the fashions of the belle epoque, conservative pundit seems to think she invented keynesianism

Deauville, France c1911

Deauville, France. c1911. This late Belle Époque (1971-1914) photo and the next three are courtesy Bibliothèque nationale de France. Have you ever started out looking for something on the net, came across something else which ends up taking the time you were using to research that other thing. These photographs are one example for me. I was reading a blog post last week about the costs of women’s clothing and the labor involved in making them – during the Victorian Era (1837-1901). A dozen or more people who would have had a hand in making what the average  upper middle-class lady wore. For the most part the laborers were fairly skilled, yet low paid. Though someone was making some money since the final products – dress, hats, shoes, ornamental ribbons – cost quite a bit. This was the era of poor houses, and child labor in Great Britain and France.

France, white dresses 1911

France, white dresses 1911. The hats were required at social events. Also required were gloves, parasols and a small clutch bag.

Paris (France) -- Hippodrome de Longchamp, 1911

Paris (France) — Hippodrome de Longchamp, 1911. The lace on the dress in this picture shows some of the amazing workmanship required to dress a lady. His suit is pretty much the required uniform for men. They did not always wear tails to horse races. Some wear regular cut suits and a straw hat. Note the man across from the couple reading a racing form.

Since they overlapped I’m using some Victorian reports on labor,

The Wages Of The Sweat System Dress Trades
The Report of the Select Committee 1888-1890

The East End seamstress could expect to take home a pitifully low wage. In the Report of the Select Committee of the House of Lords on the Sweating System 1888-1890, Miss Beatrice Potter (a most famous female Fabian socialist reformer) and others, gave evidence of the atrocious working conditions and meagre pay. Mrs. Lavinia Casey made shirts at 7 pence a dozen. She normally worked from seven in the morning to eleven p.m. at night. After deducting time devoted to her children she averaged twelve hours work a day.

Picture of a drawing of young women bent over sewing. Fashion history.In that time she normally made two dozen shirts. Her total daily wage amounted to one shilling and two pence.

 

Paris (France) -- Hippodrome d'Auteuil

Paris (France) — Hippodrome d’Auteuil, 1911. Wearing an outfit that cost thousands in today’s currency and standing on chairs to see the horse race makes for an interesting contrast. Traditionally in France and England,  after a race or two, they would have called on the ladies and gentlemen of the crowd to walk across the track and pack down the divets made by the horses. No problem, when they got home they would just have the help clean and repair shoes and dresses as needed.

Peggy Noonan, one of the most bizarre and incompetent conservative pundits ever decides to become a Keynesian, Noonan Goes All Krugman On Us

It’s not a debt and deficit crisis, it’s a jobs crisis.

Say what? The biggest argument in Washington is about which is more urgent, the unemployment problem or the deficit and debt problem. Democrats say it’s unemployment and therefore advocate stimulus, which causes an increase in the deficit (though not necessarily in the long-term debt). Republicans say it’s the deficit/debt and therefore advocate austerity, which causes an increase in unemployment. (To be fair, Republicans are willing to swallow a bit of stimulus as long as it takes the dubious form of lowering taxes on the rich.)

Noonan, despite a quick “to be sure” aside in which she avers that things like deficits, regulations, and “the federal tax code” are “part of” the problem, is clear about which side she’s on:

But it’s a jobs crisis that’s the central thing. And you see it everywhere you look.

Economist Paul Krugman might be the most widely read liberal in the U.S. here is what he wrote in December of 2012,

 Let’s get one thing straight: America is not facing a fiscal crisis. It is, however, still very much experiencing a job crisis.

It’s easy to get confused about the fiscal thing, since everyone’s talking about the “fiscal cliff.” Indeed, one recent poll suggests that a large plurality of the public believes that the budget deficit will go up if we go off that cliff.

In fact, of course, it’s just the opposite: The danger is that the deficit will come down too much, too fast. And the reasons that might happen are purely political; we may be about to slash spending and raise taxes not because markets demand it, but because Republicans have been using blackmail as a bargaining strategy, and the president seems ready to call their bluff.

The polls show that Peggy’s team is taking beating. The public wants job creation to be a priority, not giving tax cuts to the wealthy and paying down the debt/deficit ( they’re different things but Peggy and conservatives keep lumping them together). Peggy seems to live in a perennial bubble. Maybe she does not read Krugman, or Robert Reich or Jared Bernstein or even Ezra Klein. That means she thinks she invented Keynesian economics. Some days economics is high school meets The Twilight Zone.

Advertisements