Millions of Men Are Missing From the Job Market – The New York Times

“Economists have long struggled to explain why a growing proportion of men in the prime of their lives are not employed or looking for work. A new study has found that nearly half of these men are on painkillers and many are disabled.

The working paper by Alan Krueger, a Princeton economist, casts light on this population, which grew during the recession that started in 2007. As of last month, 11.4 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 54 — or about seven million people — were not in the labor force, which means that they were not employed and were not seeking a job. This percentage has been rising for decades (it was less than 4 percent in the 1950s), but the trend accelerated in the last 20 years.Surveys taken between 2010 and this year show that 40 percent of prime working-age men who are not in the labor force report having pain that prevents them from taking jobs for which they are qualified. More than a third of the men not in the labor force said they had difficulty walking or climbing stairs or had another disability. Forty-four percent said they took painkillers daily and two-thirds of that subset were on prescription medicines. By contrast, just 20 percent of employed men and 19 percent of unemployed men (those looking for work) in the same age group reported taking any painkillers.”

Source: Millions of Men Are Missing From the Job Market – The New York Times

The 8 A.M. Call Some understanding of economic reality would be an asset to a presidential candidate, but only one of the three main contenders appears to possess it.|By Paul Krugman

“Back in 2008, one of the ads Hillary Clinton ran during the contest for the Democratic nomination featured an imaginary scene in which the White House phone rings at 3 a.m. with news of a foreign crisis, and asked, “Who do you want answering that phone?” It was a fairly mild jab at Barack Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience.

As it turned out, once in office Mr. Obama, a notably coolheaded type who listens to advice, handled foreign affairs pretty well — or at least that’s how I see it. But asking how a would-be president might respond to crises is definitely fair game.

And military emergencies aren’t the only kind of crisis to worry about. That 3 a.m. call is one thing; but what about the 8 a.m. call – the one warning that financial markets will melt down as soon as they open?”

Some understanding of economic reality would be an asset to a presidential candidate, but only one of the three main contenders appears to possess it.|By Paul Krugman

Trump Is No Accident, by Paul Krugman – The New York Times

“Establishment Republicans who are horrified by the rise of Donald Trump might want to take a minute to remember the glitch heard round the world — the talking point Marco Rubio couldn’t stop repeating in a crucial debate, exposing him to devastating ridicule and sending his campaign into a death spiral. It went like this: “Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.” The clear, if ungrammatical, implication was that all the bad things Republicans claim have happened under President Obama — in particular, America’s allegedly reduced stature in the world — are the result of a deliberate effort to weaken the nation. In other words, the establishment favorite for the G.O.P. nomination, the man Time magazine once put on its cover with the headline “The Republican Savior,” was deliberately channeling the paranoid style in American politics. He was suggesting, albeit coyly, that a sitting president is a traitor.”

Source: Trump Is No Accident – The New York Times

In a short time I found three examples in Sander’s tweets of what Krugman was talking about: demagoguery or rigidity. Sanders tweeted that only he cared about the middle class. Hillary has different positions, but to suggest she doesn’t care is demagoguery.

Hillary is evil because she took $2700 from a man who had been registered as a lobbyist for the NRA. What really matters, is not who you accept money from, but how you vote. Sanders has a much weaker record than Clinton on gun control. She also has a good record on Bank and investment controls. And yes, there is more to do.

In another tweet, only Sanders would ban all fracking. This position is extreme, given that the EPA has determined that fracking can be done without polluting the water supply unacceptably if done properly, and there has been far less water pollution than extremists would have you think. It also makes us less dependent on the middle east.

While I didn’t see such a tweet, Sander’s opposition to all foreign trade deals, because they only causes a loss of jobs, is uninformed, or demagogic, or both. Paul Krugman has written brilliantly about the complexities of our trade deals, which are more about foreign policy initiatives than jobs, and which appear to be beyond Sander’s comprehension. The TPP is about fighting China in the future for influence and position.

