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Donald Trump Is Elected President (nytimes.com)
791 points by koolba on Nov 9, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 1708 comments

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Now that the voices of the disenfranchised blue collar workers have been heard, what actually can be done to help them? I'm less worried about the accusations of racism, etc. because it appears to me a majority are voting because their livelihoods have been lost and, despite economics saying globalization will bring new jobs, they aren't showing up in the critical areas where they are needed.

So, what policies can be put in place specifically to help this demographic? I genuinely don't know.

You can do what the democrats have talked about, which we have successfully done in Nordic countries which is to spend a lot of money on re-educating the workforce and making sure those at the bottom get decent skills.

I grew up in a rustbelt like industrial town in Norway. We has shipyards, glass factory, paper mill, textile industry, lock systems etc. Almost all of it got closed down and moved overseas as I grew up.

But we never ended up in the deep pit blue collar America ended up in, because government took a very active stance early to fight this with active policies. In towns where factories died, they moved public sector jobs from the capital.

People got a lot of retraining for new jobs. There is a strong system for vocational training in technical jobs like Germany so people could get skills for more advance jobs which was easier to keep when competing against asian industrial giants.

Our government offers free university education, so even less well off blue collar families could send their kids to good schools. And when economic times got harder it never hit blue collar works as hard as in America because we have free universal health care, heavily subsidized childcare, good pensions for everybody.

Basically the welfare system we built up saved our blue collar workers. Yet Americans pretend that there is no solution to this problem except attacking minorities, Mexico, China etc.

It is rich people like Trump and their agenda, which has made sure that blue collar workers in America have felt the influence of globalization harder than many other blue collar workers in the west.

USA does not have an oil fund that amounts do $150k per capita to pay for "free everything" (university education, universal health care, childcare) and good pensions for everybody. Norway generates more revenue with oil than the entires US of A, for 5 million people, and is third worldwide exporter for Natural Gas just behind Qatar and Russia, again with only 5 million people to serve (less than the population of New York)

The policies you enjoy are paid for by those revenue, and are not applicable to "regular" countries.

I admit tho that your politician did a good job at ensuring that those revenue are used for the good of the general population and are managed with the future in mind.

I'm from Sweden, and we have the same policies but basically no natural resources that are worth anything anymore. Unlike the US of A.

It's not about oil, it's about realizing that a healthy, well educated and happy population is an investment that pays itself over time.

You've also got a top marginal personal income tax rate approaching 60% which is nearly twice that of the US and political suicide.

I'm not making a judgment for or against high marginal taxes, I'm just saying "the US could do it too" ignores, well... the very core of economic and tax policy in the US.

So now you leave the realm of economical possibilities and start pointing at political problems.

Isn't that a little too simple?

"No, we can't do that because we don't want to."

Well, it's important to engage the political realities. Doesn't make it impossible, but a hybrid proposal or smaller first step might be more practical, given the politics.

Hybrid proposal is the real solution.

Yes, in the US, the taxation of the Nordic countries won't work and the socialist approach to services is also not accepted by half of the country.

Two key ideas, however, could be implemented:

--- IDEA 1 - REALLY EDUCATE people on WHY they need to get new vocational training.

Currently too many people are being given false promises of the return of working class jobs that are not coming back. It's not just globalization that has caused the loss of these jobs, but also technology advances that have made many of these jobs obsolete.

Your blue collar worker today isn't going to get a job moving metal equipment from one place to another because a machine can do it much more efficiently 24/7. Our capitalistic society means that a corporation will seek to create maximum efficiency to generate maximum profit. Corporations aren't in the business of maximizing the number of employees, but rather maximizing the return per resources invested in the organization. And that means, excuse my somewhat callous statement, that people are viewed as resources to the organizations, a means to generating profit. If a machine is able to perform a function faster, longer, for less overall money than an employee, a corporation will seek for that alternative.

So when many politicians make promises of bringing back good jobs. They AREN'T telling people WHAT JOBS are coming back. In fact, when you look at manufacturing jobs in the US, we currently CAN'T FILL THEM.

The problem is that your blue collar worker still expects a manual, low skill manufacturing job. But the job the US corporation wants is a manufacturing person who has a math or CS degree who can program or operate a high-end automation machine. Who can manage the CNC process or who can input the specifications for highly detailed technical operations. This requires specific training, math, engineering, or certifications.

This is the truth that more politicians need to hammer home to the people, then government follows up making sure that there is an incentive for educational institutions to allocate resources to teach these people.

But today, we're still stuck in: politicians claim that it's federal government's fault that they don't have a job, and that electing them instead will magically bring these low skill jobs back.


A CNN op-ed suggested this as a way to bring the Federal government closer to the people in the country. (http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/06/opinions/government-department...)

The capital, Whitehouse, and some executive services would remain in D.C., but many of the key departments would be moved to different regions of the country.

For example:

-The Veterans Administration in Phoenix -The IRS in Dallas -Treasury Department in NYC -FBI in SLC -The EPA in Portland or Seattle -Department of Agriculture in Iowa

and so forth. Federal government jobs move to other places around the country bringing it closer to the people so they get a more personal connection with the government since it actually supplies jobs to the people they know. It also moves these departments into locations that cost less than the high prices of the D.C. beltway.

Is there some loss of more interpersonal meetings between departments and cabinets? Sure, but high speed Internet access is readily available in ALL metropolitan areas around the country. We have video conferencing technology which eliminates the need for us to have the requirement of so many in-person meetings. It's a trade-off, but one that is greatly benefiting the people of the country.

And as the Federal government this is a big win because today, much of the sentiment is that the Federal government DOESN'T DO anything for me. It's a bunch of "elites" who waste time and money and the people don't see anything direct benefit.

Decentralizing the location of government agencies begins to eliminate this. Just like the US National Guard has a training camp just north of the city where I live, I can't say that the national guard doesn't do anything and isn't needed. They offer a great service and employ a lot of the people in my community, the surrounding communities. The national guard members, employees, and their families all buy homes in our communities raising home values (since these are stable jobs, homes aren't sold left and right, people stay, pay taxes, leading to general growth for our communities). These people also buy goods in our stores, contributing to the local economy. All because the Army put one of their national guard training camps here instead of concentrating them at West Point in New York.

Idea Number 2 is actually what Germany does (other countries as well). Here's a list of German Federal agencies (in German, location is in the last column): https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_deutschen_Bundesbe...

I can't say those agencies are specifically "in touch" with citizens. I'd rather say, they might be more hellish if they were all centralized in Berlin.

The second idea is also a great idea from a strategic perspective. At the risk of sounding doomsdayish, by spreading the federal government's agency headquarters around the country, it minimizes the risk of a single city-wide or even state-wide catastrophe (sea level rise, nuclear carbomb, Giant Meteor delivering on its one campaign promise, etc.) eradicating the leadership of most/all federal agencies.

I've never heard that second idea before. That's a really good idea.

We (Norway) did just that a few years ago; mostly, it was a success once the dust settled.

For instance, the coastal administration moved from the capital Oslo to Ålesund which is smack in the middle of a world-renowned maritime cluster; fisheries agency. moved to our #2 city (or #1 if you ask the locals) Bergen, historically the major export hub for the coastal fisheries, etc.

The key benefit is that it ensures there is a need for highly skilled labour also outside the capital; also, as you mention, it provides for more closeness to government - the sectors affected by the whims of a government agency has said agency within spitting distance, which helps.

I like your ideas...a lot actually.

The only thing I would point out (see my comment a little further down about US budget) is that our current level of taxation supports comparable levels of spending to Nordic countries. I would guess, not doing an in depth analysis, that this is partly or even mostly due to the much larger relative size of the US GDP.

And in the case of healthcare, we are flat out spending more, both in real dollars and per capita measurements, and getting less. So I view tax arguments as more or less red herrings: We already spend as much or more, instead we should ask what is wrong with our system? Changes to our systems should not require increases in our taxation (necessarily).

But it's also why I really like your ideas since they are systemic in nature.

What's simple about making 300 million people want the same thing?

In New Zealand we have free public healthcare, education subsidies (though tertiary education is not free), and a top tax rate of 33%, while we still make most of our money from primary industries like beef, dairy and wood[1].

Public healthcare allows us to have a huge single buyer for our pharmaceuticals - Pharmac[2] - which brings a lot of power to negotiate good deals.

It might not be reasonable for the US to become like the Nordic countries, but things could certainly be better.

[1] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/eb/2014_New...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharmac

Things can be made better in a way that's consistent with American principles of merit and competition. That's what Trump represents -- a return to the pre-Bush style of government that put reasonable economic restrictions in place and tried to provide an even playing field for everyone without introducing artificial government dependence.

GHWB and Bill Clinton sold this country into servitude for the elite by allowing them to freely export their labor overseas where it costs less than a dollar per hour. GWB and Obama continued that. That's 28 years of policy that have seriously exacerbated the economic condition of the average American while the fat cats at the top have gotten ever-richer.

Trump wants to make sure American money is used to help and employ Americans. That's good! There's no reason that all the money has to go overseas.

"You've also got a top marginal personal income tax rate approaching 60% which is nearly twice that of the US and political suicide."

That's only true if you count Federal Income Taxes alone. By the time you're done with Social Security, Medicare, state and city taxes (esp in NY, CA), the top marginal tax rate here approaches 50%.

Everyone ignores this when talking about taxes. I had an accountant do the math for me out of curiosity if I were to move to the Netherlands - and my marginal tax rate would have increased a whopping 7%.

I would have saved more than that in health care related expenses, so it was more or less a wash with that included.

People that say the US is low taxed are simply not paying attention. I pay comparable "all in" taxes as my Canadian co-workers.

The top US marginal tax rate is 40% and the burden quickly exceeds 50% depending on the state you live in and factoring payroll taxes.

Marginal tax rates mean literally nothing.

Nordic countries pay significantly more in taxes any way you look at it. You'd get laughed out of the room if you talked to someone like Donald Trump about paying a 40% marginal tax rate.

and most folks in that tax bracket are doing things, other than paying short-term gains or regular income tax, to reduce their burden significantly.

And then add on Healthcare, child-rearing, and education costs and guess what...

USA Citizens pay more overall. Just not through "taxes." per -say.

> I'm just saying "the US could do it too" ignores, well... the very core of economic and tax policy in the US.

Hardly. It was the core of the tax policy for a very long time.[1]

1: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Historical_Marginal_...

This talking point of once-sky-high marginal tax rates gets a lot of airplay, but it's very misleading. Almost no one paid those rates. Tax receipts as percentage of GDP have been remarkably stable over time:


Total tax revenue in the US is 27% of GDP. In Sweden, it's 46%:


> Tax receipts as percentage of GDP have been remarkably stable over time

That may be true, but since the sources you listed contradict each other, I'm left confused. I can find supporting evidence of the graph[1], but not of the wikipedia entry. The world bank apparently thinks they are all wrong[2]. Then there's a report that Norway is actually doing it with much less taxes than Denmark and Sweden[3], but that might be likely due to oil revenue. I'm left to conlcude that without a lot of research to look into the specifics, there's quite a few ways to measure this, and I'm not sure which are most relevant to the discussion at hand.

1: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/statistics/source-revenue-sha...

2: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/GC.TAX.TOTL.GD.ZS

3: http://www.thelocal.no/20151204/norway-leading-the-field-for...

And isn't anymore. If you want to argue that it should be, I'll listen to that, but you can't just throw out a link to graph about tax rates 50+ years ago and think that settles it and the US can be just like Norway.

> And isn't anymore.

But it was, not not too long ago. 35 years ago it was 50%. 40 years ago it was 70%. Just saying it ignores the core of economic and tax policy in the US ignores, well... the the recent history of the economic and tax policy of the US. Rather than a rank dismissal of the idea, why not explain what's so different than now from then that makes it impossible?

> you can't just throw out a link to graph about tax rates 50+ years ago and think that settles it and the US can be just like Norway.

I didn't. I just meant to show that your reason for dismissing it seems poorly founded, or at least poorly explained.

70 decades ago, if I were a billionaire, I'd have no choice but to stay in the US and pay that tax rate. Europe is rebuilding from a war, Asia is an agrarian back-water and South America is about to start experimenting with Communism. Yeah, where am I going to run to, Mars?

Now it's different. I'll be laughing with my other billionaire buddies about your tax rate plans while snorting coke of a hooker's tits on my private yacht and watching the Monaco F1 GP from the harbor. I've got all the luxuries I need over there, and in fact, everywhere, that I previously could only enjoy in the US. I can talk with who I need to talk to over Skype, I can do my business, banking, everything, remotely.

It's not like other countries don't have equal or better infrastructure. It's not like I can get clean water and food only in the US that would somehow make this a magical place I'd never leave.

So why would I just sit quietly and let you tax me at 90%, exactly?

Except, jokes on you, you may still owe the US taxes even if you don't live there but you get income from there, and they expect you to fill out your worldwide income and file taxes if you're a US citizen.

> So why would I just sit quietly and let you tax me at 90%, exactly?

Extradition treaties and/or freezing of your bank accounts, businesses and resources within the US.

Nobody expects the Spa.. I mean IRS.

> if you're a US citizen

That's something you can opt out of. In fact, some do: http://fortune.com/2016/08/11/us-citizens-renounce/

That's a red herring, just take a look at some budget breakdowns:


The largest portion of our budget is mandatory spending (~65%). Of our mandatory spending, the largest portion of that is spent on Social Services (Social security, medicare and health, etc) and yet we still have worse services than almost any other western country (IMO).

You start looking at percentages and an even more sinister picture starts to take shape:


> "Canada spends 6.3 percent of its total yearly budget on military spending. The United States spends 19.3 percent of its budget on military expenses. Mexico uses 3.3 percent of its budget for military spending."

> "Canada spends 17.9 percent of its total yearly budget on health care. The United States spends 19.3 percent of its budget on health care expenses. Mexico uses 11.8 percent of its budget for health care."

> "Norway spends 17.9 percent of its budget on health care spending, while its neighbor Sweden spends 13.8 percent of its budget on health care."

> "In France, health care spending is 16.7 percent of France’s yearly budget."

This article needs citation, but see this report that seems to at least tangentially support some of the trends voiced:


> "The United States is, by far, the country that spends the most on health as a share of its economy (with 16.9% of its GDP allocated to health in 2012)"

So at this point we can conclude that the US spends roughly the same share, or more, of it's GDP on Health care as other countries...even those "socialist" ones...yet we have a much worse standard/level/cost of care.

Even at our "lower" tax rates our GDP is by far and away the largest:


But moreover, our PER CAPITA GDP is one of the highest in the world (higher than Norway and Sweden).

So at the end of the day, America:

* Spends more on healthcare in flat dollar terms than almost any other nation

* Spends more on healthcare PER CAPITA than almost any other nation

and yet we still have far worse levels of care.

So this problem has nothing to do with economic or tax policy in the US. The question is: Where is the enormous sums of money we are ALREADY pouring into the system going?

Most Western health systems are universal and more or less exclusively government-funded. This means that the entire population is in the same risk pool, reducing costs for the more vulnerable users and increasing the incentives to implement more preventative medical practices. As de facto monopolies, these systems can do a much better job of controlling the costs of salaries, equipment, and drugs. And, because the systems don't need to turn a profit, they can operate at cost.

Our private health care system, however, has a cycle of perverse incentives -- employers, insurers, patients, and doctors -- that leads to spiraling costs with no increased benefits. The populations with the highest health risks (i.e. costs) are shoved onto the public rolls, in the form of Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA. Meanwhile, the lowest-risk populations are forced to pay into private, for-profit insurance schemes. Specialists have outsized bargaining power, which leads to grossly outsized salaries. Equipment and drug manufacturers can play hospitals and systems off of each other to bid up prices. And, of course, shareholders want a return on their investment.

This problem has everything to do with economic and tax policy in the US.

I think the point I was trying to address was the implied claim that we "can't afford" health care systems akin to other western examples. Arguments like:

> "Your tax rate is so high America would never vote for a similar tax."

> "Percentage wise those countries spend a lot more on health care than the US."

I would agree that our private health care system has perverse incentives. Combined with the degree of separation between cost and consumer due to our insurance system, this has resulted in general market failure.

Neither of these are directly economic or tax policy related (IMO). We already are being taxed and paying for health care...the issue is where is our health system failing to deliver value-per-dollar spent. Which generally might involve some economic policy overlap as far as market regulation, but I don't think it is the whole (or even the majority) of the story.

Corruption, lack of a single payer system that dramatically increases efficiency in the "socialist" countries. Insane health insurance system (ties into corruption).

It's doubtful they can/will fix any of this. America is a country controlled by lobbyists.

The politicians don't matter at the end of the day, look at Obama, had the right idea, could only implement a relatively mediocre system because anything good was politically untenable. The fact that politics can trump (lol) the health of the nation is enough for me to never want to live there.

American healthcare is run by the private sector with pretty much zero accountability compared to say, the UK, where the NHS is for the most part, a public organisation with open books.

You're fronting the overhead of medical R&D, which the US is doing the bulk of.

Still kind of ridiculous that the amount we spend still amounts to most of the population getting shafted.

Are we?

> ...industry supplies the bulk of the funds devoted to research and development, the public sector—primarily the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—supports most of the nation’s basic biomedical research.


This quote seems to indicate the majority of R&D is coming out of the private sector.

Moreover, this overhead of medical R&D from the public sector doesn't explain price differences in drugs between US and other developed nations:



There are deeper, systemic issues IMO.

I wonder what would happen if the U.S. passed a law requiring that drug prices in the U.S. be no higher than anywhere else in the world. That is the drug company is free to set any price, but they cannot sell at a lower price outside the U.S.

Wouldn't it be dramatically easier to just allow Americans to buy their drugs from other first world countries at the prices they pay? If American drug companies have to compete with extra-national pricing, I'm guessing they'll figure out a way to.

On top of that, you're not forcing anybody to do anything.

No I mean specifically from the private sector. You have to front that cost somehow. Whether you're seeing the cost as more expensive drugs or whatever, you're still paying it. R&D is factored into the cost.

The negotiation process is just different than when other countries are negotiating with US pharmaceutical companies.

>So this problem has nothing to do with economic or tax policy in the US. The question is: Where is the enormous sums of money we are ALREADY pouring into the system going?

The pockets of the oligarchy represented by Clinton and Trump.

We could anyway imo. Our "very core" of economic and tax policy is actually pretty flexible. Just look at how the markets have developed over the last several decades. Yes there will be pain, but I'd trade a little short-term pain with long-term benefit over short-term relief with long-term decline anyday.

Not to say Scandinavia has the best of everything, but regardless... Jag skulle vilja bo i skandinavien istället USA

Marrying a Swede is unquestionably the best thing I ever did.

Yes, that's the price you pay for civilization.

That's the price you pay maybe for civilisation.

Take the other example of Belgium whose tax level is more or less equivalent but is scaling down on basically everything. People there complain that they pay a lot now, but are almost certain that when their turn come, they will not get anything.

We are in a context where you can't predict the outcome of the next election a single day before, who will trust to current generation of politician with policies in 30 years ?

Also, that's not just a question of egoism. I don't mind paying today so that people get unemployment benefit and a good pension. The problem is that if it goes the other way when I reach retirement age, I will neither receive the pension nor the year of tax cut to make up for it.

It will be interesting to see how the US solves this problem without raising taxes. If it solves the problem (which i hope).

And responses like this are why he US has these problems.

Dismissing solutions as too hard or those won't for us.

It helps when someone else is picking up the bigger ticket items like a national defense.

and healthcare r&d.

Whenever someone tells me about the "nordic blessings" I tell them to "junte" the "law" up.

Smaller, more homogenic countries compare badly to more populated heterogenic ones.

Also: norway's oil example holds up since the once poorer than Swedes Norse outperformed the Swedes because of this. 1-2 generations earlier, "nordicly blessed" Norse were the house maids and guest workers for the Swedes. Nowadays it's Swedish students doing Norway's dishes.

Also Sweden maybe high rated in terms of social mobility, but only until the highest income percentiles are reached. Above that it's way way harder to reach compared to other first world countries. So while you can climb up more easily than normal the social latter, it's steps mean less than normal and you'll almost never make it into Sweden's 1%. A category that is the most open in the US of A.

Because in the US of A it is so very easy.

Of course not easy. But doable compared to Sweden. You have to look at the statistics. The top Swedish percentile is made up more than normal of inherited wealth (48% in Sweden, 12% in the US). The US doesn't have a Wallenberg family that owns 42% of the country's stocks.

Of course you're right, but it doesn't mean anything.

It's like saying that you should buy people lottery tickets instead of healthcare.

I once heard that the US citizens most vehemently against raising taxes for the rich were the homeless, because they didn't want THEIR taxes raised once THEY became rich.

Yes, BUT these small countries do not pay the heavy Global Police tax to keep the world safe for example from Terrorism..we DO! Thus its not the same thing fits both small and big countries..

Yeah, this is a chicken and egg problem.

The US causes terrorism by steam rolling third world countries, but more or less has to do it now since these third world countries already hate the US enough to require this kind of policing.

Once the population is "well educated" they will start to ask intelligent questions which will then prevent them for voting for someone like Trump (or most republicans in general).

So it's in his/their best interest to keep them uneducated.

If people are so generous over there, why the need to put that burden to government and instead make funds so people can use what they need, and if a fund goes into corrupt hands you can always create a new one and vote with your wallet.

> Norway generates more revenue with oil than the entires US of A, for 5 million people

I find this hard to believe. The US generates what looks to be close to 5x the barrels of oil per year as Norway, and since oil is globally prices, that should lead to approximately 5x the revenue. It will obviously be less per-capita, but that's not what you said.

> and is third worldwide exporter for Natural Gas just behind Qatar and Russia

Your facts are also slanted here. The US is the worlds largest natural gas producer[2], at over 6x the production of Norway, and 25% more than the second place, which is Russia.

That said, it's not like the US is a poor country, or doesn't have credit available to finance anything it wants. Training jobless workers would be a net benefit to the economy after a few years, and would pay itself off. We could easily finance that if we decided to. It's a matter of will, not capability.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_oil_produ...

2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_natural_g...

You are mixing up production and export. US produces more Oil and natural gas, but is low on exports. Norway on the other hand has a low domestic consumption (because of a low population) and is able to generate more revenue on exports.

> Oil : http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?t=10&v=95&l=en

> Natural Gas : http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?t=10&v=138&l=en

> You are mixing up production and export.

Because for this argument they are irrelevant. Domestic consumption is money you aren't spending to buy gas on the market, at market prices. If Norway had a use for 100% of it's oil, it would be saving the equivalent amount from the global market as it would be gaining in revenue.

The bigger difference is that one is state owned, and the other is mostly privatized. Then again, for the larger picture, this is only relevant if the countries in question are constrained to the income available from this system. Neither are. If the US wanted to issue a few hundred billion in bonds, they could do so with little trouble if it was politically feasible. Or they could literally just make the money out of thin air, if they weren't concerned with or were willing to accept the possible inflation.

It's hard to overstate just how much economic and monetary power the US can bring to bear.

> US produces more Oil and natural gas, but is low on exports.

For now, the US are exporting more natural gas than Norway. However, with the completion of Cheniere's project at Sabine pass, this will be the opposite [1]. Actually, this November, the US are going to export more than twice the volume of Norway.

[1]: http://imgur.com/a/uyBiZ

Disclosure: I work in an intelligence company, but I'm not a market expert.


> USA does not have an oil fund that amounts do $150k per capita to pay for "free everything"

No, but they certainly have other ways of funding a "free everything" that don't rely on fossil fuel. Let's call that "taxes".

US domestic oil production isn't nationalized while in Norway it is.

> USA does not have an oil fund that amounts do $150k per capita to pay for "free everything" (university education, universal health care, childcare)

The US federal government pays more per capita for health care than Norway, for one! The fact the US manages to pay so much per capita for healthcare and not have universal health care is actually quite an achievement.

They are paying much more for healthcare, while everything else is cheaper than Norway, one of the most expensive countries in the world.

If everything else is most expensive in Norway, it seems more remarkable that Norway's single payer system spends less per capita.

So Nordic patients are paying less for the same treatments, and/or getting less aggressive care. (I don't know which or how much of both)

To the extent Norway pays less for the same drugs/treatments, they are funding a smaller share of the profits of biotech & pharmaceutical companies.

The US pays a significantly higher share of pharma/biotech profits than any other country (citation needed). We therefore contribute the most to the new research, new drugs and treatments developed by those same firms. I actually think this is one of the greatest things we do as a country.

Some people call this "overpaying" but I think of it differently.

Even if this is true, it's a horrible way to fund the companies. If we want the US to fund drug companies, we sould do it through some sort of progressive tax, not through a raised cost in base level care, which affects everyone, and when it gets high enough effectively means poor people can't pay, and the middle class feels it as a large burden.

$3000 or more a year in healthcare costs is not felt the same by someone that makes $50k a year as someone who makes $150k a year. And that's for an individual. Many people are trying to cover a whole family at these rates.

But that's not how people actually pay for care... Insurance cost, copays, and deductibles are all set based on household income. In Medicaid Expansion states, if you make less than FPL and you pay literally nothing - it's the best insurance money can't buy. As you make more the subsidies taper off and you pay more in premiums and more in OOP costs. The cost is absolutely socialized through progressive taxation.

On the supply side, the price of care is set roughly in the market's ability to compete, but the price is absolutely back stopped by government policies like patents and Medicare reimbursement rates.

Take an inside look at how these firms bring new treatments to market and you know it's intensely competitive. The level of investment is commensurate to the potential payoff.

> Insurance cost, copays, and deductibles are all set based on household income.

Isn't it more accurate to say discounts to these are all set based on household income? At a certain point, you're paying regular plan costs. All this amounts to is a separate way to tax people for the costs, which means it can use a different schedule than the regular tax code. If the US is funding these companies, there should be a better way to do so that the craziness that is this.

> Take an inside look at how these firms bring new treatments to market and you know it's intensely competitive. The level of investment is commensurate to the potential payoff.

I've yet to be convinced that the massive cost of R&D due to trials and marketing which needs to be recouped by massive prices isn't at least in part the result of a runaway feedback loop. We require lots of testing to protect the populace which necessitates a lot of money to develop the drugs which means that if it's a dud or has negative effects it's in the interest of the company to occasionally cover that up because it cost so much which leads to drugs on the market that cause problems which leads to more stringent testing which leads to increased cost which leads to increased need for success which leads to....

