November 10, 2010

How Obama could improve the economy

How could Obama boost U.S. productivity during this economic downturn? Well, the President could announce that so long as he's President, he's suspending all federal disparate impact discrimination lawsuits. If the country is non-discriminatory enough to elect him President, it's probably non-discriminatory enough to go about the rest of its business without the heavy hand of the EEOC and Justice Departments looking for statistical evidence of discrimination under the Four-Fifths Rule.


jack strocchi said...

Economics is about productivity.
Politics is about "distributivity".

I believe Obama called it rewarding our friends and punishing our enemies.

Whitey Whiteman III said...

Your eternal optimism is appreciated by all of us in the HBD community.

master_of_americans said...

Yeah, right, Steve. That would make sense if everyone had voted for Obama, but exit polls indicate that some percentage of the population did not. Businessmen are suspected to be among the worst offenders. Obama is supposed to just leave racists like these to mind the store themselves?

Matthew Casey Smallwood said...

Ah, but we have to prove and reprove our guilt every day. This is perpetual penance, world without end. Yes, but are we truly holy?

sj071 said...

Maybe he can ask his wife Michelle. She excelled in improving Indian economy. Even enlightened Progressives can spot a great bargain when they see one.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, unless you're the sort of naive hyper-Keynesian that thinks any economic activity is good for the economy.

Anonymous said...


Evil Sandmich said...

Your idea makes labor cheaper, and there's any number of ways that he could make labor less expensive while not taking away anyone's cut but the bureaucrats (which is why he'll do no such thing).

RKU said...

Ha, ha, ha!---That's a really good one.

Result: unemployment for whites (and Asians) goes down a bit; unemployment for (especially middle-class) blacks goes way, way up, as well as unemployment for "diversity consultants".

I'm sure all of Obama's friends would really be thrilled by that result.

Why not just suggest that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy solve our economic problems instead.

Chicago said...

Disparate impact is the gravy train for all those involved in this growing industry. Professors, lawyers, writers, civil rights groups, politicians and other beneficiaries have been getting great paydays out of promoting this concept. Valid, fair, good for the country? You think they care about that when it pays off, time and again? It's about grabbing a larger portion of the public till.

neil craig said...

I did this as 23 ideas to improve the UK economy (our PM having recently promised a "forensic, relentless pursuit of growth" :-)) but the rules of economics are the same everywhere.

OneSTDV said...

Ha, good one.

Paul Mendez said...

But any economic benefit would be outweighed by a sudden upswing in unemployment among diversity trainers, corporate HR staff, lawyers, community organizers and the graphic artists who PhotoShop minorities into pictures.

Contemplationist said...

Its funny how everyone thinks that removal of their pet peeve policy will bring recovery.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Day 2: abolish public education.

Polichinello said...

You might as well ask him to commit seppuku on national television.

Jehu said...

Here's a less radical suggestion along your lines. Take all the constants of the form--this regulation applies to all businesses with more than N employees, and double them. Then index those constants to the census, so they'll automatically increment. This will, I predict, cause a surge in hiring in very small businesses that I wager are often concentrated just below key enforcement/administrative thresholds.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Whatcha been smokin', dude? Wanna start a depression in the diversity industry, too?

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

I think this would be lose-lose for the economy. Once you let the AA employees go, you could cut the non-AA employees who are picking up the slack for the AA employees. You could gut HR as well, and turn it back into the payroll department.

I am Lugash.

airtommy said...


This sentence from the LA Times is a real gem:

"Kipen likes to joke that he was "the first Jew in decades" to move back into Boyle Heights. The store's name — "libros" is Spanish for books, "schmibros" is a kind of neo-Yiddish-ism — is both an inside joke and a sly reference to Kipen's belief that today's Latino residents of Boyle Heights are the natural successors to the Eastern European Jewish immigrants who helped revitalize U.S. culture a century ago."

Libros Schmibros is part library, part used-book seller, totally chill

There's a lot to unpack from that sentence:

1. The completely false belief that our country being flooded with Mestizo peasants is a "natural" phenomenon.
2. The Judeo-centric notion that Anglo culture is lacking and and needs "revitalization" (Is this an example of what we need more of?)
3. The idea that these Mestizo peasants are a scholarly bunch who have just been biding their time for all these generations until Whitey stopped preventing them from reading books.

