Jul 9 2009

Unemployment is too low

Kal @ 13:37

Last week the official US unemployment rate reached 9.5%. Of course, this includes only those "actively seeking work." Or another way to think about it is those with remaining unemployment insurance benefits to collect. The actual number of unemployed is thought to be between 16% and 20%, and rising.

Given the common belief in "full employment is a good thing", these numbers are pretty depressing and way too high. But that is not the only possible perspective.

From the point of view that mostly those persons engaged in the basics of life should be employed, then perhaps the number should be around 50%. The basics: Food, Shelter, Transportation, Communication, and Security. Of course, there are other important things, but generally speaking they are luxuries. Some people should clearly be working on luxuries, but it is unreasonable to expect all of our excess labor to be so employed.

The main problem comes about because we have coupled the notion that it is necessary to have a job to have a life. As things stand now, to be unemployed is almost a disgrace. Well, maybe for a few weeks but then folks start to see you a bit as if you had the swine flue. Don't get too close, it might be catching. And nasty things start happening to you, your car and house payments come delinquent and soon you are walking on the street. Or maybe lucky enough to have relatives who can help and you are driving an old wreck and living back at home.

But it does not have to be like that. All of the folks who live here have to be supported in one way or another. Even the tea-baggers mostly agree with that. Why not do it with dignity and relieve the pressure on the planet to keep everyone running at full blast just to keep up a decent lifestyle?

Of course, those folks who go to work every day should get more than those who get to go fishing. Maybe we can even find a way to share the fishing time as well as the work time. But do we really want to put our family, friends, and neighbors on the street just because the economy is winding down a bit to a more rational level?


Category: Economics | Employment | Guaranteed Wage | Politics | Recession | Steady-State Economics | Sustainability

Jul 3 2009

Time to recall some republicans in Sacramento

Kal @ 21:00

A small minority in the California legislature, in cooperation with Arnold Schwarzenegger are trying to dismantle California. The model seems to be Calcutta.

If there is not enough revenue to pay for needed programs, the answer is simple, raise taxes.

I wonder how many we would have to recall to break the impass?


Category: Economics | Morals | Politics | Recession | wingnuttery

Jul 3 2009

Crap and tax

Kal @ 20:46

More grist for the wingnut emails series mill, again from Greg. Congratulations Greg, at least this one was original and not just something forwarded.

Just a few links to show what a fraud Gore and the Dems are on this "Crap and tax" bill coming up tomorrow.  These are off of the first page when you Google "how much money does al gore stand to make if cap and trade legislation passes  We effectively will be ultimately taxed for breathing out Carbon Dioxide, which is NOT a pollutant, and only comprises .038 of our atmosphere.  When we breath we exhale, when a plant breathes this "Pollutant" in, it produces Oxygen.  Big brain exerciser here, why should we be taxed for this?  The whole thing is a scam designed to control us and small business, and is another form leading to Socialism.  It has nothing to do with the environment, and everything to do with Gore and his asshole cronies getting rich.

He then includes links from several very questionable sources and one from Bloomberg. Note the query that Greg uses to produce them and it is no wonder the query produces pretty strange stuff.

First the strange ones:

Two from humanevents.com which bills itself as: Headquarters of the Conservative Underground. It is clear we can expect unbiased reporting from there. The lead author appears to be a lobbyist for the defense industry.

One from stopsocialism. Stop socialism? I guess this is about religion after all. If socialism works better than capitalism, perhaps we should adopt it.

One from greenhellblog.com promoting a book of the same name. Everyone knows how the environmentalists are out to destroy the world.

Greg, do you really expect us to take these folks seriously?

Gore Invests $35 Million for Hedge Funds With EBay Billionaire comes from Bloomberg. This one is about Gore having $35 million to invest when he only had about $2 million when president. It is clear he has made more money than me, but what has that got to do with cap and trade or global warming?



Category: Climate Change | Politics | Resource Depletion | Sustainability | wingnuttery

Jul 2 2009

What If I am Wrong on Global Warming?

Kal @ 09:21

Publisher: Robert Rapier posted at Thursday, 02 July 2009 07:15:12 Writing in The Oil Drum

Another question I think a lot about is "What If I am Wrong on Global Warming?" I come down on the side that human activity is contributing to global warming, yet the scientist in me reminds me that "conclusions are tentative." But each camp has elements that feel – all too often with religious fervor - that the other side’s position will lead to either environmental or economic devastation. So we get a lot of vitriol in this discussion, which I don't like.

If the Al Gore contingent is correct, then we are facing some very major problems. As I have written before, I don't expect us to be able to rein in carbon dioxide emissions, so I see a future with ever higher atmospheric CO2, and potential environmental devastation if Al Gore is correct.

On the other hand are those who believe that human activities play little or no role in global warming. They view the opposition as putting global economies at risk by putting a price on carbon emissions. While I think environmental devastation is a much worse consequence than economic stagnation, the impact of that could be pretty severe as well.

What I would prefer to see – instead of two opposing camps dug into bunkers and tossing verbal grenades at each other – are more open minds on both sides. I would like to see the sides posing the question “What if I am wrong?” Another good question to ask in these sorts of debates is “Is there any evidence that would convince me that I am wrong?” I don't know what scientists will say when they look back at this issue a hundred years from now, but I don't want to see the debate squelched by those who shouted the loudest.

In conclusion, I never discount the possibility that I could be wrong about any number of things. I would say that precious few of my views are embedded in granite. That's why I write; to discuss, debate, learn, and change my mind when reason dictates that. But before you decide to respond to this essay with a strongly worded opinion, ask yourself the question “What if I am wrong?”


Category: Climate Change | Resource Depletion | Sustainability