Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Quelle Surprise, Labor Productivity is Up while Labor Wages are Still Down!

BLS economist Shawn Sprague writes What Can Labor Productivity Tell Us About the U.S. Economy?

Labor worked the exact same number of hours in 1998 as they did in 2013 or ~194 billion hours. While there was no growth in the number of hours worked, the Non-Institutional Civilian Population grew by 40 million people, and new businesses were created by the thousands which should have needed more Labor. Mean while American businesses produced $3.5 trillion in goods or 42 percent more in 2013 than in 1998 even after adjusting for inflation.

To repeat, during this period “the Business sector output grew by 42 percent, Labor hours did not grow at all, and Labor productivity (the difference in these growth rates) grew by 42 percent.” Sprague explains further; “if labor hours had grown instead by 10 percent during the period, then labor productivity would have grown by 10 percent less, or 32 percent. If labor hours had instead grown by a full 42 percent, then labor productivity would not have grown at all during the period. These examples illustrate that it is the interplay of output growth and labor hours growth that is fundamentally important to understanding labor productivity.” Labor hours of input did not grown, so what happened?

 

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Increases in throughput (as I would call it) can be achieved through more efficient equipment; faster, experienced or trained Labor; less down time for maintenance, utilization improvements, and less scrap or better materials. “In these and other cases, output may be increased without increasing the number of labor hours used.” I am gong to assume this could mean the addition of more Labor without adding hours.

Here we have a situation of increased business gained through efficiency and the resulting Productivity Gains not going to Labor and remaining with Capital. Shawn Sprague does not really delve into this topic; but, it is apparent within some of the earlier posts by Spencer England Labor’s Share, others as well, and Shawn’s footnote 4. Isn’t this a part of what Piketty is pointing out in his narrative on the growth of inequality?

Shawn’s Footnote 4: While this is possible, it is not always the case that growth in labor income keeps pace with growth in labor productivity. For instance, over the past 30 years, gains in real worker compensation per hour have fallen behind gains in output per hour. This reveals another reason why it is important to measure labor productivity—because it is the yardstick with which we can measure the extent to which additional production per hour of work ultimately ends up translating into additional income per hour of work. More on the topic: The compensation-productivity gap: a visual essay

There is no reason for business to hire more Labor to meet the increased business or shorten the work week to accommodate more workers as it would tighten the Labor Market and increase Overhead and Labor Wages. Best of both worlds for business, increased profits and a loose Labor market.

Hat Tip: Economists View

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The War on Private Citizens and Organizations Feeding the Homeless

It has been the political right’s mantra of welfare and charity being best done by private organizations rather than be government sponsored. 50 years have passed since President Johnson declared war on poverty. It was declared an abject failure by the right as it did not make people independent nor did it make people want to get off of welfare. Accordingly, it could be only be through private organizations and then the poor would be able to succeed past welfare. One NBC article written not that long ago focused on a couple feeding the poor once a week in a park in Florida .  The police ticketed the Jimenez, his wife and others for violating a local ordinance on feeding the poor in a restricted park area. The Jimenezs refused to pay the fines levied against them, the fines were ultimately forgiven by the Daytona police, and Jimenez was warned.

 

In  a follow-up article, “Food Feud: More Cities Block Meal-Sharing for Homeless; it was learned “33 cities have either adopted or are considering food–sharing restrictions. Raleigh, N.C.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Daytona Beach, Fla.;  have recently fined, removed, or threatened to jail private groups offering meals to the homeless instead of letting government-run service agencies care for those in need.” The idea of restricting food to the poor is the same as with wild animals; if you do not feed them, the poor will not come around looking for handouts and your neighborhood will remain untouched.

 

Volusia County where Daytona Beach resides called on an expert to consult with the authorities on how to resolve the problem with the poor. Robert Marbut, a national homeless consultant does not believe in locking up priests, ministers, and groups helping the poor. Nor does he believe in ordinances criminalizing the helping or feeding of the poor. Marbut does believe in “24/7 programs that treat the three root causes of homelessness – a lack of jobs, mental illnesses and chronic substance abuse – have been shown to reduce local homeless populations by 80 percent” and not just feeding the poor. Doesn’t this sound a little bit familiar and it would appear we are coming full circle on localities, states, and federal government helping the poor if only it was funded. As stated by Marbut, It is only with a combination of approaches can the poor find the means of breaking the poverty barrier once they have gotten this far in life. Of course the ultimate would be to provide the education and help before the poor ever became adults; but then, there is the little problem of Milliken vs. Bradley getting in the way of better schools and economics in cities. 