Anonymous said...


you are right about racial preferences and affirmative action. But you are wrong to assume that it is as big a deal in all of America as it is in Southern California. Spend some time among the "knowledge worker" business owners in Studio City and you will find that hiring and firing people is much easier when they do it in other states.

One interesting thing about this recession is the benefit it has given to these business owners. The business owners I know have almost all been able to upgrade their employees and / or lower wages for employees. The labor market is such that they can take the bottom 40% of their performers, terminate them, and then hire better newer people for less money.

That is the point of a recession – the people who own businesses get more power vs the employees and the employees get less power.

This is true even if you just speak about Southern California. But also note that the internet makes it really easy to shift jobs to places like Texas. Lower wages CAN for many businesses mean higher profits for the business owner.

Be aware of the fact that in the exurbs of Dallas and Houston, your employees can buy beautiful new houses for $150 thousand dollars. What that means is that employees who are very reliable and smart can be hired there for much lower wages than what you have to pay people here in Southern California. Now I know Manhattan Beach much better than I know Studio City, but I would bet that the wages in the Houston and Dallas exurbs are a heck of a lot lower than they are in Studio City. I don’t have to tell you that the costs of insurance and benefits are lower in Texas as well.

So among business owners I know, the recession lets them pay lower wages to californians and also the internet allows them to move jobs to Texas and other more reasonable places.

Many of the best houses in MB are being purchased by business owners. I would encourage everyone here to speak to the people buying nice houes in your own neighborhood see if you see the same pattern.

If anything, business owners are looking to buy multiple lots and merge them if you spend any time around 8th and the Strand you will see the family that bought three houses on the strand and tore them down to build a large house on three lots. The family is super friendly with the mom active in the PTA and the dad often seen surfing in front of his house or BBQing on his covered front porch which borders the Strand. This family told me that after they built their house the rules were changed to encourage other families to buy two lots and merge them, but to forbid other families from buying three lots and merging them. As a result you see other double lot houses going up but no other triple lot houses.

Again, the people are usually super super friendly and will tell you that they are business owners. Talk to them and they will tell you that they are doing their hiring outside California.

So I agree that people in California who are employees are in trouble, especially if they have skills that can be replicated in Texas. And in many neighborhoods that means house prices going way way down.

But there are rays of sunshine for the high end - again, do your business hiring in Texas and you will have smaller issues with affirmative action

Geoff Matthews said...

Hahahahahahah! Hahahahahahaha! Hahahahahahaha!

Wait, were you serious?

Jeff Singer said...

Now I know one of your blogging secrets -- comment over at "The American Scene" and if the comment is clever and still makes sense after a day or so, post it here!

I have no idea what the heck Lugash is saying, but I like his name.

Anonymous said...

American workers already have very high productivity gains. The problem is that for the last 30 years productivity gains have not translated into wage gains, thanks to conscious public policy decisions.

beowulf said...

Public option, Steve, think public option. Simply create a safe harbor from disparate impact claims for any employer that use the US Government's own ASVAB exam and composite scores. After all, Uncle Sam (Pentagon personality) has spent much money validating those suckers. It would be rather difficult for the self-same Uncle Sam (Civil Rights enforcement personality) to turn around and say they are worthless.

Air Force Composite Scores:
Goes by Standard AFQT score AR + MK + (2 x VE)
* G - General: Verbal Expression (WK plus PC) and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
* M - Mechanical: Mechanical Comprehension (MC), General Science (GS) and 2 times Auto & Shop Information (AS)
* A - Administrative: Numerical Operations * (NO), Coding Speed * (CS), and Verbal Expression (WK plus PC)
* E - Electrical: Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Electronics Information (EI), and General Science (GS)

Anony2 said...

The local party machines lost out when the New Deal federalized their patronage systems. What happens when you de-federalize such systems?

All the diversity consultants would flock to the states which enable lawsuits, or they'd push state legislatures to enact the same policies recently suspended at the federal level.

