[Vision2020] You're Doing One Heckufa Job on the Economy, Bushie!

Jeff Harkins jeffh at moscow.com
Fri Sep 22 21:45:52 PDT 2006


Your attacks on those who respond to your posts lack dignity.  I 
would think that you would know better.

Your selective anecdotes about the economy suggest one of two things 
(or perhaps both): either you lack sufficient knowledge about the 
economy and the forces that are always at work to make the economy 
what it is.  Or, you are using selective statistics to make folks 
afraid and thereby advance a political agenda related to labor unions.

First, I find it unusual that you label entrepreneurs and capitalists 
as thieves. Every publicly traded corporation in the United States is 
owned by shareholders - those shareholders include poor, 
middle-income, upper middle income and wealthy individuals.  No 
citizen is precluded from owning shares in these corporations.  And 
in fact, stock ownership has never, in history, been more diversified 
and held more widely.  Indirect holdings are also at all-time highs 
(vested interests in defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans).

As a retired UI faculty member, I assume that you receive retirement 
payments and therefore have a vested interest in PERSI.

You might want to look closely at the stock investments of 
PERSI.  You are a de facto shareholder of every stock investment held by PERSI.

By the logic of your argument, you are one of the thieves.  I am 
curious - over the past several years, PERSI has provided significant 
increased benefits to those receiving pension payments.  This is due 
to the tremendous success of the value of the investment 
portfolio.  You and other retired folks have reaped enormous benefits 
from that portfolio success.  Have you returned what you perceive to 
be the extraordinary profits?

It seems important to address another of your anecdotal selections - 
that of entry-level college graduate salaries.  These statistics are 
widely available and you might find it useful to review several of 
the compiled studies.  They all support the conclusion that starting 
salaries are a function of the relative supply and demand for the 
knowledge, experience and skills that the job applicant brings to the 
marketplace.  If you are highly skilled in a high demand field 
(engineering, computer science, accounting), you will command a 
"high" starting salary.  If you are highly skilled in a low demand 
field, you will receive less.  Over time, as the relative supply and 
relative demand for the various "knowledge packages" that matriculate 
from universities changes, the starting salaries change.

If you are "not very skilled" and you are in a low demand field (or a 
field with a large supply of labor - perhaps the result of illegal 
immigrants competing for "not very skilled" jobs), your wage is not 
going to be as high as highly skilled/high demand applicants.

Here is a link that might help you get started - 

Here is another one: 

One more issue:  you cite the loss of 3,000,000 manufacturing jobs to 
the service sector.  Actually, most of the manufacturing jobs have 
moved offshore (e.g., even Northwest River Supplies has some of their 
inventory built at their factory in Mexico) to take advantage of 
lower labor cost and to escape the NIMBY factor.

I sense you are sincere in your desire to see a different economy - 
and I respect that.  Here is a suggestion - why don't you try reading 
the Wall Street Journal for 6 months, then review the positions you 
have taken in your post.  Our dialogue might be very interesting.

At 06:27 PM 9/22/2006, you wrote:
>I was hoping to get some substantial feedback from my column on the 
>U. S. economy, but my two critics fail basic reading comprehension.
>Nowhere in this article or anything that I've ever written, have I 
>said that businesses should not make a profit.  My point was that 
>when most the productivity of a business goes to profits and less to 
>the workers who produces the goods, then there is something terrible 
>wrong with our economy.  In the old days workers would have been 
>rebelling, but now most of them have been seduced into thinking that 
>it's OK for their bosses to steal all the fruits of their labor.
>The truth is in this statistic: Since 1979, adjusted for inflation, 
>the poor have received no raises, the middle class has gone up $200 
>a year, and the rich have increased their income by 111.3 
>percent.  Even Adam Smith would have been scandalized by this, and 
>would have probably given up his idea of the "invisible hand" that 
>gave us "trickle down" economics.
>Nick Gier
>  List services made available by First Step Internet,
>  serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.
>                http://www.fsr.net
>           mailto:Vision2020 at moscow.com

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