect that number is a bit misleading as I suspect they probably have a pretty high rate of people being counted as not labor participants). https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/345369-how-west-virginia-got-to-3-percent-gdp-growth Longer term, the biggest issue for WV is that young people have been leaving so they have an aging demographic. This means less work, fewer people trained to do high skill jobs, and more demand on social services. And in that context, they are stuck sort of between a rock and a hard place. They need to diversity their economy so that when steel prices go down their economy doesn't tank, but coal has been so important there for so long that they have weak environmental laws to encourage the growth of coal industry (they are also one of the leading natural gas states in the country so lax laws help that too). Their lax environmental laws made them an attractive target for other companies making things of question health risks and wanting lax environmental laws (e.g https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2013/11/01/310072.htm). As such, it isn't a very attractive place to move for young people or somebody thinking about kids. WV is simultaneously beautiful, and heavily polluted. One of the best things the federal government could do would be to give them money to clean up some of their environmental messes, which would simultaneously make the place less polluted and so attract new residents (possibly) and employee people (i.e. bring more non-coal jobs). Which was part of the plan that Obama was pushing for that area of the country (not just WV, but KY too as both states have a lot of old and abandoned coal mines that nobody is watching and have who knows what chemicals that have dumped there), which McConnell (despite being from KY, which would have benefited) would never allow to come to a vote. But longer term, they have to decide that being the dumping grounds for companies isn't acceptable or people that aren't absolutely desperate for jobs associated with coal are going to continue to leave.
  2. But that isn't a real deadline. That's a deadline made up by the Republicans because of their political desires. If political desires created hard and fast deadlines, our government would be a mess.
  3. Even if nobody can sit here today and describe how it plays out, that doesn't really mean there is a deadline.
  4. http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/nyt-is-badly-mistaken-china-has-many-many-options-in-trade-war-with-trump "The NYT erred badly with an article that told readers, "China Once Looked Tough on Trade: Now Its Options Are Dwindling." The article claims that China is running out of ways to retaliate against Trump's tariffs because it imports so much less from the United States than the United States imports from China. In fact, China has many other ways to retaliate. The most effective would probably be to stop paying attention to patent and copyright claims of U.S. corporations. It can encourage domestic Chinese companies to make millions of copies of Windows based computers, without paying a penny to Microsoft. It can do the same with iPhones and Apple. In fact, it can encourage Chinese companies to export these unauthorized copies all over the world, destroying Microsoft and Apple's markets in third countries."
  5. Yes, but the secondary effects are going to kill you because $200 billion worth of goods aren't going to be sold. If you could put on a 10% tariff and actually sell $200 B worth still that would work well.
  6. This seemed like a good fit here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/14/opinion/columnists/great-recession-economy-gdp.html I do think it is a bit misguided on the unemployment front. What they say about the unemployment is true about the U3, but there are other measures of unemployment (e.g. U6). By any measure, over all unemployment is low. It is true that white male unemployment has been going up, but over all it is pretty far down.
  7. Okay, my evidence isn't really anecdotal. I can't find a break down the way you want, but we can reasonably find that there are important costs that have traditionally associated with the middle class that have gone up, which would explain why more people are living pay check to pay without arguing that people are just spending more on junk with no evidence. We know that home prices have risen even when adjusted for inflation (even with the pop of the bubble), health cares costs are going up faster than inflation, and while I guess a college education isn't essential, it is generally pretty important, and those costs are going up faster than inflation. We have 3 big costs that have historically been an important part of being in the middle class in the US that are going up faster than inflation. And those 3 things just didn't go up faster than inflation for a few years, but they have been doing so for decades now. Add in wages have essentially been flat. It isn't surprising that more people are living pay check to pay check without starting to argue that they are wasting more money, buying more junk, have less personal responsibility, or worse at making financial decisions than previous decades when there is no evidence to support that. Nobody is claiming that people are good at making financial decisions. Car sales men (and sales people in general) have for a long time preyed on people making bad decisions when buying cars. That isn't anything new. However, what is new is the middle class being squeezed more and more.
