Recently, Business Week had a story on how Male Unemployment has reached post-War highs. Richard Florida (the “creative class” writer) has written about the subject also in the Atlantic. Both Business Week and Richard Florida wondered about the policy challenges this gap creates. Quite likely they were afraid to ponder the implications.
Which is bluntly that men have no investment whatsoever in Obama’s Economy or his Welfare State, and men are guaranteed, most of them, to want to destroy it. Completely, root and branch.
The Business Week story has the following graphs, illustrating the gap between Male and Female Unemployment (most Male age cohorts are at or near post-War highs).
This is nothing new. Older Americans who remember the Depression knew that Male unemployment was far higher than female unemployment, as employers would pay women less than men, and many occupations even then were considered “female” such as retail clerking, book-keeping, and other occupations where some part-time labor was needed. Meanwhile male-dominated manufacturing and resource extraction (mining, timber, etc.) were cut to the bone as inventories went unsold. The old photos of breadlines and unemployment lines had nearly all men. Women could and did get by, often as principle breadwinners for families, although their reduced wages made this a highly stressful proposition.
The danger for Obama and Democrats, however, is that the rising Welfare State, is unsustainable without benefits for men. Bluntly put, men need to receive enough advantages for them to support Welfare Spending, and higher taxes. Now they receive nothing, and in fact are positively hurt by Obama’s Economy, which is roughly the Welfare State super-sized. What neither Obama nor most Democrats understand is that the “cushion” of the 1990’s is gone.
As this Real Clear Politics story from 2007 makes clear, the 1990’s were not all a bed of roses, particularly for men. Wage growth was outpaced significantly by economic growth, until the boom times of the late 1990’s around 1995, where employers desperate for workers, bid up wages and various bubbles including the Dot-Com bubble pushed up wages significantly.
But the 1990’s were different for men than for women. The Real Clear Politics link, citing US Census Bureau data on “Usual Weekly Earnings” (basically all income but capital gains and benefits) produced the following graphs:
Men up to the 75th Percentile (low/middle wage earning men) showed significant declines in Usual Weekly Earnings from 1993 to 1995. For 2002 to 2006, the same low/middle wage earners had declines that were much lower than the early 1990’s. While men in the 75th Percentile and higher (high income men) had modest gains in the 1990s, but won REALLY big in the 2000’s under George Bush. This is particularly true for the 75th Percentile men who had very little earnings gain under Bill Clinton but very good gains under Bush.
Meanwhile, only the 10th Percentile (the bottom income earners) among women lost wages in the period 1993-1995. Women showed modest gains (25th and 50th Percentile) to spectacular gains, on the order of nearly 9% (90th Percentile, the super-rich) under Bill Clinton. Women did slightly less better under George W. Bush, across the board, excepting the 25th Percentile (just under the middle wage earners, but not the poorest) which did quite better under George W. Bush.
What does this mean? That for most men, and particularly middle income and upwards earning men, George W. Bush and his economy did better for them than Bill Clinton. While for women, the effect is reversed but not quite as strong.
Structurally, the economy has only “worked” to increase men’s wages in boom times. Which would describe the 1990’s, and the period 2002-2006 (to a lesser extent). Women’s employment and wage growth seem to occur best in Welfare Spending eras, when job and wage growth is confined to things Democrats and Liberals spend on, such as Education, Welfare, Health Care, Social Services, and the like. In short, men “win” when they economy is oriented towards boom-stimulated exports, construction, manufacturing, where workers are needed “now” and training is done on the fly, with an emphasis on flexbility in getting the job done. Women win when the economy is based on qualifications, crucially including gender and race preferences, in female-dominated social services, funded by tax revenues.
This puts forward the big risk to social spending: men don’t win by it, and will only put up with it if the general economic environment is so favorable that it’s easier “not to make waves” while times are good.
Welfare Spending of course degrades the ability of the “beta provider” to compete with other men for the exclusive sexual access to a woman. One of the driving factors in single motherhood and illegitimacy (rising from 17% in 1980 for Hispanics to over 50%, from 4% for Whites in 1965 to 28% or 41%, depending on whose numbers you use, or 24% in 1965 for Blacks to over 70% nationally and over 90% in the Black Urban Core today) has been the inability of a “beta provider” male to compete with either Welfare spending outlays (poor Blacks and Hispanics) to income growth (generated by Welfare-Social Service employment) for White professional women. If a White Woman, of professional social-economic status, makes enough money as a “creative class” worker or through social spending (Health, Education, Welfare, Environment, etc.), she does not need the income of a “beta provider” who is at any rate likely to earn less than her, nor does she need his services. Which can be replaced by the stereotypical nanny from El Salvador, or other places sending many illegal immigrants.
[This is why women fare more than men support Open Borders/Amnesty. Not only do White Women find no competition in the “creative class” category but very little in the social spending employment jobs. Meanwhile, lots of illegal aliens means lots of cheap nannies and other labor to replace a husband or boyfriend in child care and household tasks.]
