atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#3988: Okay, that's unusual: a job interview on a Sunday. (or "Stunday", if you prefer.)

I got a call at 1 PM this afternoon asking me if I could come in today for an interview, and you can believe I wasted no time calling them back and telling them that I could do it. They said "Be here sometime between 2:30 and 4," so I had something to eat and then hit the shower.

I think it went extremely well, mainly because the person who interviewed me decided she'd have a more technically-oriented job posting re-opened for one day specifically so I could apply for it, and she said that I'd then interview probably on Tuesday...and mentioned something about getting me back in for a third interview that I didn't quite catch considering that my brian was dancing happy circles too much.

On my way home from there, then, I considered how natural it felt for me to wear my "business casual" clothing, and I had to think about it for a bit before I realized that I wore basically nothing but from 1990 through 2001. In 1998 when I was working as a contract PC tech for Rockwell-Collins I had one pair of blue jeans, and it was years old; when the weather warmed up, I had to go find some decent denim shorts to wear to work because our lab was basically in a warehouse (right across from one set of loading docks) and the AC was less than effective. Otherwise, I wore khakis to work; and it wasn't until I lost my job as a technical writer that I had more than one pair of blue jeans again. (And I still didn't wear them to work because I was a CNA in 2003 and wore scrubs.)

Just about every job I've had in my career required "business casual", and though I was given leave to wear shorts for a couple of them I generally always wore khaki pants and a dress shirt, with or without a tie as needed. The only real concession to comfort was that I wore sneakers rather than dress shoes; when you have to walk a lot they're the only shoes that make sense and no one ever commented on them. (At least, not to me.) But I was never uncomfortable in those clothes--not even at the beginning--and now they just suit me best.

* * *

A dollar in 2013 is worth about 1/20th of what it was worth in 1913, yet wages have not gone up 20x.

Productivity has increased dramatically, which accounts for the fact that we can still buy things. You can get a loaf of bread for about $1 if you're careful, while a similar loaf cost $0.05 a century ago; that's a twenty-fold increase in the price of bread. But a 1913 dollar is worth $22.10 in 2013 money.

Whee!

* * *

Then Karl Denninger gets into the act:
From 2007 to 2013 the government has grown from $2.7 trillion to $3.68 trillion, a 36% increase. Marketable federal debt has gone from $4.96 trillion to $12 trillion, up 120% (that is, more than a clean double.)

At the same time median family income has dropped from $56,000 to $52,000 in 2013 dollars (that is, adjusted for "inflation"), a roughly 7% decrease.

Oh, and that's before taxes.

Everyone talks about there being a "tsunami" of incoming inflation to be expected. The real tsunami is government spending and debt and it already happened. In real-dollar terms the federal government alone is taking from you nearly twice as much today as it was in 2007 and 80% of the minimum-wage-earner's buying power has been destroyed from 1980 to today.

And this is before Obamacare really kicks in.
Buying power has taken a serious hit in the last three decades. Denninger is right about minimum wage; in the 1970s a young person living with his parents could work a minimum-wage job, pay to attend college, and still afford to buy a new car. These days? Forget it. The cost of college has far outstripped inflation and even econoboxes cost much more than the annual income of a full-time minimum wage earner. You can't buy a decent economy car for less than $20,000 unless you buy a stripped model or something made in a third-world country, and if you want anything nicer you won't get one off the lot under $25,000 easy.

In 1969, minimum wage was $1.60 an hour. Working full time, that's about $3,200 a year; in the same year you could buy a Mustang Mach 1--top of the line!--for $3,138 plus tax etcetera.

Compare that to 2013, when a Mustang GT--not a Boss 302, just the regular GT--runs around $31,000. And if you work full time and earn minimum wage, you earn $15,000 per year.

"The 2013 model is vastly superior to the 1969 model! It has more technology in it!" Sure it does. But the 2013 Mustang is not more advanced than any other vehicle manufactured for the 2013 model year, and the technology included in the car's list price does not justify a twofold increase in the price vis-a-vis the earning power of a typical worker. The price of cars is higher because it can be, not because it must be; cars are sold now by salesmen who ask, "What kind of monthly payment can you afford?" rather than talking about a total price; the car companies did not go into the finance business out of altruism, but as a way to increase the available pool of buyers: more lenders means more auto loans being made. And if that's so, and production remains approximately level, then you have a case of more dollars chasing relatively fixed production and prices rise.

Car companies say they can barely afford to sell economy cars; don't you believe it. They make a profit on even the cheapest models, and when they start poor-mouthing it means, "We simply don't make a very large profit on these economy cars. Our margins are much better on the high end...." which is why Chevrolet's Impala has gone from being a blue-collar car to a luxury model.

...and I could go on, and on, and on, but I want to go ride my motorcycle, and there's still blog left.

* * *

Greece has made the fascist position illegal. Criminalizing political opposition to the government is a sure-fire way to bring on a civil war, opines Vox Day. Whee!

* * *

And speaking of fascism, IRS seizes $35,000 from a man's bank account because he deposited large sums of cash $9,000-ish at a time. The guy runs a grocery store and his insurance won't let him keep more than $10,000 in cash on hand at any one time, so he's got a bunch of smaller deposits around $9,000 or so. IRS and the feds claim that he did this solely to skirt the federal requirement that banks etc. report cash transactions in excess of $10,000, Because Drugs. The feds say this gives them the right to seize his entire bank account.

When this hapless grocer protested, the feds offered to give him $7,000 of his money back. Real big of them, isn't it? Wouldn't you like to be able to take someone's money without cause and then only have to give back 20% of it?

The entire drug enforcement machinery emplaced for The War On Drugs must be dismantled. Prohibition didn't work the first time we tried it.

* * *

As I sit here, I am watching three or four sparrows eat seeds from a couple of plants in the front yard. I think the plants are some kind of thistle, but I'm not really sure; anyway it sure is nice to see the birds enjoying themselves.
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