We need to drastically decrease the cost of trials while making the cost of taking a bad drug to the general market more. That's a tall order, but it's what's needed.

Medicine is really fucking expensive. If you can solve this problem without increasing patient risk you make a dent in the universe.

Or a corollary, the amount of money the market would pay for cheaper methods of safe drug development is immense. Market, meet unsolved problem.

This is one of those situations where we want the market to solve it, but we probably aren't prepared for what a totally unencumbered market response would be. We've likely over (or at least poorly) regulated drug development, and since most things are cyclical, it will probably swing the other way at some point. That's probably good, as long as it doesn't swing too far. I want a more efficient system, but not necessarily at the expense of a few million casualties from cascading mistakes.

Unfortunately, since it has to do with people being hurt, or the possibility of people being hurt, I think it's unlikely we'll get legislation or a majority of politicians that are willing to look at it rationally. It's too easy to drum up emotional support for some aspect or another for personal gain.

It's the price of having to wait months in order to see a doctor I guess. That is if government thinks you are worth treating and you don't have to resort to medical tourism.

heres an article i like about this:


socialized health care may not be required.

Höpö-höpö. The rest of the Nordic block - Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland - doesn't have oil, and we all have very similar policies that Norway has.

It doesn't fully protect us from effects of globalization and we have similar situation with the population in rural areas and small old industrial towns not doing that well and turning against immigrants because of that.

But it seems that the situation is much worse in the US.

When an immigrant or anyone your tribe doesn't particularly care for comes along and is willing to do the same work for less, it breeds resentment. Unfortunately, that's human nature.

The U.S. has had to deal with this problem on a greater scale compared to countries that grew over millennia because of a liberal immigration policy and economic freedoms afforded to immigrants, and the aftermath of slavery. It's remarkable that this experiment has worked as well as it has (thank you, geography). But the ruling class dropped the ball over the last 20 years and ignored the rapid increase of those marginalized by immigration & trade side-effects, even though there still is a widely-held regard for the "melting pot", so now we got Trump.

It's worth noting that the current wave of immigrants is by no means the first to be marginalized, either. Irish immigrants in the 1800's, for example, faced very overt persecution for many of the same reasons (notably: "stealing" the jobs of non-immigrants), especially at the height of emigration from Ireland due to the Great Famine.

In the long run, we'll likely look back at all this fuss as another chapter in our history books, but I'm sure there'll be some other ethnic group immigrating in droves. The melting pot is a continual process. Slow and frustrating sometimes, but it works for the better in the long-term.

Out of curiosity, what's the proportion of rural or small-town population v. urban population in those countries? I find that tends to be the big dividing line here in the US, and am curious as to whether or not the same can be said elsewhere (i.e. if a lower rural:urban population ratio correlates with a higher probability for Nordic-style policy).

It's probably not the only variable at play here (economic development and education levels could be additional factors), but it might be influencing those variables in subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways.

your whole nordic block has a population of 26.6 million. That's similar to Texas, not the us. in other words, what is applicable to those places may not translate to such a big country. if you start expanding it to be similar in size to the US, you'd need to take very problematic areas in, like Russia. similarly it can be noted that northern places in the us tend to have lower income inequalities in general (northernmost state, alaska ranks second within us, northernmost country, iceland ranks first within europe). nearly all states that border canada do well on poverty measures (the exception being new york).

I'm from Denmark, and we have the same policies but basically no natural resources that are worth anything anymore. Unlike the US of A.

It's not about oil, it's about realizing that a healthy, well educated and happy population is an investment that pays itself over time.

Weird, this is a copy of a comment made by another user with the country's name changed.

Please stop astro-turfing.

Perhaps he is, I've no idea. I, however, do live in Denmark and am able to point out that we get all that. Hell, if I spend money on health in Europe I get it returned by the state when I come back.

Does my being physically present at some point on this planet make the original argument any more or less valid?

Sure, we have many problems but actually getting good benefits and seeing our taxes put to use at our isn't one of them.

Denmark is one of the NATO countries who don't contribute the required 2% of their GDP to their defense budget.

So, we're effectively pulling your weight in that.

That's probably the one thing I actually agree with Trump on: when he said the whole "NATO, we have to talk" comments. We're all living under the US umbrella when it comes to defense and it's pathetic that we don't fulfil the terms of the agreement we made.

And yet the statement is true and the irony just whooshed over your head.

that's the joke.

That entire fund was grown long after these policies. In fact Norway was one of the poorest countries in Europe as they were being implemented.

Hell, most of these kinds of policies were enacted on the outset of WWII, not exactly a time of greatness and plenty. For an other example, the UK enacted the NHS just a few years after the war ended.

Funnily enough it was an Iraqi immigrant that was involved in that effort.

You're being glib with the term 'immigrant'. He was an upper middle class professional who moved to the west in order to obtain health treatment for his kid that was unavailable in iraq.


That's very different from the people that (some in) the west are afraid of having come over.

> Norway was one of the poorest countries in Europe

Norwegian GNP per capita was among the top in Europe from the early 20th century and on.

The wealth was unevenly distributed, wages were low and there was poverty, but the country wasn't poor.

That's utter nonsense. I live in Canada, and there is no way someone like Trump could be elected here. The message simply wouldn't resonate. Harper was considered extreme and he was left of Hilary.

You know what goes a long way to eliminating blue collar angst? Healthcare. There's a policy that the US would have no issue implementing if the will existed. Hell it would be cheaper than what you currently spend.

You know another policy that would help? Subsidized maternity leaves.

Do you want a third? A government run pension program.

A forth? Controlled college tuition.

All of these are well within the US's power to implement, provided the will is there. But the will not being there has nothing to do with the ability of a nation to implement these things.

Yeah buddy, I don't know where you live, but I grew up in northern Manitoba, lived in Winnipeg, and in other parts of rural southern Manitoba. I have family throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan, and on the east coast. They have been following, promoting and loving Trumps message. If you don't think Trumps message resonated with blue collar folks in Canada, you better break out your filter bubble and take a look around, and think about what you want the political landscape of the country to look like after the next election.

The difference is that the U.S. is a heavily rural country, whereas Canada is the second most urbanized country in the world. Our hinterland is not sufficiently populous to elect a Trump-like figure.

All three Prairie provinces have a combined total of 49 seats in our Parliament.

ON and QC can each double that amount.

I hate to say it, but what people in Manitoba and Sask. think is entirely irrelevant to the country.

(Also, let's just put aside for a second that SK is a traditional NDP stronghold)

A lot of QC is made of run down blue collar workers who are on hard economic times, and somewhat xenophobic. I'm wouldn't be so quick to say Trumps policy would fail here.

The problem for them though is that they are also French, so things like the ADQ are tied to the inevitable "we'd be better on our own" and don't ever leave the province.

> I live in Canada, and there is no way someone like Trump could be elected here.

Early 20th century European history is looking at you in disbelief.

I agree with the rest.

Well, Europe isn't Canada, and 1933 isn't 2016. One of the major differences between Canada and any other country on the planet is the level of multiculturalism that is not only supported, but encouraged. It keeps all sorts of extremism at bay. I'm personally think it goes too far, but I have to concede that this is a benefit.

That comment however wasn't that someone like Trump could never be elected here, it's that the current environment, along with that of the foreseeable future, would have to change dramatically for it to be the case.

> Well, Europe isn't Canada, and 1933 isn't 2016.

You're right, but not for the reasons you think. What's keeping xenophobia at bay is not multiculturalism but a reasonably strong economy and social safety net. If these start to fail you will see the xenophobia ramp up as people look for someone to blame for their misery.

I recently visited my family in Alberta where many are struggling due to the crash in oil prices and xenophobia is definitely on the rise. Pretending that "it can't happen" is exactly what allows it to happen.

Do you think that most Germans are, at their core, antisemitic? I don't think they are, but the economic conditions of a 1933 Germany made it easy for many people to blame a specific "other" for their situation with devastating results.


The rise of the demagogues is a known core bug of the system called democracy, and what triggers it is fear and anger without a clear, objective, immediately identifiable cause.

If the cause is clear and straightforward (invasion by a foreign army), then fear strengthens society, and the whole system responds effectively with unity and determination.

If fear and anger exist, but the cause is complex and remote (globalization, automation, progress), and seems beyond the grasp of the everyman, then the masses turn to demagogues for "help", and are invariably wrong. That's what happened in the '30s. This is what is happening now - hopefully not with the same end result.

but a reasonably strong economy and social safety net.

Which was exactly what I said in my first comment.

You're correct, but then again we have some built in safeguards that mitigate these events. One of them being FPTP, which is why I'm personally in no great rush to get rid of it.

It's harder to find groups to rally against when many of those groups are part of the general populace. The more diverse the culture, the less likely it is to be xenophobic when times get tough. That's why major population centres in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal voted Trudeau last time around - the Conservative message that leaned towards "dealing with" Muslims was utterly rejected.

Look, we in the U.S. just went from a multi-racial, forward thinking, cosmopolitan, thoughtful President...to Donald Trump...in one election.

I mean, I'm not saying we are as multicultural as Canada, just that political environment can change breathtakingly fast.

"It can't happen _here_. It can't happen _here_. I'm telling you my dear, that it can't happen _here_...

Who could imagine that they would freak out somewhere in Wisconsin? Who could imagine that they would freak out in Michigan? Who could imagine that they would freak out in Washington DC? Who could imagine?..."

- Frank Zappa (mutatis mutandis)

Um, the US has been completely divided right down the middle since Bill Clinton was in office.

Not only is all of that possible to imagine, it should be almost expected. Canada is a completely different beast, with a completely different governmental structure.

Heh, but the propaganda machine is working as intended and those who pay for it have made sure at least half of the American population think government run healthcare, pensions and anything else is close to pure fucking evil. You do it on your own or you're not a proper American. Amazing, really.

>there is no way someone like Trump could be elected here

That's what we thought...

Let me introduce you to a man named Rob Ford.

What about him? He's not only dead, he never went beyond Mayor. Mayors are notoriously loony because only special interest groups vote in municipal elections.

If the suburbs are a "special interest group", sure, but otherwise Ford had widespread support.

you sound like someone who has never talked to a blue collar worker in the rust belt.

I seriously doubt that /everyone/ would be on the 'free everything' plans. Just like right now not /everyone/ is in jail (but those that are still cost us QUITE a bit both in jail fees and in public court fees of various kinds).

Wouldn't a social safety net to prevent destroyed families, to prevent crimes driven by desperation and/or drug abuse, and to fund the enrichment of workers in to higher skill cogs in the machine that is society be a wiser investment than in more police, prosecutors and jails?

USA has plenty of money for its military its bases abroad and its wars. Maybe that money could be put at good use and USA should stop thinking it's so exceptional. Let USA concentrate on domestic policies instead of the middle east.

It's a question of priorities. It's easy to get into a war thinking it'll be short and easy then once you're in it's poisonous politically to not fund the war because it gets spun as not supporting the troops. Then it's hard to pull out of place like Iraq even if you don't want to keep funding the war because now it'll just become an broiling pot of lawless extremism because it's hard to rebuild a state and impose outside political systems at the same time.

Also a lot of the larger bases like those in Japan and South Korea are partially paid for by the countries there as part of getting US troops for defense.

Do you know how rich the USA is in natural resources?

Yet we do have the funds to pay for perpetual war in the Middle East and the military industrial complex? The money we spent on the Iraq war alone would have paid for years of free college.

Right. We have the money. We just have to pick one thing from the choice of: Global military conquest, or happy, healthy populace and infrastructure.

Stop spending on military and weapons and there's suddenly a lot more money for everything else. Every year.

The issues of worker dissatisfaction in the U.S. is very similar to the ones in China, which was ironically built on economic equality.China, like Sweden and Norway, is ethnically homogeneous, but unlike Scandinavia its population is quite large. The larger the population, the more difficult it is to administer equal access to economic prosperity. China's revenues are technically built on capitalist models to maximize productivity, and it uses socialist ideals to do what it can with wealth redistribution, and yet is failing miserably. Socialism falls apart when the population far exceeds its ability to manage monetary policy. The U.S. is in a similar quandary without the socialist infrastructure; if China cannot do it, what are the chances the U.S. can?

The U.S. must innovate a different approach built to scale and support a population of 1 billion people. It's like management 101: managing a workforce of 20 to prosperity is much different than managing a workforce of 10,000.

> You can do what the democrats have talked about, which we have successfully done in Nordic countries which is to spend a lot of money on re-educating the workforce and making sure those at the bottom get decent skills.

One of the issues with this is that while yes, you can get the people to become more skilled/educated, ultimately the jobs that take advantage of that skills and education are in cities, not in small towns or rural areas where so many of these people currently live. And that's probably not gonna change.

Now, you could say, "well that's fine, we can give them moving stipends or something" but a lot of people are reluctant to leave what they've known as homes for so long. Such a strategy essentially puts these areas into hospice mode. That's an uncomfortable thought for probably most Americans.

And moving public sector jobs, while it might work, is probably politically untenable in America; the areas that are dying are the same ones that are generally hostile to government.

"One of the issues with this is that while yes, you can get the people to become more skilled/educated, ultimately the jobs that take advantage of that skills and education are in cities, not in small towns or rural areas where so many of these people currently live."

Somehow, our companies have become experts at enabling remote working 12 time zones away, but can't manage to pull off the same thing for someone in the rural US.

I wonder why?

> Somehow, our companies have become experts at enabling remote working 12 time zones away

Debatable. Most companies don't really have that many individual remote workers. Yes, they may have geographically distinct offices, but that's different.

Remote working only works for jobs that are done via computer or telephone.

Sure, hostile towards government while a large percentage of people actually work for government.

I honestly have always been a pro "total free trade" with even the notion of protective tariffs being totally dismiss-able...but I think it's time to look at things with more of a nuanced approach.

When it comes to jobs, there is significant value provided to society as a whole from jobs that do not require a high degree of workforce re-education. Sometimes, people need a job that they can comfortably walk into and walk out of while they are between jobs. Walmart and McDonald's are the places providing that type of think because jobs that could be done cheaper elsewhere while importing the product were shipped off.

What we are seeing is that by offloading "no training" jobs to other cheaper countries and retaining "heavy education" jobs here in the US we're creating an additional cost to work that now REQUIRES paying for school, investing time in learning a skill and then hoping the market for that skill remains viable so you don't have to then re-invest in a new skill later on in life.

It makes me sincerely wonder if certain tariffs are more justified just to protect that type of work because it seems that the cost of not having it available is far higher than most people have accounted for. I live in the south east, an area that was highly dependent on the textile economy before it went belly up with the removal of protective tariffs. The effect was fairly devastating and it took many years to recover. Some areas never did while others flourished.

Just makes me want to understand all the factors more.

This is all right on, but I would add one important point. Which is that some people cannot be retrained. It's the rare fifty year old who can adapt to a whole new field, learn all the theory and practice all the application, and then successfully compete against people half his age to land those entry-level jobs.

If our economic system puts people in such a position through no fault of their own and they cannot escape it despite their best efforts, they need to be taken care of, for life if need be.

There's another thread on HN right now where it is being taken as a given that OUR OWN PARENTS cannot be expected to use a computer without breaking it (filling it with malware, etc.)

I find that premise debatable, but if it is true, then how can they be retrained for technical jobs?

We just don't have a system like that. I grew up in Appalachia the county next to mine has yet to get cell phones or the internet. There is no viable economic activity their and everyone who could has left. Those that stay cling to the idea that coal will create jobs again.

We don't even have a basic agreement on how and what kids should be taught, and since we don't have public healthcare or social insurance for all its a big risk to move in order to search for better economic activity.

>> spend a lot of money on re-educating the workforce and making sure those at the bottom get decent skills.

It is the height of snobbery to move the lesser skilled jobs out of the country and tell everyone they need to be smarter. There will always be a distribution of skills and it is not for the well educated to say "you just need to be like us". All the US needs to do is stop signing 900 page "free trade" agreements and start adjusting import taxes to bring manufacturing back. Call it what you will, but taking care of your own first is not a bad thing.

The real problem is these jobs are never coming back. Why is Wal-Mart the biggest company in the USA? Because the American public wants cheap crap. That's it. No matter what folks say they will pay $2 less for something from China vs. a more expensive product made in the USA.

Until you can convince Americans as a whole that they will have to pay more for goods made in the USA to employ Americans, jobs which were once done in the USA but are now cheaper to be done overseas will never see a return. Trade wars or import taxes won't fix that it will only exacerbate the problem.

It can come back.... by having a trade war with China, by raising the tax on Chinese Imports. I lived in China, a pair of Levis made by factory down a block is 100 bucks(and chinese make way less monthly), but when it export to USA, its 60 a pair.

What happens when tariff is raised and a pair of Levis from China now have to sell 120 bucks a pair? and if you produce that in US, since you dont have tariff, its 60 bucks a pair? what you think factory is going to do?

Trade wars are a horrible idea, won't work and will just harm the overall economy. Nearly every economist agrees that free trade is a net gain for everyone involved. Moving to something like a trade war which defies all rational economic sense is a terrible idea and I hope Trump is not dumb enough to do something that drastic.

every economist also said market was going to crash yesterday. Free trade is a horrible idea, specially when your trade partner dont play on the same rule you play on.

One of the reasons those jeans are $60 is because the labor is cheap. Import tariffs might bring back jobs, but no way you'll be able to pay the workers the wage they're looking for and keep the cost of goods the same.

My question is if the cost of goods will rise enough to make wage gains irrelevant, or if the effect won't be strong enough and we'll see real wage gains.

you didnt see my point, Chinese put heavy tariff on the import to protect their local economy. therefore a pair of jeans thats created locally going to sell more expensive then it is oversea.

when you have a 100 bucks a pair Levis vs 5 bucks a pair of local made jean (which came out of same factory), Chinese are most likely to buy the 5 bucks one, and therefore Chinese govt effectively protect their local business, took job from USA and helped every local economy with American investing dollars.

>There will always be a distribution of skills and it is not for the well educated to say "you just need to be like us".

This is akin to saying, "It's not for the doctor to tell you how to live your life." True enough; but you ignore their advice at your own peril.

That an education is a path to economic stability and mobility is not a matter of opinion. To write this off as snobbery is shooting the messenger.

There will always be a distribution of skills. And that distribution of skills required by the market needs to match the education of the populace. "Smart" is a superlative; "educated in a particular field" is merely an attribute.

Manufacturing is not coming back. We need to move on, and soon.

What makes you think these jobs will ever come back in significant numbers? Even if the companies were forced to come back from overseas there would probably be a significantly smaller labor force because of automation. This problem is only going to get worse so it makes sense to go to a solution that is long term.

So every country should manufacture all their own stuff? Why does that make any sense?

And what happens to the cost of goods once everything is manufactured in the US, paying workers a living wage? In increase in the price of all products hurts the poorer and middle classes the most.

And what happens when more and more automation takes over? Then all the import tariffs in the world will be of no help to the welders and sewers you chose to let stagnate instead of improving their access to education and training.

Education and training for what? This is the question people like you never answer. Welders are already trained--for welding. What are they supposed to do now? Retail sales? You can't support a family on that. And what do you do when the checkout clerks and other low-end jobs get automated away? What are you going to retrain these people for?

They are taking care of their own first - cheapest labor and lowest taxes make the shareholders extremely happy.

>> They are taking care of their own first - cheapest labor and lowest taxes make the shareholders extremely happy.

One can hope that a government will consider its people "their own". Though that is not always the case.

You should realize I was talking about the corporate elite heh

And that's why their candidate lost. Doubt Trump will do much better by normal folks, but it was obvious Clinton wouldn't.

"Our government offers free university education, so even less well off blue collar families could send their kids to good schools."

Here in the US, we actually have a decent Community College system which, while not free, tend to be very reasonably priced. Obama proposed leveraging this system as a low cost option for people who don't want to run up massive education debt.

I can't find it on Google, but there was a famous political quote around the 1988 election: "Every time a Democrat mentions retraining, they lose another 100,000 votes."

The USA lost 2 million industrial jobs during the 1980s. It was, at the time, the worst decade for deindustrialization. The Democrats felt the answer was retraining. The Republican reply amounted to the assertion that the USA needed a strong dollar.

And the Republicans won re-election in 1988.

From this, the Democrats learned that they would be punished for mentioning retraining. So it lost ground as an idea in USA politics.

The problem stemmed to policies that started back in the 70's, which kept getting expanded, which allowed for cheaper imports. This of course had the US companies jumped on, since hell, those people over seas work for 2 cents a day vs my skilled employees that turn out a quality product want $50K a year!

You can't compare Norway, a high educated small country full of petromoney with the rest of the world. The recipe can't be reproduced.

> The recipe can't be reproduced.

Yes it can. According to Wikipedia, Sweden has lower economic inequality than Norway does. [0] And the percentage of income held by the poorest 10% is nearly the same across Nordic countries. [1]

I have quite a few friends from the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland) and they are quick to tell you that things aren't perfect there, but I think you can say that government policies can create a more equal society even in countries without petromoney (e.g. Sweden).

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_inequality

[1] http://www.viewsoftheworld.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Eu...

The key complaint many will have against the various progressive policies in Scandinavia when applied to the US is not the petromoney but the reality of a more homogeneous and educated citizenry.

Despite AWS' claims otherwise, you can't just extend a service designed for 10 million to 320 million and expect even remotely the same performance.

The Nordic model we know today was developed and implemented in the 1970s.

Obviously this kind of transformation takes time, and I have heard from Finnish friends that the education system quality is falling (it used to be within top-3 in the world for test scores, now they're only top-10).

I'm sure when people thought of the model in the '70s, there were many people saying it would never work for a country of 5 million people, but 40 years later it still mostly works.

> Despite AWS' claims otherwise, you can't just extend a service designed for 10 million to 320 million and expect even remotely the same performance.

Are you saying the cost is too high, or it is simply infeasible to improve the lives of this many people?

For the improvement of quality of life, see India's current efforts. Which I would argue are even more ambitious (e.g. bring water and electricity to nearly half a billion people) and, while not perfect, are going about as well as anticipated.

For the financial argument, well there's a reason why everything in the Nordic countries is very expensive and people complain about the high taxes.

>Are you saying the cost is too high, or it is simply infeasible to improve the lives of this many people?

I'm saying a system designed for 10 million users cannot simply be extended to 320 million, particularly when that larger population is substantially more diverse.

Consider a social science study looking at the same populations. Would you really expect any given finding in the Scandinavian populations to map to the US?

Implement policies in the State level then? Wasn't that the original idea of United States of A?

Only 10 of your States has more people than Sweden.

Roughly 20 states has a population more than 5.5 million, which is the ballpark where Denmark, Finland and Norway are. So 30 States have less population than a typical Nordic country.

Sweden is likely more diverse than at least 15-20 of your states - a bit hard to compare due to different kind of demography statistics.

And we have free movement of workforce in EU/Schengen, so that ain't too different from US.

If there is a will, there's a way.

Democrats don't want to let individual states decide for themselves (Republicans for the most part don't want to either). They want national control over as much as they can get.

That is a political problem - totally different (and fixable if people want) than claimed issue that the Nordic model couldn't work in the US because difference in the size of population

That's part of it. The other part is that people are in favor of local control, even down to the most local level--until the local government and/or local voters (especially if it's their government and/or local voters) do something that they strongly disagree with.

>Implement policies in the State level then? Wasn't that the original idea of United States of A?

Yes, it was. That's why they had a confederation, not a union, organized under the Articles of Confederation. It was an abject failure. Nothing was able to get done because the states couldn't agree on anything, and the central government wasn't powerful enough to force them to do anything.

That's why the Constitution was invented instead.

It's a bit similar to the EU: the central government is too weak to force the members to adhere to its policies, so it's falling apart.

The Finnish government is cutting the education budget pretty heavily (especially higher education). I would still say that the fall in education rankings during the past years is more due to many Asian countries getting better and better instead of Finland getting worse.

Ok, lets assume that the benefits of economies of scale don't apply here and take that it doesn't work for systems with hundreds of millions of people as a premise.

We know it works for systems of up to ~50m people because those are the larger EU countries. In that case I submit that it would also work at state level in the US. I feel that you can't even make a good argument that the reason it can't work at state level is because of the federal government because we're also a de facto federation within the EU and it works for the most part.

edit: I'm likely missing or wildly underestimating something here but I just can't shake the impression that what prevents the US from having all the nice things we get are cultural and historical issues, not economical ones.

The biggest obstacle that prevents humans from doing anything is their own culture. Resources can be found if there is a will.

Here is no different. Many people hate the very concept of public education, let alone throwing more money at it. And when people do agree that we should do it, they inevitably disagree on the hows and the whats.

The issue with scale isn't logistical or so... metric based. It is as simple (and insurmountable) as getting such a diverse population to agree at all.

I'm forced to agree.

The citizens were not always educated. Betting on education results in, you know, educated citizens.

This, yes.

The US has per capita more natural resource money than Norway. It just got privatized.

You don't deserve the downvotes. This is one of the main reasons, if the not the main reason that this kind of economics is hard. You can't, in general, take the institutions from one place, apply them to another and expect the same result -- or even similar results.

Aren't other petro countries stunningly unequal? Equitorial Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela.

If anything you'd think the oil would cause higher inequality rather than lower.

Denmark, Sweden, etc, beg to differ.

capitalism promotes the inequality.

Our government offers free university education, so even less well off blue collar families could send their kids to good schools. And when economic times got harder it never hit blue collar works as hard as in America because we have free universal health care, heavily subsidized childcare, good pensions for everybody.

Does your system contain costs on these benefits better than the US, or do you have the inflation and pay it with tax increases? In the US all the benefits you mentioned have painful inflation. How does the government keep up with the costs?

In the US much of this is supplied by the market, which seeks to increase its profits every year to provide value for stockholders. The government, having no need to profit, is able to provide services to its citizens much more affordably.

Trump is for cutting taxes and spending, so how would he re-educate the workforce and make sure they get decent skills? His party is the same, they don't want to help anybody except the rich and profitable corporations who fund their campaigns, and want you to just pull yourself up by your bootstraps and work harder.

The Republicans were part of Congress' gleeful global corporate sell-out, and support international corporations getting more tax cuts and handing out jobs to the cheapest people in other countries even more than the Democrats do; the only things both parties can agree on are more war and more money to the rich and corporations at the expense of the worker.

