Donald J Boudreaux, 1956, and the curious case of the missing decades in between.

December 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

Donald J Boudreaux, 1956, and the curious case of the missing decades in between.

A brief history lesson, the GMU econ department has been the local good-time girl for large corporations to purchase denial services going all the way back to big tobacco in the 1980’s. Lately the stimulus denier jobs (Russ Roberts) have dried up as the stimulus wound down, but they always have a standing order for income-inequality deniers from the Koch brothers et. al. God forbid some rich bastard loses a few basis adjustment points on his taxes someday. Boudreaux has been going through a 1956 Sears catalog trying to show you that you could buy dresses working fewer hours per week today than in 1956. Interestingly, no other considerations ever carry any weight except those he cherry picks, which is why I sometimes call Don Boudreaux the ‘one-dimensional wonder’.

Another charming conceit of Russ and Don is that, being academic economists, they are always experts in any discipline they fancy and superior to well, actual experts in that discipline. I’ve lost count but between them they are expert petroleum reservoir engineers, manufacturing cost accountants, automotive design engineers, health insurance underwriters, and consumer credit law ombudsmen. Don’s just added Procurement Manager to his skillset, even though any actual procurement manager could tell you a 1956 dress and a 2012 dress are not made out of the same raw materials. A 1956 dress is made out of meat and potatoes, and a 2012 dress is made out of fish heads and rice :/

Anyhoo, since Don Boudreux has had some ‘missing time’, maybe from a UFO abduction, here’s some links from 2012 to the relevant years in the past to help him catch up on the ‘missing decades’…


————pre 1950
Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

Young adult employment is now at the lowest level that we have seen since World War II.

The 70 per cent labor force participation rate for men was at lowest level recorded since the government began tracking it in 1948.

From 1947 to 1979 family income of the bottom 20% went up 116% and those in the top 20% went up 99%. . . Between 1980 and 2009, the bottom 20% went up 15% while the top 20% went up 95%


————1956
Drought in US wost since 1956


————1962
The US is second to last Self-employment in non-farm businesses has fallen by nearly half over the past 50 years.

————1968
(The Nation) Minimum wage in real value less than in 1968

(Bloomberg) Minimum wage corrected for inflation is lower than 1968 level


————1969
Median wealth of families worse since 1969

Food stamp use hits record level.

The number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Speed of first class mail delivery down 22% since 1969


————1970
Median family income down 8% since 1970, net worth down 39%


————1971
According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971. Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are.


————1972
The class of 2012 scored the lowest average SAT reading score since 1972

Earnings of men collapse over past 40 years


————1975
A higher percentage of children is living in poverty in America today than was the case back in 1975.

Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.


————1980
A third of American middle class in the 1970s has fallen out of it

Office space per worker down by over a half since the 1970’s


————1981
The labor force participation rate has fallen by an unprecedented 2.5 percentage points since December 2007, slumping to a 31-year low of 63.5 percent.


————1984
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial assistance from the federal government. Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent.

In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger. Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.


————1986
Corrected for inflation, housing prices are at 1986 levels


————1990
High school student employment down 50% since 1990


————1992
Teacher morale at lowest in 20 years


————1993
Poverty level worst since 1993


————1995
The median income of American households dropped to its lowest level since 1995 last year

From 1995 to 2010, as America’s prison population grew 42 percent, the number of inmates over 55 grew at nearly seven times that rate


————1999
In 1999, 64 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance. Today, only 55 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.


————2000
In 2010, 8.3 million Americans over 60 faced the threat of hunger — up 78 percent from a decade earlier


————2001
Median household income for families with children dropped by $6,300 between 2001 and 2011.

The U.S. share of global GDP has fallen from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011.

In 2000, there were more than 17 million Americans working in manufacturing, but now there are less than 12 million.

From 2000 to 2010, the number of children living in poverty jumped from 12.2 million to 15.7 million, an increase of nearly 30 percent.

There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.


————2002
According to USA Today, many Americans have actually seen their water bills triple over the past 12 years.

According to USA Today, many Americans have actually seen their water bills triple over the past 12 years.

Student loan debt is the only category of consumer debt still rising in post-recession America. It’s grown 275% in the last decade to $905 billion, more than total general consumer credit card debt.


————2005
More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.


————2006
For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless. That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.


————2007
Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

Median net worth for middle class families dropped by nearly 40 percent from 2007-2010

Britain, US big economic losers over past five years

In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent. Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.


————2009
America has lost over 200,000 teachers, 56,000 cops, and 30,000 emergency responders since 2009


————2010, record high
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained a record high of 429,247 non-citizens in the 2011 fiscal year, an increase of 18 percent over 2010


————2011, record high
In 2011, exports accounted for 13.8 percent of the US economy — higher than any year since an anomalous boom during World War I.


————2012, record high
Record number of Americans 55 and older are still working


————2012, record high
The US has its highest per-capita prison population and has more per-capita prisoners than any country in history


————2012, record low
People retiring today are part of the first generation of workers who have paid more in Social Security taxes during their careers than they will receive in benefits after they retire.


————2012, record high
>For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.


————2012, record high
Child homelessness up 33% in three years setting record

I cribbed almost the entire page from here. Sorry, but this is a spare-time no-budget gig for me, unlike Russ Roberts and Don Boudreaux who get paid for 40 hours a week of shilling for the malefactors of great wealth.

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§ 2 Responses to Donald J Boudreaux, 1956, and the curious case of the missing decades in between.

  • Invisible Hand says:

    Comrade, you are normally a propaganda genius, someone the politburo would be very proud of, but how can you condemn the economic performance of the current administration and progressives in general this way by cataloging its failures? You should know better.

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