 

People are more comfortable with a group of weapon-toting people wandering into a restaurant to express their 2nd amendment right to bear arms than with having the poor around them. John Adams once noted about the poor. “The poor man’s conscience is clear . . . he does not feel guilty and has no reason to . . . yet, he is ashamed. Mankind takes no notice of him. He rambles unheeded. In the midst of a crowd; at a church; in the market . . . he is in as much obscurity as he would be in a garret or a cellar. He is not disapproved, censured, or reproached; he is not seen . . . To be wholly overlooked, and to know it, are intolerable.”  It is to a life of obscurity in which many people would push the poor.

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Thanks, But We Still Hate Obamacare!

Greg Sargent gets a great nugget from Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, who “recently conducted a statewide poll in Kentucky for an unnamed client and found that Kynect polls very positively, in contrast to Obamacare, which is underwater.”

Kynect is the Kentucky version of the Affordable Care Act exchange. To the extent the polling is correct, these results are another example of people loving the ACA but hating Obamacare.

 

Which just isn’t very surprising. People still don’t really know what “Obamacare” is. Why should they? There’s nothing labeled “Obamacare” that anyone has to deal with; almost nothing labeled “Affordable Care Act;” and there aren’t even all that many noticeable parts of the new system. Of course, Kynect is one of those new things, but there’s no reason for anyone in Kentucky to know that it has anything to do with the national law.

 

Hat Tip: Jonathan Berstein Thanks, But We Still Hate Obamacare!, Jonathan Bernstein

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“The US Labor Market is Not Working;” Antonio Fatas “On the Global Front”

This particular post was first picked up at Economist’s View and fits with Sandwichman’s posts on Labor. I have been watching Participation Rate in conjunction with U3 since 2001 along with others such as Laurent Guerby and while the US has decreased in the numbers of people in the Civilian Labor Force, our counterparts in Europe have seen increased numbers in the Civilian Labor Force. Krugman makes a statement “even the French Work harder than the Americans” which to me is rather bizarre given the French have a shorter work week and more time off than the American Labor Force. Perhaps it has nothing to do with working harder? We might find the reasons for an increased Civilian Labor Force in working smarter and more efficiently during a shorter work week. I think Krugman and the proponents of the 40+ hour work week tend to forget, it is all about throughput and efficiency and not about Labor as the latter can allow greater Labor participation. I find the comparison of the US to other countries interesting in that the other countries and associated appear to allow the citizenry to be more productive than the US by keeping more of them employed and working shorter hours. Maybe in the US we are just too militant for higher wages and time off???

Anyhoo, here the post by Antonio Fatas as taken from his blog “On The Global Front.” Antonio is certainly qualified to make such an analysis as he is on the Portuguese Council Chaired Professor of European Studies and Professor of Economics at INSEAD. INSEAD is a business school with campuses in Singapore and Fontainebleau (France). Antonio is a Senior Policy Scholar at the Center for Business and Public Policy at the McDonough School of Business (Georgetown University, USA) and a Research Fellow at the Center for Economic Policy Research (London, UK). His charts certainly provoke discussion as to what we in the US “are doing wrong.”

 

“In a recent post Paul Krugman looks at the dismal performance of US labor markets over the last decade. To make his point, he compares the employment to population ratio for all individuals aged 25-54 for the US and France. The punch line: even the French work harder than the Americans! And this is indeed a new phenomenon, it was not like that 13 years ago [Just to be clear, there are other dimensions where the French are not working as hard: they retire earlier, they take longer vacations,… but the behavior of the 25-54 year old population is indeed a strong indicator of how a society engages its citizens in the labor market. ]

So are the French the exception? Not quite. Among OECD economies, the US stands towards the bottom of the table when it comes to employment to population ratio for this cohort (#24 out of 34 countries).