The problem is we are thinking about it the wrong way, with all this advances in technologies, who said everyone should work? everyone in the society should benefit from advancement in technology not only %0.001 of population.

why Zuckerberg should have this many billions, did he contributed 1,000,000 times more than a 1000th Facebook employee to the society?

problem is with Tax system and how US spends it's budget. money comes out of people's pocket and goes to corporations bank accounts.

for example with only $16B we can give shelter to all the homeless in this country. $16B is peanut compare to federal budget. it is a shame to have half a million homeless in the richest country in the word.

The Nordic countries have as much problems with right-wing populists as any other country. Not having a job is not the problem. Or at least: having a job does not stop them from voting for right-wing populists.

Our right wing populists are your vanilla republicans. No really.

I would not consider the Nordic re-education system successful. Cynically speaking, it's designed to strike the unemployed from official counts, and the unemployment rate still ends up being higher than in the US. (Sweden 7.8%, US 4.9%)

I live in a relatively small suburb of Seattle. I'm a software developer. There are no jobs for me where I live. None. None within 20 miles. The only job for me is in Seattle or Bellevue or Redmond, an hour-long commute. I love where I live, and I don't want to live in Seattle (which I could barely afford anyway-- I like owning a house). I also don't want to exclusively work-from-home and be cut-off socially from my co-workers. It sucks.

(And as I've griped before, this is only true of a couple professions, and software developer happens to be one of them. If I had become a lawyer, I could work in any town in the US. Or a plumber, or a doctor, or a school administrator, or a tow truck driver, or a...)

I'd just be happy with some policy that spreads these companies out a bit. Maybe a tax benefit for opening office space in communities under a certain population size. I'm not sure how it would work. All those angel investors propping up tech companies could also be propping up small town economies merely by moving their offices outside of Seattle, Bellevue, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc.

The last company I worked for had 55 employees, about a dozen of which were software developers. That 55-person company means nothing to Seattle. Not even to the South Lake Union neighborhood. It's not even a blip. But it'd be part of the lifeblood in a smaller town. It'd also help cut the commute for everybody, be able to recruit technical workers like myself who don't want to live in a big city, etc.

Anyway, just a thought, hopefully relevant to this site. Meanwhile I go back to the jobs site, sigh heavily, and judge positions on how close they are to the bus stops...

This is a part of modern life: You have to go where the jobs are. Apologies if this comes off as antagonistic, but why would you complain about having to an hour commute to a job when you have the benefit of living exactly where you want to live? Do you really expect to have everything exactly the way you want it? I get complaining about a four or six hour commute, but an hour each way/option to live at home for a great career and a great life seems like something most people would be really, really grateful for.

> This is a part of modern life: You have to go where the jobs are.

There's a kind of unfairness in small communities creating safe and nurturing environments for families, educating children well, then waving farewell as their young adults move to a city far away. It's especially unfair if the young adults would just as soon stay in their hometowns given comparable opportunities.

That's why I'm happy my son is attending an urban high school.

He's part of the college track, where it's not uncommon for students to graduate and attend Ivies or other good universities.

But he also gets to interact with people across racial, religious, and socio-economic groups. So he won't freak out and be terrified to leave his insular, closed little community and experience the bigger world.

You don't have to be freaked out or terrified to love your hometown. Sometimes you just like fishing or living near your family.

> "There's a kind of unfairness"

Whether or not something is fair is a subjective statement, and when stated like this it reads like nothing more than a veneer on entitlement.

At the end of the day, "fairness" is a quaint ideal held by people that wish that power structures were different than they are. Life is not fair; it is ruled by politics, power and leverage in a Hobbesian fashion. While I enjoy urban living, I did not choose to play the emigrate-everywhere version of "modern life". I did what I needed to because the economics of the situation demanded it.

This is why the rural complaint rings hollow to me. The economy decides where you go and what you do, not some suburban ideal.

I was pointing out that there's a tragedy of the commons when small communities pour resources into the youth without reaping the benefits (fewer educated, driven, and ambitious community members).

Also, if calling it unfair is subjective, so is calling it fair. Urban areas could just as easily be the entitled ones in this narrative. There is concern about ethical trade when buying goods from third world countries, but there is no concern when swaths of Appalachia and the Upper Midwest resemble a third world country in many respects. We have cosmopolitan types fretting about Whole Foods exporting the entire Andean quinoa crop, leaving locals little to eat. But there isn't similar concern about whether American towns are being likewise exploited.

>The only job for me is in Seattle or Bellevue or Redmond, an hour-long commute

I don't mean to belittle your situation but..an hour seems like fantastic commuting time. Most people I work with take an hour to an hour and a half to get to work. Up until our office moved there was two guys that had a 2 hour trip into work every day. Most people I know would kill to have an hour commute.

Yeah, but... doesn't that suck for everybody? Commuting time is wasted. (Maybe on public transit, if it's not so crowded you can pull out a laptop, you can get a bit of work done.) It's American productivity going straight into the toilet.

But you're also kind of missing the point of my post, focusing on one small tree and forgetting there's a whole forest out there. Whether it's an hour, or an hour and a half, or 45 minutes isn't the point-- the point is we should optimizing it as close to zero as possible.

> Yeah, but... doesn't that suck for everybody?


> Commuting time is wasted.

Commuting time is a reserved time, which makes it less useful because it's inflexible, but it isn't necessarily wasted. I have quite a few podcasts I listen to, and there's some I'm interested in listening to more than all but the most interesting TV shows on. I have a short commute, just 20 minutes or so each way, and I only do it three times a week, but I find myself happy to run errands after work because it gives me more time when I can listen to the shows I want, as I'm at that point where they stack up faster than I can listen to them, and that's with me aggressively culling the ones I never seem to get to because there are so many I like slightly more so I never have time for them.

Commuting can be a wasted time or you can try to use it for what it is, a block of time where you have limited options, and try to make the best of those options.

Oh yeah, I love commuting listening to music and livestreams, but you can't assume everyone does.

Public transit shouldn't be reserved for major east-coast cities and for poor people.

> Oh yeah, I love commuting listening to music and livestreams, but you can't assume everyone does.

I agree, but that's not all there is. There are audio books, serialized fiction, narrated short stories in every medium you can think of, extended learning, and I'm sure more I can't think of. Finding something to do in this time is less a problem of content and more a problem of knowing it exists.

It of course doesn't negate that it does take time away you could choose to do something else, but it can make the time less onerous.

> Public transit shouldn't be reserved for major east-coast cities and for poor people.

Public transit doesn't change the equation all that much though. It means you need to be less actively involved in the process, so there's more available to you (visual mediums), but it's still time that is reserved for commuting. You aren't physically playing with your children during that time, or visiting with family.

Quick access routes to economic hubs might easy associated problems somewhat (double digit percentages if you're lucky), but it doesn't actually change the equation that is at play here, which is that dense groups of people have many benefits, and living close to that is desirable, and we all know what happens when demand outstrips supply.

The biggest gains you'll probably ever see in this area are likely to be had by putting less restrictions on an entirely different dimension of travel. Group your population up, not just out.

If we want to stop wasting so much valuable time commuting, we need to be building the SkyTran system.

There's natural network effects to people congregating in larger cities rather than small towns (at least towns too far from cities to commute). There's a reason most industry is located in cities. Instead of trying to fight these natural effects, you need to concentrate on using technology to counter the downsides.

What are people putting up with such crazy commutes? Where do you live?

Why don't people just move closer, or change jobs?

You obviously don't live in the Seattle area. You can't move closer, because real estate is literally twice as expensive as where you currently live, and you can't change jobs because all the jobs are in the same places with the crummy commutes. About the only factor you can optimize is picking jobs that are along mass transit routes.

I am living and working in Central London. Thank you.

Why can't you move? If real estate is twice as expensive, just pick a place half the size?

Don't you value your own time---wasted in commuting---at any positive dollar figure at all? If you spend an hour commuting each way for 21 days a month, that's 52 hours a month extra that you spend on `work', even if your employer doesn't gain anything from it.

Because, for whatever reason, he likes owning a house.

Which is doublespeak for him feeling entitled to live in a huge and inefficient property for no reason other than him liking it.

I think there are a couple of forces at work here that aren't clear cut.

Perhaps there are families out there that need more space, would like to be self-sufficient especially in emergency situations and feel happier outside of an urban center.

I think if we build these types of communities/houses, we should have a way of sustaining them. This man wants to work and is not asking for a handout. This should be celebrated and the person should be given work to do to earn his keep.

It would be nice, if that person can find work. But I don't know what you mean by `should be given work'. I don't think we should force anyone to employ them.

That's not really doublespeak. And it doesn't have to be less efficient to own a house. Can't put solar panels on my apartment roof. Can't plant much of a garden to localize some of my consumption.

If you were really eco-conscious you could probably get more gains out of owning your own house. Especially since most houses have already been built, whereas most of the new construction I see in my city (Baltimore) is going towards mixed-use condos/apartment towers for all the trendy folks wanting to live downtown. If they really cared about the environment and efficiency they'd be fixing-up the thousands of run-down homes.

>Can't put solar panels on my apartment roof.

That's pretty small relative to the extra energy consumption from having to commute farther, and the land that you might live on could be used for solar power regardless of whether you live there.

Guess I was thinking more of my situation than the OP's in Seattle. I can commute downtown Baltimore in about 30 mins (~8 miles) from my suburban house. Leaf does it on a single charge. Guess I would have to do the math, but I'd think the drop in electricity consumption, especially in the summer heat, is enough to offset my commute.

It's definitely not typical since I'm in the minority of solar panel and electric car owners who are within commute range on a single charge. But there you have it. It's at least possible.

The subthread OP (antisthenes) was referring to the global (system level) inefficiency of large-home far-out living, not the inefficiency for a household's budget (which is distorted by policy).

For purposes of that calculation, it's double-counting to include the solar panel energy, because we can already put a solar panel at that location regardless of whether you live and commute from there; your choice to live there did not expand our solar energy capability, and you're still avoidably drawing down the supply of clean energy.

Just to clarify: I'm not criticizing your decision, only justifying why it's not an argument against this being a systemic inefficiency.

Sure, but I guess my point was that systematically we aren't building solar panels and creating the greatest possible efficiency of the overall system. You're kind of describing an ideal efficient system where we coordinated together perfectly. But that's not really how we as humans or a society work. If I moved out of my house into an apartment it's unlikely anyone will put up extra solar panels to offset the loss. My consumption would fall back onto the norm of the grid, which is mostly fossil fuels. But as an individual I can make choices which will create the greatest net efficiency.

But I guess I'm really getting into the definition of efficiency. I suppose in my mind I'm considering clean energy as more efficient even though from an economic POV fossil fuels are still more efficient based on price (though probably not for long).

So in conclusion, you're right. I'd just add the caveat that faced with the reality of a mostly uncoordinated system run by large groups of people with competing interests, you can possibly find higher efficiency (depending on how you look at it) from making your own intelligent individual decisions while living in a large home away from the city center.

I wasn't referring to price efficiency, but the general efficiency of the system's use of resources. And I agree that given the house, you are improving that efficiency by adding the solar panel. The point was, the system had to significantly distort the resource scarcity signals to make it look appealing to build the house to begin with, and adding some solar energy doesn't change that calculus.

But most the houses are already built. I live in a house that was built in the 30s. So in my mind the resource cost has already been sunk into homes across the country. Instead a lot of folks are moving into new developments being built in downtown areas.

Perhaps repairing the houses would be less efficient than building new apartment blocks, I'm really getting well beyond my knowledge or expertise. But I'd somewhat presume that instead of building new high rise apartments downtown it would be more efficient overall if we refurbished some of the crumbling residential areas.

Course that only applies to older cities mostly on the East Coast.

Building houses is relatively cheap. The housing stock on top of the land isn't what's so expensive in cities. It's the land underneath.

The cost of the housing stock is of minor importance in these arguments, and nobody suggest tearing down existing houses just for the sake of efficiency. That wouldn't make any sense.

(A house build and paid for once can stand for hundred years or more, but only with a constant expense on maintenance in either money or sweat.)

What we want is denser urban cores. That way there will be less sprawl, and even the country pumpkins would have shorter commutes, because the countryside could start so much closer to the city centres: given the same or even larger number of people in them cities, they would take up less space.

Guess I would have to do the math, but I'd think the drop in electricity consumption, especially in the summer heat, is enough to offset my commute.

Fully charging the Leaf should be about the same as my Fiat 500e, and that's roughly equivalent to running a space heater for 18 hours. I'd conservatively estimate your commute takes 1/8th to 1/4th that power. (There are lots of details I don't know that could affect that.) It is roughly the same going by that.

Yeah, it is pretty easy to offset that with a solar panel. On a sunny day, it would probably only take about 4 panels to do it for such a small commute.

How is it wrong for him to want to live in a house because he likes it?

He is not. He is wrong when he wants the government to force companies to bring jobs to his front door ("influencing companies", if you like smooth talk). It is his choice to live in a good place OR next to a good job. It is not government's problem in any case.

Well, it's doublespeak for not wanting to actually trade-off personal lifestyle factors. Of course, nobody ever wants to do that, but we generally regard it as a Mature Adult Thing to do it anyway.

That's fair enough, but then they shouldn't complain about their choice.

Those 52 hours of "work" can buy you a home, neighborhood and school district your children, spouse, (and you) enjoy living in. Whether or not those 52 hours are worth it is up to each family.

Yes. Though you could also use those 52 hours to actually spend time with that spouse and children.

Maybe because you can't raise kids in a one-room efficiency?

This is false. Go to NYC and you'll find some poor children that did, in fact, grow up in one-room efficiencies, or lower-middle-class families in Tokyo. Their houses become places to sleep, and the entire city becomes the house most of the time otherwise. It is not common in America but it is certainly doable. Whether or not it is desirable to the children or the parents is a different story.

Well you can also raise kids in a single-room mud hut. That doesn't mean it's a desirable way to live in 2016.

Also, in most localities in the US, good luck getting custody of any kids if they don't have a separate bedroom.

Alas, alone that commenter would not be able to change this.

On a policy level, we can make almost arbitrary amounts of rooms in cities: just build up.

That's the really annoying thing: there's no really good reason cities can't build more decent housing in high-rises. I suspect the problem is bad zoning laws and developers able to make more profit doing other things. Ideally, cities should be able to get developers to build lots of high-rises with moderately-priced condos and apartments, to pack more people in, which would also increase the efficiency of public transit. And these units should have a decent amount of space, by building up, so families can have a reasonable amount of living space. They just need to take action to clear out older, smaller buildings taking up valuable space (probably with punitive property taxes), and encourage development of high-rises (with property taxes which punish buildings that are too small).

Americans like their big houses. Silly

Yes, they're really quite nice and definitely wasteful, but we can't help it! It's policy: http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/rethinkin...

Quite sad, especially when read in the light of "Why are there NIMBYs?" (https://www.dartmouth.edu/~wfischel/Papers/00-04.PDF)

In essence, the paper argues that highly-leveraged homeownership causes NIMBYs.

Uh, I think you're being very dismissive here. There are many rational reasons for urban business.

Being able to get rental real estate for your business. In the suburbs you now need a loan, credit, collateral, 30% down, etc to build your own building as there generally isn't a rash of empty floors on skyscrapers like cities do.

Being able to have face to face meetings frequently with your investors, board members, and bankers and other people who hold your pursestrings.

Being able to find investors in the first place. Picture two similar business plans. One by a group in the far out suburbs and one nearby. As an investor, which one would you lean towards, especially if you expect yourself to do any hands on work or attend board meetings?

Being able to get to the airport and mass transportation hubs quickly.

Being able to wine and dine investors and customers in places that will impress them.

Being able to court youngsters and urban professionals who want a city life and won't even interview in the suburbs. (Hi! This is me and almost everyone I know.)

Being near urban universities for the above reasons and job fairs.

Being near your competitors to help you poach their staff.

Being able to work with a local government that understands business needs and not being subjected to a 'board of elders' of out of touch 70 year old suburban retirees who will bikeshed the shit out of any proposal of yours and NIMBY you to death.

Being able to quickly expand by taking more office space instead of, you guessed it, building another fucking building.

Being able to order 1gb fiber and have in here in 30 days as opposed to 360 days in the suburbs and that's on top of paying tens of thousands of dollars for that last mile to your office, which they will need to dig up just for you.

...and yes, maybe some perks of city life as you mention. Work life should have pleasant parts and it helps attract talent.

This is why I've suggested economic measuring well-being with the metric "discretionary income per hour lost to work" (DIPHLoW).

discretionary income: income minus taxes and base housing costs

hour lost to work: time at work plus time commuting or otherwise stuff you wouldn't otherwise have to do

That metric captures dynamics like "yeah there are jobs, but with much higher cost of living, so it cancels out the DIPHLoW" and "yeah you can live where it's cheaper but you have to commute an extra 90 minutes, which eliminates the impact on DIPHLow".

Thinking some more about, it would also make sense to look at some isotonic function of disposable income and disposable hours left (after work, commute, etc).

This is to capture that increasing working hours from 8h to 24h a day even when pay would be more than tripled, would leave you with a very sad life.

(Shadow) price of time would be a good one, too? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_price) In some sense, that's the same as marginal cost of your time, expressed in dollars or some `utils' or `hedons'.

Then you can say, eg taking a longer commute for a cheaper house would value my time at 30 hedons per hour---but spending time with my daughter is worth at least 50 hedons per hour. So it would be bad trade-off.

That's a good concept. Can you come up with a sexier name?

(Or am I not getting a pun here?)

Heh, that's the best I can come up with; just aimed for it being pronounceable (diff-flow). No pun intended, except maybe that it's the "difference" you keep that "flows" to stuff you can actually enjoy?

Edit: Also thought of "discretionary income per UnFree hour" (DIPUPH) ... not sexy either though.

(DIPHLoW). sounds like Diplo, one of the most popular musical artists on the global top 50 (https://twitter.com/diplo).... so I think the abbreviation already 'fits' into popular cultures vocabulary of pronunciation, it just has to now tie in a new meaning to the word instead of 'Hugely Successful DJ'

Typical commute times are 30 or less. There are a few areas/jobs where that is not true, and it's a heavy cost for the people there.

I've read the above several places, but anecdotally, I live in Raleigh (technically Garner) commute 25-30 minutes to work, and have one of the longer commutes of people I work with.

Have to agree with you -- jeez, it used to take me 2 hours to get home and it was just from one side of Phoenix to the other using freeways. Currently, I live in Barcelona, and it takes me about 45 minutes when you add up walking to the metro, taking the metro, etc.

Yeah, it takes me about 1:15-1:20 each way, but most of it is on public transportation and I can get work done / play Pokemon / read / relax. I don't want to pay $4K a month to live in SF.

Assuming you work 20 days a month, you are facing roughly 20 * 2 * 1.3 h = 52h of commute each way.

As a general yard stick of how you implicitely value your time:

$4k / 52h <= $77

Now, your current place probably costs money too, and your commute won't be cut to zero. You can plug in the numbers yourself:

($4k - current rent) / (52h - commute from apartment in SF) =: implicit value of one of your hours.

I hope you are making more than 77 dollar an hour as a programmer (?) in SF.

(Yes, I know, taxes complicate the picture. But only by at most a multiplier of 2.)

I don't generally understand this train of thought. For employees that are full-time exempt (And most are), as long as you work a day, you are paid for 8 hours of work.

Whether your commute takes 3 hours or 3 minutes, you are paid the exact same because you can't work an extra hour instead of commuting for that $77.

Others folks that are on H-1Bs can't even work on side-hustles because of immigration law so what are they really missing out on?

That's just a yardstick for how much it personally sucks (econ: "disutility") for you to go without that extra hour, estimated from your current pay. You could come up with a different value by deriving it a different way[1], but somehow you have to put a value on the time lost for purposes of comparison.

The existence of this opportunity cost doesn't require that you literally be able to put in an extra hour for extra pay.

[1] For example, you could go based on "how much would I pay for an extra hour to spend doing XYZ?"

It doesn't even matter.

I do the same calculations simply to figure out if something is worth it.

For instance, laundry. I hate laundry. I could walk 100 steps to the laundromat, pay ~$5 to wash it. Or I could pay someone $15 to walk up to my door, take my laundry, wash it, fold it and return it to my door.

Ehhh... not that hard of a choice. The pain is worth $10.

I used to commute 1.5 hours every day and it was so incredibly painful, so I shopped around and found a cheap(-ish) place close to my work. My life is so much better now and I am much happier.

Exactly what the other commentators said.

Looking at your pay per hour is just a decent yardstick for when you should trade off time vs money. No need to find an outside job for the yardstick to be applicable.

Eg should you order groceries online, or go to the shop, or plant vegetables in your own garden? It's all a matter of time and money, and also hassle vs enjoyment---since some people dread going grocery shopping, and some people enjoy gardening.

It also takes me about an hour each way, and all of it is on public transit so I can't do anything except hold the overhead rail and try to keep balance or, on the rare occasion I get a seat, lean away from the laptop-using neighbor's elbow which is otherwise sitting in my lap.

As a subjective experience, crowded public transit and public transit with sufficient seating are entirely different things.

Now you are making me feel bad for my 15 minute bike commute.

So his point is even more relevant

The flipside is that there probably aren't enough of you to fulfill the needs of companies that need a specialized technical or creative workforce.

I was recently talking with a former software company founder who started his company in Boise, Idaho in the late-90s.

The first few years, their product was a success and they doubled or more in size every year. Then, they started to plateau even though demand was still through the roof.

They couldn't keep up with demand, because they ran out of developers who lived in or were willing to move to Boise. In the words of the founder, "Every qualified developer within 100 miles of us got a job-offer, until there weren't any left."

The obvious solution would have been for them to move to Seattle or San Francisco. But all the founders were from Boise, and were committed to keeping the company in their home town.

At the end, they were paying qualified developers Silicon Valley wages, in addition to signing bonuses equivalent to a year's salary just to get them to move to Boise. As you can imagine, that severely hampered their ability to compete.

Finally, they sold to Microsoft. The founders assumed that the cache of Microsoft's name would be enough to draw developers, but Microsoft had the same problem. After a few years, Microsoft moved the whole operation back to Redmond.

All that to say, you (and I coincidentally) are in the minority. Most creative and technical professionals want to live in nice, big cities. The great thing for those of us that don't fit that mold, is that it's easier than ever to work remotely.

I believe you simply made a choice. I live in the bay area, but my commute is hour long,30 miles away from my house, and I don't have any jobs that I want to do near my house. That's a choice I made.

At the time I made the choice, I didn't know that this industry was so concentrated in only large urban areas. In fact, I was basically hearing the opposite: "tech is HUGE, those jobs will be EVERYWHERE in 10 years!" Well. It's been 20 years, and they aren't.

So, yes, I made a choice to get into software development. It wasn't an informed choice.

How about we come at it from the reverse angle: why are all those 55-person tech companies founded in Seattle? They pay more taxes. They pay more for office space and pretty much everything else. They create a longer commute for everybody by centralizing all the work. What's the problem with spreading-out a bit?

Anyway, the question was how to help blue-collar workers, and I just gave an answer that amounts to basically, "move jobs where they are".

They are in Seattle because that's where the talent is. The talent is there because it's where all the jobs are. People want to be near jobs because they want to be able to move jobs easily. They want to be able to move jobs because that gives them negotiation leverage and also because jobs are less stable than they used to be.

This is all interconnected, and nothing is going to change it in the foreseeable future. I'm sorry, it's just the reality. You can commute, work remote, move to the city, struggle to put together a teeny company in a small town, or do some other kind of work. That's just modern reality.

Assume that the people funding the companies are not total idiots. So there must be good reason to fund companies in these hot cities---especially given all the down sides yous mentioned. What could they be?

Companies are (generally speaking) founded by people with type-A "go go go!" personalities, who love to be in the center of large cities with all kinds of hustle and bustle. The kind of people who couldn't even imagine living anywhere else.

That's not to say they're idiots, of course not. But it might be to say that the reasons for placing their company in the center of a large city aren't very rational or well-considered.

The country pumpkins are free to start their own companies, if they like it better there.

And lots of them do. See all the startups in decidedly suburban Silicon Valley. (And yes, I am being a bit snarky here in equating everything outside of cities, be that suburban sprawl or proper countryside.)

Also see SAP in Walldorf.

Access to rich people, mostly.

I have remote coworkers in Montana. The company flys them out every couple of months, and they get paid as much as anyone should in Seattle too.

I think there are quite a few companies which will accept remote workers, so in some sense, you can work in tech literally anywhere.

I'm in the opposite situation. Been living somewhere I hate for a long time now. No interest in a traditional family and always wanted to live in the city. If I had a savings, I would gladly dump it into living in the city. For now, I at least have a computer...

> I don't want to live in Seattle (which I could barely afford anyway-- I like owning a house).

My understanding is that if companies were more spread out, then compensation would also be lower because there's less competition for employees. With compensation also being lowered, wouldn't you just be in the same situation because while real estate is more expensive in Seattle, salaries are higher too?

As salaries increase, the real estate near those companies will naturally increase. I don't see why having companies be spread farther out would change this relationship.

I live in Seattle but grew up in the suburbs and also sometimes miss living in a house (mainly because I play piano). But even my friends who live in the suburbs are struggling to save up to own a house, so as far as I can tell it's not any different. If anything, it's even better working in the city because as far as I can tell it's easier to save money since even if you save the same percentage of income you would make more.

"(which I could barely afford anyway-- I like owning a house)"

First world problems indeed. I can own a dwelling much larger than the vast majority of people living in the world can afford, on a spacious lot, or can live in a much smaller dwelling with much more convenient access to my place of work, but can't have both!

Sorry, but you're not ranking high on my list of people in desperate need of government intervention to fix your problem.

So you're proposing a massive tax[1] increase on urban workers who live with urban compromises (traffic, higher prices on goods, higher real estate prices, crime, terrible schools, high taxes, pollution, etc) to be near work so that other workers in the suburbs can enjoy big lawns and beautiful single-family homes?

Well, that's been our strategy with these red state rust belts for decades and it doesn't work. These states receive much more in taxes than they pay. These get doled in various ways, and some ways very close to what you're proposing[2]. It didn't work. Unemployment and wages are still poor.

