Rambling on or through the trouble with statistics, MMM, Sanders.
The trouble with statistics...
Take the unemployment rate. Say it goes up a half a percent. Not such a big deal. But wait. Down at the granular level, so to speak, you've got actual living, breathing human beings who have lost jobs. From that position that slight uptick in the unemployment rate is a very big deal. A very. Big. Deal.
For them, for their families.
Losing a paycheck is a disaster for most people. This isn't the 1970s when (I came of age) and if you wanted work you could find it. (And maybe that was only true for me because I was young, white, and living in Los Angeles...)
Full Employment should be (and is supposed to be-- see the long forgotten other aim of the Fed) an object of great importance to a democratic government. "For the people." Get it?
People have bought into the Myth of the Magical Marketplace: that if government would get out of the way of business we'd all have rainbows and ponies.
Nonsense. If a market isn't properly regulated, the unscrupulous will win, and you will get poverty, pollution, corruption, theft, usury, and so on.
It's having that Myth in the back of our minds that keeps us from demanding full employment, by government where necessary.
Democratic Socialism of the Sanders type isn't really socialism; it's capitalism with a human face. Sanders is right in many ways that no candidate has been right in generations. But he doesn't go far enough. (Besides Full Employment, see, for instance, the post directly below on this powerful blog's powerful call for a Military Repatriation Corps.)
Militay Repatriation Corps
Dmitri Orlov has a great essay up today on how utterly hopless and wasteful is the U.S. military
The empire is ending, and we can whistle past the graveyard, pretending it won't happen to us, not putting on the brakes to minimize the impact. Or we can make the best of it.
We need to bring the armed forces home, and dismantle and recycle most of their weapons and machines. We could not fight a world war with them anyway-- we cannot even prevail with them where we employ overwhelming might against single militarily inferior countries. We can destroy their infrastructure, kill lots of people, but we cannot achieve cessation of hostilities on favorable terms (which must be the goal or what the hell is?).
Invasion risk? We won't be putting our selves at risk, we'll be gauranteeing a better future. Protecting our borders will require a small fraction of ther resources required for being The Global Superpower. We're pretty safe having borders only with Canada and Mexico.
First Strike risk? If we step down from Global Superpower, no country on earth would have us in their sights as the Great Evil.
Now, to close down all those bases in an orderly way; to decomission, deconstruct and recycle all those aircraft carriers and fighter jets; to disarm our nuclear weapons and find (temporary!) solutions for storing the radioactive materials: is going to take a lot of people a long time.
What to do?
A Militay Repatriation Corps.
*To effect an orderly redeployment home of all our troops worldwide.
*To effect an orderly relinquishing of empire.
*To dismantle the foreign war machine.
We don't want to have an abruptly unemployed bunch of former soldiers. So we initially staff it with the current armed forces. But we also do a lot of hiring-- there's plenty of work to do for a long time, and new and different expertise will be needed at all levels.