The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Work Hard

There's not really very much on her resume or in her governmental activities that Hillary Clinton can offer as a reason to elect her President of the United States. Under her stewardship as Secretary of State, American foreign policy was a disaster—a melange of meaningless pivots, bad decisions, and failed diplomacy that lead to Russian aggression, a newly emboldened China, and a chaotic Middle East. Barack Obama was the architect of this mess, but Hillary Clinton was the general contractor.

Her positions on a variety of specific domestic issues have been vague at best, and her comportment in the last few years have led to the Benghazi scandal, influence peddling using the Clinton Foundation as the cut-out, the email deletion scandal, the email server scandal, and to a long list of dishonest statements. Hillary owns every one of these scandals, along with the poster child for "income inequality"—multi-hundred thousand dollar speaking.

So ... the only politically safe thing for her to do is to grasp the old standby of the Left—class warfare—and push it for all it's worth.

In what her campaign touted as a major political address, Clinton said:
“If you work hard and do your part, you should be able to get ahead. And when you get ahead, America gets ahead. But over the past several decades, that bargain has eroded.”
Using an apples and oranges reading of economic numbers, she argues that people are working harder, that productive has risen substantially (by 240% since 1950), but is lagged by wage growth which has risen only 108 percent since 1950.

James Taranto comments of her reading of these economic numbers:
Think about it. A corollary of the proposition that “you’re working harder” is that the people with whom you’re being compared worked less hard—and a lot less hard if that’s what EPI’s [a progressive economic think tank] numbers are measuring. Productivity growth more than tripled between 1948 and 2014. To put it another way, workers were less than 30% as productive in 1948 than now.

If workers in 1948 were such slackers, how in the world did they manage to build the greatest economy and strongest middle class the world has ever known?

The question—and much of Mrs. Clinton’s economic program—is based on a false premise. In economics, “labor productivity” is not a measure of hard work. It is closer to—though not precisely—the opposite.

Labor productivity is the ratio of economic output (measured in inflation-adjusted dollars) to work (measured in hours). Those familiar with basic arithmetic will understand that a ratio varies inversely with the denominator. Thus, the fewer hours you work to produce the same output, the higher your productivity.

It is true that all else being equal, an industrious worker is more productive than a lazy one. But in an age of automation and computerization, it is not even remotely plausible to suggest, as Mrs. Clinton does, that a more than threefold increase in productivity is purely, or even largely, the result of nonsupervisory workers’ making a greater effort. (That’s not to say they don’t work hard. But their predecessors worked awfully hard in 1948 too, even if Mrs. Clinton is too young to remember.)

Productivity has increased because there is less need for low-skilled labor—in other words, less demand, which reduces the marketplace value of such labor. That’s a challenge for society, but not one that will be effectively met by politicians who fail to understand the problem—or pander to voters by pretending not to understand.
Hillary isn't dumb, but it's reasonable to believe she's willfully ignorant, and it's a slam dunk to contend that she's pandering.

After all, with the ascendency of hard left, socialist Bernie Sanders, it's important to play the class warfare card with the base.