It’s Not Too Late! by David Brooks – The New York Times, Lindsay’s Comment

“Back in the early evening, before the current panic set in, Republicans understood that Ted Cruz would be a terrible general election candidate, at least as unelectable as Donald Trump and maybe more so. He is the single most conservative Republican in Congress, far adrift from the American mainstream. He’s been doing well in primaries because of the support of “extremely conservative” voters in very conservative states, and he really hasn’t broken out of that lane. His political profile is a slightly enlarged Rick Santorum but without the heart.On policy grounds, he would be unacceptable to a large majority in this country. But his policy disadvantages are overshadowed by his public image ones. His rhetorical style will come across to young and independent voters as smarmy and oleaginous. In Congress, he had two accomplishments: the disastrous government shutdown and persuading all his colleagues to dislike him.There is another path, one that doesn’t leave you self-loathing in the morning. It’s a long shot, but given the alternatives, it’s worth trying. First, hit the pause button on the rush to Cruz. Second, continue the Romneyesque assault on Trump. The results on Saturday, when late voters swung sharply against the Donald, suggest it may be working.Third, work for a Marco Rubio miracle in Florida on March 15. Fourth, clear the field for John Kasich in Ohio. If Rubio and Kasich win their home states, Trump will need to take nearly 70 percent of the remaining delegates to secure a majority. That would be unlikely; he’s only winning 44 percent of the delegates now.The party would go to the convention without a clear nominee. It would be bedlam for a few days, but a broadly acceptable new option might emerge.”

Source: It’s Not Too Late! – The New York Times

Dear David Brooks. Thank you for a brilliant piece. Unfortunately, I read down the Comments in the Readers Picks, and some of your critics are clearer than you are. They are right, that there is no deep bench, or that there was any serious variety of positions on serious matters, with the exception possibly of Donald Trump. I gravitated towards Kaisich, but others say that underneath his golden veneer, he has many of the same positions as the other anti-science dwarves. He accepts that climate change is real, but not sure that is is caused by human activity. As a fan of yours, who agrees with you and Tom Friedman, that we need two viable, healthy parties for a healthy democracy, I recommend that you read carefully the critics in the comments, and imagine that the undecided convention look outside the 17 dwarves. It might be too late to revive the party of Lincoln, but if the convention wants to keep their party alive, they need someone of Lincoln’s stature. There aren’t many names that come to mind. Michael Bloomberg and Colin Powell are the only ones I can think of. Was Arnold Schwarzenegger concerned about climate change? Is Alan Simpson still kicking? Are there any Republican civil rights leaders, like the deceased John Lindsay?

Paul Krugman has written that the Republican party in now a serious threat to the small chance the world has to address climate change in time. The current GOP is a threat to life on earth as we know and enjoy it.

Why Trump Now? -by Tom Edsall- The New York Times

“The economic forces driving this year’s nomination contests have been at work for decades. Why did the dam break now?From Our AdvertisersThe share of the gross national product going to labor as opposed to the share going to capital fell from 68.8 percent in 1970 to 60.7 percent by 2013, according to Loukas Karabarbounis, an economics professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.Even more devastating, the number of manufacturing jobs dropped by 36 percent, from 19.3 million in 1979 to 12.3 million in 2015, while the population increased by 43 percent, from 225 million to 321 million.The postwar boom, when measured by the purchasing power of the average paycheck, continued into the early 1970s and then abruptly stopped (see the accompanying chart).”

Source: Why Trump Now? – The New York Times

Politics: All in My Family – by Charles Blow,The New York Times

I propose that Hillary Clinton was attacked repeatedly and unfairly in the past for her politics and her gender, much the way Barack Obama has been attacked repeatedly and unfairly because of his race and his politics. I was reading the newspapers and news magazines back when Hillary was first pilloried. The stories never came to anything. They always had the fingerprints of right wing ideologues behind the allegations. It is sad to hear Mr. Blow write that just the shear number of smear campaigns suggests that there must have been malpractice on her part. That suggests that the number of insults to President Obama suggest that there must be some truth to all the ridiculous and racists attempts to insult, diminish this great president, and to stop his success even at the cost of hurting the country.