Corporate bureaucracies have a culture created by such lawsuits. Thus, you'd have big businesses proving their enlightenment by demanding enforcement of laws into which they've sunk compliance costs.

Do any of the "free market" think tanks study the business costs of anti-discrimination laws? Or is that another one of those taboos?

Typically you hear lots of people claiming that enacting anti-discrimination laws will *attract* business from enlightened areas of the country. And they actually believe what they're saying.

Anonymous said...

How about closing some of the 700+ overseas empire of military bases that the USA keeps all around the world?

RandyB said...

Of course Steve's proposal would improve the economy.

But Obama's supports aren't the ones who would be active participants in that economy, and require it be re-distributed to them.

Norfolk Neville said...

Good idea. I'm holding my breath now waiting for it to happen.



dfasdfasdf said...

Surely Mayor Bloomberg can fix this problem.

dsfasdfasdf said...

"Yeah, right, Steve. That would make sense if everyone had voted for Obama, but exit polls indicate that some percentage of the population did not. Businessmen are suspected to be among the worst offenders. Obama is supposed to just leave racists like these to mind the store themselves?"

Okay, how about no affirmative action and disparate impact policies on whites and rich people who did vote for Obama.

(But then, it's already like that, since affirmative action affects poor and working class whites more than rich whites and Jews.) Rich whites wash away their sins by sacrificing poor whites at the altar of political correctness. And since smarter Jews count as whites and since affirmative action targets whites who aren't as smart as Jews but smarter than blacks, it's win-win for Jews and lose-lose for whites. Whites lose out to both smarter Jews and to less smart blacks.

David said...

Hopefully commenters are joking when they say the suggested policy would have a negative effect on the economy since "diversity trainers" would be out of a job. Removing rats from the grain only improves everything.

Btw Beowulf's idea is superb but could set a bad precedent. What other federal hiring metrics might be imposed were it adopted?

Anonymous said...

To Contemplationist: There is no doubt that vigorous enforcement of anti-discrimination laws acts as a drag on business. A good many lawsuits and administrative proceedings (i.e., those before a state or local government civil rights agency) are settled for nuisance value, often less than $50,000. Some of these are meritorious, not all. But what is a nuisance to General Mills, for example, can be a real danger to a small business that is hurting from this depression we're in(there, I said it... so call me a pisher).

Whiskey said...

Airtommy, Conan O'Brien yesterday joked he was the Whitest guy in showbusiness on the second Blackest network. So that attitude (White guys lacking) is baked into the culture. Even uber-Irish guys like Conan share it (he regularly riffs on how White he is).

The idea of dumping disparate impact will help on the margins but things are so bad now we need far greater measures.

1. Keynesian pump priming that WORKS: Military spending. Build six new aircraft carrier battle groups, another 3,000 F-22 Raptors, a successor to the Shuttle, a moon program.

Soaks up about 8 million unemployed right there.

2. Kick out all illegals. Result? Car washes in LA pay $8 not $3 an hour, White/Black teens get the jobs not illegal guys from Michoacan. Bonus: welfare, prison, education costs move lower.

3. Stop printing money and exchange old dollars for new, silver dollars and multi-dollar coins. Old paper dollars go out. Screw over the foreigners (particularly the Chinese) and benefit only US citizens. That's what a government is for: screwing foreigners and benefiting your own people.

4. High tariffs to keep out junk Chinese consumer goods, phased in. Stimulate manufacturing.

5. Screw the whales and polar bears, drill everywhere. High paying jobs, low gas prices.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

How about closing some of the 700+ overseas empire of military bases that the USA keeps all around the world?"

And then issue "Whiskey" an M-1 and a bayonet and send him to the now empty base at Diego Garcia to keep the flag flying. Mind the motor-boats, Whiskey......we're countin' on ya'.

Mr. Anon said...

"Whiskey said...

1. Keynesian pump priming that WORKS: Military spending. Build six new aircraft carrier battle groups, another 3,000 F-22 Raptors, a successor to the Shuttle, a moon program.

Soaks up about 8 million unemployed right there."