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What is interesting is that most of the countries of the top of the list are countries with a large welfare state and very high taxes (including on labor). So the negative correlation between the welfare state and taxes and the ability to motivate people to work (and create jobs) that some bring back all the time does not seem to be present in the data.

What is interesting is that the US looked much better 13 years ago (see numbers for 2000 below, the US was 10 out of 34).

The US has gone through a major crisis after 2008 with devastating effects on the labor market but so have other countries. In fact, most European countries have done much worse than the US in terms of GDP growth during the last 6 years. In fact, with the exception of Portugal, Greece and Ireland, the US is the country with the worst labor market record for this age group if we compare the 2012 to the 2000 figures.”

Hat Tip to: Economists View

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Cheese-eating Job Creators (and the lump-of-labor fallacy)

I have been following Sandwichman for a long period of time. Since I do shop floor throughput exercises which no economist appears to understand in a micro sense, Sandwichman comes the closest to what I deal with on a day to day basis.

Paul Krugman in 2003:

“Traditionally, it is a fallacy of the economically naïve left — for example, four years ago France’s Socialist government tried to create more jobs by reducing the length of the workweek.”

Paul Krugman in 2014:

Well, I hadn’t looked at this data for a while; and where we are now is quite stunning:

“Since the late 1990s we have completely traded places: prime-age French adults are now much more likely than their US counterparts to have jobs.

“Strange how amid the incessant bad-mouthing of French performance this fact never gets mentioned.”

Now that you’ve mentioned this fact, Paul, how about revisiting the cogency of the lump-of-labor fallacy claim?

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“Sit In The Back of The Bus, I want this Seat”

I grew up in the city of Chicago in the fifties and sixties. When I was going into the military, I saw the west side of Chicago burning as I returned my then girl friend back to her home. It is still hard to believe this type of discrimination would happen today as it happened then . . . and it is. Yet it is even harder to believe a lone white man would demand a seat from a black woman and tell her to move to the back of the bus in New York City. The African Americans kept their cool even with an obviously crazy old white man making racists demands on them.

which begin after the man asked her to move:

BLACK PASSENGER: Why?

WHITE PASSENGER: “Because the back of the bus is over there… I mean the black of the bus is over there.”

BLACK PASSENGER: “Excuse you?”

WHITE PASSENGER: “Yes, I want that seat.”

BLACK PASSENGER: “Why do I have to go to the back of the bus?”

WHITE PASSENGER: “I want that seat.”

BLACK PASENGER: “No, I’m not getting up cause you’re being… no… you’re being racist.”

His comment after everyone on the bus objects to his demands??? “This is why we need Donald Sterling.”

Many of us had witnessed what we thought to be the death of this type of overt and bold display of racism decades ago. You have to wonder whether recent societal views towards discrimination have created an environment for the reemergence of this type of public display. This person does not appear to be a skinhead or a KKK member and appears to be just an average male on a bus.

With a court that looks at discrimination as something which is in the past and laws are no longer needed; with a large segment of our political leaders and a greater portion of the population claiming they have the right to discriminate in day to day business or otherwise activities on race, sexual orientation, or gender; with an economy skewing productivity gains away from the majority of the population; We are heading to another point where there will be another city and economy burnt. We are squeezing the low income and minority population as never before and sneering at them with our Donald Sterling threats.

HT: FirebrandProgressive and Crooks and Liars

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The Hill – “GOP struggles to land punches at ObamaCare insurance hearing”

HT :Washinton Monthly, Ed Gilgore: “House GOPers Face to Face With Unfriendly Facts on Obamacare”

Democratic lawmakers were emboldened to defend the Affordable Care Act with renewed vigor and levity, creating a dynamic rarely seen in the debate over ObamaCare.

Adding to the irregularity, exits on the Republican side at a subcommittee hearing led by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) allowed multiple Democrats to speak in a row and let heavy Democratic criticism of Republicans go unanswered, a contrast with the heated exchanges of last fall.

The discussion was not always favorable to the healthcare law, as it touched on health plan cancellations, the potential for premium increases in 2015 and problems that still plague the back end of HealthCare.gov.