The larger issue here is why do you get that wonderful suburban home and I get a tiny condo and yet somehow I'm taxed extra so you can live, and lets be frank here, a wasteful and high-carbon footprint lifestyle? Urban migration, telework, and re-training are the real solutions here. Everything else is just welfare with 'make work' jobs that will evaporate the second those tax credits get cut or the company in question has a bad quarter and realizes it can just eliminate that office, that only really exists as a tax shelter, for cost savings.

Lastly, the "come to the suburbs for savings" is a staple in business. Every suburban mayor is constantly flirting with urban companies to move jobs there as he's empowered to give significant tax sweetheart deals and other incentives. In fact, this is one of the main policy platforms for suburban mayors: bring in jobs. This is a normal part of suburban political life. Its not a new idea, its the status quo. One of my previous employers moved from downtown Chicago to the suburbs exactly for this. Ultimately, you can only poach so many jobs, so its not some magical solution for suburban and rural unemployment.

[1] Because thats where the money ultimately comes from, we wont cut medicare or SS or our military in half to pay for this, we'll just raises taxes on the middle class.

[2] Tax credits for creating jobs in poor areas are common public policy on both the state and federal levels. For example and were vastly increased after the 2008 meltdown. These were so popular many corporations not only didn't pay tax but received free money from the government for it! Worse, they're easily abused eve before they create jobs (if they even do, its easy to take these credits for new offices you were planning on opening anyway):


> So you're proposing

I'm not proposing anything. This is a casual conversation on a web forum, not drafting a party platform.

> a massive tax[1] increase

I'm definitely not proposing anything massive.

> on urban workers who live with urban compromises (traffic, high prices, crime, etc) to be near work so that other workers in the suburbs can enjoy big lawns and beautiful single-family homes?

I live in the suburbs and I have to deal with all of those things. Remember: my exact gripe is I have to commute into the city to be employed. While I'm there, I'm subjected to the same traffic, high prices, crime, etc. as all other city dwellers are. And I get even more traffic coming and going.

And I don't see anything wrong with people who want to own a lawn or a single-family home being able to own one.

> Well, that's been our strategy with these red state rust belts for decades

No it hasn't.

You know what? Nevermind. I don't want to get into any more political discussion right now. Just relax a bit. It's just a casual conversation on a web form, I don't run the RNC or anything and I wasn't drafting a law and I don't need to be yelled at for how wrong I am.

In a non-argumentative tone though, that poster's point was that your ideas have been tried, are being used, and it isn't a viable solution. As someone in a red rust belt state, it HAS been the approach. There is constant attempts to attract companies out of the hubs but it just doesn't work because you can't find the correct mix of people for X location.

This is the best idea I have heard all year. Centralizing too many jobs where the cost of living is so high creates an "us vs them" mentality.

[quote]If I had become a lawyer, I could work in any town in the US. Or a plumber, or a doctor, or a school administrator, or a tow truck driver, or a...[/quote]

There are software jobs outside of Seattle.

Related to the hollowing out of the middle class is the insane super-concentration of opportunity into cities. Even some suburbs around hot cities are now no-go zones.

> Maybe a tax benefit for opening office space...

i was just reading an article about a company with offices near St Louis. They took the tax incentives to open an office, promised like 150 jobs, and now they're all but shuttering it and laying off the 77 IT workers they had. And contracting their jobs to a company in India.

The tax incentives are definitely there. But the incentive to keep the jobs there isn't, when offshoring is so in vogue still.

This feels like an issue with the way our cities and towns are designed, sadly. (I grew up in Bellevue and worked in Seattle).

As a fellow software developer, you do bring up a good point and I agree with you, but I think he's referring to more blue collar jobs. We have white collar jobs and are pretty well off. You have a job and own a home which is far more than what it sounds like the rust belt that voted for Trump has.

Hopefully you voted for ST3

Education. It's what Obama was emphasizing his entire presidency. Those jobs are never coming back, and even more are going to be automated. The education gap between rich and poor (and white and minority) is getting larger because of hoodlum-fearing mothers who support segregated neighborhoods and schools. Plus the poor-parent schools stay poor and the rich-parent schools stay rich.

All of these factors together (which Democrats are actually interested in addressing) are growing an underclass of under-educated, unconnected people who can't make it in the world of the middle and upper class, so violence may become more frequent and jails will fill up. I doubt that the Trump administration and Congress have a plan that could come close to fixing this.

You know, I used to think the same way --education. But Europe, Germany in particular, stresses education, and that has not saved them from having overqualified people and too few jobs for them. It also minimizes the fact that not all people have the aptitude to learn and obtain higher degrees. It's a race to the top and in that race there will always be people below who feel left out. So education can only offer so much --not all.

To add, educated people without a job feel even worse than undereducated people who don't have a job because they believed education would insulate them from these issues when it might not.

As someone on the employer side of the table I see two frequent problems with university educated candidates that generally don't land the job:

1) irrelevant or (professionally) useless degrees. These would be fine but because they have a degree these candidates generally think they deserve a higher wage which I can't afford (before you say "but general knowledge is valuable as well" remember that self-taught candidates with similarly well-rounded knowledge generally demand less despite often having actual job experience)

2) complete lack of practical knowledge or skills. Even if a degree is job-related that doesn't mean they are capable of doing the job or have the frame of mind required to do the job properly. This is especially a problem with people who picked their majors based on what industry currently provides the best salaries rather than what they are actually interested in doing.

These are especially problems for people who went into university without knowing what they want to do professionally. TINSTAAFL but even if you just get a degree to orient yourself and pass time until you have figured out what you actually want to do with your life that can affect your employability.

As someone on the employer side of the table I see two frequent problems with university educated candidates that generally don't land the job

As someone who has sat on both sides of this table, let me point out that pathologies in hiring are very, very hard for a company to spot. After all, who is going to advocate the contrarian position? The ones not hired aren't there. Observers who are there often don't have anything immediate to gain and lots of political capital to potentially lose.

complete lack of practical knowledge or skills.

If those skills are valuable and hard to find, then it's an advantage to be able to impart those, for both a company and a country.

> If those skills are valuable and hard to find, then it's an advantage to be able to impart those, for both a company and a country.

Sure, but as a small company we can't afford to pay someone a "graduate level" salary when the best we can they need "unskilled level" training before becoming productive at all.

I'm not speaking of a Fortune 500 company or a AAA-level VC-funded startup. We have tight profit margins yet we try to take paid interns and students (which is a net loss for us because we actually train them rather than simply abusing them as cheap labour) because that's the right thing to do.

I'm also speaking from my experience of working closely with people running similar companies (let's say up to ~10 permanent employees) in Germany.

That said, in many cases someone with 3 years of actual job experience is more productive (in the short-to-mid term) than a recent graduate with 3 years of university (with no practice). Yet the graduate will often cost you more in Germany because of inflated salary expectations (partially caused by people reading about US startups and thinking the numbers transfer 1-to-1).

So advertise an /entry level/ job and disclose the range of pay you're willing to negotiate within as part of it's description.

I am talking about entry level jobs. And I'm not even talking about my own company in particular. I've seen this in enough other companies and heard it from enough other people to be certain this is more than purely anecdotal.

There is a false impression in Germany that a university degree increases the chance of finding a job. But it's neither necessary (depending on the industry) nor sufficient.

The kind of companies that can and are willing to pay inflated salaries for graduates with no practical experience or useless degrees are oversaturated and the rest just can't afford them because it's not profitable.

Another way this problem manifests itself is students thinking they can or should specialise in niches when the only jobs that don't require experience require them to be generalists (because if you're going to specifically hire a one-trick pony you probably want a good one).

I've literally seen a fresh graduate apply to become a "colour consultant" in a full-service marketing agency. Sure, they might need someone who really knows their colour theory well but the scale at which a company can justify making that task a full-time job AND giving that job to a fresh graduate with no hands-on experience is pretty implausible.

Germany, the Bundesbank and their FinMin have a very flawed view of macroeconomics. They seem to have a hard time understanding how money recycling works or there is more than pure economics at play.

The German political class has been keeping wages lower then they should be on purpose. While export corporations have boosted their profits the last 15 years, wages have been kept much lower than they ought to be, killing the competition elsewhere and destroying a sort-of natural recycling mechanism which should protect the other members of their Eurozone: A worker in Germany should be paid 4 to 5 times more than a worker in Portugal.

Indeed the current German surplus is a major problem in EU's economy. Y. Varoufakis, M. Draghi and B. Bernanke have spoken about this openly time and again (see links).

By definition in a monetary union, your surplus[3] is someone else's deficit, but if you take a look at the rhetoric PIIGS are to blame for their poor financial track-record. Someone is simply having his cake and eating it, but not for long.

It's funny that with a 12.1B in surplus the AfD (right-wing nazi-friendly political party) is on the raise in Germany, isn't it?

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jul/24/germany-sur...

[2] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/ben-bernanke/2015/04/03/germa...

[3] http://www.wsj.com/articles/german-government-achieves-histo...

Education can mean vocational training too, not just university degrees.

A plumber or electrician in Seattle can pull in 100k/year and they are booked out for weeks to months.

That's partly because there's no mass, free vocational training for plumbers.

If you tried to scale this up in practice, you'd quickly find that you don't need 3x the number of plumbers that exist now.

Definitely. The trades only make as money as they do because the supply of skilled tradesmen is intentionally limited by selective apprenticeships being the barrier to entry. Today, one can not become an electrician or plumber without said apprenticeship.

Increase the number of electricians or plumbers 10-fold and their wages would plummet.

You assume the pie is static and that more mouths mean less pie for all.

If there were twice the plumbers, the rate per hour would not be halved. There's demand that can't afford these services at the current rate.

I'm sure that's true, but it still doesn't solve your employment issues, and you are just hurting wages for all existing plumbers. There are only about half a million plumbers in the US [1]. Even if you managed to triple the number, you're not making much of a dent in overall employment.

[1] http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/plumbers-...

>Even if you managed to triple the number, you're not making much of a dent in overall employment.

But you don't just offer training for a single vocation as that would be silly.

Sure, my point was just that if vocational jobs are naturally X% of the US economy, you're (largely) not 'creating jobs' just by making it easier for people to get trained for those vocations, you're just creating more competition within that sector and driving down wages of existing workers in the process.

That said, it might still be a worthwhile policy to pursue, since vocational education has been neglected for decades in favor of 'college for all', which IMO is misguided.

Vocational training is certainly part of your toolkit to increase jobs prospects for unemployed underemployed people who are willing to work, but it's not the whole toolkit. It helps, but you need more than that.

Those are also highly rigorous jobs that can put a toll on the human body. Not many people really want to retire with pain. That being said, I'm not sure what the alternative for some individuals are. Maybe being on your feet a lot increases your overall well being, I'm not the expert on that.

This is a key conceit - trades don't mean one is less intelligent. A great plumber is easily as intelligent as a great software dev. The left behind are the people who could provide value before, but now can't, and no amount of reeducation will solve that.

Why can't they provide value any longer?

I feel that it is very easy to get trapped in the mindset that I am owed something based on my prior experience. Reluctance to think beyond past experience, fear of leaving behind what I worked hard to learn, or fear of failure in a new area are all things that have held me back in my own life.

I would disagree that people can not provide value beyond what they did before. Except in cases of physical or mental disability, it's more likely a self-imposed barrier.

> [...] and that has not saved them from having overqualified people and too few jobs for them.

They had labour market inefficiencies and weak demand.

The US labour market is a bit more flexible. And since they are issuing their own currency, they can always print more to stoke demand. (Ideally, the Fed would target nominal GDP.)

Good news: the Germans are having a much lower unemployment rate these days than in the late 90s.

It's even worse in places where government, either directly or through unions, set the base salaries for people with certain education levels. Then you have higher education, no job, and are unable to be hired doing less education demanding jobs because otherwise they would be forced to pay you an absurd salary for your position.

You're basically fucked. But then government comes to the rescue again giving handouts! Yay... thanks for temporarily solving a problem that you shouldn't have created in the first place.

This should be required watching for everyone in this thread. Related to the education point: https://youtu.be/TGLGKghQlgY?t=425

Education and welfare are the only reasonable solutions.

> The education gap between rich and poor (and white and minority) is getting larger because of hoodlum-fearing mothers who support segregated neighborhoods and schools.

I see this brought up a lot, as if those mothers are pearl clutching villains. Are you of the impression that hoodlums don't exist, or that they're not more common in poor communities? Or do you just take exception with people wanting what is best for their own children, at the expense of others? What argument would you make to those mothers that would convince them it is in their, or their children's, best interest to not seclude themselves away from poorer populations?

Just to make it a bit clearer, this smacks of the exact same kind of thinking that was just dealt a blow in the election. Selfishness is human nature, and shaming people over it might make them quiet, but it won't make them agree with you.

I'm far from a Trump supporter, but this kind of constant holier-than-thou thinking has to end or there will never be any semblance of unity in this country.

Education helps the young, at least as our systems are built.

The people vocalizing their opinion by voting for Trump are beyond the age where education can be the key (old dogs and new tricks, etc.). There isn't a will to go to an educational program. There is a will to work and support yourself, but no work for them to do...

/because we can't get our shit together and fund infrastructure programs

//Not bitter.

> The people vocalizing their opinion by voting for Trump are beyond the age where education can be the key

I hate seeing this meme. It is ageist and makes older people less likely to be hired for even their same jobs.

Old people can still learn to do new things. The problem I see is that a lot of older people do not want to learn new things. Also, old people tend to have obligations such as family/child expenses, residence costs, etc. that they want to be compensated for even at an entry level.

Rural conservatism has a lot to do with preserving tradition, that is, making sure things don't change from the old status quo you loved before.

I didn't mean to imply that older people are incapable of learning.

However, there are substantial barriers to that demographic to return to an education program precisely because it is a "return". Those barriers are far more social than anything else, yet they remain.

Economic ones too. Going to college after high school nets you 40 years of increased wages. Doing that at 40 only gets you 20.

I'm not sure which meme is more offensive. That old people can't learn or that old people don't want to learn.

The real problem is that for many old people it's certain they'll never be able to get back to the status (financial, social and professional) they have now if they have to start all over again. As long as there is any promise of them being able to keep doing what they have experience in, that's what they'll aim for.

I speak from anecdote here from my time traveling around middle America, not from an armchair, but I agree that the statement was probably a little too broad.

> As long as there is any promise of them being able to keep doing what they have experience in, that's what they'll aim for.

That's the real education that needs to happen. That job is gone and they're not going to get there. It's gone because the world has changed, the economy has changed. Holding out hope is holding that person back. I had to learn this early in my life, and now I live in two different countries depending on where I'm finding work.

The biggest tragedy in all this is that technological advance harms those it help the most by eliminating unnecessary work. For humankind it is progress, for individual humans it is ruin.

>old people tend to have obligations such as family/child expenses, residence costs, etc. that they want to be compensated for even at an entry level.

That is also ageist. I see it here on HN all the time - "companies don't want to hire older people because they want too much money".

i've heard them say themselves in west virginia that they're too old to learn and that many of the coal miners couldn't even read.

I'm German. My grandfather was a professional photographer. Pictures he shot covered the front pages of major magazines in my country. He wasn't a celebrity but he worked with several who were.

At the peak of his career he realized technology would kill the industry with the quality of amateur photography improving and technical skills becoming less important, he would often compete with people with barely any talent and be undercut on price. It was still sustainable at the time but he was sure better cameras, film and postproduction processes would kill his business.

He went back to school and became a homeopathy practitioner. My personal opinions of homeopathy aside, I have to acknowledge he was an expert at what he was doing and he was even regularly invited to give lectures. He kept doing that until the day he died, almost twenty years ago.

It's never to late to switch career paths. The bigger problem in the US seems to be that it is amazingly hard to do so unless you've built up a fortune to cover the cost of doing so.

Even someone approaching retirement age can start over and be productive if they have the chance, financial means, mental health and determination to do it.

> The bigger problem in the US seems to be that it is amazingly hard to do so unless you've built up a fortune to cover the cost of doing so.

That's... really just not true at all. US labor mobility is higher than in pretty much any other developed country by pretty much whatever metric you want to pick. Measures like those in Germany (or whatever else you pick) would help at the margins but they would not do much to change the labor demographics of the midwest working class white community, which by broad historical standards are fairly good already.

Fundamentally this was an election about identity. Nate Cohn said it best in a tweet last night when he pointed out that working class whites (and not their minority compatriots who share the same economic problems) had suddenly started behaving like a minority group and skewed hard for one candidate from their historical positions.

It's about racism, and social change, and fear, and maybe sexism. "Economic Anxiety" is a myth that needs to die.

Trump lost support slightly among whites relative to Romney. In the northern and midwestern working class areas where Trump made big gains, Obama did well and won many areas that HRC lost. Obama won non college educated whites in Iowa by a substantial margin. Those people didn't vote for Trump this time around because they're now racists.

Does that take into account turnout?

What about the angle that sexism is actually a stronger driver of all this than sexist? It would certainly make the Obama->Trump conversion more explainable.

You are persistently trying to come up with a narrative that tars nearly half the voters in a democratic election as stupid and evil.

If rayiner proves it cannot be racism then possibly it is sexism...

Talk about spreading hate.

I'm no big fan of Trump but I have reason to be thankful for Americans.

And if Americans who live with American politicians year after year decides Trump is their best hope then A) it must be pretty bad IMO B) it is their choice and I respect it.

My claim is that racism and sexism played a very big part in this election. All the news are full of it. All the twitters are full of it. rayiner did not conclusively prove otherwise. Dismissing the issue as 'tarring' half the electorate as racist or sexist is not very useful. It's like saying 'it can't be true that so many people are sexist or racist' when the swing vote between people who always vote republican no matter what and the democrats who stayed at home because they're pissed is actually not that big.

Honestly I find it very strange how strongly people on hacker news are pushing against this idea, how deeply they are insulted by the idea that Trump has brought open sexism into the mainstream.

>Fundamentally this was an election about identity. Nate Cohn said it best in a tweet last night when he pointed out that working class whites (and not their minority compatriots who share the same economic problems)

I'm not sold on that. I think the main difference is that those economic problems have been felt by minorities their entire lives. Not that it's fair, but that's been the reality for them. So it's not any bigger of an issue this election than any other. But the economic pains felt in the white working class haven't been felt since pre-WWII. They were the middle class of this country but now they are feeling the declines. Even if working class whites are now on somewhat equal footing with other minorities, they've been in decline in comparison to what they had. And that definitely leads to "Economic Anxiety".

How did you get from "whites behaving like a minority group" to "racism, social change, fear, and sexism"? Are these whites racist for "behaving like a minority group"? Or are whites "behaving like a minority group" because they're the victims of someone else's racism? Or is the "behaving like a minority group" a red herring, and it's merely racist to vote against the folks who are constantly demonizing people who look like you?

The problem is it's hard to explain the resistance in the United States to safety net programs in the US without bringing that up.


And that's one problem I'm struggling with. Ultimately a lot of the suggestions I see to help the "left behind" in this thread might fail due to this very sort of politics alone. So many of the social help programs in the US have been demonized in the past by focusing on this in coded terms. Think "welfare queens" and the negative reaction to just the "Obamacare" nickname for some of the most direct and obvoius examples.

"Racism, social change, fear, sexism"... that can be overcome. The real problem is how these emotions are used as a political weapon now. No attempted solution will work if an opposition that hates it can transform it into some sort of identity politics battle. Especially now that we've found out that identity politics through a megaphone is actually more effective than "dog whispers".

It is possible for Donald Trump to surprise me, and one way he could surprise me is if he actually is more friendly to a stronger government with the goal of helping these people out. Donald Trump dose not make the laws, however, Congress does. So I expect no change.

As a side note, in a way, it was a shame it wasn't Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump for that reason. It would have been fascinating to see if economic policy really could out-trounce the Southern Strategy this time...

The resistance to safety nets is easy to understand: they are not optional (like an insurance, let's say) and usually the same people are paying for the same other people that are receiving. It is not a safety net, it is a transfer of wealth imposed by law.

The irony is that if he was not able to so easily change careers, a few of his ardent fans might have gotten real medical advice instead and had their lives saved (hypothetically).

Luckily the German healthcare system is solid enough that it's exceedingly rare for people to end up in life-threatening situations because of quack doctors. And in his defence, he did send people to real doctors if they had real medical issues.

Look, I grew up with this nonsense. My grandparents even believed in new age non-sense like "earth rays" and astrology. If you just want to get out some witticisms about how pseudoscience is obviously pseudoscience that's fine by me. But I'm not sure you're adding anything to the conversation by ragging on my dead grandfather.

If you want to be outraged about something, how about being outraged that social public healthcare in Germany actually pays for homeopathic "medicine" (i.e. products with no active ingredients and no valid studies) and that pharmacies are allowed to claim these so-called remedies can actually alleviate specific symptoms.

That's interesting, but coming from the art side, I would argue that while the bottom would continue to fall, the middle & top-end still would need a professional. Running a photography business isn't just about taking the photos. The pre-production, post-production and business/marketing involved is what is necessary for a sustainable photography business.

I think this challenge of the race to the bottom exists in virtually every industry.

Oh, sure. There are still professional photographers but the industry is nothing like it was when my grandfather started in his late teens (post-war Germany, a period of massive growth). And we're talking about a freelancer (with an assistant), not someone working for a large agency. The industry changed a lot for people like him.

That nearly every industry developed like that is precisely on point: that your job is currently a safe bet doesn't mean it's something you'll be able to do all your life, no matter how good you are. There may never be a "Bitrot Belt" but the job market simply isn't static and never has been.

The entire point of the anecdote was that he had a successful career doing one thing well past his thirties, things changed, and he switched to a completely unrelated career and was pretty good at that too. The details are just flavouring because it's a personal story.

If you want something more blue collar: my father-in-law had a long career as truck driver, then changed paths to work in logistics/manufacturing. Plus I think he worked as a mechanic at some point. Sure it's mostly centred around working with vehicles but those are still three different jobs before he reached retiring age.

The bigger problem in the US though might be location. The Rust Belt is dead because the jobs went away and there are not enough new jobs in the region to replace them. People actually have to uproot and relocate to find a new job and a new home -- that can be jarring.

Yeah. I expected the populist insurgency to come in the form of a progressive agenda, but this is the way it went instead.

The problem is, people who used to make a livelihood don't want a minimum wage job, no matter how high the minimum wage. They're adults used to providing for themselves and possibly a family, for god's sake! They don't want some elementary retraining program to make them barely capable of doing a modern job. They want to feel productive and useful on their own, like most of us.

do they not bear any responsibility for failing to gain useful skills or education? white people just feel entitled to the past where they could do nothing and be lazy and refuse to learn and still have a nice life.

because we can't get our shit together and fund infrastructure programs

In Trump's acceptance speech he explicitly mentions this:

We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.

I'm just hoping the government becomes more efficient at completing those infrastructure projects. Here in (western) Massachusetts we have simple projects like replacing a 30' concrete bridge over a creek that take 9 to 12 months to complete. They setup Jersey barriers that funnel traffic down to one lane, rip up the barricaded side and then do no work on it. In the 1930's they were able to start and finish a 782' three span iron bridge in one year (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_King_Bridge).

And his plan for doing it requires widespread privatization.


Ask the residents of Central Texas about what happened when they privatized the toll system. Personal data leaks, false charges sent to collections, terrible customer service. It was only after widespread outcry for government oversight(!) by Republicans that anything got done about it.

I'll hold my breath :P

Considering he's a businessman with background in construction his self interest is visible.

There is never an age where education can't help you. It might not lead you into a new career, but it can broaden and deepen your understanding of the situation to help you make better choices. At it's, education could help the blue collar worker understand why his job is not coming back, and that he does need to do something else. Right now, those people believe Trump will someone bring those jobs back.

While I agree with the principle, I wonder if a harder economic calculation of ROI on rapidly inflating student tuitions bears that out. Higher education wouldn't seem to work out as it's already at the point that students at the beginning of their lives have a difficult time working off the debts acquired in their education - and certainly not in a way that doesn't dampen their finances in a serious way. Slicing time off the returns doesn't improve that calculation any. So you're left with occupational education - and I think that's a lot less clear ROI and employers very unwilling to actually train people.

That's a very idealized view of "education". The value of spending 40 hours in any given class is highly variable based on the subject matter, teacher, and perhaps most of all the other students. Online Ed is trying to change this dynamic but there are many worthless classes one can take that cost more than they are worth. And I would guess the free community classes rank on the low-end of the subject matter/teacher/student spectrum.

Right, but these people need jobs, not a better understanding of the world. Understanding the world doesn't put food on your table.

Today, for the first time I've heard someone speak about education being the key to Democrats trying to take over. Most young educated voters are left leaning - and I was told today that apparently it's because of the education brainwashing students to become government dependent...has anyone else heard about this before?

A little late, but yes, this is a common complaint among conservatives. Most colleges teach things like science, diversity, and critical thinking, which are at odds with the Christian nationalism that pervades conservatism.

Education, educated IS work, and profitable, but apparently not the kind of preferred work. Just wondering aloud, how will Mr Trump satisfy the wealthy, wall street, and the fiscally conservative to do prevailing-wage infrastructure? The skilled trades were always ready and could have been doing this all along if it was valued by congress. How has anything changed?

I believe in education, but it's not a panacea. No amount of education will help someone who just isn't cut out for a white-collar job.

We're not just talking about white collar jobs. We're also talking about skilled blue collar jobs.

Elitism like this is part of the reason democrats lost this political cycle.

How do you know? Where's your evidence? Relate how you tried to "prove the null hypothesis."

That is not what that population was voting for. They want their previous jobs back.

Oversaturation through education isn't even the solution. We're looking at a future with not enough jobs.

Cutting the working week to 30 hours, on the other hand...

That's not the case. Unemployment has been steadily dropping in recent years. The problem is that the new jobs require an education:



Unemployment has been steadily dropping, because more and more people are dropping out of the working economy - or entering the service industry. Those jobs offer little stability and poor pay.

Well first, the DNC needs to stop sucking up to Wall Street and Silicon Valley elites. They should've gone with Sanders and stop tipping the scales for the Clintonistas just because they got connections with the elites. Hillary had her shot in 2008 and that should've been that. So they need to pull left...HARD. No more limousine liberalism.