But Barack Obama’s Economy is more than just a structural imbalance tilted towards women. It positively punishes most men, with wage losses and declines, particularly on high-end men, making powerful enemies. Machiavelli advised to kill enemies before making them poor, and that a man might forgive the murder of his father quicker than impoverishment. Obama’s economy, with high taxes, sluggish job growth, no booms in anything requiring male workers “right now” and thus competition for workers driving up wage growth, promises to take men who made a lot of money and make them poor.
What this means is that men who competed for the most important thing in their life: women, went from ordering $200 bottle service at some nightclub to impress women, to hanging around dateless and poor. While the story about “Dating a Banker Anonymous” was indeed a hoax (and the NY Times fell for it), the general outlook expressed by the women (their men were not desirable after losing jobs/income) is nevertheless broadly accurate.
Men from the 50th Percentile upwards used spare wealth from real wage growth to pay for signaling devices like Iphones, Macbook Airs, bottle service at clubs, and other displays to compete for women who no longer need merely “beta providers” of steady, faithful income and companionship, but flash, excitement, wonder, and greater wealth and social power than their own. These men have suddenly become poorer under Obama, as 82% of Obama-era layoffs are men. With little prospect that any will be hired, much less at wages equalling or exceeding their old jobs, in Government sponsored spending such as Social Services, or the Environment.
No money will be spent in ways that benefit “White Men” according to the Obama Administration. It will all go to White Women, unsurprising since Single Women voted for Obama 70-29.
But this imbalance creates a large mass of opposition towards Obama. Men who were middle wage earners or better, who find declining wages, or no wages, no help for them from Obama, continued preference for Women and non-Whites, and most importantly, lack of success in the dating/mating market. Even putting aside Robert Reich’s words, when was the last time anyone saw a Straight White Male working at the DMV, the local Library, or any government office?
During the Depression of the 1930’s, FDR made move after move that only made the Depression worse. He was re-elected to massive majorities because he took care of patronage, and specifically male patronage. FDR ordered the deportation in massive scales of anyone who might be in the country illegally. Non-citizens were excluded from all social benefits and programs. Blacks were suppressed in unionizing and largely excluded from government programs. White males, the most important demographic group and the only one capable of explosive action (witness the Bonus Army) threatening FDR’s rule, were “taken care of,” in the sense that they got a very public “first call” on benefits even if the net result of FDR’s policies was continued massive male unemployment.
Moreover, the society of the 1930’s was not what today’s is, in terms of male-female relations. Women still preferred the “beta provider” who would be steady and reliable, rather than a series of exciting bad-boy playboys. Women shared the apprehension of a society on the brink of chaos and the threat, very real, of revolution.
Today, most women’s lives have not been affected at all. Most women today are single, not married, a change seen first in 2007. Without an unemployed husband, most women are not affected by either layoffs (focused mainly on men) or wage losses (so far not affecting women much). Since women no longer need or want a “beta provider” the economic downturn has reaped benefits, winnowing out the non “Alpha” or socially dominant men from their lives.
But this creates a false sense of security. Men who made good money, and through that money had a girlfriend, now find themselves with neither. Obama offers not only no hope, but hostility expressed daily to the formerly well off White men who now have little hope of recovery. What does this dynamic create?
It creates a whole class, with no connection at all to the Welfare State, who would instead wish to destroy it. Destroy it on the upper end, so that the economic basis for women’s preference for bad boys is erased. Few men of middle to upper income can quickly turn themselves into thugs as happened to the men in the Black Urban Core, or low-income Hispanic men, or the White British Underclass (the latter famously chronicled by Theodore Dalrymple “Life at the Bottom” and other books). Becoming a violent thug as the only way to compete for women absent the beta male provider is certainly a strategy that works. But it has too many costs (the very real possibility of ending up dead or in prison) that most will not take it. However, all the time and energy (the men will not be dead, as Obama merely made them poor) men who used to have “lives and women” and now have neither will be focused somewhere. Very likely on the destruction of the Welfare State. Taking away women’s economic independence and forcing a choice between bad boys and poverty, or exclusivity to beta providers.
At the very least, we will see pretty much all White Men except those who remain very, very rich become Conservative voters, mostly Republican. Kerry won 38% of the White Vote. Obama slightly less. But even with Obama’s 70-29 edge in single women’s votes, if his share of White Male voters goes to say, 4%, neither he nor Democrats remain in office.
Men don’t have a stake in the Welfare System. Indeed since they pay for it in taxes but get nothing for it (but payment to women to enable the bad-boy selection), they are better off without it. Without the Welfare System, and with a low-tax, high boom/bust economy, they at least have the chance to ride another boom wave and create a life that includes women. Obama offers men nothing but poverty and sexless isolation from women.
Men are likely to reject both Obama and Democratic policies en-masse, and dismantle as much as possible the Welfare State.