Witnesses from the insurance industry were also careful in their comments and promised to submit several answers to the committee at a later date.

But Republicans were visibly exasperated, as insurers failed to confirm certain claims about ObamaCare, such as the committee’s allegation that one-third of federal exchange enrollees have not paid their first premium.

Four out of five companies represented said more than 80 percent of their new customers had paid. The fifth, Cigna, did not offer an estimate.

That is absolutely terrible, the PPACA might be working and people are paying their premiums? What is this world coming to? All the critics said the PPACA would never work, people would not sign up, and if they did they would not pay their premiums . . .

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Roberts: Don’t Leave Home with Two Phones on Your Person; Dems and White Males; Executions, Prison, and Sentencing Costs; and WS Quotes

– I have my own personal phone and also a business phone. I am also a straight up guy, former Marine Sergeant, Scout Leader, VP on a Planning Commission for the Township, etc. etc. etc. I travel a lot and I do get out and walk the streets of the cities I visit for exercise and out of sheer boredom from being cooped-up. More than likely I will carry both of my phones as someone could call me from overseas and my family may want to get a hold of me urgently. I separate business from family as the company already knows too much about my life. For a person to carry two phones on your belt, in your purse, or in your brief case; here is an interesting take on carrying them:

Two Phones

Police suggest those who carry two phones can be suspected of selling drugs. Chief Justice John Roberts, the pillar of court activism, says there may be reasonable cause for police officers to believe that people carrying two phones are also engaged in the sale of drugs. Huh? So, don’t leave your home with two phones on your person as Roberts just (almost) made it legal for the police to stop and question you while you are walking to the nearby Chop House or Ruth Cris’s restaurant to meet clients for dinner.

It is worth the read at Crooks and Liars:”The Supreme Court’s Real Technology Problem: It Thinks Carrying 2 Phones Means You’re A Drug Dealer” Originated at: parker higgins dot net; The Supreme Court’s real technology problem

– Do Dems really need White Males when there exists a growing Hispanic population? Digsby writes a snippet of her Salon article on Hullabaloo exploring the Democrats efforts to bring back the Southern White Male into the fold.

[I]f those conservative, white Southern male voters ever wake up to the fact that their enemies aren’t feminazis, African-Americans or Latinos and figure out just who it is who’s really keeping them down, I’m quite sure the Democrats would be proud to have them back in the fold. Until then Bubba’s going to be the heart and soul of the GOP. He’s their problem now.

HT: Can the Democrats finally stop chasing their (Southern male) white whale? and GOP’s white Southern men problem: Why they can’t hold Democrats down any longer

– From my literary dungeons or a little bit of Gonzo: “Your procedure would be prohibited if applied to cats and dogs,” Justice John Paul Stevens told a lawyer arguing for Florida. John Paul Stevens comment was made when this drug-induced-death procedure was in place for the execution of prisoners:

1. Barbiturates are injected into the person to anesthetize them. This in itself could be the delivering blow to life if delivered in a massive dose. Prison officials do not want to subject the witnesses and executioner to 30 minutes of waiting for death.
2. Pancuronium bromide is injected as a paralytic agent to keep the prisoner from twitching. It is not needed to cause death. It also makes it harder to tell if the prisoner is sufficiently anesthetized and in pain from the final dose.
3. Potassium Chloride is administered which causes a painful cardiac arrest if the prisoner is not sufficiently anesthetized. Dogs are no longer put to sleep using this method as it is painful. No precautions are taken to assure a prisoner is sufficiently anesthetized and much is done to prevent knowing such.

Since then many drug companies will not sell to the state governments as they get a bad rap for supplying drugs for execution. I can personally vouch for the potassium drip as twice I tolerated them in 2012 a week at a time. It burns as it goes up your arm. There is more to this argument against the death penalty.

