Monday Miscellany, 4/15/24

Monday Miscellany, 4/15/24 April 15, 2024

Second jobs; women as closet conservatives; and why does it take so long to build things anymore?

Second Jobs

The economy added 303,000 jobs in March, according to recent headlines, a sure sign that Bidenomics is working and happy days are here again!

Well, according to Joseph LoBue in the Federalist, there is rather more to the story than that.  There was no increase in the number of full-time jobs.  In fact, in March there were 6,000 fewer full-time jobs, part of a steady decline  over the last four months, during which 1,787,000 fewer Americans found full-time employment.

The increase is due largely to part-time jobs.  And 75% of these are second jobs.  Which means, according to LoBue, that

Under the Biden economy, the number of people who have had to simultaneously work both a full-time job and a second part-time job just to make ends meet has hovered at historical highs. In March, the number of people who added a second part-time job on top of their other full-time employment totaled 225,000. The Democrats’ “good news” is just you having to work longer and harder to survive.

Or, in the words of the title of his article, Biden Is Only ‘Adding’ Jobs Because Americans Need Extra Side Hustles To Make Ends Meet.

It’s a sign of Americans’ work ethic and of the dynamism of the free market economy that “side hustles” are possible.  I think of the Uber drivers that I increasingly rely upon.  Is this phenomenon a manifestation of America as the “land of opportunity” or a sign of a dysfunctional economy?

I’d be glad to hear from any of you who have taken on a “side hustle.”  Are you doing that to get ahead, or just to make ends meet?

Women Tend to Be Closet Conservatives

Women are far more likely than men to embrace progressive causes.  And yet in private they tend to hold conservative views.

Kimberly Begg writes about this paradox in the Federalist:

Among all women (80 percent of whom did not identify as conservative): 79 percent think a stay-at-home mom is equal in success to women in a professional field; 74 percent think kids should have the opportunity to attend a school of their choice, regardless of zip code; 71 percent oppose transgender surgeries for minors; 68 percent plan to be married with at least one child by the time they’re 30; 64 percent think hook-up culture is harmful to women; and 62 percent oppose men competing in women’s sports.

And yet many women are hesitant to express what they really believe:

The KAConsulting survey reveals that 42 percent of all women conceal or downplay their views. Among these, 75 percent cite the desire to avoid conflict, and another 10 percent fear losing friends or family. Among self-identified conservative women, 50 percent conceal their views and, in addition to avoiding conflict, 10 percent fear “being canceled” and 9 percent fear a negative effect on their grades.

Why is that?  Beggs says, “Studies show that young women spend more time on social media and are more likely to conform to a group than young men.”  The social media culture tends towards progressivism, and it is viciously hateful to dissenters.  Beggs also cites “women’s prioritization of friendships and family relationships.”  They don’t want to stir up conflicts or hurt anyone’s feelings.

But surely in the privacy and anonymity of the voting booth women should be able to register what they really think.  The conservatism found in this study is cultural conservatism, and it makes sense that women as custodians of the family and the bearers of children would be protectors of culture.  But perhaps that doesn’t always correlate with political conservatism.  The same protective impulses might translate into economic liberalism, believing that redistributing wealth would help people in need and that restricting gun ownership would make children more safe.  And some convictions take priority over others.

How would you account for this?

Why Does It Take So Long to Build Things Anymore?

After a huge cargo ship brought down the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore, experts are saying that rebuilding it will likely take a decade, at the cost of up to $800 million.

Stephen Green observes that this is twice as long as it took the first time to build the bridge some 50 years ago, at four times the cost.  Back then the entire structure cost the equivalent of $200 million in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Such a long time frame is not unusual.  He cites a civil engineering professor who said, “Projects that large take rarely less than 10 years.”  Another story from the Associated Press, quotes the same engineer, Ben Shafer:

“The lead time on air conditioning equipment right now for a home renovation is like 16 months, right?” Schafer said. He continued: “So it’s like you’re telling me they’re going to build a whole bridge in two years? I want it to be true, but I think empirically it doesn’t feel right to me.”

Green notes that, by contrast, putting a man on the moon took seven and half years.  The Hoover Dam took five years.  And the Empire State Building only took one year.

Factors for the bridge rebuild taking so long, according to the AP story, range from “the design of the new bridge to how swiftly government officials can navigate the bureaucracy of approving permits and awarding contracts.”

A different civil engineer, Ed McSpedon, writing in the Wall Street Journal, says that the bridge could be repaired much more quickly and cheaply, using the bridge’s existing environmental-impact statement, the same foundations for the piers, and new “float-in modular construction” techniques.  But we’ll see how this goes.

"Their democracy (bureaucracy) had to be fortified to protect from populism (unmanaged public sentiment).It was ..."

God in the Womb
"In the United States, the theory has been that our "pseudo-religious" foundations can be bought ..."

God in the Womb
"The managerial bureaucracy in government is one of those ideas that was created with good ..."

God in the Womb
"Managers at a basic level synchronize and organize the functions of large institutions. They are ..."

God in the Womb

Browse Our Archives