  8. Same things. Just different ways. Movies (movie attendance is down), newspapers, music (vinyl, 8-track, cassette, etc), most things were much less energy effeceint. You also aren't taking into account inflation. In 1968, an 8 track cost you $53.96 in today's dollars. If you bought 15 8 track albums, you've paid for your phone and then some and my parents had a pretty extensive collection of 8 tracks when I was young. "A fool and his money are soon parted." isn't a new saying for a reason and neither is "There's a sucker born every minute".
  9. To bring it back together, Popeman's co-worker's mother likely didn't work (much)-bad financial decision making. Could still afford "nice" things and her and her husband probably could afford to retire. Especially if his co-worker is married, she is looking at the situation and realizing despite working a full time job for years, she's not probably going to be in the same situation, doesn't really understand why, and is looking for answers. And Donald Trump's set of answers are simplistic and solutions aren't painful or hard and assign no real part of blame for the problem to her and so at some level are easy to accept, especially if you are tired, stressed, and scared. (Though, they are wrong.)
  10. I know two guys that work construction, both of whom are even older than me and still have kids about the age of mine. Neither of them have a 401K. They are both getting to the point where the job is too much for them. One of them has a wife that is an engineer and has done well and so he's going to be able to do something that's less labor intensive, but pays less and be in reasonably good economic shape. The other's wife was a teacher, but she had major health issues and hasn't been able to work for years. He doesn't have any retirement from his job and has really bad health insurance. And he needs a hip replacement, but can't afford the hip replacement and won't be able to do his job if he gets one. He's not made great financial decisions either so even working in the era of GreatBuzz's grandfather, I doubt that he'd have been a millionaire, but he likely would have been better off than is he now. In terms of the woman you're talking about, assuming she's married, it is likely that her mother voluntarily removed herself from the workforce during much of her prime working years, still could afford nice things, and had a reasonable retirement. My mother and my mother-in-law are both a little older than your co-worker and had long periods of time where they didn't work and my mother in law is retired and does have nice things. My mom still works, but that is because she's decided to adopt kids (after raising her own) that have resulted in her raising kids for 50+ years (including her own) (which from simply a financial stand point is an awful decision because raising kids is expensive). As bad as your co-workers decision making is, from strictly a financial situation, having college educated women voluntarily drop out of the work force during their prime working years because of some sort of societal ideal that women should stay at home and men should earn the pay check is worse decision making. Yet, for a long time in this country lots of people did that, those women had nice things, and husbands and wives were able to retire. (I'll also point out that, when people are stressed and tired they make bad decisions and right now, where to maintain a middle class standard of living for many families both parents working is required and work intruding on home lives more and more, it isn't surprising that people are making bad decisions in general, including financial. If you look at family units, you have more people working than before, which cuts into leisure and rest time, which is going to lead to bad decisions.)
  11. To echo steve's point, I'm not saying they do. I'm saying it hasn't gotten much worse than ever. Could people spend their money more wisely, yes? But in general, more people are not living pay check to pay check because they've gotten more stupid with their money. More people are living pay to check to pay check because given the bad decisions people make, it has gotten harder to have extra money because of government policies that have encouraged/allowed the accumulation of wealth at the top.
  12. In the past, people have been able to live with in their means without trying very hard without trying. Your grandfather also probably had a pension and good health insurance. Reality is that wealth is accumulating at the top. That's inarguable.
  13. Or maybe more people are living pay check to pay check (as compared to in the past) not because there spending habits are really different than previous generations, but because for nearly the last 40 years, we've pursued economic polices that have allowed wealth to accumulate at the top. Growing wealth inequality and declining income mobility in the US is a real thing. And it isn't happening (mostly) because people aren't smart about their spending habits.
  14. I will point out that I think the OP is essentially wrong. Most people understand there is a significant economic component to what happened with respect to the rise of Nazis in Germany and the rise of the alt-right today in the US and elsewhere.
  15. This isn't really true at all. The Soviets pretty much always had more resources and men positioned to the West then in Afghanistan and very likely to the East.. The Soviets did very little of taking and holding ground. Mostly, they'd attack and then withdraw to the cities or their bases. At the most, they had just over 100,000 people actually stationed in Afghanistan. We had more troops in the US zone in Germany alone post-WWII (and as a country Afghanistan is larger than Germany and our zone was certainly much smaller Afghanistan). There are very few countries you can really occupy with ~100,000 people- maybe Luxemburg.