As for the RNC, they really really really really need to stop propping up the evangelical vote. Mike Pence and his ilk need to stop forcing their faith onto the rest of us (who still support things like gay marriage) have decided on a decade ago. Gay marriage is here to stay. Us "trannies" are gonna use the restroom that best fits our gender identity (man, woman, neutral, whatever). And the RNC really needs to stand by the promise of standing up for the Rust Belt workers. It doesn't have to be some protectionist claptrap that Trump spewed but something practical and reasonable. Especially something that'll pay for the healthcare that's sorely needed not only for the poor but the elderly who voted for them (whether they like it or not many of those folks won't be able to pay for their insulin, heart bypass surgeries, and the like from their 401ks).

Sorry for the crude language. I'm just annoyed by what I've seen in social media from liberals and conservatives on this. It's time for real change and not the smoke and mirrors they've been playing since Bill Clinton.

"Sorry for the crude language. I'm just annoyed by what I've seen in social media from liberals and conservatives on this."

I think a lot of people are. I know I am. A lot of that is due to the language people are using, especially when things get heated. Working on civil discourse, trying our best to refrain from saying things we might at other times regret not phrasing better. One of the benefits of forums is that we can take that moment before pressing submit to decide whether it's really something we want to send as written.

unfortunately, for the RNC, the evangelical vote is still a significant portion of the population and people are still voting on issues like gay-marriage & abortion.

I asked my gramps in-law why he voted for Trump and it was purely due to anti-abortion & gay-marriage. Non internet-connected gramps has no idea that Trump would only have those positions because it's an RNC position, not because Trump's actions show said beliefs.

> unfortunately, for the RNC, the evangelical vote is still a significant portion of the population

Trump has exposed that the evangelical voters are hypocrites who don't practice what they preach. Their goal is to impose their religion on us.

They are totally enamored with a candidate who has profited off strip clubs, cheated on his wife, married multiple times, sexual assaulted women and bragged about it, and appeared on the cover of the nation’s pre-eminent porn magazine. But they are offended by Beyonce's songs.

This is an opportunity for GOP to move away from evangelical appeasement, but no... they will double down on it.

This is a pretty good summary of what needs to be done right here.

It might be what "should" be done but given the election results last night I'm not sure it's a winning recipe for electoral success. A big part of the country is not down with pulling harder to the left.

There are different axes of "left"-ness at play here. A large portion of the country doesn't like hearing about how urban liberals are the only moral human beings on the planet. Much the same portion of the country wants their goddamned labor unions back.

I'm naturally pessimistic at this point. I expect some really bad stuff from this Congress.

reddit user TPKM's comment on the sanders-would-have-won-thread:

"Support for Trump, much like Brexit, was based upon an extremely widespread feeling that average people are not getting their fair share of the benefits of globalisation. This is neither a specifically Democrat or Republican problem, and people have been saying it one way or another for years.

It was also the foundation of Sanders' campaign. The difference is that Sanders blamed deregulation and big corporate bonuses while Trump blamed immigration and open borders. I'm sure that there are elements of truth to both of these positions."

i'm sceptical that trump, as a big corp owner, will do much to regulate and reign big corps in; if that's really the case we'll now see if curbing immigration is an actual solution to the problem.

(personally, i doubt it - it has failed in other countries already)

so, let trump do what he promised and see how it works out. if it doesn't, try the other method next. for me it's easy to say because i'm not an u.s. citizen and have no desire to move there (i think my country will be in the same situation in a couple of weeks though); it's not like it wouldn't affect me, but i can't change it anyway.

The reason people don't feel they are getting the benefits of globalization is because the benefits are not as direct as the costs. When prices for goods are lower, it is not obvious to the average person that this is because of globalization. When your factory job is shipped overseas, the cost is readily apparent. No one makes the connection between the lower costs for things and globalization.

Sure people do make the connection. But no amount of lower costs across the board will help a newly unemployed person. For that person, the costs and benefits just don't match up.

Structural unemployment is an inevitable result of globalization, we need ways to mitigate this. Trade from the POV of rich countries is often a redistribution from the poor (uncompetitive labor) to the wealthy (multinational corporations), justified by the "gains from trade". We must be willing to aggressively redistribute these resulting gains back to the disenfranchised or see populist backlash.

I'm generally for free trade, but there has to be a more equitable arrangement than what we've got now.

If the USA is enforcing environmental regulations for their factories, this will obviously cost more than just dumping used chemicals outside in a pit. So the cost of goods in another country will be less if it doesn't have good (or any) environmental regulations. This is separate from labor prices.

So it is not fair to the USA, and it isn't fair to the people living in countries without good environmental regulations.

ignoring environmental protection costs for monetary success is mostly short-term planning and will - i'm a software developer, so i'll take this as a comparison - have the same consequences as short term planning and accumulating technical debt in software development. see it as an indirect investment in infrastructure that ultimately benefits everyone (but also you). you can't run a factory without government funded roads and railways, aka funded by your tax payer money.

it's the same for environmental expenses: skimp now, and you might not have a market to sell to in a decade.

so, if you outsource to another country it wont help in the long term because climate is global.

that much is clear. the rest is sufficiently explained by dawkins stable dove-hawk systems. you might want to try to gamble the system for personal gain, but if everyone does it, it'll collapse and everyone dies. so you shouldn't and protest transgression by others, otherwise the system might collapse.

i'm convinced you can play fair and still make a profit.

The way to ensure that these profits are "redistributed" back to the people of the host country is to eliminate free trade. If the items you sell in America must be produced by an American workforce, then the money is pumping back into the economy as Republicans always claim. If the money is being taken from Americans at the point-of-sale and then shipped out to China, Americans lose.

Trump is proposing that we put a cost-prohibitive tariff on foreign-built goods so that Americans will only buy them if there is truly no decent American competitor.

Sanders and Trump are approximating the same root cause here -- corporate greed is depriving the American worker. They're just extracting the value that belongs to the American worker at a different point of the transaction. It's debatable which is superior, but Trump's approach is more compliant with conventional American laissez-faire capitalism.

Eliminating free trade is precisely the wrong direction to go, in my opinion.

> "If the money is being taken from Americans at the point-of-sale and then shipped out to China, Americans lose."

You can't only look at one side of the equation. American grown soybeans and American manufactured aircraft are being bought in China, and billions of dollars worth of their hard earned yen are being "shipped out" to America. The point of free trade is for everyone to specialize in what they have a comparative advantage in, because this will expand the production frontier overall.

Putting cost prohibitive tariffs on goods the Chinese are better at producing (let's just say commodity electronics) may prop up US commodity electronics makers. But we would be subsidizing inefficiency. And if the Chinese put similar tariffs on American exports like commercial aircraft in return, everybody loses. Yes, you can just eliminate free trade, but the point of free trade is to grow the pie. You just have to cut it fairly after it's grown.

There are also swathes of evidence that most of the costs associated with running a typical household have gone up.

So while the goods that are mostly part of discretionary spending (think clothes and electronics) are cheaper, the essentials that can't be outsourced have also increased in price (education, healthcare, housing)

Costs of what? Consumer electronics and appliances? The staples of life that matter most - food and housing - have not decreased in cost.

Not true on food.[1] CPI for food has fallen off a cliff in the last year+ compared to core CPI (ex food and energy). It is even negative currently, so yes food prices are decreasing. It seems to have been moderately lower on net since the end of the great recession.

[1] http://imgur.com/a/p0ELF

You're right about food, which yo-yos like other commodities and is somewhat tied to energy.

Housing, health care, and college tuition are the great Satans of the economy for the middle and working classes. These have inflated without bound regardless of what wages or employment are doing.

>. No one makes the connection between the lower costs for things and globalization.

I think they do. I'm pretty sure most people know all the implications MADE IN CHINA carry.

They see they are getting 1 unit of benefit for 2 units of hindrance.

I think the point is people say "oh how nice my stereo is only $300" and then "OMG I'm losing my $40K job".

Losing a job is a biiiig lump. Paying a bit less on various items is a bunch of hard to measure little wins.

> curbing immigration is an actual solution to the problem.

Curbing immigration won't be a solution to the problem; it's just a highly visible one. Each immigrant that is looking for a job in the US is taking one away from the supply for an American. That is how the Trumpistas see things.

Economically, sure, that's true. The immigrants take jobs from the labor supply. What people don't see is that aside from ones on skilled visa programs is that these jobs are either 1. underpaid by minimum wage or 2. not jobs that these people actually want anyway, so at worse you will see a lot of inflation, or a lot of open job positions. It doesn't make sense, but it won't really make sense.

> Economically, sure, that's true. The immigrants take jobs from the labor supply.

That's not actually true, though. Every immigrant who comes here and becomes employed is, of course, filling a slot that is no longer available to a native-born citizen. However, he or she will also be one more person who needs to be fed, clothed, housed, entertained, protected, and supported. All of those create demand that adds up to substantially more than one job (about 1.2, to be exact [1]).

If there's one thing I'm taking away from this campaign and election, it's that people have big problems reasoning about systems where costs are acute and centralized and benefits are diffuse, even if on the whole they personally benefit substantially from those systems. This seems true for immigration, for climate change, for free trade, for healthcare reform.

[1] http://www.nber.org/papers/w21123

I'm sorry if this is a really stupid question but if each person, just by being alive and buying things, creates 1.2 jobs, then why do we still have unemployment?

Shouldn't everyone be able to have a job, even if it's not one they want to do? Is the problem just that they lack the qualifications for the jobs?

I don't know the answer to your question, but I don't think it's stupid. We should trust our sniff tests on these types of studies more often, especially when there is a potentially not-too-distant political, economic, or social consequence attached to the conclusion.

I personally think this is a common tactic by academics -- put out something that has a clearly false-as-phrased conclusion and then get lost in a maze of dense data and opaque language, come out disoriented, and make some conclusion like this that's pretty clearly invalid if you're willing to step away. The authors somehow convince themselves that the obvious conclusion is incorrect (often by redefining words) and then accuse anyone who dares to point out that the conclusion is a sham of being a luddite and anti-intellectual.

Are those 1.2 jobs all domestic? For each resident in the US, do we create 1.1 jobs in China and 0.1 jobs in the US? I honestly don't know this (and I don't want to look it up right now), so I'm not trying to make a counterargument. Just curious.

Well yes, people lose they jobs and have to seek new opportunities. And that's good in the larger scheme of thing.

Just let's not downplay the effect it can have to have to rethink the way you earn your livelihood, it's nothing short of a personal crisis. Some people have a really hard time adapting, others not so much. But that doesn't mean government should protect you from that.

> All of those create demand that adds up to substantially more than one job (about 1.2, to be exact [1]).

So, what would an opponent in good faith say against that? Is this a well known thing among Real Economists, which is just brushed under the rug when a politician wants to appeal to people with an anti-immigration policy? Or is there more to it?

It seems to be really low hanging fruit to explain that and have massive economic boons by increasing immigration, right? Or is that not the conclusion? Because what you said is really intuitive and some politician should be able to just easily use that. Why don't Clinton/Obama say that when explaining why they're letting illegal immigrants stay?

My guess (and this is only a guess) is that this is the power of anecdote. Within certain communities, everyone knows someone who lost their job or had their business close due to direct competition with someone being paid under the table illegally. Any politician who claimed that it was a good thing would read as so clearly out of touch with lived experience that it's not worth the trouble to look past the soundbite.

It's the same sort of difficult argument as globalization and free trade. It hits you somewhere very easy to notice, so you feel like you're worse off even while you're sitting on your brand new couch watching whatever you want on demand on your 60" TV and eating your steak dinner. Making the link that all those other good things are a result of the same policy requires a small but not automatic intellectual leap that a lot of people clearly aren't prepared to make if they feel like the initial assertion doesn't pass the smell test.

> so at worse you will see a lot of inflation

Personally, I wouldn't mind inflation if all workers are paid a decent wage as a result. For far too long inflation has been too low and confined to precisely the wrong sectors (i.e. land, health care, education). It's time for workers to get their share of the action.

Wages lag inflation, unfortunately.

True if the inflation is driven by supply shocks (mid-late 1970s) or savings gluts (today). Not if the inflation is wage-driven, as in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the US.

Immigrants really don't take jobs from those who live here. They end up in jobs most natives never look for in the first place. So who do they really displace? Low skilled immigrants work more than low skilled natives, they commit less crime, they use less welfare, and they tend to marry more.

> 2. not jobs that these people actually want anyway, so at worse you will see a lot of inflation, or a lot of open job positions. It doesn't make sense, but it won't really make sense.

Is it your intuition that the labor market would not adjust to a lower supply by becoming more desirable? If not, why?

The average salary of an undocumented immigrant is $36,000[1], which is far below that of the average trump voter, a median American above $50K although he did OK with people in the $40K bracket. The only group likely to see wage increases from mass deportation are high school dropouts [2]. From Wikipedia:

Research by George Borjas found that the influx of immigrants (both legal and illegal) from Mexico and Central America from 1980 to 2000 accounted for a 3.7% wage loss for American workers (4.5% for black Americans and 5% for Hispanic Americans). Borjas found that wage depression was greatest for workers without a high school diploma (a 7.4% reduction) because these workers face the most direct competition with immigrants, legal and illegal. [3]

Assuming ALL recent-ish immigrants are all mass deported and the economy adjusts immediately, you will see a ~7.4% shift of real wages for high school dropouts making the low end of <$36K, most of which voted for Clinton anyway. You'll see almost no issue with those above this rate because they are not competing with illegal immigrants. (This makes it more likely capitalists who see wage increases for non-service positions (eg manufacturing) will automate faster to reduce costs, but I think this is a side point considering that most jobs in the US today are in the service sector and not as easily automated away.)

Of course, you could also give the suppressed income bracket a 7% tax cut and end up in roughly the same spot without mass deportation; the undocumented immigrants aren't paying income tax anyway, and this would be HIGHER than necessary because the above study takes into account legal immigration as well.

[1] http://www.pewhispanic.org/2009/04/14/a-portrait-of-unauthor...

[2] http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5312900

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_impact_of_illegal_imm...

[4] http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/bookhub/reader/2992?e=...

In equilibrium, people get paid according to their productivity. (That's why eg China saw such huge wage raises over the last decades.)

So, just excluding or including some more people won't change the level of pay, as a first order effect.

There's no constant demand for labour. It expands and shrinks with supply. (And even then, the federal reserve can make arbitrary large amouts of demand. They can literally print money.)

>In equilibrium, people get paid according to their productivity

But where and when has there ever been this magical equilibrium?

In the real world people get paid whatever they can get away with, and some people can get away with more than others. Telecommunications execs can price gouge you and get a bonus for it.

For the economy as a whole, abstracting away imports and exports, we can only eat what we sow.

This applies to the average Joe, too, by the nature of how averages work. (But might not apply to the median Joe.)

Yes, there's some pricing power for some people. And there's weird things like Baumol's cost disease. But those are second and higher order effects.

>For the economy as a whole, abstracting away imports and exports, we can only eat what we sow.

Exactly. And "we" after all is another abstraction. And "I" can eat what "you" sowed.

If corporations have record-high profits, while workers get stagnating salaries while housing prices raise, someone is going to realize what "we" entices after all.

>The immigrants take jobs from the labor supply

I think you mean they fill labor demand or that they diminish the supply of jobs by providing labor. This however incorrectly assumes that the demand for labor is fixed. That demand is affected by supply + cost of labor and demand for goods and services. Immigrants consumer goods and pay of services so more immigrants means more aggregate consumer demand, which leads to higher demand for labor. In the end immigrants result in a net labor demand increase due to consumption. Immigrants no matter how frugal still get haircuts, buy groceries, see doctors, pay for tax help, call plumbers, by pants, go to bars, buy used cars etc.

> I think you mean they fill labor demand or that they diminish the supply of jobs by providing labor.

Yes, I do. Thank you for the clarification.

When people are looking for jobs is great, America was founded upon immigrants looking for good working conditions. Some people will end up unemployed because they aren't able to adapt, yep, but that in the end makes production cheaper and more competitive.

The problem happens when government burdens a group of people with taxes and makes their livelihood more expensive, and becomes the cause of such inability to compete in the market. Limiting immigration is the dumb man's solution to that problem, the real solution would be a yuge cutting of expenses in order to reduce tax burden, and consequently the size of government.

And I suspect that for skilled visa programs, labour demand is actually somewhat elastic, so that one additional skilled worker creates some fraction of a new job. The supply of jobs isn't fixed.

Consider a company like Google, who doesn't hire on quotas, but just grabs all the talented engineers they can. In what sense is a visa worker taking a job away from an American, when Google will gladly hire both?

I'd mostly agree with you on this point and it's divergent from the one that the Trumpistas care about.

That said, I have seen companies that were "H-1B dependent", ie, they have paid the fees for visas to hire from outside the country, because they were able to get lower salaries from doing so even after paying the legal fees. Clearly not the Googles of the world, but they do exist.

Yeah they definitely exist. And the ratio of those vs. the Googles will affect how elastic it is. Anywhere between 0.1 and 0.9 for the elasticity sounds plausible to me (not an economist, I could be not even using the right concepts, so take that for what it's worth).

>not jobs that these people actually want anyway

... for the offered salary.

The way I see it, "inorganically" adding to the labor supply hinders the natural price discovery of the market.

I don't think anybody is sitting at home unemployed because Google's $140k offer wasn't good enough for them.

Yes, Google might be able to hire more employees with higher salaries by poaching them from elsewhere. But that just shifts the labor shortage to some other company, it doesn't get rid of it.

The way I see it, it's bad for everyone (the employer, the Indian, the American taxpayer) when an American $100k job opportunity stays unfilled and a willing qualified Indian is working at an Indian company for $30k instead because they won't let him into the USA.

Come on, I think it was clear that by "jobs locals don't want anyway" OP was talking about low wage-low status jobs filled by immigrants instead, that would otherwise offer higher and higher salaries until the supply curve met the demand one if interest group didn't inject immigrants into the supply -at least that's kind of the trump supporter angle-.

And in your deal I can see someone getting the short end of the stick:

The employer gets lower costs and higher profits. The Indian gets a higher salary and access to infrastructure he didn't have to pay for. The local gets a lower salary, and the rest of taxpayers get one more body consuming the public services he had to pay, more people competing for housing and ~40$K less in demand for whatever he has to offer.

I often question if anyone on HN actually grew up blue collar...

Locals want those jobs. I worked them when they actually made a relatively decent wage. Now they simply are not worth my time even as side jobs they pay so little.

I was making $22/hr at 16 years old in the mid-90's as a landscaping laborer. This pay range was quite common for such jobs, and most of my co-workers were 20 and 30 somethings supporting families. Good luck getting even half that today, 20 years later.

If you started paying roofers $50/hr, you would have an unlimited pool of labor willing to take those jobs. At $10/hr I'm not interested because I can barely make a living at that rate, so it's certainly not worth the wear and tear on my health.

Unskilled immigration is largely a wealth transfer from the most vulnerable in our society to the most privileged. There is very little to be gained in these practices for the typical underskilled American - most all the benefits are accrued elsewhere in the economy.


While I think there is at least some validity to the "immigrants take local jobs" argument, it's really not the core of Trump's immigration platform. At the moment, the "took our jorbs" element is primarily being addressed by criticism of free trade.

First, Trump is not anti-immigrant. Two of his wives have been immigrants and the new First Lady-elect (?) is an immigrant with a very noticeable accent.

Trump is not anti-immigrant, he's anti-illegal-immigrant.

Let me first say I sympathize with the plight of Central Americans and if I was in that position, either pay $20k and wait 5 years for approval, I would probably take the chances and run the border too, especially knowing my children would be U.S. citizens automatically. However, there are risks incumbent in doing that.

Illegal immigration removes our ability to process and distribute new migrants. It makes it so we can't track whether they're having a disparate or unexpected economic impact, either on the nation as a whole or on specific areas. Illegal immigrants may have trouble finding jobs without SSNs, which may cause them to resort to crime, become dependent on welfare programs, or both. An insecure border allows people with impure motives, like terrorism, to enter. There can be substantial differences in social and cultural norms, which can affect their employability and ability to assimilate. While these people are illegally crossing the border, they're already committing a major repudiation to the social order of their intended new home by mocking rule of law and entering the country without authorization.

All of these things need to be managed and that's why immigration law exists. Americans in border towns are getting overrun and there's no reason they should have to be. They're sick of it.

People usually won't admit to this because SJWs come in and accuse them of being racist for wanting to preserve their traditions, social norms, employability, and language. The election of Trump is a resounding rejection of that hostile sentiment from the self-righteous elite class.

Most Americans have no problem at all with immigrants from other cultures, races, religions, etc., as long as they are given the tools to manage, understand, and direct it so that it's not disruptive to the existing social and economic order.

What all this really boils down to is something that both Republicans and Democrats agree on: our current immigration system is clunky, slow, and expensive, and badly needs rectification. Let's focus on fixing that instead of getting at each other's throats.

> while Trump blamed immigration and open borders

He also blamed the tax code, claiming many times to have taken advantage of it, and boasting of paying insanely low taxes on his businesses. This was seen as horrible by a lot of the left in this country - proof that "he doesn't want to shoulder his fair share of the burden"- but served as evidence to what a lot of middle America has suspected for years, that the tax increases Democrats proposed to pay for welfare programs weren't effecting the rich and were being paid for by the middle class. (Yes, this is a simplification of the issue.) Trump's 'I broke it and I know how to fix it' approach to the tax code the reason a lot of people who don't trust corporations voted for a tycoon.

Trump won despite his status as a corporate tycoon because the people basically believe he's a double-agent. A corporate tycoon born with the heart of a worker. I think there's an argument that could be made there: Trump has a long history of being looked down upon by high society.

Trump's also credible, because as someone whose attempted many different lines of business, he's seen what it takes to be competitive, and as someone with the heart of a worker, he didn't like it and wanted to even the playing field.

Trump is the epitome of "Don't hate the player, hate the game". Trump was in a very unique position, shared perhaps only by a few dozen other living souls, to see the game, hate it, and be able to make a credible attempt to fix it.

I can think of several things, from cultural long term changes, rhetoric and acknowledge of human struggle, to smaller changes on the local level.

We could start by not calling them privileged, demeaning them in their struggle. Acknowledging peoples struggle in life is often the first step in helping a demographic, be that women, black, white, immigrant, American born, or what have you.

As cultural changes, one would be to lower the harm from being unemployed. For men, too much of social value and social opportunity is tied to being employed and having a high earning potential.

I don't know about this one. I'm able-bodied and have 0 problems with being called privileged for being able bodied. I can hear well, I can see fine, I don't need any machines or devices to help me move around. In this respect I'm very privileged. I don't feel like I'm being demeaned by acknowledging this. It is actually to me acknowledging that other people struggle in ways that I do not.

Similarly, I struggle to see why accusations of white privilege are terrible. I don't believe that because someone is white they can't suffer. I believe the statement is because someone is white they don't have to go through or experience certain things.

Like I don't have to experience the struggle of taking public transport as a person in a wheelchair, because I don't need a wheelchair, does not mean I don't have my own problems. I just don't have the specific problems of someone who has a mobility impairment.

I don't see how acknowledging this is demeaning. It's just looking at reality. White people can struggle, just not with race. Able bodied people can struggle, just not with being disabled. Is that demeaning to white or able bodied people to recognize this? I genuinely don't know.

The message focus and the message it sends to people is wrong. The signal is that there are systemic problems that can't be changed because people in power are guilty of having power. "White privilege" falls into a mentality that I call victimization, where instead of people looking at things through the lens of "how can I change myself and be better", they look at it through the lens of "how can others change themselves to help me be better". This is a hopeless signal that doesn't help anyone.

What we should be saying to people is that they should strive to be better because that's the only sure way they can hope to improve their situations. Waiting for other people to help you isn't going to do anything. The only thing you have control over is your own life. If the public discourse around these issues focuses solely on how other people have control and how you have no control, then the situation only becomes worse because then people have an excuse to not try, and they don't.

The problem isn't with the concept of privilege itself. The problem is that the concept and the word have been weaponized into an insult instead of the admonishment to recognize one's advantages that it should be. That, and too much emphasis has been put on racial privilege and not enough on class privilege, or at least social class privilege.

>I'm able-bodied and have 0 problems with being called privileged for being able bodied.

It is not being called privileged that's the problem. It's being shamed or put in some hierarchy of oppression that is the problem.

>I don't see how acknowledging this is demeaning.

I'm sorry if this comes across as rude, but, obviously this conversation isn't about you. Many Americans they have seen this as demeaning. And for what it's worth, I know many people who do demean white, able-bodied, cis-gendered people for their "lack of" oppression.

"White privilege" as a phrase vastly oversimplifies the cultural hierarchy.

It is probably rather insulting to a unemployed rust belt white man with no degree, who is getting by on social assistance, to be tagged by some well-off person on the coasts with a professional degree, that they are suffering from "white male privilege".

For a start, such "privilege" is not terribly applicable in this case. Regardless of whether the professional is not white and/or not male, the professional with the degree is in the "higher caste" in American society compared to the unemployed white man with no degree.

Many articles that use such phrases as "white privilege" tend to be accusatory and overly moralizing. If that's not insulting, at the very least you are not going to change any minds. (As an example from the "other side", my brother works at Citigroup. Guess what I start thinking of a person's argument when they start descending into an "evil Wall Street elite" meme?)

I agree that "white privilege" exists but there are better ways to phrase this -- at the very least, acknowledge and understand the other side.

Because words are supposed to have their specific, well-understood meaning. By your logic, a guy with one arm and one leg is privileged too; there are certainly people out there that have it much worse than him.

My (laymen's) understanding of the word 'privilege' was always more along the line of "Mozart was his piano teacher". But it looks like at some point the word was redefined to some incredibly technical meaning whereby a broke--but white, and male--coal miner is also privileged.

If you want to start a war, you need to tell people they are under attack: "Naturally, the common people don't want war ... the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

This works the same for culture wars, or "war on christmas" etc. People are fundamentally nice, they don't want to stop gay people from marrying, so you need to frame it as "an attack on traditional marriage" to get people riled up with righteous fury.

Pointing out the obvious fact that white people have advantages needs to be twisted too. By for example pointing out that a poor white man has problems that a rich non-white man doesn't. Totally ignoring the obvious comparison point being two poor men, or two poor women, or two rich men/women with different skin colors. Not getting the point becomes imperative, to maintain the illusion of it being an attack.

When you call people "privileged", what they hear is "you have it too good".