“First, they are unimpressed by the Republican candidates for president, and are even afraid of some. That means that our discussions can be narrowly focused on the Democratic race.They like Bernie Sanders and don’t fully trust Hillary Clinton, though they don’t believe Sanders is electable and would therefore “settle for” Clinton in that case, as my youngest son put it.They view Sanders as the more “authentic” (that word kept coming up) and consistent of the two, and the one with whom they have the most ideological agreement, even though they generally believed that his positions would most likely be impossible to implement.”

Source: Politics: All in My Family – The New York Times

On Economic Stupidity, by Paul Krugman – The New York Times

“Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign famously focused on “the economy, stupid.” But macroeconomic policy — what to do about recessions — has been largely absent from this year’s election discussion.Yet economic risks have by no means been banished from the world. And you should be frightened by how little many of the people who would be president have learned from the past eight years.If you’ve been following the financial news, you know that there’s a lot of market turmoil out there. It’s nothing like 2008, at least so far, but it’s worrisome.Once again we have a substantial amount of troubled debt, this time not home mortgages but loans to energy companies, hit hard by plunging oil prices. Meanwhile, formerly trendy emerging economies like Brazil are suddenly doing very badly, and China is stumbling. And while the U.S. economy is doing better than almost anyone else’s, we’re definitely not immune to contagion.”

Source: On Economic Stupidity – The New York Times

Stop Bernie- Splaining to Black Voters, by Charles Blow, – The New York Times

“I cannot tell you the number of people who have commented to me on social media that they don’t understand this support. “Don’t black folks understand that Bernie best represents their interests?” the argument generally goes. But from there, it can lead to a comparison between Sanders and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; to an assertion that Sanders is the Barack Obama that we really wanted and needed; to an exasperated “black people are voting against their interests” stance.If only black people knew more, understood better, where the candidates stood — now and over their lifetimes — they would make a better choice, the right choice. The level of condescension in these comments is staggering.”

Source: Stop Bernie-Splaining to Black Voters – The New York Times

I Miss Barack Obama – David Brooks, The New York Times

“Fifth, a resilient sense of optimism. To hear Sanders or Trump, Cruz and Ben Carson campaign is to wallow in the pornography of pessimism, to conclude that this country is on the verge of complete collapse. That’s simply not true. We have problems, but they are less serious than those faced by just about any other nation on earth.People are motivated to make wise choices more by hope and opportunity than by fear, cynicism, hatred and despair. Unlike many current candidates, Obama has not appealed to those passions.”

Source: I Miss Barack Obama – The New York Times

The Time-Loop Party Republican candidates keep repeating their canned policy statements, despite evidence that these prescriptions have failed in the real world.|By Paul Krugman

This is too much fun not to share. I found a link to Rubio’s broken record moment, by googling it.
Paul Krugman explains that all the Republican candidates are broken records, of discredited ideas, and he writes near his conclusions,
“Like her or not, Hillary Clinton is a genuine policy wonk, who can think on her feet and clearly knows what she is talking about on many issues. Bernie Sanders is much more of a one-note candidate, but at least his signature issue — rising inequality and the effects of money on politics — reflects real concerns. When you revisit Democratic debates after what went down Saturday, it doesn’t feel as if you’re watching a different party, it feels as if you’ve entered a different intellectual and moral universe.

So how did this happen to the G.O.P.? In a direct sense, I suspect that it has a lot to do with Foxification, the way Republican primary voters live in a media bubble into which awkward facts can’t penetrate.”

Republican candidates keep repeating their canned policy statements, despite evidence that these prescriptions have failed in the real world.|By Paul Krugman