Yeah.......all those middle-aged people who have been laid off from America's many shuttered apparrel factories, furniture mills, and car plants can move right in to those high-paying jobs and aeronautical engineers, machinists, and shipwrights. And with all those new aircraft carriers and helicopter gun-ships, we'll be able to strafe and bomb even more brown people into the american way of life. And to think, they gave Paul Krugman the phony Nobel in economics. You know, Whiskey, your enthusiasm for fighting the last war (or even several wars back) is commendable. You missed your calling.........being a WWI french field marshall.

Anonymous said...

We finally have the answer!!

Anonymous said...

Except for the high tariffs, I like everything* that Whiskey said.

BTW, did anyone catch how that rough draft of the Deficit Commission report turned out to be so Libertarian?

Increase the age threshold for SS & Mediscare, and slash tax rates in return for giving up all tax breaks?

I don't know that the Gipper could have done any better.

*Personally, I'd like for the F-22s to have the metaphorical frickin lasers attached to their frickin heads, but even plain old ordinary F-22s would be better than nothing.

ben tillman said...

(But then, it's already like that, since affirmative action affects poor and working class whites more than rich whites and Jews.)

Why do people keep repeating this?

It's backwards. Affirmative action hurts affluent and smart whites much more than it hurts poor or stupid whites.

beowulf said...

Keynesian pump priming that WORKS: Military spending

Well if the Army Corps of Engineers (instead of, say, the DOT) is cutting the checks, then infrastructure projects are, technically, military spending.

For example fixing the 26% of US bridges that structurally deficient or functionally obsolete would cost about the same as a single Gerald Ford-class carrier ($15 billion or so) and is a better use of the money-- it'd provide a public good, increase employment in every state (there are no shipyards in landlocked states) and would be rather more difficult for the the Chinese Navy to sink.

beowulf said...

Btw Beowulf's idea is superb but could set a bad precedent. What other federal hiring metrics might be imposed were it adopted?

Not sure what you mean by "federal hiring metrics", unless you're referring to don't ask don't tell or a requirement to a be a natural born citizen.

I did come across something after I posted about the ASVAB earlier, in the last year the military has added a new non-cognitive personalty test called TAPAS. While the ASVAB measures "can do", TAPAS measures "will do", so perhaps that'd be a useful hiring tool as well. Anything that allows candidates to signal ability instead of just credentials is for the good.

Here's an Army presso (pdf) about TAPAS, "Screening for Attrition and Performance with Non-Cognitive Meaures"

Christopher Paul said...

Whiskey's right-on with No. 2, the rest is raving lunacy.

Steve, the last thing the economy needs right now is a boost in productivity. We have the jobless rate flirting with 10% (officially) while companies are throwing off cash and smashing earnings forecasts left and right. Smaller firms are getting scooped up like poker chips. If anything, the economy's too productive.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey, how about end all wars for Israel?

NLA said...

Hey Steve-
Have you seen this? The author Edwin Rubenstein estimates the cost of "diversity" at $1.1 trillion a year.

rob said...

Build six new aircraft carrier battle groups

On average, how many nuclear warheads, sorry Wiskey, NUKES, would China or Iran have to launch to take out a carrier battle group? Four, five? There's no target that more legitimately military than warships in the middle of the ocean. After the US lost a $15 billion carrier and a bunch of minor ships, would the navy ever risk losing any more fancy toys?

headache said...

Whiskey sez:1. Keynesian pump priming that WORKS: Military spending. Build six new aircraft carrier battle groups, another 3,000 F-22 Raptors, a successor to the Shuttle, a moon program.

Soaks up about 8 million unemployed right there.

....err. with what money? More of that printed FED fiat money?

Anonymous said...





Tom Tancredo 4 President said...

Obama could cut immigration. Go for a moratorium.

Right, Latinos are just like Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Today's Nuyoricans remind me of the early 20th century tenement dwellers. How could I have missed that similarity?

corvinus said...





My reaction exactly.

Anonymous said...

They don't necessarily have to be classical $15 Billion carriers with classical $250 Million F22s [or F35s or whatever].

Instead, they could be stealth carriers [partially submersible?] loaded with [tens of ?] thousands of stealth drones.

Back in the day, Amurikuns used to excel at thinking outside of the box like that [and at making dadgum certain that each frickin stealth drone had a fricking laser on its frickin head].