Ben Leet

  • I praise CPA for keeping open the comment box. Keynes had a plan to balance trade that required nations that ran excessive surpluses to pay fines commensurate with their surplus. Paul Davidson describes this in his book The Keynes Solution. China is a mercantilistic nation that has based its prosperity on foreign sales, low wages, and high inequality, not to mention authoritarian central planning, rigid capital controls, currency manipulation, and maybe even anti-democratic anti-free speech governance. In an ideal world where people cooperated instead of competed to the death of one another, we would not have patents and manufacturing secrets, but we would create policies to ensure balanced trade and internal development leading to self-sufficiency. As the world comes closer in trade, standards that include worker and citizen development or “prosperity” will replace the mistaken model we now have. Half of humanity says the Pew Research report survives on less than $5 a day, and others say $7.40 a day. This fact tells me our present model is inadequate. In the U.S. we have severe inequality of income and wealth. We could replace that we a true coalition for prosperity that advocated a much higher Earned Income Tax Credit, a higher minimum wage, and stronger powers for labor unions when negotiating wage income. Look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics data — https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000031 — it shows that “average weekly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers” were higher in December 1964 than in December 2019, 55 years and the weekly wage growth is a negative number, while the per capita output of the economy has nearly tripled. It is time for concern, and the Jobs Quality Index is an excellent tool to measure wage growth for the 82% who are PN workers. Keep the comment box open. Thanks. My blog: http://benL88.blogspot.com

  • I’m looking for some balance in the CPA. I appreciated the stance regarding tariffs, but labor rights in the U.S. are under attack from the Trump administration, and the cause of raising the minimum wage receives no support. I just read an article by left-leaning economist Jeff Faux – http://www.jefffaux.com/?p=642 - a strong critic of wrong-headed trade deals for decades. He agrees with Mr. Ferry about the tariffs, he’s also very left-wing. The Trump Admin. also has supported extreme positions on the NLRB and Dept. of Labor, and cut necessary health and safety regulations. This “coalition” CPA needs some balance. At the EPI.org they listed “10 Actions that Have Harmed Workers”: https://www.epi.org/publication/ten-actions-that-hurt-workers-during-trumps-first-year/ - The economy is far more than foreign trade. Many countries’ human rights and labor rights behavior are abysmal to non-existent, and that should enter into your critique, for instance Mexico. Your emphasis on strictly Chinese imports lessons your influence and cuts back the broad support you deserve. Have you ever criticized the Tax Cut and Jobs Act? I doubt it, that shows a certain narrowness. Read the article at ITEP.org, “The Tax Cut by the Numbers” - in short it was focused mostly on the highest earners, the middle to lower income received peanuts. Increasing inequality is a benchmark of inept policy making.

  • Half of U.S. workers’ collective or combined wage income amounts to just 7% of national income; or 83 million workers earn just over $1 trillion collectively and have an average income of below $15,000 in wages - says the Social Security Administration report on wage income, 2018: https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2018 — And the average wage income of 82% of the work force, nonsupervisory workers, was higher in 1965, all of 54 years ago, says the BLShttps://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000031 — The Trump administration has been a disaster for the National Labor Relations Board and for labor union rights, and for minimum wage improvement. The CPA seems to be focused only on one aspect of the national economy, manufacturing. I fully support your view point, it’s refreshing to read the list of grievances, but you are sorely lacking in speech to improve the lives of those in low paying jobs. As you mention, 62.5% of the 32 million private sector jobs created since 1990 have been low-paying low-hours, as the JQIndex shows. We still need a higher minimum wage and much stronger labor rights. The CPA is too narrowly focused to be of any value to most workers or most Americans. The average household income is around $141,000, yet perhaps 10% of households are average, and the median is less than half. The average wealth per household is over $800,000 (see Flow of Funds, page 2) yet half own less than $95,000, and 40% own a net zero in net worth. Let’s have some focus on corporate behavior that could ameliorate this imbalance at home. The United Way charity claims in its ALICE report that 40% of households endure hardship or poverty. CPA should focus on that side of the problem as well. Perhaps you can’t see beyond your own personal self-interest, which is the main social problem we live with, and that which plagues China as well. I wrote a blog: http://benL88.blogspot.com

  • I took notes. The report for November I think says that average weekly income of 103 million nonsupervisory workers was $795 per week, which may also be $41,340 yearly. 55% of the jobs were low wage/ low hours paying $528.08 per week for 30 hours of work paying $17.60 an hour, and the yearly income is $27,300. The other 45% were high wage/ high hours paying $1,137 per week, or $59,124 yearly for working 38 hours a week at $29.92 an hour. The difference weekly is $609, and yearly it’s $31,824. In the pdf explanatory JQI publication the stated gap was $402 an hour. Now it’s 50% higher. I wonder if I’ve read this correctly, and I think it can and should be spelled out as I just did. I get the JQI monthly mark of 81. I’m asking for a comment to confirm of correct my reading, thanks. The Social Security Ad. report on wage income shows that 46% earn less than $30,000 and 75% earn less than $60,000. I’m trying to put the two groups into the earning percentile of full-time workers submitting W-2 forms. Take off the 20% roughly who are part-time low earners, the two average incomes may be 26th and 55th percentile. Maybe. Government workers, partial year workers, it’s impossible to say exactly. And then the pool is reduced and the percentiles float higher. Complex. https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2018 — Great invention JQI.

  • Dan Alpert is a staff member of CPA. He published the book “The Age of Oversupply” and in chapter 14 summarizes the principals of fair international trade. Not only fair but sustainable development in non-developed countries. “A Global System that Works”. He calls for an “International Clearing Union” that would require a “continuous trueing up of large-trade imbalances among fully sovereign independent currency-issuing nations.” Just what that is he can explain to you. Mercantilism is a policy to export unemployment to deficit-trade balance nations, and the result we see in the hollowing out of the U.S. manufacturing sector. His solution requires a new conceptualization of trans-national trade. I enjoyed this short video. I just read the chapter by Alpert and was looking for where he was writing. He had been with the Century Foundation, now he is with Coalition for Prosperous America.