[Marxism] The Economy Not Worth Defending: A Response to Trump’s State of the Union - CounterPunch.org

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Feb 7 07:34:21 MST 2020

And what of Trump’s own preferred economic metrics? It’s certainly true 
that unemployment is near a 70-year low, standing at 3.5 percent in 
December 2019. The only other periods in modern history that saw lower 
unemployment rates were the late 1940s (1948), the early 1950s 
(1951-1953) and the late 1960s (1968-1969). But these comparisons are 
highly deceptive. They fail to account for the rise of contingent labor 
in the modern era, with the overwhelming majority of new jobs created 
from 2005 to 2015 – 94 percent – falling into what Harvard and Princeton 
economists call “alternative work” arrangements. These “alternative” 
jobs in the modern gig economy include contract work, freelance jobs, 
temp agency positions, on-call positions, and employment with contract 
companies. These jobs are highly unreliable, often failing to provide 
Americans with stable work, a living wage, or adequate benefits such as 
health care and a secure retirement. Trump’s America provides a plethora 
of jobs to choose from. Whether any of them are worth taking is another 
question entirely.


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