Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

The powers that be want to remain the powers that be. A favorite tactic is to concoct a semi-plausible theory to distract folks from the real problem. If the real problem isn’t addressed there will be no real solution. In the focus of this post the real solution is to increase the power of workers, the problem is stagnant wages. The distraction is the ongoing “robot scare” being spread by lots of folks that have never even seen the inside of a factory.

With some clever charts the Economic Policy Institute demonstrates that robots and automation are not the primary threats to jobs and wages but are much more useful as a distraction from the real solution in Robots, or automation, are not the problem: Too little worker power is…

The fear of job-stealing robots has been recently stoked in the media and pundits frequently refer to automation as a key driver of long-term middle-class wage stagnation. But are robots actually transforming the labor market at an unprecedented pace? Nope—in fact, the opposite is true. First, it’s important to note that technology and automation have consistently transformed the way work gets done. So, technology itself is not a problem. Robots and automation allow us to increase efficiency by making more things for less money. When goods and services are cheaper, consumers can afford to buy more robot-made stuff, or have money left over to spend on other things. When consumers spend their leftover cash on additional goods and services, it creates jobs. These new jobs help compensate for the jobs lost to automation.EPI CHART, ROBOTS NOT PROBLEM

But are robots now eroding jobs and replacing human labor at a faster pace that the economy can’t absorb? Again, no. Perhaps surprisingly to some, the data on investments and productivity do not reveal worrisome footprints of accelerated robot activity: in fact, in recent years the growth of labor productivity, capital investment and, particularly, investment in information equipment and software has strongly decelerated in the 2000s. There is no basis for believing that robots or automation are having an unusual transformative effect on the labor market.

The first chart below shows that productivity and capital investment did indeed accelerate during the late 1990s tech boom. But productivity and capital investments were much slower in the recovery from 2002–2007, and decelerated further in the period since the Great Recession.

Automotive News has the scoop on How The Chevy Cruze Diesel Gets 52 Miles Per Gallon…

Unlike the cramped, stripped-down ’90s-era cars that got 50 mpg or close to it, the Cruze diesel sedan is smooth, quiet, comfortable and fully equipped with safety features and electronic gear.Cruze Diesel

“Certainly having a number that started with 5 was enticing, but we didn’t sacrifice the rest of the car to get that,” Weddle says. He added there was no pressure from upper management to hit 50 mpg.

“It was really about producing a great car with fuel economy that we thought would excite our expected diesel customer base,” he said.

AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan calls the 52-mpg highway fuel economy rating for the Cruze diesel impressive. He notes engineers struggle for every 10th of a mile fuel economy gain and that the new Cruze diesel not only beats the old model by 6 mpg, but it bests the highway rating of the 2015 Cruze Eco, a gasoline-powered model built for high fuel economy, by a full 10 mpg.

“Other cars need two powertrains to hit anything in the 50 mpg range — I’m talking about hybrids,” says Sullivan. “Now you can get hybridlike fuel economy without the stigma of being seen in an oddly styled hybrid.”

Missouri State Representatives Lauren Arthur and Jon Carpenter team up for this initial podcast they titled “Podgressive.” These two are from the KC area but address issues on the state and federal level in addition to a quick exchange about the proposed building of a new airport in KC.podcast

Particularly interesting is a discussion of their colleagues behavior. This may come as a shock but many elected officials are not particularly well informed or concerned with issues that are not their primary interest. A few such examples are in this podcast, enjoy!

Michael Schuman of Bloomberg News looks at our relationship with another nation that has a great wall in How To Win a Trade War With China…

The bottom line is that the U.S. has to see its economy the way China envisions its own. China is unlike any other country participating in the U.S.-led global economy: It intends to benefit from the openness and security offered by that system without being obligated to abide by its norms. Developing certainGreat Wall industries is perceived as core to China’s national security, not something to be left to the whims of shareholders and stock markets. If the U.S. is to win this new economic war, its leaders have to start thinking more about what is and what isn’t good for long-term national interests in dealing with China. Trump may have realized the need for this shift in the relationship. But he’s fighting the war with the wrong strategies.

This week’s Democratic Radio:

Todd Gitlin
Columbia University professor Todd Gitlin, a long-time chronicler of progressive politics, urges the left to nail down a simple program that appeals to the general public.on-air

Gene Stone
Gene Stone’s new book, “The Trump Survival Guide, has a checklist for progressives to translate despair into activism. He advises, choose winnable battles.

