« What's the scoop on Janette Sadik-Khan? | Main | Hostage Situation »

1977 all over again

By Owen Paine on Saturday March 5, 2011 01:13 PM

The Morgan Freeman of the Hill, John "appleseed" Conyers is building a plan for the next act of the soap opera called the United States. Here's his latest pwog blueprint to a better America. It includes carved-in-stone targets for national unemployment:

  • 9 percent unemployment after 6 months;
  • 8 percent unemployment after 2 years;
  • 6 percent unemployment after 5 years
  • 5 percent unemployment after 8 years
  • 4 percent unemployment after 10 years
My, my.

Of course I like the form, if not the deadlines. We do need employment targets tied to deadlines, with automatic injectors to get us back on course and goose us along this path to the final 4%. Johnny has a "trust fund" for same -- a tax on financial trades!

Gotta love that, eh? Pwogs make soft landings sound so easy. Of course that requires you exist for ever in 1977 -- the year Carter hit the WH and the Dems controlled both houses of Congress; Nixon had been rebuked; the Nambo gig was over, the armed bully-boys chastened, etc. etc. -- and yet, we got the Carter debacle.

Professional pwogs don't seem to realize we've been here before, when we get a '93 or an '09. They act as if it's still the first or real '77 this time, not the same old '77 all over again.

Comments (31)


the pwog time bubble


and to think
johnny C
just went thru another 94
and yet here he is raising the old flag
full employment for ever !!!
saluted by pwogs since 1944 ...to no purpose

Al Schumann:

The timing is pretty good. A reaffirmation of meliorist ideas and goals is a balm to the souls of progressives who have once again been clubbed like baby seals.


I dunno know -- it sounds worse than meliorist to me. A true pwog should demand 6% unemployment in the first year, plus universal literacy. It's just words, anyway!

Al Schumann:

Too true, senecal.

But you forgot the pony!

1977...all over again?

You mean, like... KC And The Sunshine Band?

Oh, God, kill me now.


As part of my never-ending, extremely fascinating quest to understand myself, and how I relate to the larger world, and the funny world of leftist politics in particular, of what cosmic and/or cultural significance is it that I rocked many a dance-floor to the good-time groovings of Harry Casey and his Miami Sound Machine, and
the mealy-mouthed, drug-addled dentistry of the Clash.

First as tragedy, then as farce... what's the third repetition?



must have to do w/different age, experience and - for part of the 'boogie' period - location.

some kc - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nNi2vFttIc&NR=1&feature=fvw

which does overwhelm.



battle of the bands
let a thousand 197777777777 songs contend

First as tragedy, then as farce... what's the third repetition?
Situation comedy?

third iteration and after is quite laughless
thus soap opera


That expression so well describes the unity of Waiting for Godot, which is the highest peak of western literature, that I'd say there could bde no third iteration. Unless it's deconstruction.


the boney hand of mark thoma enters stage right
with his spurious average recovery rate
of between .04 and .05 % per month

"taking a quick, back of the envelope approach, the rate of recovery from the peak unemployment rate of 7.8% in June of 1992 through the trough of 3.8% in April of 2000 was, on average, a -0.04255 change per month. From the peak of 6.3% in June of 2003 through the trough in 4.4% in October of 2006, the average rate of change per month was -0.04750.

Averaged over both periods, the rate of decline was -0.04403 per month.

The resulting forecast is truly scary.

7% unemployment in August of 2015
6% unemployment in June of 2017
5% unemployment in May of 2019
4% unemployment in April of 2021

Thus, if we recover at the same pace as in the last two recessions, .... it will take more than six years to get to 6% unemployment rate, and until June of 2018 to get to 5.5%, "


why spuriou

no two paths are alike
in rate of climb or contraction
let alone height or depth

context conditions vary
and that becomes the ground of
recovery rates
and policy response will vary
on top of conditions

the conyers mile stone system
sets up a pathway of target "outcomes"
policy instruments must reach
in sort of a last time we gotta do this
after reaching 4 % one presumes
the target will year in year out be
at some optimum
--- btw 4 % ( itself 1.5 % lower then the thoma final target
is too easy on the corporate wage negotiators
some pwog obvious selected it
to both retain some semblance
of the inmfamous NAIRU
( non accelerating inflation rate of unemployment )
a level of the reserve army that is still high enough to keep only moderate
containable wage increase " up pressure"
on corporate pricing dynamics ---

all this is wired up to a very bad macro model ...of course

one that performs in simulation
as if
it comprehended price and wage formation at the micro level
when even its mimicry requires constant rapsode like mindless "rote" updating
to stick close enough to the record
to pass as explaining it
since the resullt is completely
without any valid claim to that description
but however
embodying the sacred allegory of the marketeering profiteers
an ideologian's beloved
"universal constant " ordained
by mother Clio
as a keystone
to THE laws of motion
for today's cutting edge human society

well errrr...not exactly universal
more like
"for here and now "

How does someone actually insist that it's factually honest to use any unemployment statistic below 20%?

I'm guessing it's office-chair-bound "analysis" of this type:

"I'm employed, everyone I know is employed, but I've heard here and there -- fourth-hand, fifth-hand -- that some people can't find work. I'll throw 7.6% at it!"

When someone with multiple graduate degrees can't do better than $10/hr, 20hrs/wk despite trying hard to find more suitable work, is that person "employed"?

