The view from here

I was just reading faux economist Donald Luskin (don’t ask why..it’s like reading Marmaduke. It’s just there) who wrote:

How would you like go to a doctor who takes your temperature with a thermometer that says you’re running a fever even when you’re perfectly healthy? Sound good? Well then step into the examining room ? Dr. Kerry will see you now.

Never mind three back-to-back quarters of great GDP growth. Never mind new all-time high levels of household wealth. Never mind strong consumer spending, low inflation, and a recovering job market. Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has come up with what he calls the “Middle-class Misery Index” ? and it purports to prove that the economy is sick, sick, sick.

It’s all quackery, of course. And as you’ll see in a moment, this economy is so healthy that even John Kerry and his brainless-trust of liberal economists couldn’t come up with a fraud nasty enough to make it look really bad.


Let’s turn it over to the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce who can normally find a silver lining in an oil spill:

Looking for a job with a real future in San Diego County?

You might want to give hamburger-flipping a try.

Nearly one-fourth of the jobs created in the county between 1999 and 2002 were for restaurant cooks and servers, with an average salary of $18,043 per year, according to a report released yesterday by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber’s report warns that the rapid growth of low-income jobs is mirrored by a shrinkage in middle-wage jobs, as the county becomes increasingly stratified between rich and poor.

“We are creating some high-end jobs and a lot of low-wage jobs, but the middle class is getting squeezed out,” said chamber economist Kelly Cunningham, who wrote the report. “We run the risk of becoming like Santa Barbara, with a stratum of wealthy people and the workers on the lower end who serve them.”


Of the 70,810 jobs created in San Diego County between 1999 and 2002, 42,320 ? or 60 percent ? paid less than $30,000 a year, according to the chamber’s report.

Leading the pack were 26,110 new office and administrative workers, earning an average of $29,703 a year; 15,880 cooks and servers, averaging $18,043; and 2,550 janitors and maintenance workers, averaging $22,167.

Many of those salaries are far below the level needed for survival in San Diego, said Paul Karr, communications director at San Diego’s Center on Policy Initiatives. In a recent study, the center estimated that a family of four requires at least $50,000 a year to provide such basic necessities as food, rent, clothing and child care.

“That doesn’t include such costs as saving for college or the luxuries we all take for granted, such as birthdays, holidays and back-to-school expenses,” Karr said. “As a regional local economy, relying on that kind of job growth is unsustainable, since we’ll have a large class of folks who are unable to pay basic needs. How can they afford increased costs in housing, let alone gasoline, energy, child care?”

The price of an apartment in the less desirable parts of San Diego is currently about $400 per bedroom. In my neighborhood (and, granted, I live in one of the nicer coastal areas) an average three bedroom house is currently going for $2850 per month. Buying gas today, the cheapest unleaded is selling for $2.39 per gallon which is reportedly the highest in the country. Take those two numbers and then imagine having a family of four and the costs involved in taking care of that family. Now do the math.

To Republicans like Donald Luskin, the idea of “…a stratum of wealthy people and the workers on the lower end who serve them” is like Viagra….

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....