Thursday, December 4, 2014

Conservatives hate government, unless THEY ARE government

Directly below is excerpted from a post by a corporate shill "conservative" economist at his blog making a case for government jobs (decent and humane jobs) that pay a fair and living wage — just as politicians also enjoy good government jobs that offer great pay and benefits. Conservatives, libertarians, right-wingers, Republicans and Tea Party fanatics hate "government", but yet they love being a part of that same government.

If you get a PhD, get an economics PhD (by Noah Smith) "An econ PhD at even a middle-ranked school, with near-absolute certainty, leads to a well-paying job in an economics-related field ... If you don't get a tenure-track job, you will get a well-paid job as a consultant, or a well-paid job in finance, or a decently-well-paid job in one of the many, many government agencies that hire armies of economists. All of these are what are commonly referred to as 'good jobs', with good pay, decent job security, non-brutal working conditions, and close relation to the economics field ... In an America where nearly every career path is looking more and more like a gamble, the econ PhD remains a rock of stability - the closest thing you'll find to a direct escalator to the upper middle class ... Be aware that the culture of economics is still fairly conservative, and not in the good way. Econ is one of the few places in our society where overtly racist and sexist ideas are not totally taboo ... Expect the econ PhD to lose its luster in five to ten years, but that still gives you a window of time. Anyway, despite these caveats, the econ PhD still seems like quite a sweet deal to me. And compared to a hellish, soul-crushing, and economically dubious lab science PhD, econ seems like a slam dunk. There are very few such bargains left in the American labor market. Grab this one while it's still on the shelves."

From another post by Noah Smith at his blog: Sociology vs.the Empire

"If sociology focused a lot more on stats and quantitative modeling, then sociologists would have much more lucrative outside options in consulting and finance and industry, and hence would be able to command higher academic salaries."

Henry Farrell at Crooked Timber: Economists aren’t ‘superior’ just because

"Politics and power play a far larger role in determining both the success of economics and the success of economics than economists are prepared to admit in public. Or, more succinctly, sociology provides a much better account of economics’ success than economics itself does."

From another post by Noah Smith at Bloomberg: Why Economists Are Paid So Much

"The profession of economics periodically finds itself under rhetorical attack from sociologists. Part of this is due to the differing political slants of the disciplines -- sociology tends to lean heavily to the left, while economics, being fairly well balanced between liberals and conservatives, is thus the most right-wing discipline in academia ... As for economists’ influence over the economy, I am going to take a wild guess and say that it isn't because of their arrogance or hierarchical insularity or sense of authority and entitlement. It’s probably because (drum roll) economics is the discipline that studies the economy. If politicians want to know how to boost productivity at U.S. companies, or increase employment, or auction off broadcast spectrum rights, whom should they ask for advice? A sociologist?

From Alan S. Blinder at What’s the Matter with Economics?

In 1976 George Stigler claimed, “Economists exert a minor and scarcely detectable influence on the societies in which they live.”

As a general matter, which statement below do you think comes closer to the truth?

(a) The dominant academic thinking, research, and writing on economic policy issues exert a profound, if not dispositive, influence on decisions made by politicians.

(b) Politicians use research findings the way a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not for illumination. (Quote by economist Jared Bernstein, former advisor to Joe Biden)

I suspect you answered (b). If so, you got it right.

A senior economist at the very "conservative" Heritage Foundation recently made a shocking admission: That the jobless aren't lazy slackers and that extended unemployment benefits doesn't cause unemployment. From the Wall Street Journal: What’s Causing the Increase in Long-Term Unemployment?

"Some economic indicators, including the short-term unemployment rate, have recovered to levels associated with “normal times.” But long-term unemployment remains high ... The persistence of long-run unemployment in 2014 is something of a surprise. Many economists, myself included, expected that the expiration of long-term unemployment benefits at the end of 2013 would sharply lower the long-term unemployment rate ... The extension of unemployment benefits does not appear to be the answer. Nor is it merely a holdover from the Great Recession: Few of the long-term unemployed report being out of work for more than two years. The majority are still in their first year of joblessness."

I question that last assertion. Most of the long-term unemployed are no longer counted in the unemployment rate because they are no longer considered a part of the labor force. Just since the Great Recession officially ended, we've had an additional 11 million more working-age people who are "not in the labor force".

Yet the Republicans in Congress had to kick millions of struggling Americans off unemployment benefits in a failed experiment to see if ending benefits would lower the unemployment rate. Tea Party economists also told them to cut taxes in Kansas too, and we saw those results.

* My related post: Noah Smith is a shill for corporate America -- and my other related post: Republican PayPals for Corporate CEOs

1 comment:

  1. From an economist I usually agree with (Mark Thoma):

    Social Insurance Guaranteed