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(Early) Monday Smackdown: A North Carolina Miracle?--No, of Course Steven Moore Has No Principles. Why Would You Ask?

Live from the Wingnutosphere: I do confess that I was surprised when, on Trish Regan's show, Steve Moore abandoned his previous support of the TPP. He claimed that it had "lots of pages" and that "the other parties won't follow its provisions". Well, it had "lots of pages" back when you supported it, Steve--if you are going to cut tariffs on lots of items and draw detailed rules for what people owe foreigners for the intellectual property they use, "lots of pages" comes with the deal. It had "lots of pages" when you were urging Marco Rubio to vote for it, Steve. It has "lots of pages" now. And on enforcement, the entire point of the TPP is that it gives us tools to penalize countries that do not follow its rules, and thus provide them with incentive to obey its provisions. We don't have those too now. TPP gives them to us.

Even as a (mild, nearly on the fence) TPP skeptic, I was gobsmacked both by the rapidity of Moore's rapid reversal of field and by the vacuity of his arguments against it--and by Trish Regan's failure to call him on it.

Why did Moore reverse field? Why were Moore's only arguments so vacuous? Why did Regan not call him on it? Well, because Donald Trump says that he is against the TPP as negotiated by Obama, of course. (Though dollars gets you donuts that should he become president, there will be a few cosmetic changes, it will suddenly become a good, well-negotiated trade agreement, and Trump will be for it, and Moore will revert to his position of three months ago.)

But there's more (or, rather, Moore). Let me outsource the rest of this to PGL:

Pro Growth Liberal (2015): Stephen Moore Declares a North Carolina Miracle:

Stephen Moore has another silly parade of disinformation...

The unemployment rate started to decline rapidly and job growth climbed. Not just a little. Nearly 200,000 jobs have been added since 2013 and the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.5% from 7.9%. There is a debate about how many of North Carolina’s unemployed got jobs and how many dropped out of the workforce or moved to another state. But the job market is vastly improved and people didn’t go hungry in the streets.

Moore wants to claim employment has soared and he says there was a “debate” about how many people dropped out of the workforce. Paul Krugman addressed this last year:

Because employment in North Carolina hasn’t actually shown any upward bump. Here’s employment in NC and the nation as a whole … There has been a sharp drop in the NC labor force, probably in large part because workers who could no longer get unemployment benefits--which require that you search actively for work--gave up on what they knew was a hopeless quest. The point is that to the extent that there has been a distinctive drop in North Carolina’s measured unemployment rate, it has to do with reduced job search rather than increased employment.

Krugman’s graph document the decline in the labor force after the reduction in unemployment insurance benefits. And Moore wants to say there was a debate? If we go back to February 2008 and graph employment in North Carolina, the net increase has only been 57 thousand not 200 thousand. So there has not been a miracle increase in North Carolina. Average hourly earnings of all employees in North Carolina has increased from $21 an hour in 2010 to $21.85 as of April 2015. A 4 percent nominal increase over a 5 year period is below what we have seen on a national level. This does not sound like an economic miracle at all. I guess the Wall Street Journal will publish even the dumbest of dishonesty.

The fact is that North Carolina is, in growth, an average state: doing average over the past quarter-century in both population growth and (not) earnings growth. A generation ago the typical person nationwide was more than 15% richer than the typical person in North Carolina. Today the typical person nationwide is more than 15% richer than the typical person in North Carolina:

Real Median Household Income in North Carolina FRED St Louis Fed

All Employees Total Nonfarm in North Carolina FRED St Louis Fed

It's no Texas for population growth, and its no California for a prosperity edge: the typical person in California was and is 30% richer than the typical person in North Carolina; since 2008 Texas has added 16% to employment as North Carolina has added 3%.

The only reason to claim a North Carolina employment miracle is if you are already in intellectual bankruptcy so that you have no reputation to sacrifice, and think that such a claim might convince the Republican politicians of North Carolina to pay you money. Hell! It worked with Brownback and Kansas! Is it working with North Carolina Republicans? I don't know