If your life happens to actually truly suck, it's hard to not resent those who want to make it even worse.

> We could start by not calling them privileged, demeaning them in their struggle.

We don't call them privileged. Rather, they hear the insults and put-downs they want to hear by tuning in to customized news and propaganda that confirm their deepest insecurities.

> As cultural changes, one would be to lower the harm from being unemployed. For men, too much of social value and social opportunity is tied to being employed and having a high earning potential.

Re-engineering the social brain so that status doesn't matter? Wow. I doubt you'd have anything like homo sapiens after that.

>Re-engineering the social brain so that status doesn't matter?

Status will always matter, but you can change the signifiers of status. There are plenty of places in, for example, rural China where women do most of the work while the men mostly stay home, and yet the men do not lack for status because of that.

Women doing backbreaking work in the (rural) fields while the men stay at home with the children? Citation needed!

The Mosuo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosuo) are the most well known, but many ethnic groups in the southwest operate in similar ways. I grew up in a family belonging to one of them, so it always seemed strange to me when people claim women can't do physically demanding tasks.

I remain skeptical that anyone can be content contributing nothing. The Mosuo Cultural Development Association, which works directly with the Mosuo, has this to say:

"It is true that, traditionally, Mosuo women tend to take on most of the labour duties at home. They take care of the animals, tend the fields, etc. However, this is due to a historic division of responsibilities where Mosuo men were mostly traders, traveling long distances by caravan to trade with other groups. Since the men were frequently gone from home, the women were left to take care of the work. However, when the men were at home, they would also share in the duties there.

In modern times, the practice of having trading caravans has effectively ceased; with the result that one of the primary male roles has been rendered irrelevant. It is true, therefore, that you may often find men lounging around while women work hard; however, this is not universal (I've visited many homes where the men share in these duties equally with the women); and does not necessarily mean that Mosuo men are lazy…it indicates, rather, the need to define a viable new “male” role within the modern realities of Mosuo culture."


The idea that any person can be content to contribute nothing meaningful to a family/group/village/society completely misunderstands human nature.

What it shows is that signifiers of status can and do change with culture. In some places, the only status that matter for women is children. Most people do not view women like that any more, and culturally we have moved on while remaining part of the human race.

If culture can change so female status is not solely based on their ability to raise chilren, culture can change so male status is not solely based on their ability to support children.

True, but now I realize we're getting far afield of the original point of contention.

The issue is that US rural men are unemployed. But the US rural economy will continue to decline until it reaches a balance with global commerce; protectionism, at best, is only a temporary measure. The US rural economy has even more to fall over the next decade.

Can we really think a solution is to teach rural men to find value in contributing nothing? A sinking economy gives nothing to do; even family-raising is a dismal prospect with poor schools and declining healthcare. The best and only plausible scenario is that rural men pack up their familes and move to the cities where jobs are plentiful. Indeed, this is the worldwide trend.


I think the only decent destiny left for the unskilled undemanded worker is one of welfare, but those same voters have vicious attitudes about welfare and those on welfare.

It's not reasonable to retrain this coincidental generation of unskilled undemanded workers, especially not when our nation still has a bad education resource problem. Pedagogical expenditure should go to those who are most likely to experience the largest impact, and that's children. Also because any training program you develop has to work <fast> and <soon>. Also because there are no fast and easy training programs that have high efficacy rates.

Trump and some laborers have talked about bringing manufacturing back to the US. But this is by far the most impossible demand. Tariffs on Mexico and China won't persuade a metaphorical Foxconn to bring a Shenzhen analogue to the US. Shenzhen works because China and the rest of the Chinese people are okay with Shenzhen style workers breaking their back for the rest of the nation, and China can quash any worker malcontent, union, or any collective action.

There's no way that people would be okay with that here.

And with all the companies of the world racing towards robotic labor and domain applied machine learning, the kinds of US manufacturing job growth here will be few, high paying, and highly technical. But these innovations will mean net fewer manufacturing jobs, even as manufacturing may go up.

And the fact that driving is one of the most frequent jobs in most states of the US, and with Uber having made an automated truck delivery of beer recently... there's no way that manufacturing jobs will keep pace with job loss.

These people are screwed without welfare, and after welfare, there's nothing else to be done for them.

They're a $100 barrel of oil in the ground that costs $105 to extract.

There is plenty of demand for unskilled labor in the USA, just look at the farm industry (especially fruits and vegetables) or in other areas (landscaping). Most USA citizens, however, aren't keen on working long hours, in back-breaking conditions, for low pay. And so the migrants come to fill those roles.

If we had better pay and working conditions for those industries, more citizens would take those jobs, and there'd be less for illegal immigrants.

But there was such a stink about raising the minimum wage... I don't think that's going to happen any time soon. No one cares about the farm workers it seems.

>There is plenty of demand for unskilled labor in the USA, just look at the farm industry (especially fruits and vegetables) or in other areas (landscaping). Most USA citizens, however, aren't keen on working long hours, in back-breaking conditions, for low pay. And so the migrants come to fill those roles.

This is a microcosm of moving a factory to China. It's not that no Americans are willing to do those jobs, it's that companies hire illegal immigrants instead because they'll work for sub-minimum-wage and never contact the Labor Board about anything because they fear deportation. Illegal immigrants are also unlikely to complain about under-the-table cash payments that allow the employer to skirt tax law.

I have direct, personal knowledge of an establishment in middle America, in a place that doesn't have many undocumented immigrants, that routinely turns away American teenagers seeking employment because they'd rather pay illegal immigrants $2/hr and never have to worry about overtime.

>But there was such a stink about raising the minimum wage... I don't think that's going to happen any time soon. No one cares about the farm workers it seems.

It's funny you mention minimum wage and migrant workers in the same comment because an artificially high minimum wage is precisely what creates a market for underground labor. Employers are willing to pay because it's much cheaper for them; migrants, but not Americans, are willing to work in bad conditions for well below the minimum wage because without a SSN, under-the-table wages are their only way to make money, and if the authorities find out about them (e.g. during the course of investigating a complaint to the state's labor board), they may end up deported.

Yes, so part of all this is that we need to do a better job of enforcing the existing labor regulations. But the businesses don't want that, they don't want more oversight and investigation.

> And with all the companies of the world racing towards robotic labor and domain applied machine learning, the kinds of US manufacturing job growth here will be few, high paying, and highly technical. But these innovations will mean net fewer manufacturing jobs, even as manufacturing may go up.

> And the fact that driving is one of the most frequent jobs in most states of the US, and with Uber having made an automated truck delivery of beer recently... there's no way that manufacturing jobs will keep pace with job loss.

> These people are screwed without welfare, and after welfare, there's nothing else to be done for them.

You've pointed out that automation, particularly of the trucking industry, has the potential to lead to extraordinary job loss.

I agree that automated cars are the future, and I look forward to the day when all cars on the road are automated.

There's also an extraordinary amount of money to be made in this space. But it's likely going to be made by private companies.

If there were a way that workers (rather than capital investors) could primarily reap the financial benefits of this new technology, I would think that would help ease the job phase-out.

Obviously, it's unrealistic to expect worker-owned cooperatives to catch up to those private companies at this point. But could there be an alternate way?

I wonder if the federal government could do something similar to the auto-company bailouts of a few years back.

It essentially purchased shares of the companies, and then later sold them at a profit.

I wonder if it might somehow institute a way to purchase shares of automated-trucking companies on behalf of truck drivers, so that when automated trucking causes job loss, the truck drivers would have a cushion of investment income. Perhaps it could be on a subsidization basis, where the government matches investments.

There are probably terrible problems with that idea. Just spitballing. But I don't want to say, "meh, welfare" until more creative solutions have been exhausted.

The argument could be made to role back the clock make import tariffs very high and limit automation. If I'm unskilled why would I not join a political revolt to limit the effects of my future irrelevance.

If you're an unskilled and undemanded worker, you cannot simply join a political revolt in <one> nation. Every major company in the world is racing for robotic manufacturing and machine learning-applied services and products.

A robotic future is very amenable to elite interests in all corners of the globe.

If central banks of the western world had run countercyclical monetary policy meaning higher than average inflation when unemployment was high, these people would have had almost uninterrupted jobs and careers, not just people in educated urban centers.

I know people don't grasp this because it is all very mathematical but hawkish monetary policy was a massive factor in this.

This graph summarizes the situation:


Here is my attempt at an explanation:


But also taking a more sociological perspective, if you haven't seen it, this Cracked analysis is worth a read:


As well as this older Scott Alexander post:


Jobs that can't be exported are safe from movement. Hairdressing and cleaning for instance. That doesn't mean the person doing it can't be an immigrant, though, so perhaps by restricting immigration you reduce competition for it.

Jobs that compete with similar jobs in other countries can potentially benefit from trade barriers. Make foreign cars expensive and there will be substitution with local cars. Long term it's worth thinking about whether there's a dependency created on that tariff.

Higher minimum wage has been mentioned. In so far as demand from the firms is inelastic you improve the lot of the minimum wage workers. Question is whether it is. Moving from 7 to 12 sounds like a big jump, and will be very dependent on what part of the country it is.

All these things depend on econometric measurement whose results I haven't come across.

> Make foreign cars expensive and there will be substitution with local cars.

This is quite true, but the problem is those cars will be a lot more expensive. That means a small number of people employed making the cars benefit, while the vastly larger number of people buying them lose out in higher costs. This never works out to the benefit of the country as a whole and low wage earners are the ones that lose out the most. For every car those workers make, they buy dozens of other goods which, if more expensive due to trade barriers, more than soak up any increased wages they might have.

Actually it's worse than that, because often many of those workers could have been gainfully employed is other industries. Only a small minority of our theoretical car workers would actually have been unemployed in a globalized world.

It's the same with Brexit. The vote was driven by working class people on low incomes, but the impact of inflation from the fall of the pound and further economic problems when we do actually leave the EU will predominantly fall on them. Middle class people like me have enough marginal income to absorb the hit. People on low income don't.

We currently have crazy import tariffs on Chinese made automobile tires. The result has been 1,200 jobs saved and consumers paid an extra billion dollars for tires.

There is no free lunch with trade.


This fits into a general patterns of political problems, where small groups benefit greatly at the expense of much larger groups who all suffer very slightly. It's like the plot in Superman to steal fraction of a penny from everyone.

If you can negotiate a tax-break for your industry then it'll give you millions, but millions or even billions divided up amongst the whole nation is hard to spot for an individual.

Free trade is the free lunch.

And those 1,200 jobs are just the visible ones. The extra billion dollars probably came with further negative effects somewhere else.

(German coal mining was (or still is?) in similar territory: the subsidy necessary to keep a few mining jobs around was way higher than what those guys got paid.)

The incremental improvements in averages aren't what's driving people to vote, though. We need to look hard at the situation in the rust belt, and figure out how we pull these people up, who have consistently lost in the game of averages and aggregation.

American cars are generally less expensive than foreign cars, not more. German cars are generally much more expensive than comparable American cars, and Japanese cars are usually a bit more expensive too. Both these nations have tried reducing costs by moving some of their production to places like Thailand, Mexico, and the USA (!). Labor rates in Germany and Japan are probably the highest in the world.

Making foreign cars more expensive will only make American cars a bit more expensive, due to higher demand, but in general will just raise prices for everyone.

People don't buy foreign cars these days because of cost. They buy them because of perceived higher quality, styling/performance preferences, brand cachet, etc. If they start selling Chinese-made cars here, maybe that'll change, but for now, saving money is not the reason you buy a foreign car. If you want a cheap-ass car, you buy something like a Chevy Spark or Ford Fiesta. (Worse, those cars might be made in Mexico anyway. I'm guessing the cheapest American-made car is probably a Honda Fit or some Toyota maybe.)

>That means a small number of people employed making the cars benefit

But those small number of people who benefit plus the whole of people in their supply chain, people that also drive demand for whatever the other people paying more for cars are offering.

The point I'm trying to make is that international trade doesn't give any multiplying magic. Simply separate the states in your country and whatever trade between them will become "international". It would be the same trade as before with the only difference that now you don't get to tax whoever is benefiting the most, one gets to play tricks with the currency, etc. etc.

Re higher minimum wage. (using real numbers here, for the Netherlands)

For a support job, I want to employ a uneducated person. Just answering calls and clicking some buttons. (Could also be a student, no need for any experience etc) Costs me maybe 10 euros per hour. Why a student? Is relatively cheap and it gets the job done nicely. Now, if the minimum wage would go to 14 or more, what would happen? Would I still employ this student for the same task? Maybe (probably?) not. Maybe I will instead get a 20 euro worker with an education that can not only do support but also some development and can bring knowledge into the company.

Saying that increasing minimum wage solves problems directly is, I think, wrong, because everything might shift.

My experience is otherwise. I remember entering the job market thinking that like my parents had experienced you'd get some low/no-skill entry level job somewhere and work your way 'from the mail room' up a position of actual skill. That it was possible to 'get your foot in the door' and then get a better job based on being a known good worker and then showing you also had the skills to do more.

That doesn't work because companies outsource entire stacks of tasks. There isn't an "entry level" job anymore. There's no path inside when everyone wants experienced workers.

So what would happen is probably a 'Google customer service' level of customer service. Simply much less with the same people they already want.

Or they change the "entry level" jobs to "intern" or "recent grad" jobs. Still no experience needed, but if you don't fit the right demographic you're out of luck.

> Make foreign cars expensive and there will be substitution with local cars.

Many "foreign" cars are built in the US. Some even more so than the American brands. "The Toyota Camry is, apparently, the most American vehicle on sale in the U.S." http://fortune.com/2015/06/29/cars-made-in-america/

> Jobs that compete with similar jobs in other countries can potentially benefit from trade barriers. Make foreign cars expensive and there will be substitution with local cars. Long term it's worth thinking about whether there's a dependency created on that tariff.

Alas, that strategy of forced import substitution didn't work for India or Brazil, did it? (Or other poor countries in the 20th century?)


Sure, with fewer immigrants there is less competition for hairdresser jobs.... but there is also less demand for haircuts. Immigrants aren't just competition for jobs, they are also new customers.

I believe you're incorrect in asserting that the election was about "disenfranchised blue collar workers". My daughter and her husband make about $200k per year and they voted for Trump.

She's describes Trumps win as a great big middle finger to career politicians.

Except the hundreds of thousands of people who swung Florida, WI, and MI do not make $200K a year. The election was very much won by this majority.

There are people who spraypaint unintelligible garbage on highway overpasses and key peoples' cars as a big middle finger to society, too.

It's all just trolling. It's not to gain anything. It's to make things worse for everyone else.

It's that kind of disrespect for the opinions of others which had so many believing that Trump could not win.

I would say it's more along the lines of giving people the benefit of the doubt, and (naturally) assuming that most decent people wouldn't vote for someone who espouses the racist, mysoginistic and generally hateful views of Trump.

Of course, history shows that people are quite capable of voting in people like that.

There doesn't really seem to be much substance to Trump's actual policies. He insists Mexico is going to pay for the wall, but there is fuck all chance of that. Congress isn't going to pay for it either. Even if he did build a wall, it would have zero effect (the smugglers are already quite capable of building very long and deep tunnels), so it would be a huge waste of money.

It seems to be mostly hot air, showmanship, and negative campaigning. If you listen to the reasons why people are voting, you generally hear things like "Clinton is a crook", "email scandal", "make America great". He really just did an excellent job of running his campaign.

Some might call that cutting off your nose to spite your face.

There is no limit to the stupid shit people like to say when their political opinions aren't accepted as gospel by others.

I suppose in this case I might be wrong. At $200k annual income they are probably well positioned to benefit from his policies, as opposed to his lower income supporters.

> She's describes Trumps win as a great big middle finger to career politicians.

Other than Trump himself not being a career politician, it seems most likely to merely alter which career politicians are rewarded, not the extent to which such politicians are rewarded, which isn't a big blow tout "career politicians" in any general sense.

With that kind of income, I would venture to say that they're just republicans.

You say that as if you think that is prima facie a bad thing. It's that sort of categorization which has poisoned political discourse in this country.

I hope Trump's shock to both the major parties encourages them to reconsider the war for power they wage day and night. But I'm not going to hold my breath.

I'm not saying being a republican is a bad thing, I'm saying this statement "She's describes Trumps win as a great big middle finger to career politicians." makes even less sense coming from a republican or someone that's likely to benefit from republican policies.

The only way that statement makes sense is if the person saying it would be negatively affected and/or Trump weren't affiliated with either party.

Why would? It's a victory for one of them, and proof to the other that they aren't fighting hard enough. It might cause the latter to reconsider strategy, but why would it cause either to question the struggle itself?

You think it's a victory for the republican party? Given how many from the establishment publicly disowned Trump, or simply failed to support him as the party's nominee, it's a bit of a stretch to say the republican party won.

> You think it's a victory for the republican party?

Clearly so. It's perhaps, within the party, a defeat for sone establishment figures in terms of relative internal influence, but clearly the absolute and total lock on all organs of federal power they've secured is a major victory for the party.

And it's not like the party establishment suffered major reverses, either. Had Trump won despite the Republicans losing the Senate or facing unexpectedly large loss of seats in the House, that might be a different story.

Honestly I am hoping Donald Trump is more centrist than many people expect. While he touts protectionism to the point of blocking access to the country his other ideas are pretty much down the middle of the road with regards to rebuilding the country itself.

A lot of his ideas are not hard right Republican. He openly embraces gays and will make many of them in the Republican party feel more welcome. He has allies of all races and even pulled in record Hispanic votes.

So the first signs will be, who composes his cabinet? Who will be his advisors be? How much of a role will Pence play? Will he give equal time to leadership from both parties? With both parties approach with hostility or be willing to give it a try?

Still when I view the race, I really want to know if Democrats think it was worth it to become a party whose candidates are selected on what they are first compared to what they believe. Why was the "party of the people" the side with the least number of candidates? I would ask the Republican party, why do you continuously try to for far right cultural view points and such candidates when conservatives want you out of our personal and financial lives both?

Sadly no candidate championed privacy and freedom of self but there is a chance that change might have actually finally reached the White House

> when conservatives want you out of our personal and financial lives

Do they really? There are a lot of people that view the Republican Party as their ticket back to an idealized Leave It to Beaver world, which is definitely NOT the government getting out of your personal life (make homosexuality illegal, bring back "separate but equal", make sure that minorities "know their place", etc). Still others see it as a the path forward to a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. The same people that eat up Bill O'Reilly's "The War on Christmas" segments and get outraged that Christmas is "under attack" by the evil Liberals that want to destroy Christian values.

These sentiments come from an extremely-well-organized, but minority faction of the party. If these were majority sentiments, then legislation pushing those sentiments would have progressed far faster than they have.

Back in the 60's, the evangelicals started to learn the ropes of party machinery, primarily crystallizing around the abortion single-issue. During the 70's, they started to take up positions throughout the party and attempt to dominate it, but the Rockefeller Republicans trounced them. To their credit, they licked their wounds, learned their lessons, and kept coming back spoiling for another fight. In the 80's they consolidated their power. Today in the largest state Republican party, they absolutely control all the chokepoints of power, they vote virtually in lock-step, but they don't have the numbers to completely dictate policy and seed their own hand-picked and -groomed candidates at the national level. The parliamentarian is an evangelical, most times the convention chairman is either evangelical or strongly allied to them, and key committee chairmen who have a lot of control over which party members participate in the committees and advance to the next convention level are evangelicals. Your level of participation in the party is contingent upon passing one or more litmus test(s): for certain key levels, you are interviewed to state your positions on their hot button topics (abortion is a favorite).

While small in numbers, they carry a huge stick, and they're utterly ruthless political knife fighters, as many Ron Paul supporters found out. They're very tightly coordinated and highly prepared: as an example, they come to district and state conventions prepared with earbud FRS radios so they can confer upon split-second decisions on the floor. While they don't quite have the numbers to be the party unto itself, they dominate the voting plans of the congregations that send them to the party, so they make a formidable voting bloc.

The end result is they can exert enough pressure to force the Republican party to adopt objectively terrible policy planks (no-abortion-no-exception even in medically-dire situations where both mother and fetus can die, really?), that then don't make it into national legislation. But just like before, they keep trying, learning, and adapting.

I'm so happy to see this at the top of the comments. It gives me hope that more people recognize that a vote for Trump in many cases wasn't a vote for the man, but rather a vote for some amount of hope that someone, somewhere recognized that their towns and cities were hurting and that they saw some path forward out of their situation.

I don't know what the solutions are, but I have to believe that if we can talk about sending people to live on Mars and make cars that drive themselves, that we can come up with solutions to get jobs and economic prosperity to areas of the country that have been badly hurt over the last decade.

The working poor voted for Hillary. Trump's support comes from households making $50,00 or greater.

While it is true that Clinton carried voters making less than $50,000 a year, Trump did well with them for a Republican. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/08/us/elections/e...

Interesting that right around that number the Obamacare subsidies fade away and are replaced by fines. These are the people getting the short end of the stick in regards to the ACA.

Don't know why you're being downvoted- there has always been a bubble where you're too rich to get help, too poor to afford all the responsibilities you currently have. These are the people who voted Trump- they think they don't need the government to help them, they just need the government to stop hurting them.

The short end of the stick from the ACA/Obamacare or the short end of the stick for a failure to meaningfully reform health care from successive administrations?

My health insurance bill has been going up 5-10% for the last 10 years. Between my employer and I it's now $14,000 just for insurance. That's nearly double the average total income taxes back in my country of birth.

Unless they had health issues, acute or chronic. In which case the ~6K out of pocket limit was helping them. It provided a ceiling to help keep people from going bankrupt.

Without Obamacare we are probably going to see a return of unlimited out of pocket, no drug coverage and a maximum lifetime benefit (Don't get cancer). So those people are going to get the short end of the stick still as they age.

They can't take your house to repay medical bills. For many people in that bracket "going bankrupt" is essentially having a black mark on their credit score for 7 years. It simply isn't cost effective nor affordable for those people. If it was you would of seen a different outcome yesterday.

> They can't take your house to repay medical bills.

I'm not American. I was under the impression that you can be refused treatment (medicine specifically) if you don't have the money? I've heard stories of people selling their house to buy treatment for ill children.

It's not a matter of "We don't want this product", it is simply unaffordable for a great number of people. For many paying for insurance would essentially mean living like a Chinese peasant farmer, eating ramen noodles every night. Given that it covers essentially nothing until 10k or so, it's not a sacrifice that they are not willing to make.

That said we have a funny system here, when people get to a certain age (when they actually cost money to insure) we give them socialized medicine. Same thing happens if you get really sick and go on disability. It's a nice deal the insurance companies have, they get to privatize the gains and socialize the losses.

Not in Ohio, last night was revenge of the Reagan Democrats for NAFTA , and many of those voters are below $50,000 household.

it seems to be more accurate clustering division around rural / cities than rich / poor

That statistic is heavily distorted by racial demographics.

I think it's an interesting issue because Trump pretty much stands for nothing that could help those people. Maybe the nth time is a charm and the incoming tax breaks for the wealthy will eventually trickle down, but I doubt it.

Solar, wind, repairing of roads and bridges and building and tightening of low skill immigration.

There is a load of blue collar work that can (and urgently needs to) be done in USA. Building a single wind turbine are dollars for R&D, truckers, manufacturers, maintainers, people that install and pour concrete, electricians, miners and so on ...

And also maintaining and repairing the old stuff. The North Dakota oil boom showed that if there is work to be done, blue collar's willingness to do it is there.

Is is mostly a matter of will.

I thought we would get an infrastructure boom from Obama during the Great Recession. We went through 2 huge rounds of spending that mostly went to "shovel ready" projects. From my understanding, today's construction budgets are tied up in capital costs like heavy machinery and materials. There isn't much need for labor anymore with automation and specialized equipment.

There is also the issue of planning out infrastructure improvements. With environmental reviews that can take decades and lawsuits that occur after that, it is extremely difficult to pull the same type of "New Deal" programs that happened during the 1930s.

My guess is for all the spending, very few people would end up employed. Is the goal employment at any cost, or providing people without jobs welfare?

Trump has years of experience in real estate development. I am sure he can pass project trough the regulators.

The critical variable is what is the Congress willing to do - if the Republicans embrace the blue collar workers - a lot can be accomplished.

Right now republicans have a chance to shape the country for a generation. And I hope they will see how rewarding the working class could benefit their big corporate donors - because america need a new middle class that can consume everything that corporate america produces.

And infrastructure spending is hard to resist to - it will benefit even Democratic districts.

As a community we need to create more tools like WordPress that decentralize wealth creation and create jobs. We need to create fewer tools like Medium that centralize wealth creation and eliminate jobs.

I appreciate your passion for decentralization, but these issues go a bit beyond what kinds of software we write. The issues this election raised aren't going to be solved by writing code.

Too true.

If you want to start steering political life according to your values, next election cycle, pick a candidate for city/state/federal/whatever, or cause that matters to you, and give them 10 hours a week of your time.

They might win, and you might have your issue or values better represented at your city/state/federal/whatever.

If they lose, you get up and do it again the next election cycle.

The smaller the election the better, actually. Because your influence will have a greater relative weight.

Though, the vote that you can do that has the most influence on you is the vote with your feet.

It's not just the kind of software, it's the kind of business model we enable with our software. The only way to create local jobs in communities across the United States is to empower people across communities in the United States.

If we look at mature technologies like plumbing we see an industry around them that enables small, local businesses. Yes a relatively few companies make plumbing components, but hundreds of independent plumbers are able to use those components distributed through local shops to solve local problems.

WordPress has done that for software. Through it's decentralized design it enables jobs for consultants, plug-in vendors, theme vendors, designers, web hosts, and content authors. This industry around WordPress employs many, many people. Further, it creates an opportunity for geographically targeted businesses to be built around WordPress.

The architecture of the tools systematizes the business models those tools enable.

Code is just automated human thought. If we can think of a solution code just carries it out at 100Bx / second

>The issues this election raised aren't going to be solved by writing code.

I agree, but I would say that actively selecting what kind of code you will write using criteria that value wide economic utility -- much wider, say, than the goals of the average me-too unicorn chasing project -- is a healthy and all-too-rare thing.

When the only tool you have is a hammer

Well this is hacker news, so I figured code is at least one tool this community has the ability to apply.

Historically speaking, war is very effective at reducing unemployment. I'm not advocating it, but others will soon.

