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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Simple stuff you can do with numbers: Republicans, Democrats and manufacturing jobs

Surely the party of business must be good for manufacturing, right?

Well, consider this. Since 1949 – forget Roosevelt -- every single Democratic administration has shown an increase in manufacturing jobs:

Truman's 2nd term (first post-war full term) + 2.20 MM jobs + 15.8%

Kennedy-Johnson (two terms, Jan 61-Jan 69) + 3.57 MM + 24.0%

Carter (one term, Jan 77-Jan 81) + 0.84 MM + 4.7%

Clinton (two terms, Jan 93-Jan 01) + 0.32 MM + 1.9%

Compare and contrast. Every single Republican administration since World War II (yeah, forget Hoover) has shown a decline in manufacturing jobs.

Eisenhower (two terms, Jan 53-Jan 61) - 1.20 MM - 7.5%

Nixon-Ford (two terms, Jan 69-Jan 77) - 0.63 MM - 3.4%

Reagan-Bush I (three terms, Jan 81-Jan 93) - 1.74 MM - 9.4%

Bush II (two terms, Jan 01-Jan 09) - 4.57 MM - 26.7 %

Let's summarize: since 1949, every Democratic administration has seen an increase in manufacturing jobs, and combined have had manufacturing jobs increase during their tenure by 6.93 million. Every single Republican administration in that period saw manufacturing jobs decrease on its watch, and in the aggregate over eight million (8.15 MM to be more exact) have lost manufacturing jobs during Republican administrations. And look especially at the incredible decline over just the eight years of the Bush-Cheney administration: 27%

Lying with numbers? Proving anything you want with statistics? How can it be? The numbers are the numbers collected by the BLS for 65 years. The Republican political economists (and perhaps the Big E economists as well) like to assert that it's a glacial change that is explained in part by failure (of the public or “government” schools, of course) to the extent needed by a new age economy. Perhaps there is some truth in the glacial part of it, because there has been a net loss in absolute numbers (net loss 1.3 MM), and even more a decline in the share of employment going to manufacturing. However, a good portion of that decline is going over to information-technology-related jobs that may be seen as genuine value-adding jobs. Counting the information sector with computer systems design services, which the BLS only started to measure in 1990, that grew by 2 million (about 67%) in the Clinton years, but declined significantly (about 700 K jobs) in the Bush II years.

Yet the variance between the parties of the administration in place is huge. I suppose it is (a) pure coincidence, administration after administration; (b) a recurring, virtually perfect correspondence of the beginning and end of an American Presidential administration with “the business cycle”; (c) something the respective parties put in the water.

Or is it possible it has something to do with policy directions chosen deliberately in accordance with political beliefs? Ya think? Data like this is replicated throughout the economy, with Democrats virtually always – yes, even during the supposedly inept Carter administration – outperforming Republicans on measure after measure after measure. I truly wonder how any intelligent person who cares about the welfare of the country can be a Republican.

Monday, February 01, 2010

From today's NY Times:

DETROIT — The 911 call came at 6:35 p.m. on Aug. 28 from a car that was speeding out of control on Highway 125 near San Diego.

The caller, a male voice, was panic-stricken: “We’re in a Lexus ... we’re going north on 125 and our accelerator is stuck ... we’re in trouble ... there’s no brakes ... we’re approaching the intersection ... hold on ... hold on and pray ... pray ...”

The call ended with the sound of a crash.

All four in the car died.

Lest this ever happen to you, do not do what this guy did. DO NOT PICK UP YOUR CELL PHONE AND DIAL 911!


You can do that much faster than dialing 911 and it will actually stop the car, which dialing 911 hasn't a chance of doing.

And, it turns out this guy was an off duty cop, no less.