Oh Say Can't You See?
The Market Ticker - Commentary on The Capital Markets
2017-04-21 05:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 216 references Ignore this thread
Oh Say Can't You See?
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You have to love The Atlantic and their "slant" on alleged "news":

Brick-and-mortar retail is having a meltdown, and economists are starting to see the effects in the job market.

Overall retail employment has fallen every month this year. Department stores, including Macy’s and JC Penney, have shed nearly 100,000 jobs since October—more than the total number of coal miners or steel workers currently employed in the U.S. Even America’s richest areas are getting hit: Employment in New York City clothing stores has fallen three years in a row, the longest period of decline on record, going back to the early 1990s.

Of course the lamentation is that unlike the coal industry (or manufacturing) there's been no political promise (empty or otherwise) to do something about this one.

Well, yeah.

Why does this shock you?

Who owns a major mainstream media outlet?  That's not the same guy who runs Amazon, is it?

And of course The Atlantic tries to make it appear that there's a racism element to it too: Manufacturing is, of course, "white men" while retail is not so-concentrated, ergo, they're all sexist and racist bastards in the medial the DC and that's why they won't report on the job loss.

But the decline of clothing-store jobs has something in common with the demise of manufacturing and mining jobs, too. They are both victims of the familiar forces of globalization and technology, which have conspired to make clothes cheaper and accessible online. 

Really?  This just started recently?  How long ago did all the textile jobs leave South Carolina?

Hmmmm....

And of course they try to claim that the losses are offset by distribution center employment.  Maybe, but there's a critical difference: You can't really replace a clerk in a store with a robot, or at least not very effectively.  But Amazon can and is mightily trying to replace employees with robotic systems -- and that will continue.  In other words the distribution center "jobs" are mostly temporary, even if "temporary" means "good for a year or three."

And, of course, The Atlantic pulls out the standard nostrums of socialism: "Universal" health care not tied to a company, etc.  I note most particularly that there is not one word about the ridiculous proliferation of monopolist behavior in that industry without which there'd be no need for "insurance" in virtually every instance at all.

But no!  We can't have that.  We can't have The Rule of Law and we can't do things that, well, make prices cheaper when it comes to those areas of pain that everyone is taking these days -- including displaced retail workers.

It is much harder to say the truth: Technology and trade make America richer as a country, but the winnings are distributed unevenly, and it’s the responsibility of government to improve the distribution without making everybody poorer in the process.

Technology maybe, trade frequently not.  Trade frequently takes the winnings and gives them to the Chinese and Mexicans.

Now exactly how is the government supposed to "improve the distribution" when it's no longer here?

Unless, of course, they're suggesting that we start using all that military hardware we have laying around.

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