It also seems to be following the same pattern as other industries in advanced economies in a that we're doing more with fewer employees.

So is breaking windows.

Perhaps a revived CCC would be a more, ah, constructive approach?

You mean something like Clinton proposed? Something that Trump wants no part of?

Trump has been harping on infrastructure spending the whole election. That certainly seems like the modern version of the CCC. Hopefully some of that money goes towards national parks and the like.

And in increasing national debts.

There's almost a 100% chance that the country will be at war by the time Trump's first term is up. It's going to be his only shot at a second term given that he won't be able to run on nonsensical rhetoric anymore.

It's not really hard. Do you remember the last 4 consecutives years where USA was in peace?

Just re-institute gladiatorial combat. That seemed to work well for Rome for awhile.

Well, you could roll back globalisation and implement some form of protectionism, which is precisely what Trump has suggested.

Outside the ivory tower of economic models, it does actually make sense. If a country is severely restricted in its capacity to import (an exception being made for raw materials), and has to produce most types of goods itself, then the economy tends to approach something like full employment. Meaning that although overall GDP is not maximised, but everyone has a job, and every industrial sector thrives.

An additional advantage of protectionism is that it would put the brakes on global economic growth, which is the major driver of climate change and ecosystem destruction, but without the side effect of mass unemployment which would be inevitable if free trade remained operative.

Dramatically increase the amount of housing in urban areas so more people can move there and away from the places without any industry left.

This will not help. You are supposing that the people who feel disenfranchised in the Rust Belt want to move to NYC where they can get cheap housing and work in the city. They don't want the China model of having a Foxconn that hires rural workers to work in the big city.

What these people want isn't fully rational; it's highly emotional. They want their 1950s-style old way of life back. They want their jobs in their towns that they grew up in, that they have lived in or raised families in, where they have their church and their community. They want to live in their IL farm town and work at the local union plant and make a living to pay for pensions and healthcare. It is not realistic in a globalized economy and will be less so in a fully domesticated one, but the math is not what matters here.

Urban areas in these places already have plenty of housing that nobody is in. See Detroit for example.

With this thought process it almost seems like you are saying we have to wait for a generation to die off before this problem is "fixed".

Not saying that you are wrong, but it is a sad idea that we can't fix it. Maybe instead of giving out "gov't handouts" we just give out VR headsets and give pple a Matrix like existance who can no longer bare the thought of their current living conditions. Sad.

I wish I could say it was this easy, but the problem isn't entirely generational. There are millions of young people out in these rural areas too. It's where they grew up, where they went to school, where their families are, where their churches are. If they went to college, they went to a minor in-state college/university and ended up not far from their original birthplace.

What these people are seeking in Trump's "make america great again" is a return to 1950s-1960s America, not as it was, but idyllic as it seems in movies and rosy retrospection.

What I see with the Trump win is that America is simply two Americas: the urban, cosmopolitan melting pot America that most of us here live in, where the wealth inequality problem is gentrification and housing supply is restricted. We are trying to get multitudes of races, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds to be able to coexist in the cities. Many of us here are the "elites" even though none of us feel like it, and we take that for granted. That's the whole "white privilege" bit that we hear thrown about by SJWs, and to a large extent they are right in this regard. There is a marked lack of empathy for minorities and "poor" people in SF et al these days. People don't understand it, and it seems that when people go to "understand it" it's some type of socioeconomic tourism where you go hang out in Oakland with locked doors, or if you're in NYC you crawl up to Harlem for a chop cheese, because some rapper talked about it, and you wonder why the bodega has thick acrylic glass in front of the register.

Trump's America is semirural/exurban "American dream" idealism, where people want to "make America great again" by making it great for them in the way it used to be, when America felt white and Christian - that is, not so much talk of gays and minorities and political correctness - you got married, got a nice middle-class job nearby your house, oh, and owned a house and a car and the wife could stay at home. This is what they want; it is what they seem to believe they are promised. It is emotional and has absolutely nothing to do with the status quo; they're hoping by isolating the US from the rest of the world ("like it used to be") they will see this way of life restored.

What they don't understand is that the economics of this is not, and will never be, in their favor.

I feel that it's less about going to a 1950s ideal and more about giving more opportunities to the uneducated rural people who have been extremely hurt by globalism.

That's the analytical way of explaining the root of the emotion.

Those are the same thing.

Even worse, the only reasons the mid-century was so great in America are 1) we had all the gold (from exporting during WW2), and 2) the productive capacity of most other developed countries was completely destroyed (by WW2). Even if globalization and automation were not issues, there would still be no way of life to go back to.

The book Hillbilly Elegy is a great read to get a peak into this culture: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0166ISAS8/

There's still plenty of people on the margin that would move to functioning cities, if housing was cheaper.

(Detroit is not a functioning city.)

That is only going to help more wealthy people move to the cities and take more housing on their own firstly, especially because they will be advertising "new" apartments and thus ask for higher price points. There isn't a very large city without some kind of housing shortage right now. Hacker news seems predominantly upper-class but many articles complain about housing in SF/SV. It seems to me that if housing was reduced, it would just be more upperclass moving to SF/SV instead of the lowerclass. So I don't see how more housing would ultimately fix the issue. Maybe it would help, but fix?

Land Value Tax is the answer. Incidentally, it's biggest proponent, Henry George, who kicked of the late 19th century wave of Progressives hailed from SF.

Proponents of storing wealth in another mechanism other than basically land banking need to work out a more marketable and approachable explanation. I only found Georgism after a multi-decade circuitous, torturous inquiry into why the hell median income-based saving for a house was consistently outstripped by housing cost inflation in all top 50 US cities. In an era where economic value is increasingly defined by cognitive input per unit volume/mass (what I call "cognitive density"), it makes decreasing sense to imbue land with wealth store function.

That's a pretty weak consideration. Even if `give people the ability to store wealth' was an overriding imperative, what's wrong with letting them buy a lump of gold or Google stock?

I have nothing against vesting the wealth into gold. I'm not keen on relying upon secondary markets for wealth storage; bond markets for that purpose are more aligned to what I advocate. I'm on the fence with tying energy storage to wealth storage, still reading up on a thermodynamic basis of economic structures.

I see lots of negative externalities to using preferential credit instruments in a debt-backed monetary system securing land as a store of wealth, especially for late-stage generations like the Millenials and later are experiencing first-hand. The process takes many generations to play out the stage we're at, so it builds up vested interests until some final set of bag holders gets the sucker punch. They (Millenials and later) are on the wrong side of an asset inflation to wage inflation ratio curve function that looks ugly and not resolvable without tremendous disruption to world asset markets.

In an agrarian or even industrial development era, it makes sense that land is a large direct contributor to output profits, and to ascribe wealth storage to it as the improvements that sit on top are enhanced. To my unsophisticated and untrained layman's sense, this reasoning starts to fall apart as industrialization is increasingly mechanized and automated, but there is still a tiny shred of reasoning. I can't find even a slim reasoning for continuing the practice when the land itself doesn't contribute directly to the economic output, which I sense is the case when cognitive effort is the majority input to economic output. Land value then in a commercial real estate context starts to reflect a proximity to supply chain networks where the supply chain is for physically-located talent (SV). That makes sense, though I'm interested to see the impact if VR/AR matures and virtual offices with startlingly-realistic telepresence become feasible (I predict the first 3-6 generations of that tech won't have an impact, and only the later generations will).

Where the reasoning really decouples for me however, is residential real estate. There, I would have expected pricing to essentially follow median wages. Effectively modeling median housing prices as a put option: term length the duration of the median mortgage, strike price the wage earner's expected career earnings over that duration lining up with the house price (or some appropriate fraction thereof). That didn't happen, so I'm misinterpreting something, or don't understand something about using real estate as a store of value, or the market is just staying irrational longer than I am expecting.

I dunno, just rambling here, please correct what is certainly my poor interpretation of what's going on here. I'm just a layman trying to figure out why residential real estate prices seem decoupled from median local income in so many geographies at the same time. I started wandering down these ponderings when I realized that as a remote worker in the US, only some pretty far out places had escaped the residential real estate inflation, whereas in the 70's driving only an hour out of town led to a drastic 75%+ drop in per acre prices. I ended up staying pretty close to an urban area, and paying off my property as quickly as possible, but I feel terrible for the younger generations getting completely screwed.

First, we have to be really carefully to separate 'is' from 'ought' reasoning. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is%E2%80%93ought_problem)

We can not get an `ought' from `is` statements alone. But we can derive a complex or interesting `ought' from a simple `ought' and a bunch of `is' statements.

I want a tax system that can finance a welfare state without burdening the real economy. I care about real gdp, low unemployment and to a small extent equality of after-tax income. I don't care about `storage of wealth': the private sector takes care of that just fine.

Given those `oughts' and a bunch of standard orthodox text book economics, you get a free market laissez faire economy and a state financed by land value tax as a good first order answer. Land value taxes do not disturb the ecomony, since land is a perfectly inelasticly supplied good. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_incidence for who actually ends up paying for taxes on goods and services, and for who can pass them on, and to what degree. It's all about elasticity.)

As a minor point, you want to add some sin taxes like eg carbon and alcohol tax, where you actually actively want the change to demand and supply that the tax causes: less carbon dioxide release, less alcohol consumed.

I don't see how agrarian or industrial development era makes a difference here. Eg Australia is an advanced economy, but relies on resource extraction and agriculture a lot, and a land value tax would make sense for them too. (They actually have one on the books, but it's mostly toothless with a small base and low rates.)

Ultimately, thermodynamics might be able to explain a lot about biology, society and economics. Alas, I don't think that science has advanced well enough for that grounding, yet; yet alone our laymen's understanding of it. Mostly, the thermodynamics that we have a good handle on is equilibrium thermodynamics, or at best near-equilibrium. Economies are thermodynamically very open systems with matter, energy and entropy flowing in and out. (Even in the confusingly similarly named `economic equilibrium'.)

And in any case, such a re-interpretation must `save the phenomena'. Ie just like the statistical mechanics explanation of thermodynamics makes the same predictions as the older macro-scale traditional thermodynamics.

> Where the reasoning really decouples for me however, is residential real estate. There, I would have expected pricing to essentially follow median wages.

I would expect land prices to follow basically average disposable income:

Basically, people use their income left over after taxes, groceries etc to bid up all available residential land for either paying rent or paying mortgages on. This sets the monthly cost of land, and a look at the prevailing interest rate on mortgages will tell you the value: monthly cost per square metre * 12 / yearly interest rate == capital value per square metre

(Where a eg 2% interest rate goes into the calculation as 0.02, ie a multiplicative factor of 50.)

Feel free to send me an email to continue the discussion. My address is in my profile.

Unless you're in a flourishing coastal city (there are exceptions, sure), many cities in this country have huge housing surpluses.

I'm not so sure. I'm in the Midwest, and housing shortages and gentrification are extremely prevalent problems here too, in almost every city with employers. It's a major problem even for some absolutely tiny towns - http://www.freep.com/story/money/real-estate/2015/12/21/hous...

Sure, the scale is way smaller than coastal cities. But if you adjust the prices to match the incomes, the unaffordability problem is roughly identical in terms of pain. A Michigan $300k urban condo is basically as unaffordable as a Seattle $600k condo, once you notice that Michigan incomes are roughly 50% lower than Seattle, on average.

Sprawl is cheap, that's absolutely true. But it's also sprawl -- with all the problems that entails. The only cities I know of with "huge housing surpluses", are cities that have majorly failed in some way (like Flint).

People _can't_ move away. A large portion of their net worth is tied up in their house. They don't have the cash they need to move. There's no way you can reduce prices of housing in urban areas to match what the empty suburbs are at already. Not to mention the psychological issues of telling people they won't have a lawn or a house any more.

I don't think you're wrong. But this is the same situation that "millennials" have been facing. They have no cash to move from their family home to chase opportunity. I'm sure many would love to keep their standard of living as-is and have a good job, but most accept smaller and more expensive housing with problems like traffic, crime, pollution in urban areas in return for employment.

The big difference I see is most millennials want to move to a big city and work hard at creating a new and better future.

Most of the worth of the house is actually in the land below it, not in the house on top.


This is the insanely simple and insanely correct answer.

If I wanted to live in a city, I would have moved into one years ago. I don't. I like where I live. I just want a job within less than an hours' commute of me.

That's fine, you can live wherever you want, but jobs are moving to cities and if we want to make life better for the people working those jobs then we should build housing for them in supply adequate to make it affordable.

You say "jobs are moving to cities" as if it's a law of nature. It's not.

Jobs have been moving to cities ever since the first city existed. It's a fact of physics and economics that cities simply have a higher density of jobs than rural areas - and that reduces costs of applying to jobs for people.

You can stick fingers in your ears and shout it isn't so or a law of nature, but that's just being deliberately economically illiterate.

It's happening in every country on earth, regardless of the policies of the respective governments.

Yes, let's decentralize our business. Scatter them throughout the country. Let's put some roadblocks on being able to co-mingle with other businesses


I do semi-agree with you. I think remote work is the future but part of that equation is manufacturing jobs are gone. It doesn't matter if we shut down 100% of the jobs in China and Mexico and bring them here, manufacturing jobs are dying.

Anyone in manufacturing needs a way out. Either they need to find it or we need to help them but twiddling our thumbs and pretending like automation isn't coming is short-sighted.

I'm sure there are people that want to live in the wilds of Alaska, but have all of the benefits of living in NYC with regards to jobs, but that doesn't mean it's possible or even likely.

What you want and what reality is don't have to match up.

There's a reason cities vote the way they do... Cities are terrible places of hate and murder and disenfranchisement...

Well, you're right they are places of disenfranchisement. We had one party this week work to make sure polling places in the city would have the longest waiting times they could get away with.

"Oh let's down vote him because I don't like what he says" It's the truth

No, you're being downvoted because you're wrong.


That's using misguided statistics and cherry picking. Enlighten me with real information.

Sorry, I'm afraid I'm not your own personal Google.

You can stop incentivising off-shoring of jobs - it's too easy for companies to close down profitable activities and move them abroad to make more profit

If you drive out of any city in US or EU you'll see the devastation that has caused

I've been around Europe. What devastation are you talking about? It's a diverse place.

How can you stop incentivising automation of jobs?

By not making labor prohibitively expensive (automation will still happen of course, but at a slower rate).

When you make labor not prohibitively expensive, these jobs can't pay their workers enough to put a roof over their heads, and food on their table.

If your job can't provide poverty-level income, you aren't helping.

Make robots pay taxes!

This is simply not true. The exit polls suggest it's middle and upper middle class who primarily voted for Trump.

> Now that the voices of the disenfranchised blue collar workers have been heard, what actually can be done to help them?

You are 100% correct. Trump wont do anything about it, but now that the message has been sent and heard I think the next election in 4 years is where we will see this being addressed an hopefully some change for these people. The people want change, now they've been heard. Both political parties were decimated in this election, I think they'll try harder next time for the people.

Whatever it is, you do to help, you cannot do it without a cost. And I think the problem in the US is less about what can one do to help and more about nobody wanting to be burdened with the cost.

And then people say that economic inequality is not a problem. This is exactly why economic inequality is a problem. Because you end up in situations where 1/3 of the country needs to be taxed to help the other 2/3 and that 1/3 does not feel like helping because they don't see any gain from it.

Those old jobs are never coming back.

No, and it's going to get much worse when the coming automation waves hit.

We need a sociological solution. Perhaps base income?

Yes to basic income--if democratic socialists and Milton Friedman can agree on an idea, it's worth trying out at least.

There is absolutely no way in hell basic income is anywhere near the table now. It's not even in the kitchen. It's been returned to the grocery store.

Which is unfortunate since many of these out-of-work Trump supporters who are never getting their factory jobs back would likely benefit from basic income.

We have to factor in, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, some people are too proud to admit they need help.

The reason they want Trump is he promised that he will make it where they can help themselves.

UBI can't work with the open border situation we currently have.

Firstly, we don't have open borders. Secondly, why not? Lots of other social programs work with the present "border situation". No illegal immigrants are drawing social security or medicaid.

Presumably it would only go to citizens, yes?

I'm not so sure about that.

Robots will not be immediately cost-effective for all production and it may be 30 years before they permeate manufacturing. Until then humans will serve.

I've complained on HN about the low quality of many goods (e.g., nail clippers) and about how the supply chain to US consumers today is no better than it was in my youth more than 50 years ago. Most of you were not yet around to know what the supply chain was like 50 years ago so please suspend your disbelief.

QC in some countries appears impervious to consumer feedback; they couldn't produce a decent set of pliers 20 years ago and they cannot today. They may never succeed due to their unique social and political histories. Lack of communication and competitive feedback in non-free markets inhibits quality. In contrast USA manufacturers 50 years ago and earlier produced very high quality goods (many still in use!).

I expect the USA to bring back production of high-quality goods and a more robust supply chain. Until someone invents a Star Trek replicator, I expect JIT inventory management to be discarded in many industries; it's primary benefit was bigger bonuses for MBAs.

No education I know of available today will prepare youth for the future they face. Once machine learning and AI become widely embedded in manufacturing and commerce, skills required will be beyond the ability of most. Meanwhile grades are falling and testing becoming more lenient.

Someday almost no one will have a job. We should plan accordingly.

Just for fun, see the movie "Idiocracy ":


Thread on IMDB discussing the relevance of "Idiocracy" to Trump's victory today:


"QC in some countries appears impervious to consumer feedback; they couldn't produce a decent set of pliers 20 years ago and they cannot today. They may never succeed due to their unique social and political histories."

Would you provide some examples of the countries you're thinking of? My inclination is that it's more a function of demand for cheap products and unwillingness to pay more for better quality even while complaining about the quality of what some are willing to pay for. Also, the generalization that all (or most) products coming out of a country are of equal in quality. Two counter examples come to mind as well. Japan and China have both been a source of cheap, low-quality goods during the last century, and both also produce some very high quality goods as well. I've also purchased very low-quality "Made in USA" products.

And things change, including "unique social and political histories". Is it more accurate and useful to think of differences in QC in a general way or to look more closely at the incentives and circumstances at work?

If I've mischaracterized your views, please do point it out, as that's not my intent. Thanks!

One thing that helps countries develop the expertise to produce high qualities, is selling to fickle and demanding foreigners.

Export led industrialization has worked well for the Asian Tigers, and the quality of their products is decent enough.

It's also instructive to look at Europe's industrialization in the 19th century. The Brits famously demanded Made in Germany to be marked on goods to allow the British customer to detect the inferior products. Turned out, they weren't inferior any more.

> I'm less worried about the accusations of racism

Why? They elected a guy endorsed by the KKK and white supremacists. At the very least this is a kick in the pants to minority voters (although 8% of black voters and 29% of latino voters went for trump).

This is the crux of why Trump's pandering to them was total bullshit. He can't do anything to help them because the jobs that left aren't coming back. In four years they will be in the same position they are now but they wont have a black man or a Democrat to blame for it and so they wont be quite as bitter about it.

I think this is a bit dismissive of the issue --and the thinking that sunk the Hillary's campaign.

In terms of trade, the US typically like to pay it forward --it lets trade partners have a slight advantage so long as it sees a net positive (see China) presumably Trump would ask for equal benefits.

So rather than asking is this good for the global economy his administration might instead ask, is this good for the US economy? While the answer to the questions often overlap, at times the current answer does not optimize of the US economy.

> In terms of trade, the US typically like to pay it forward --it lets trade partners have a slight advantage so long as it sees a net positive (see China) presumably Trump would ask for equal benefits.

That's a weird language. It's to the best benefit of the country to just adopt unilateral free trade. No need to bargain.

Of course, politically, that's not feasible.

But there's no `benefit' that comes at a cost to the country when allowing your citizens to freely trade with other countries citizens.

>It's to the best benefit of the country to just adopt unilateral free trade. No need to bargain

I'm not seeing Brazil, Japan or China adopt this philosophy --even the EU. If you were to start unilateral free trade what happens is others will protect themselves and you are left holding the deficit bag. Your consumers will be happy (yay consumerism!), but your wage-earners will not be happy.

Deficits don't work that way..

If people want to give us goods and services in exchange for green bills that we can print at will, all the better.

Obviously Brazil, China, Japan and the EU agree with you, they all love trade imbalances, dont they!

Europe has a trade surplus, they aren't doing so well.

Australia has been running a deficit for ages. They have been doing splendidly.

Also, often a trade deficit is just a statistical artefact: if the Chinese ship a billion t-shirts to the US, and in return get a skyscraper in Manhattan, that skyscraper-for-t-shirts trade will show up as contributing to the trade-deficit, just because the skyscraper doesn't move.

(Some for them buying some silicone valley company instead of the skyscraper. And America is good at producing lots of those companies.)

It didn't help that while he was "bullshitting", Hillary was calling them deplorable. Empathy for the win.

You have it backwards. She was trying to differentiate his racist support from his "we're worried about our jobs" support. Read the text of her speech.

"You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. [...] But the other basket — and I know this because I see friends from all over America here — I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas — as well as, you know, New York and California — but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroine, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well."

EDIT: The transcript I pulled this from: http://time.com/4486502/hillary-clinton-basket-of-deplorable...

Imagine you're a poorly educated working class person who's struggling.

You hear both candidates speak. Hillary says "We need to have empathy for those people," a phrase that's clearly referring to you by the surrounding context. She's obviously not talking to you, she's talking about you.

Trump says "I LOVE THE POORLY EDUCATED!!! And I know you're struggling and I'm going to fix it!"

He's talking directly to you.

Who do you vote for?

Does it even matter what she says at that point about empathy? No. She clearly doesn't even consider the possibility that a poorly educated person who's leaning Trump would even be in the audience. Does "We need to understand you people and empathize with you" sound inclusive? If you're in Camp Hillary it might. If you're not in Camp Hillary, well, those words are pretty much an admission that the in-crowd doesn't relate to you at all, or consider you one of them.

And that's the complete arrogance and obliviousness that allowed the left to lose an election to an extremely weak opponent.

I feel like you're inventing a story here where one candidate talked to people but the other talked about them. It doesn't hold up. Not just beacuse none of your quotes were actually quotes. Nor just because Trump voters had a higher-than-average income.

"We need to have empathy for those people" because of "those people" is exclusive, but "We need to understand you people and empathize with you" is also exclusive. Is it the "you people"? Or should she have lied and said "I'm one of you". I don't know if it matters because she didn't say that anyway. Then the "I love the poorly educated", which is also a "[them]" is inclusive.

"She clearly doesn't even consider the possibility that a poorly educated person who's leaning Trump would even be in the audience." She made that speech at a fundraiser. Why would she speak to someone who maybe was there isntead of the people that were? What did Trump say at his private fundraisers? Should we compare stump speeches?

Did your hypothetical voter hear Trumps speeches where he constantly mentions how rich he is, how much money he makes in real estate deals, and all the fancy stuff he does? How many golf courses did he talk about in a day? I don't see why it's arrogant to not believe in Trump as a populist. Or to see irony in the claim that one candidate better cares about, relates to, or understands the poorly educated when his party wants to limit social safety nets, unions, health care, and the ability of poor people and minorities to vote.

As to the left's obliviousness, our candidate get more votes.

There's no "story," this is a post-mortem. She lost, we get to figure out why. That takes a bit of humility.

My lasting impression here was that the DNC's goal was not to win the presidency, it was to get Hillary Clinton elected to the presidency. There's a difference, and in this case, it was a vital one. During the Democratic caucuses I watched a lot of people vote for Hillary because it was assumed "she has the best chance of beating Trump." But the numbers at the time didn't even bear it out, and here we are.

What bit the DNC in the ass in a big way last night was that they completely miscalculated the importance of a large portion of the electorate that Trump actively courted, nominated a candidate that had almost no chance of swaying these voters, and ignored and denigrated them for the entire campaign. Whoops. Calling this a 'blind spot' would probably be an understatement.

Michael Moore called this one months ago. I hope the lesson of this election is not lost on anyone.


>What bit the DNC in the ass in a big way last night was that they completely miscalculated the importance of a large portion of the electorate that Trump actively courted, nominated a candidate that had almost no chance of swaying these voters, and ignored and denigrated them for the entire campaign. Whoops. Calling this a 'blind spot' would probably be an understatement.

Yes to humility. I'm fine with the party doing some self-analysis and changing how they do things. I just don't think the math supports this narrative. Did Trump actually bring in new voters to his party? That was the story in the primary (and apparently now) but I don't think the data matched it then. It seems he did well with Republicans. Would any Democratic candidate have swayed rural white voters, or any white voters?

And suppose we take away the arguments about Trump's racist stuff. Say all these portion of voters really did vote because they had been ignored and are worried about their jobs and economic uncertainty. I don't think Trump's stated policies will help them. I think they're wrong to think trade policies and immigration are causing their problems. And if the story about this populist uprising is true, these don't seem to want a social safety net, expanded access to health care, environmental regulation, or unions, as much as they want a wall to keep out Mexicans. The DNC doesn't need to sway these voters. They're Republicans.

And finally, she got more votes. How terrible could Hillary have been if she got more votes? We need to keep this election in perspective. It was very very close. There are still a lot of people that want Democrats in office.

She called 50% of Trump's supporters racists, homophobes, etc. How is that not exactly what the quote is made out to be? If she had said "some of Trump's supporters" you'd be right.

You'd think by now politicians --- you have one job! --- would learn that this message always loses. Attack the candidate, never the candidate's supporters. Trump offers a corollary, which is simply "if you're attacking someone other than the candidate, just be super specific about who you're attacking".

The "deplorable" thing cost Clinton. The attacks on the Khan family don't seem to have cost Trump much at all.

I'll agree that she worded that poorly and was unkind. Even Clinton apologized for that part. " “I regret saying ‘half’ -- that was wrong." [1] That's one of the differences between the candidates.

In support of her defense of the statement: "to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half". That sounds very vague to me. She even referred to "you could put half" as "grossly generalistic".

Then in the rest of her statement she got to empathizing with the people that aren't voting because we have too many Muslims and brown people make me squeeamish.

[1]: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/09/10/clinton-says-regr...

If you say something like that and expect anyone to keep listening or reading after your first sentence, you have no business -- or future -- in politics.

Psh. Lots of politicians have said far worse and been elected. Example: Donald Trump.

He didn't have to outrun the proverbial bear. He only had to outrun Hillary.

