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Member since: Tue Sep 23, 2014, 07:53 PM
Number of posts: 76

Journal Archives

The Democrats' Economic Record Trounces the Republicans'

You can find a detailed review of the economic case for the Democrats here- http://politicsthatwork.com/blog/which-party-is-better-for-the-economy.php

Opinions of economists:

There are many different ways to assess the consensus of economists on policy issues. Much of the public believes that economists tend to be libertarian and to favor laissez faire economic policy. That idea- that economic wisdom favors leaving all things to the free market- is actually dead wrong. Economists generally tend to support policies at least as liberal as the policies the Democratic Party supports. Some examples:

71% of economists favor using government to redistribute wealth and only 8% strongly oppose it. In fact, the concept of the diminishing marginal utility of wealth is a very well established and non-controversial economic principle. Even Adam Smith expressed the view that the government should redistribute wealth.

Only 12% of economists take the view that the costs of the stimulus outweighed the benefits- a view passionately held by nearly all Republicans.

75% of economists favor government tuning the economy with monetary policy- an idea often vehemently rejected by the Republican Party- while only 4% of economists strongly oppose it.

Zero percent- not a single economist in the entire sample- of economists agree with the central tenant of Republican fiscal policy that cutting tax rates would boost the economy enough to cause revenues to increase.

94% of economists support taking action to address climate change.

Comparison of GDP growth- http://politicsthatwork.com/graphs/gdp-growth-by-party
Stock market performance- http://politicsthatwork.com/graphs/sp-500-performance-by-party
Unemployment- http://politicsthatwork.com/graphs/unemployment-rate-by-president

See the whole article here- Which party is better for the economy?

Debunking the Republicans' Labor Participation Rant

Republicans treat the labor participation rate as if it were the line of demarcation between the "makers" and the "takers." They warn constantly that as the rate drops, we are becoming a "nation of takers."

But they completely misunderstand or misrepresent what that statistic is. People who are on public assistance are generally required to apply for jobs, so they are counted as participating while people getting an education are counted as not participating. You see the graph dropping while unemployment is falling and the right takes that to mean that "really" unemployment is rising. But, that isn't really the case at all. If, for example, you have 1,000 unemployed people, 900 of them get jobs and 100 of them decide to focus on raising their family or getting an education instead of continuing to look for work right now, the labor participation rate drops despite 9/10 of the unemployed starting work.

You can see a more meaningful representation that breaks out students and the unemployed from the non-participating and participating groups respectively. See what that looks like here: Labor Force Participation Rate.

That graph uses the same data from BLS that the more discouraging-looking graphs do, it just breaks it out in more detail.

In fact, the percentage of people working is going up, as is the number of people getting an education. The reason the participation rate is falling is just that some portion of the unemployed are going back to school while others get jobs.

It seems likely that just before the election, BLS will announce that unemployment dropped again, but that the participation rate also dropped. Given how close that announcement will be to the election, it is crucial that voters understand what that means. We need to spread the message every way we can between now and then IMO.
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