Thursday, January 9, 2014

Popping the Walker World Bubble!

Salon’s Josh Eidelson wrote this headline:
Right-wing unemployment myths, debunked: “When you look at the data, it’s just not there:” Actual evidence defies what conservatives like Scott Walker are claiming, economist Heidi Shierholz tells Salon.

Point by point Eidelson and Shierholz takes on the fictions pushed by Walker and every other Republican ideologue:
In a Sunday CNN interview, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker argued that “the federal government doesn't require a lot” of the unemployed, and urged that rather than “just putting a check out,” Congress tie unemployment extension to tightened eligibility requirements.
It's part of what I call the big government Republican plan to over regulate people, by putting needless hoops and red tape in the path to help. Besides from getting rid of health care and helping businesses become more "certain," Walker sees making it even tougher on the unemployed by threatening to starve them as a good thing:

Real World logic is Much Simpler:
“Making them jump through more hoops will definitely increase administrative costs, but it’s not going to generate more jobs,” said Economic Policy Institute economist Heidi Shierholz. “Unless he’s looking at it as a jobs program to hire more public sector workers” ... when the labor market is so weak, the economy is so weak, and we know that the overwhelming factor behind that weakness is just weak demand, we’re operating way below our potential. People don’t have the income, so they’re not spending. Businesses aren’t investing ... Weak demand for goods and services means businesses don’t have to ramp up hiring, they don’t have to ramp up to meet the demand, because demand isn't there. So the fact that you’re spending this money on UI, you’re getting money into the economy, is actually exactly what we want to do at a time like this.
Skills Gap Myth: Walker's unwavering commitment to one of the most disproved lies continues here, along with Walker's inability to grasp the idea there are no "entry level" jobs anymore:
Scott Walker told CNN that “one of the biggest challenges people have who are either unemployed or underemployed is many of them don’t have the skills in advanced manufacturing, in healthcare and I.T. where many of those job openings are.” What’s your assessment of that claim?

I think because you hear this anecdote a lot, there’s been a ton of research done on it — a ton. The overwhelming consensus: People looking for any sign of a skills-mismatch in the data, don’t find it. The divide on who finds this is more those who are relying on anecdotes versus those who have looked at the data ... If it were due to ... skills you would have to see some evidence in some meaningfully sized group of workers ...[But] unemployment rates are higher now relative to before the recession started across every education group, across every gender, across every age group, across all racial and ethnic categories, in all major occupations, and all major industries ... you’d see wages being bid up for the workers who can’t be found, people poaching from other companies. And that you also don’t find. 

We’re not seeing something abnormal right now in the long-term unemployment situation, except for an incredibly abnormally weak labor market that’s been incredibly abnormally weak for a very long time. Once you have that, then what’s going on with long-term unemployment is exactly what you would expect. So it’s not like, “if we just get them to look harder, they’re going to find jobs.” The real problem, why we have this long-term unemployment crisis, is that the labor market has been so weak for so long.

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