And if they are innocent? From 1973 through 2003, 125 prisoners have been released from death row due to wrongful convictions. In 2003 alone, 10 prisoners were released. In 2000, Illinois Governor Ryan commuted the sentences for 167 inmates on death roll to natural life in prison. His reasoning was he could not be sure of whether the convictions were legitimate after releasing the 13th inmate from death roll due to wrongful conviction. 13 of 180 or ~7% error rate in Illinois. ~3800 inmates were on death row in 2000 and up till that point, 125 were released and exonerated for a percentage of ~3.2%. While not exact (it is probably higher), the 3.2% stands in defiance of Louisiana State Prosecutor Marquis and Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s claim of less than 1% being innocent and sentenced to death.

And what about the cost of housing them? Execution could be cheaper if we were to subvert the rights of prisoners during trial and on appeal to state and federal courts. A 2003 legislative audit in Kansas revealed total costs for the death penalty at 70% more than non-death sentence cases with a median cost of $1.26 million as opposed to $.74 million. Since 1995 when the death sentence was reinstated in NY, the cost for each of 5 people condemned, not executed yet, was ~$23 million per person for a total of $165 million. The Comptroller for the state of Tennessee audit revealed that death sentences cases increased costs by 48%. These are costs associated with the trial up till and including sentencing and not taking into account appeals.

“New Jersey taxpayers over the last 23 years have paid more than a quarter billion dollars on a capital punishment system that has executed no one.” 197 capital cases, 60 convictions, 50 overturned, and no executions carried out since 1983. Average cost = ~$25 million/conviction.

And then we have the botched executions. “technician looked at Lockett’s arms, legs, feet and neck before ultimately placing the IV in Lockett’s groin area five minutes before the blinds were lifted, Patton wrote in a timeline sent to the governor. The area with the IV was covered by a sheet so that witnesses couldn’t see his groin, blocking their view of the vein where the needle was inserted.

After Lockett said he had no last words, the execution began. They administered the drug midazolam, which is meant to induce unconsciousness. Ten minutes later, they announced that he was unconscious. “This is the first execution I’ve covered that they’ve made a point of pronouncing someone unconscious before they pronounce him dead,’ Branstetter said.

Three minutes later, ‘he violent reaction’ began, she said. First, she saw his foot kick. Then his body bucked, he clenched his jaw and he began rolling his head from side to side, trying to lift his head up, grimacing and clenching his teeth. ‘He mumbled some things we didn’t understand,’ Branstetter said. ‘The only thing I could make out was when he said ‘man.’

It looked like he was trying to get up, she said.

‘He looked like he was in pain to me,’ Branstetter said. ‘How much pain, nobody knows but him.'” What it was like watching the botched Oklahoma execution

There is no living hell like being confined for the rest of your natural life in a level 4 prison with 4-8 hours out and the rest of your time in a cell. In a level 5 prison, the shower comes to you and you have 1 hour out by yourself.

Were they Wrong?

“Both give rise to a systematic aversion to government regulation of private economic activity. For him, recognition that the workings of such markets sometimes destroy asset values, jobs, or even entire industries is still not ground for interference in the economy in the aggregate, or with individual transactions to which two or more private parties voluntarily agree.”

In a “state of shocked disbelief,” the maestro of the US economy testified to Congress that he also “contributed” to the economy’s recent downfall; but, but, he did not cause it. He testified that “he made a mistake in believing that banks operating in their own self interest would also protect their shareholder and depositor’s interests.”

Waxman (soon to Retire) “My Question for you is simple. Were you wrong?; “Well partially,” the former Fed Chairman answered. Even as billions of dollars are pumped into the economy to maintain liquidity and prevent the nation and the world from plunging into a depression, Greenspan will not admit his turning a blind eye to Derivatives, telling the world to look elsewhere to invest, and keeping Fed interest rates at 1% for too long as he led the largest economy of the world off a cliff. Hard to belief this testimony and his philosophy, it is ok to have these types of recessions as long as there is no regulation to prevent them from occurring as a result of this market.

Some Comments from some of the characters who helped bring about this crisis:

Greenspan shot back that CFTC regulation was superfluous; existing laws were enough.’Regulation of derivatives transactions that are privately negotiated by professionals is unnecessary,’ he said. ‘Regulation that serves no useful purpose hinders the efficiency of markets to enlarge standards of living.'”