Amy Klobuchar
Bill Press interviews Senator Amy Klobuchar about what’s going on between the Trump Administration and Russia.

Jim Hightower
What’s 2017’s biggest banking fraud?

It is recommended that you consume between 9 and 13 cups of water everyday. The question is, and Popular Science answers What’s In Your Glass Of Water?

With nearly limitless beverage options, you might not realize how much variety exists in the seemingly bland realm of tap water. This colorlessglass of water refreshment can vary widely from city to city, house to house, or even sink to sink. Scroll over the image below to see some surprising items that might show up in your H2O.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has declined to release the donors to his inauguration despite his many campaign promises of transparency. He is true to his word that he won’t do things like they have always been done. Other Governors have not tried to hide their donors identities from the folks that elected them.

A Missouri lawmaker would like to solve this problem by requiring future Governors to release the financial contributions and donors to inauguration activities. The Missouri Times has more in Amid Greitens Inauguration Funding Mystery, Missouri Democrats Hope To Force Disclosure…

How much money corporations and lobbyists donated to fund Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ inauguration may never be known.

But House Democrats hope to avoid that situation in the future by reviving a 15-year-old bill originally sponsored by one of Greitens’ top advisers.

State Rep. Mark Ellebracht, a Liberty Democrat, on Wednesday filed legislation that would require future governors to publicly disclose donations for gubernatorial inauguration activities. The legislation is based on a bill sponsored in 2002 by then-state Sen. Sarah Steelman, whom Greitens appointed to serve as commissioner of the Missouri Office of Administration.

“Corporations didn’t give the governor money just to be nice. They expect something in return,” Ellebracht said. “Missourians are entitled to know exactly who paid for the governor’s party and how much money they kicked in. Until then, it’s hard to take this governor’s anti-corruption talk very seriously.”

Neither Greitens nor Steelman responded to a request for comment.

To raise money for his inauguration, Greitens formed a nonprofit to seek out donors. Nonprofits aren’t required to disclose their donors and aren’t subject to recently enacted campaign donation limits. Greitens has repeatedly refused to say how much was raised, how much was spent, how much each donor chipped in or whether he’ll ever make any of that information public.

Andy Borowitz examines how the recent dysfunction of the Trump administration is playing with his friends in Putin Starting to Wonder if His Puppets Are Smart Enough to Pull This Off…

Russian President Vladimir Putin is “starting to get concerned” that the puppets he installed in the executive branch of the U.S. government “might not be up to the task at hand,” sources confirmed on Tuesday.stupid trump

According to the sources, the flameout of the national-security adviser Michael Flynn was only the most recent event that has caused Putin to wonder if the figureheads he propelled into office are “just too dim-witted” to serve the goals of the Russian Federation.

“When you choose a puppet, you’re looking for a sweet spot,” one source close to Putin said. “You want to choose someone who’s dumb enough to be manipulated, but not so dumb that he can’t find the light switches.”

“Increasingly, it looks like we missed that sweet spot,” the source said.

The Democrats in the U.S. Senate are pulling an all-nighter to shed light on the activities of Scott Pruitt, the nominee for Director of the EPA. He is known by many for his adversarial stance with the agency he has been picked to lead. That is literally the scratch on the surface. The latest Rachel Maddow show details several events from his involvement in the botched execution of a man in Oklahoma to 3000 documents he’s keptScott PRUITT secret for the last two years. There’s more so if the environment is important to you please get an eyeful and hold on for the vote today!

The Alliance for American Manufacturing addresses one of my pet peeves in It’s Not Automation, It’s The Trade Deficit.

A common refrain in economic commentary on the nature of work, and the changes in manufacturing employment, is basically:

“Trade didn’t take those jobs. It was robots. The robots did it!”foreign goods

Okay, maybe it’s not the terminators who are doing it. Rather, it’s industrial automation: We make more stuff with less people, because manufacturing is now performed by automated processes. This idea is breezily inserted into all kinds of articles, including ones with other interesting things to say. (And, in defense of those who spread this idea, there are studies that back this up.)

But this isn’t the entirety of thinking on the subject. David Autor – one of the academics behind the “China shock” hypothesis – has pumped the brakes on this idea. And others – from those at the Democratic-aligned Brookings Institute to President Trump’s hawkish chief of the National Trade Council, Peter Navarro – have pointed to the real-world example of Germany, which has put a lot of robots on the assembly line in recent years but hasn’t seen its substantial manufacturing workforce shrink.

So what gives? How does this refrain persist? Well, a new report by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) takes a look at the “shaky foundations” it stands on:

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