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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 25, 2019 by Tony Wikrent Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Strategic Political Economy Give No Heed to the Walking Dead [The Scholar’s Stage, via Naked Capitalism 8-18-19] The People’s Republic of China is wealthier than any rival America has faced. Its leaders are convinced […]
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My problem with Hillary in 2016

istock_000017338712xsmallThis is a bit of a followup post from yesterday. The NYTimes article on how difficult women over 50 have it in the job market these days really hit home with many people. There are over 1000 comments on that article now.

This one from A. Davey  in Portland sums up why I have been utterly unmoved by Hillary’s campaign this year:

A. Davey

Portland 19 hours ago

There but for the grace of God goes Janet Yellen.

You would think that the plight of women over 50 would be a natural issue for Hillary.

Apparently not. She’s the champion of the Ted Talkers, the winners in our so-called meritocracy, the brilliant young executives who spread their pearls of wisdom from cushy corporate jobs that come with employment contracts and golden parachutes. They’re the ones telling displaced older workers to become self employed. That’s rich.

Exactly.

The week after I was laid off in 2011 from my job, I went to a seminar series by the American Chemical Society where the crusty old dudes that ran the local chapter tried to sell us on throwing whatever severance money we had into a start up company that was 80% likely to fail. If there was even a smidgeon of hope that the new drug entities we found were likely to succeed, we could look forward to vulture capitalists showing up on our doorsteps, offering to pay our debts in return for giving them 99% of any profit we made on the patent they wanted to license.

Swear to god, you can’t make this stuff up. Start ups for divorced parents are not an option. That’s a shame for the start ups who have to train younger people to reinvent the wheel and for the rest of us with valuable research experience and no labs.

IT is different than pharma or just about any other industry where you can just start a company. You can literally do it out your garage and all you need is a good idea. In pharma, good ideas need to be tested, repeatedly. But it seems like Hillary is only interested in looking out for these independent guys. Yes, they are almost all guys. Who else could afford to live on the edge, jumping from start up to start up, thriving on the adrenalin that comes with whether or not you’ll get funding or go public? People with responsibilities can’t do that. Young guys with an average age of 28 can.

I can’t figure out why Hillary would choose to abandon her natural constituency. They’re not all laid off and poor. If I manage to hang on to my job this year, I’ll pitch in my share. Oh, sure, you have to appeal to younger voters but women over 50 are a HUGE group of people and they vote. In fact, I don’t think Hillary can win without at least trying to appeal to them.

But she hasn’t.

This once stalwart champion of women’s rights, treats them like they were invisible too.

So, I am definitely non-plussed this year. And more than a bit angry. I stuck my neck out repeatedly and still think she was the best candidate in 2008. But she really shouldn’t take my generation of women for granted. The danger is not that they will vote Republican, it’s that the situation for some of them is so bleak they might not show up at all.

Is that what Hillary wants? To have a shortage of voters on election day? Maybe she should rethink whoever the hell is doing her data models. If I were her, I would make a specific appeal to these women even at the risk of pissing off some gawd awful sexist Silicon Valley asshole who will flirt with Rand Paul in 2016.

The problem is not lack of profit sharing or the barriers to self employment.

It’s income instability, stupid. 

Put that sign in your war room, Hillary.

If the NYTimes wanted to drive a stake through Hillary’s campaign, they couldn’t have picked a better pain point.

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What kind of evil game is the NYTimes playing?

Two incidences does not mean correlation but let’s just say my tin foil antenna are twitching.

Yesterday, the NYTimes posted an article on the unemployed who are 55 or older.  They feature a picture of the subject of the article.  Patricia Reid, to put it kindly, is overweight, with a double chin and is no longer a young blooming rose.  Not only that but it looks like she’s taking a nap at her computer terminal.  Then, there are the details of her demise: when she was first unemployed, she didn’t curb her spending, she took extravagant vacations to Turkey, she employed the use of a chiropractor, she tapped into her 401K and spent most of it, she’s got significant credit card debt and a 3000 sq ft house.

The portrait of this person is highly unflattering.  She’s unattractive, foolish and lazy or so we are lead to believe.  You come away from this article thinking that Ms. Reid deserved it.

Here’s another one from the NYTimes about exhausting unemployment benefits.  In this one, the subject is a bit younger but still obese and past her prime.  The article mentions she was on “disability” before she was laid off.

I take it back.  There is definitely a trend here. Here’s a third article about exhausting unemployment bennies.  Again, the subject of the article is a middle aged woman, obese, with bleach blond hair.  More unflattering details in this one include the fact that the woman has grown children who have not offered her a place to live.  She’s virtually homeless.

Now, none of the unemployed friends I know look or behave anything like these women.  They’re all well educated, dedicated, hard working, responsible people who simply were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But if you read the NYTimes, you get the impression that the unemployed are fat, lazy, middle aged women who must have done something wrong or they wouldn’t be facing eviction.  They don’t deserve our help.  The unsympathetic characterization of the long term unemployed makes me think that Glenn Beck is editing.

Does anyone have a reasonable explanation for this phenomenon?  Anyone?  Bueller?