Is it just based on "any job"? Then what is a "job" and why are we tallying things? Is it because "work" is essential to one's well-being?


The Wall Street Journal's famous dart-throwing monkey, which routinely outperformed investment "experts," would produce a more accurate reading of the current unemployment rate.


the nihilists nibble

oxy :

one can use a lot of definitions for sorting the "working" from the "idle " population

a job versus no job is one
a whole array of definitions and sortings
obviously captures more then just one sorting
no matter how ethically refined

more to the point
its really
the size and direction
of change
in these categories measured against themselves
that produces meaningful information

chom :

your nihilism unlike oxy's
in this case
is silly

not even
a dart thrown by a monkey at a target

the monkey prolly at least
hits the target.... eh ??


OP, that's what I'm saying: The monkey hits the target. Monkey probably hits 20% +.

Al Schumann:

Owen, CZ is referring to the spurious figures, not to your take. Of course it's all moot because the monkey's job was outsourced to the same team that provides Fox's science coverage.


What Al said.


a wack at moi ??
from cz ??
i never got that sense out of his comment

i must confess i still can't see his point

but i am often much thicker then i think i am

the official numbers may mislead
but they are what they are

they're not made up
just carefully crafted

not the product of randomized arbitrary mischief
but careful calculation

yes the headline UE number
is a tight target number
that fails to measure misery
but several other official numbers tell that tale adequately

but even that UE
in a matter of a pair of years
jumped up by millions

as did all the other UE numbers
including the pinko prefered one
that indeed crawls toward the tartarus of 20%


keeping a fairly accurate set of public books only makes sense
from the wall street point of view
and if they're way off private numbers
gathered somewhere somehow
will go public either there or somewhere else

one thing our elite learned
in the great depression
good numbers drive out bad rumors

in reality official "objective numbers "
usually close enough to double for the truth
networks of word of mouth gathered impressions

almost always of far higher magnitude
gravity etc
folks left to talling each other stuff
love to dramatize it eh ??

generally believable numbers allow
key moments of manipulation
to "pass" public muster
long enough to blunt response
by fourth estate outfits
think "yellow cake "



a nice case of bottled hysterics
from the privateer skeptics


bonjovi roberts

" There are various reasons that job gains are overstated and losses understated. One is the BLS’s “birth-death model.” This is a way of estimating the net of non-reported new jobs from business start-ups and job losses from business shut-downs. During recessions this model doesn’t work, because the model is based on good times when new jobs always exceed lost jobs. On the “death” side, if a company goes out of business because of recession and, therefore, doesn’t report its payroll, the BLS assumes the previously reported employees are still in place. On the “birth” side, the BLS adds 30,000 jobs to the monthly numbers as an estimate of new start-ups. "

gyro gear loose stuff this

like the cult like rage against
the boskin index tweak
a rope a dope of
the clinton era
that screws SSI recipents in a cumulative way
out of proper cola adjustments

read the details thru the link
its delightful

roberts facts
" there are 8 to 9 million fewer Americans employed today than a decade ago"

bls http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

2000 payroll employed non farm 131

2011 payroll employed non farm 137

14 million spread ????


The monkey's going back in his cage. Let me quote a human instead --- my grandfather or uncle or someone: "Figures never lie, but liars always figure." (To be clear: I am not calling YOU the liar here, OP, but the gummint.)

For no reason other than this just seems right to me (I'm no social "scientist," thank Karl): For the real unemployment figure, take the official one and double. And even that seems conservative to me.

Current suffering across the land, and threat of instability and dislocation, is far greater than the current unemployment figure suggests.


Roberts might have derived his 9 mil figure backwards, reckoning from the secular decline in the employment/population ratio.

[Still not a good way to argue about unemployment, since the aging demographics affects the employment ratio, too.]

By the way, op, you can count me in as part of the "enraged cult" that would like to give those Boskin types a bit of a "hedonic" attitude adjustment.


the bureau of labor stats [bls] provides a range of unemployment rates, from u-1 to u-6.

u-3 is the official or headline rate while u-6 is the most inclusive [there had been a u-7 until '94 and would likely be ~half point higher than u-6 which, last report and not seasonally adjusted, was 16.7%]

alternative rates:

and, for those interested, the latest ILO Global Employment report {pdf}:


count me in too

its a good cover for a ssi boost


nice link

cz never fear
i know you aren't

i like being called a liar
by some folks
--not u --
means nerves have been hit

The numbers are carefully crafted, indeed they are!

And why am I a nihilist? I have never said that it doesn't matter what we do. That's clio's job, to show that everything tends to fall apart despite the best intentions of man... isn't it? What's that thermodynamic "law" or principle? Entro-urine? Wasn't that observation made by observing things across the run of history?

Whizzing on the fire hydrant of labor statistics, am I? Indeed. Which makes me not a nihilist, but a cynic, in the literal sense. I bark like a dog, I pee like a dog.

And like a dog, I get bored when my mind and body go underused, and start growling when someone justifies that under-use with statistics.


cynic is a noble profession

Post a comment

Note also that comments with three or more links may be held for "moderation" -- a strange term to apply to the ghost in this blog's machine. Seems to be a hard-coded limitation of the blog software, unfortunately.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Saturday March 5, 2011 01:13 PM.

The previous post in this blog was What's the scoop on Janette Sadik-Khan?.

The next post in this blog is Hostage Situation.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License

This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.31