I don't understand what you're saying. Are you agreeing with me that your previous statement is wrong?

It would sound much nicer if she had left that basket of deplorable out of the statement.

Thanks, I had never read the full quote. That seems much more reasonable than what everyone made it out to be.

Be sure to also read her State Department emails that were leaked. Paints a very different picture of her than what headlines do.

Reminds me of romneys infomous 47% remark. Seems like there is a geuine disconnect btwn current pollitical class and the "silent majority"

Hillary won the popular vote - I'm not sure there is such a thing as a "silent majority" for a candidate that lost the popular vote?

We don't use the popular vote for anything in the US. It's a completely meaningless metric.

Your statement does not provide support for their being a silent majority for Trump. But I hope people consider what you said when someone talks about how Hillary or the media or whatever is part of the corrupt "Establishment".

It doesn't matter whether there was a "silent majority" for Trump or anyone else because we don't attach any importance to a majority vote at the national level. Nor should we. If we did, three metropolitan areas in New York and California would dictate the outcomes of our Presidential elections.

But I hope people consider what you said when someone talks about how Hillary or the media or whatever is part of the corrupt "Establishment".

That, on the other hand, is no longer questionable.


Good thing the rules are agreed to before the competition. BTW, the popular vote hasn't been completely counted, and probably never will be. Absentee ballot, which generally favor Republicans, will not be counted in any of the states that didn't have a close margin of error(read: most of the red states). In a close election like this, you really have no ground complaining about popular vote.

Very true and worth remembering for anyone planning to run for elected office in the future.

It's interesting reading through comments and seeing "them" mentioned. A lot of it will be because HN has a lot of international posters, but descriptions of Clinton voters don't read like this.

Considering that so many of Trump's promises are infeasible, I'm wondering what Trump will actually do in office.

Considering the majority in the house and senate, day 1 the ACA is going to get repealed - millions will lose their health coverage, and my employer's profitability is going to tank as a result as an increase of patients coming into the ER can't pay their medical bills and we end up sending them to collections before eventually writing it off.

It is highly telling that pharma stocks are strongly up following the Trump victory.

Investors believe that drug prices and healthcare costs will reap increasing profits to shareholders in the next four years.

Republicans already had a majority in the house and senate, and have tried to repeal the ACA many times. They still don't have a supermajority in the senate, though, so I expect Democrats will continue to filibuster any attempts to repeal.

They passed a reconciliation bill[1], which needed only a simple majority in both houses and is filibuster-proof. The only thing that stopped that bill from going through was a Presidential veto. The ACA is going to be repealed.

1. https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3762

This scares me.

Before the ACA, no one would sell me health insurance. Several years ago, I had my gallbladder out. So whenever I'd try to buy health insurance, "pre-existing condition" would kick in, even though I'm perfectly healthy.

So, I'm scared now, to once again be a self-employed adult without access to medical care. At least I'm in pretty good health. I know a few people who rely on their health care who, if they end up getting kicked off of their insurance plans, may not live very long. That's scary to think about, too.

I'm in a similar boat. I'm a cancer survivor, in my early thirties, and run a technology business. Without government intervention, I can not buy health insurance.

Even if you want to remove the compassion for it, eliminating the ability obtain medical insurance is terrible for the economy. I waited for years to separate from my last employer until I was confident that I could obtain health insurance. There are a ton of risks when starting a new company and the last thing you want to think about is whether or not you can pay medical bills if something were to happen again.

Rather than working on my business, I now need to setup a meeting with the state's high-risk insurance pool to figure out whether they're finally going to eliminate the program and then compare that with the paltry list of plans left on ACA as well as what a broker can find me. To be clear, ACA has massive issues. That said, it meant that I could buy insurance, even if it wasn't the perfect insurance that I wanted.

What would you say to thousands of people with decent health whose premiums and deductibles have gone up and who are forced to keep paying it to avoid the penalty?

While it seems fair to subsidize the costs of your particular problem, does it also seem fair to ask of them to subsidize the costs associated with obesity and palliative care of the old?

These people do not have software developer salaries either. The income cut-off for being offered some sort of a discount on the plans is rather low, so it really eats into the budgets of their families.

Prior to ACA, people who were old or obese could still buy insurance. Prior to ACA, people like me who were cancer survivors could not, in any way shape or form, buy health insurance outside of government programs. If you are asking whether or not I believe it to be fair that premiums have gone up because in order to cover the uninsurable, absolutely.

And, to be clear, even now health insurance is not cheap for me. I did better in my business than I ever did before and I still budget for and spend 9% of my gross income on healthcare, which is split between premiums and my out of pocket max.

ACA is absolutely, positively not a perfect law. However, ACA has allowed me to start a business. ACA has given me the possibility of starting a family. I am not alone. If the cost of that is the requirement that I muster enough compassion to cover the costs associated with subsidizing the obese and old, then that is absolutely worth it.

I think it is fair to ask healthy people to subsidize health care for unhealthy people.

I think the best means of structuring society's relationship to medical care is to make it available to everyone within that society, spreading the costs across all parts of society.

That, to me, is the most sensible approach, even when some people pay more than they use, or some people use more than they pay for.

Pooled costs and guaranteed access to shared resources is one of the things that society is/does. Medical care doesn't seem different from roads, schools, police, the FCC, whatever.

Whether the ACA does a good job spreading the costs around or getting people access to medical care, that's a separate discussion. But whether it should at all, not a question for me. It should.

I feel for you. Working in the medical industry I feel the ACA is one of the most important (if not what many of us would have wanted) steps towards providing care to everyone we have taken, the fact that it's going to end up vanishing is going to have a huge impact - one that unfortunately is likely to only be felt years from when it happens.

Without the Medicaid expansion, they likely won't be able to afford any private insurance as well. The ultimate outcome is going to be uninsured people flooding the ER, who by law has to stabilize them. But maintenance drugs will be out of reach of many.

It's the loss of access to maintenance drugs that's going to shorten the lives of some folks I know.

God help us if any of us get cancer.

Aaaand, just learned that a buddy of mine was diagnosed with liver cancer.


Repeal and replace. I'm sure Trump's solution will not leave you in the cold. It would be wreckless to repeal without ensuring people like you keep your insurance.

Would you trust your health or your life to "repeal and replace"?

Because that is what has been asked of me and some folks I know.

Serious question. Are you in a position where your access to health care rests on "repeal and replace" working out?

Replace with what, exactly?

A few years ago I read an article in the online version of some magazine -- Fortune, maybe -- that was attempting to rebut the argument that the GOP opposed the ACA but had never offered a coherent counterproposal. The author listed maybe a dozen plans that had been put forth by various Republican legislators.

I commented on the piece that a dozen plans is no plan. The GOP needed, I argued, to settle on a single plan to go to the voters with and say, "Here, this is what we should do instead of the ACA." Nothing like that has ever happened.

Well, now they'll have their chance to repeal the ACA with or without a replacement in hand. I won't be surprised at all if they don't replace it with anything, and we'll be back to where we were. -- Which will really put a damper on people over 45 or so quitting their jobs to do startups.

> I'm sure Trump's solution will not leave you in the cold.

I hope you're right, but I don't know how you can possibly be sure.

The current insurance market is not a permanent thing. If you look at the ACA marketplace, the list of plans changes year by year and that's the same thing that happens on the private market. In that context, what does keep your insurance even mean? Yes, I highly doubt we'll get dropped from our insurance plans in the middle of the year, but those of us on the independent market almost always have to buy a new plan every year. As such, the question of whether or not we can obtain a new plan is extremely important.

They also had a president that would veto any attempt to do so, only time will tell at this point - but the outlook is grim in my opinion.

millions lost their health coverage when premiums and deductibles skyrocketed

At present, there are millions more people with health insurance in the USA than before Romneycare became the law of the land. Especially in the states that implemented the Medicaid expansion provisions.

The Medicaid expansion is a particular sore spot if the ACA gets repealed, a majority of our physicians are in California where Medi-Cal has had gobs of funding and covered an expanded population well before the ACA was implemented - but for those in states that did rely on the expansion funding I expect our collection rates are going to plummet as Medicaid patients continue to make up a large majority of those that utilize emergency department and urgent care facilities.

There's going to be a lot of people losing Medicaid if this happens that will become self-pay (aka, no money) patients. Not a good time to be in the billing industry.

They didn't necessarily lose their coverage, they just ended up with much worse coverage with much higher deductibles.

Those of us who have stuck with our pre-Obamacare plans are paying dearly for the privilege. That's OK, I understand that Obamacare was supposed to fail from day one, in order to pave the way for single-payer coverage.

But it's becoming increasingly apparent that we're going to get the first part without the second.

Maybe he will more or less admit that alot of it was just theatrics, and he will go on to be a sane[ish] human being and normal[ish] POTUS

One hopes. But people did vote for whom he appeared to be. Even if it was an act, that is, to me, a scary thought.

The world is a scary place. Did you not know that? Bullies, liars, and cheaters win. That's the unfortunate truth.

You don't think the checks and balances built into congress and the supreme court basically force him to be a normalish POTUS?

The checks and balances are a republican controlled congress (House and Senate). And a supreme court where republicans will be able to select a majority of the members. The only check and balance left is via a Democratic filibuster.

And maybe I'll get a pony.

And even if that somehow happens, those scenes from his rallies are not going away. The videos of people cheering racist rhetoric, cheering the idea of an entire religion being banned from the country, the idea of not giving a shit that someone confessed to sexual assault, is not going away. If anything, it's going to flourish.

This is what I fear the most. The rise of alt-right rhetoric making it's way into the mainstream. I guess the pendulum had to swing away from talk of global unity and progress and towards isolationism at some point - I just hope it swings back the other way before it's too late.

You do realize when you're talking about "global unity" that almost the whole rest of the world is more racist and sexist than the US, right? I come from a Muslim country. Replace "Muslims" with "Jews" and the worst things said at a Trump rally would be socially acceptable where I am from.

That's a shame, though I doubt you could objectively quantify and compare the sort of racism and sexism here with that of another given nation except at a surface level.

You don't even need an objective measure. It's so deeply ingrained people don't even think about it. For example, Americans will refer to someone from another country by their nationality. "He's Canadian" or "he's German." In Bangladesh, everyone not from Bangladesh is "bideshi"--"foreigner."

And if you're "bideshi" you'll never be "Bangladeshi." A white person can live in Bangladesh their whole life and never be "from there." But at least they generally respect white people. Hang around an immigrant community somewhere like Toronto and get folks talking about black people or Jewish people. Ask a girl's parents about how they would feel about her marrying a black person. You won't get a more negative reaction anywhere in Alabama.

As to the issue of sexism--I don't think it even needs saying.

There are lots of ways to objectively quantify racism and sexism. Just off the top of my head:

- Are women/minorities legally allowed to vote?

- Do women/minorities vote at the same rates as majority men?

- Are women/minorities represented in office at the same rates as majority men?

- Are there any legal restrictions against women/minorities that don't apply to majority men like the right drive, the right to own property, rules around dress or appearance?

- Are women/minorities paid as well for their work as majority men?

- Is abortion legal?

- Do women/minorities have equal access to education as majority men?

- Is interracial marriage legal? How common is it?

- How integrated is housing? Do people of different races tend to live near each other?

I'm sure this list isn't exhaustive. As I said, just a start off the top of my head.

Act as an unfiltered pass-through for the house most likely.

The same he always does: Blaming things on others. This is what worries me the most: Trump won't get anything done but blame it, yet again, on some minority. And, yet again, chances are people will believe him.

Maybe these people would rather be lied to by a con artist than to be made the punchline of every joke by every liberal blogger, pundit and late night host on a daily basis.

This election taught us that one of the parties is peddling very divisive rhetoric, and it's not the one you may think it is.

In my experience, those people aren't looking to Trump to "fix" their problems. As you said, in many cases those jobs simply aren't coming back.

The difference is that Trump said "I'll do everything I can to put things back together" (while not making any specific promises), while Clinton said "You're sexist and deplorable if you vote for that guy".

Trump recognized that the problems existed. He was the first presidential candidate to do even that.

Education is the way to prosperity. We can look at Trump's win a loud scream from citizens that are in financial pain. The current government has not met their needs and they spoke out loud with their vote. The greatness of our constitution is that every so often governmental changes happen without bloodshed. We can thank the wisdom of our founding fathers for that.

The government's job now is to make sure that all it's citizens prosper as the global economic system changes. The tragedy of this election cycle is that the focus was not on how to make education available to all. We have a K to 12 system that does not produce a person that's ready for the workforce. It's expected that college is the next step. Yet college is such a financial burden on young adults that it becomes a problem rather than a benefit. First, we can't let that continue for the benefit of all. We need to make sure that education reform becomes the priority. Reform in terms of getting a person ready for the future rather than babysit them in schools.

People like to focus on spending more money and adding technology but that's not the solution. It's a deeper problem in the structure of the education system and parental support. I hope for our good the new president can see that and move forward with reform.

The problem is automation and technology is getting so good that we don't need that many people working anymore. Autonomous vehicles have a very good shot of displacing a lot of jobs in a few decades. You can't also tell people in their 50s and 60s that you'll educate them for a new profession.

I remember an MIT economist Zhou Lin said this would be one of the big problems of our generation. I suspect Basic Income would have helped in the interim.

Is this a policy problem?

I'd entertain a discussion that it was a policy problem and we should have had plans as we engaged in freer trade and globalization and saw imports starting to eat away at these jobs.

I don't think there is a policy to put the genie back in the bottle now and I don't think these people want anything else but that. (to speak in gross generalizations)

The old school manufacturing base provided jobs where a single earner with no notable education could buy a home, raise a family, maybe send his kids to college. And he had a union. It's hard to imagine it being that way ever again. You can re-train them but they aren't going to just become knowledge workers; worse they have to want retraining and this election sure didn't make it sound like they want that..

Capitalism and competition can be rough. Ways of life, jobs, ways of doing things, products, all that stuff can go away with ruthless efficiency in a free market.

> what policies can be put in place specifically to help this demographic?

The overall tenor of change in recent decades is flat-out throwing them under the bus. In almost every way, the global society moves in directions that conspire to make this whole class of people extinct.

Short of stopping global progress, I see no long-term "solution" for them.

This was posted separately, but flagged for some reason. It talks about what Trump will do first 100 days in office.

https://assets.donaldjtrump.com/_landings/contract/O-TRU- 102316-Contractv02.pdf

For the immediate, I think Trump addressed this in his victory speech.


Rebuilding infrastructure. Construction (and associated services) jobs.

Now that the voices of the disenfranchised blue collar workers have been heard, what actually can be done to help them?

My advice to progressive and left-leaning 20-something, 30-something people in the Bay Area: Stop denigrating that demographic! Donald Trump was a stealth 3rd party candidate, fueled by the dissatisfaction of huge swath of the US public whose fortunes are falling from majority middle class to minority lower class. Denigrating them only serves to divide our society further. The Democratic party needs to think of such people as constituents -- as it had once in the past.

If you dump on them, they're of course going to dump back. It's only the upper 1% that benefits from that. It's called "divide and conquer."

What, you don't think deriding them as "deplorables" is a good way to convince them to vote for a more progressive candidate?

The unemployment rate in the US has shrunk from about 10% in 2009 to 4.9% in 2016. The homicide and violent crime rates has also continued to shrink from a peak in 1992. By any statistical measure you can think of, the US population is doing better today than in 2008.

Except that 4.9% rate is a) an average across the country, and b) not reflective of the true rate of unemployment. ShadowStats suggests the real rate (including those who have given up on finding work) is more like 23%. In certain areas of the country (the rust belt, for example), it's higher than that.

I've only made a cursory glance, but the statistics on that site appears to be the work of an MBA named John Williams. A lot of other sites claims to have debunked ShadowStats.com and that their data is flawed. In addition to that, no other source claims that the US employment rate has stayed constant since 2010.

Oh, and to explore the data he is using to draw the graphs you need to be a SGS subscriber which costs $89 for six months.

In Pennsylvania (which I think is the center of the Rust belt) unemployment has decreased from a high of 8.7% to 5.3%. It is important to note that even if you believe the numbers are fudged, they aren't more fudged today than they were in 2008. Even if the real unemployment rate is double, that just means the decrease is from 17.4% to 10.6% instead.

I don't know anything about that site, but the employment rate has remained roughly constant since 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2013 (when I last looked). The unemployment rate had declined by 3% since 2010, but the employment rate hadn't budged.

This was a puzzling stat. NPR(?) did an expose on how states were moving the long-term unemployed into disability programs to get them off the states' budgets and onto the federal government's rolls. Their investigation into the private companies that states outsource this to seemed to show that this practice accounted for much of the decline in the unemployment rate. The rest was people simply giving up the search.

So yes, the numbers are fudged more than they were in 2008. By shuffling employable people from one (state) agency to another (federal) agency, the politicians in power can brag that they've lowered unemployment without ever having to show any evidence of increasing employment. And states got to make room in their cramped budgets.

It's statistical slight of hand.

I didn't think of that. But look at the stats here: http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DatasetCode=LFS_SEXAGE_I_R# When employment rate was at its lowest it 2009, it was 67.6% but for the last year they have numbers which is 2015 it was 68.7%. So even by that metric things have gotten better.

Over that same time period [1], unemployment fell by 4%, which means that we shifted up to 2.9% of the eligible working population onto long-term disability, effectively paying them not to work. And not paying them much, either. Disability benefits are depressingly inadequate to survive on.

So, in effect, we've taken a population that was capable of productive labor and banned them from participating in the labor force, locking them in poverty. We've increased taxpayer burden while simultaneously reducing the number of taxpayers. And we've done this in the middle of a massive demographic shift that's already piling citizens on the wrong side of the contributor-recipient equation.

So no, I don't see how that's an improvement on anything. It's a net negative in terms of productivity, tax base, and individual quality of life.

[1]: The OECD data doesn't seem to correlate precisely with the BLS data, but the trends are the same.

But how do you know everyone who is isn't employed anymore is on disability? Do you have a source for that? Because I think it could also be that a lot of adults choose to study more years in college. Some may opt for paternity leave or (however unlikely) feel that they can afford to live on their spouses salary.

Either way, 68.7% > 67.6% so my point about the US doing better is correct.

Yeah, that's why I said "up to". Apologies for overstating the case. The truth is that it's hard to pinpoint the exact value.

SSDI applicants accounted for around 30% of the drop in the labor force participation rate, according to a couple of studies. That means that around 1% of the working population was shifted onto disability. Two estimates I've read by researchers suggest that about half of all applicants to SSDI were sufficiently physically disabled to prevent them from working. The other half were economic refugees. So if half of that 1% did so for economic -- not physical -- reasons, then we've just shifted around 0.5% of the workforce since 2010 onto a federal welfare program that's going bankrupt.

And disturbingly few analyses of employment data discuss the many elephants in the room: The workforce is rapidly aging, the social safety net is massively underfunded, health care costs keep rising, and wages have been stagnant for a decade or more. This means that each retiree/disabled worker/kid on SSDI costs more to take care of at exactly the same time that each additional job in the economy pays less. And while these problems aren't as pronounced in the US as they are in Japan and Germany, they're exacerbated by spiraling health care costs.

So no, the US isn't necessarily doing better because the picture is bigger and more nuanced than "68.7% > 67.6%". Your employment rate numbers simply mean that a greater percentage of Americans are working than were before. The tax revenue and value produced by that 1.1% who have found a new spot in the workforce does not necessarily offset the costs produced by the 0.5% who have been permanently placed on disability, collecting a monthly stipend and having their medical costs covered. In fact, I'd argue it's probably a net negative.

But now you are talking a lot of "points" without citing any statistics. Like "the social safety net is massively underfunded". I grant you that that can be true, but is it more underfunded today than it was in 2008? This is the point I'm trying to make; you can make a lot of talk about things are getting worse, but when you look at the numbers they are getting better (or at least aren't getting worse).

> Like "the social safety net is massively underfunded". I grant you that that can be true, but is it more underfunded today than it was in 2008?

The Social Security trustees themselves noted in their last several reports that the retiree trust fund would be cashflow negative by 2028 and totally insolvent by 2034. And as recently as 2015 the SSDI fund was projected to run out by December 2016. So last year, to prevent catastrophe, Congress quietly transferred some case from the retirement fund into the disability fund.

I'm sure you can see why this might be a problem.

They made a few minor (but important!) changes to the eligibility rules for disability, but no structural changes. As things stand, this means that they negligibly lengthened the viability of SSDI by removing the runway for Social Security. Both programs -- Social Security and SSDI -- are now slated to be insolvent within a decade or so. And many economists and demographers think that the trustees are being optimistic.

With several wars ongoing and rising medical costs, programs like the VA and Medicare are also chewing through funds at a faster rate than projected. By last estimate, Medicare funds run out in 2028. Feel free to read the always sobering Trustees Summary for this year: https://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/

So yeah, the social safety net is massively underfunded. As things stand, we can expect to completely lose federal retirement assistance, disability assistance, and medical aid within the next 15 years. Any attempts to revive these programs would require sweeping changes to their structures and a huge tax increase.

> But now you are talking a lot of "points" without citing any statistics.

I'm sorry if I'm not doing a good job of providing stats to back up these points, but I assumed they were common knowledge. I'll try to cite my sources better.

> This is the point I'm trying to make; you can make a lot of talk about things are getting worse, but when you look at the numbers they are getting better (or at least aren't getting worse).

Please show me the numbers that show things are getting better. Otherwise, you're running the risk of me using your own quote against you. ;-)


Perhaps you can read this article about Social Security: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/03/11... It should allay your fears about the system collapsing.

Regardless, we're discussing a prognosis for the future.

Another prognosis is about Global Warming. Climate scientists now in 2016 believe the world will be warmer in 2040 than what they believed in 2008. The prognosis has indeed gotten worse.

In sharp contrast to the prognosis about how much funds will exist in Social Security. No serious economist in 2016 believes that Social Security in 2040 will be in a worse shape than what they believed in 2008.

> > This is the point I'm trying to make; you can make a lot of talk about things are getting worse, but when you look at the numbers they are getting better (or at least aren't getting worse).

> Please show me the numbers that show things are getting better. Otherwise, you're running the risk of me using your own quote against you. ;-)

I cited three: unemployment, homicide and violent crime rate. I could cite more, like infant mortality rate, education level, subjective happiness rating, life expectancy.. Really don't think it will change your mind :)

FYI, I don't care about your stupid American presidents. A lot of things got better during Bush's eight years presidency too.

> It is important to note that even if you believe the numbers are fudged, they aren't more fudged today than they were in 2008.

No, it's certainly possible that more and more people have given up finding work since 2008, widening the spread between real unemployment and reported unemployment.

But where is the evidence for that? Btw, there are statistics that takes the "giving up rate" into account and they also show that the unemployment rate has decreased!

Raise my taxes to increase the EITC on low-wage workers.

Karl Marx have put a great deal of time thinking about this. He's ideas are the basis of the Soviet Union. I believe he's analysis of our current system/economy is a real mind-opener and a must-read. Here's a quick intro on it:


Imo, this is the system we need + human humility (e.g. to prevent corruption). Implementing it tho, will need everyone's cooperation; hence my writing of this comment.

I am an engineer, not an economist or policy wonk, but I feel like I got a lot of insight on issues like this (and a lot of other modern, political/economic issues) from reading "Connectivity" by Parag Khanna

This is going to rapidly become an image problem for the Bay Area and the tech industry as workers in other places and industries become obsolete. So it may well be in our own best interest to take the initiative.

Is it possible for the tech world to seize the issue of worker retraining and a general safety net like it did with net neutrality? Brand and promote the hell out of it? I don't think the existing strategy of trying to fly under the radar will work for long.

The big northern European takeaway is the principle of "protect the worker, not the job."

Ironically, at this point, the Scandinavians are better free marketers than Americans, because they're willing to let entire companies go under if the market so dictates. The social safety net protects the workers, but not their jobs.

Meanwhile, we get into so many interventionist contortions protecting COMPANIES, that our version of the free market is a sick joke.

Maybe we could subsidize decent health insurance? Raise the minimum wage? Build safety nets and expand social services?

Except they just voted against all that.

Minimum wage was very popular.

"Yet voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington all look set to approve ballot initiatives raising their states’ minimum wages" http://fivethirtyeight.com/live-blog/2016-election-results-c...

The payoffs to education are huge [0]. People need to be prepared for the new economy which requires college degrees and has fewer low-skill jobs.

The left laid the groundwork for Trump's victory (assuming Blue color Whites are really the cause, I think it's not the only factor myself) by promoting the idea that the new economy is unfair. Of course they mainly meant unfair to blacks and hispanics but whites got the message anyway.

If we want to help people thrive in capitalism, we need to avoid leftist narratives that are wrong, i.e. the narrative that education won't improve one's situation because capitalism always screws the little guy.

[0] http://inequality.stanford.edu/publications/20-facts-about-u...

It's very interesting to me that so many union households voted Republican. If the Democrats can't rely on organized labor, they really are screwed.

Are the Demnocrats a party of elites and the Republicans a populist party now?

The Democrats used to own the south, and the Republicans freed the slaves. The two parties traded constituents since then. They might do so again. Or one of them might implode---like the earlier antagonist of the Democrats did before the Republicans came around.

You're talking about a demographic who, by and large, distrust experts, scientists, educated people, and any information that doesn't agree with their biases. They chose to be this way.


Neoliberal capitalism isn't work. Why not take the wealth from the very wealthy and give it to those who don't have it? Income and wealth redistribution>

What a poorly thought-out out and even sophomoric thing to post.

Want to have some fun? Read Alexis de Tocqueville on early American inheritance law.

Using the law to redistribute, as a preventive measure against generational accumulation of wealth (and thus power), was woven into the fabric of the United States early on. Being against this type of redistribution, or deriding it as "sophomoric", is the new and non-traditional thing in America.

US president has remarkably little power to make any change to the existing system. The real change has to be done on the local grass root level.

He has a republican senate and house.

Problem is you can't help them, they are self destructive. You need to change their culture of "learned helplessness". Read the book Hillbilly Elegy for a good perspective.

Working poor voting HRC: http://i.imgur.com/RAaGDnW.jpg

Dems across the board stayed home. And 9% of registered Dems voted for Trump.

That's a red herring. The white working poor voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

Not according to exit polling.

Oh boy, an online poll.

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