Senator Gramm opened a June 21, 2000 hearing calling for ‘regulatory relief:’ “ ‘I think we would do well to remember the Lincoln adage that to ask a society to live under old and outmoded laws — and I think you could say the same about regulation — is like asking a man to wear the same clothes he wore when he was a boy.'”

Levitt’s thoughts: ‘In fairness, while Summers and Rubin and I certainly gave in to this, we were not in the same camp as the Fed,’ he said.’The Fed was really adamantly opposed to any form of regulation whatsoever. I guess if I had to do it over again, I certainly would have pushed for some way to give greater transparency to products which turned out to be injurious to our markets.'”

Goldschmid, the former SEC commissioner and the agency’s general counsel under Levitt: ‘In hindsight, there’s no question that we would have been better off if we had been regulating derivatives — and had a clearinghouse for it.'”

“On Sept. 26, 2008 SEC Chairman Christopher Cox shut down the program. Cox, a longtime champion of deregulation, said in a statement posted on the SEC’s Web site, ‘the last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work.’”

“cast the shadow of regulatory uncertainty over an otherwise thriving market, raising risks for the stability and competitiveness of American derivative trading.” Summers testifying in front of Congress on the memo coming from the Cassandra of the coming crisis Brooksley Born. Congress placed a 6 month moratorium on the CFTC’s powers to regulate derivatives. Brooksley resigned June 1999.

More at another time.

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Wasting One Life Away

A while back, I had written this: “One in 31 Adults”. As this was one of my first posts, Dan was kind enough then to post it on Angry Bear.

One in 31 Adults” (~2.3 million) are under the control of the correctional system according to a March 2009 Pew Center Report of the same title. 1 in every one hundred adults are imprisoned in jail, state prison, or federal prison. 25 years ago, those under the control of the correctional system was 1 in 77 adults as compared to 1 in 31 adults. If you factor in the numbers on parole or probation (~5.1 million [2007]), the numbers in jail, prison or on probation swell to ~ 7.3 million under some type of correctional/probationary control (2007).

What does the then growing prison and correctional population cost taxpayers? To support the then growing state prison population, costs ranged (it has only gone up) from ~$13,000 in Louisiana to ~$45,000 in Rhode Island annually (2005). The average was ~$23,000 annually, “US Imprisons 1 in every 100 Adults” NYT. The cost of imprisonment compares nicely to a state or private college education (another story which then I had not written about). As a whole the US imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other nation in the world (and we still do such) from which the cost burden of housing prisoners has become an issue for states with a decreasing/stagnant economy and decreasing tax revenues. Paradoxically while costing the state more, jails and prisons for many communities are a stable and growing business employing people, services, and a fast growing part of the rural community economies.

If you want to see how prisons impact local communities, go visit Ionia, Muskegon, Kingsley, etc. Michigan; prisons/jails are the major employer in small communities and Michigan courts keep them full. Livingston County is building a $15 million extension to its jail to overcome crowding. Just like building a warehouse to house inventory, the county will fill it up. “If you build it, they will come.” Whack the prisons/jails and the towns dry up. The laws such as three strikes and drug possession for imprisoning nonviolent prisoners are antiquated. Fast forward to 2014 and this story of a man who was sentenced to prison and how they never came to get him while he was out on bond.

“Back in 1999, Anderson helped rob a Burger King assistant manager in St. Charles, Mo., with what turned out to be a BB gun. In May 2000 he was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 13 years in prison — but because of a clerical error, he never did the time.

While out on bail, he went on to become a law-abiding, happily married man with four children. After training as a carpenter, Anderson started a small businesses and built his own home from the ground up. On the weekends, he volunteered at his church, went fishing, fixed up old cars and helped his kids prepare for their spelling tests — ‘just normal, everyday, good stuff,’ he told Snow.

At first, Anderson lived every day wondering whether law enforcement might arrive and take him to prison.

‘For the first couple of years, yes,’ he said. ‘When I’m in the shower, I hear a noise, outside somebody closing the door, I’m thinking it’s them at the door every single day.’

Despite that anxiety, he did not turn himself in.

‘That was not me,” he said. “Prison is not me.’

Then, early one morning in July 2013, that day came, as law-enforcement officials descended on his home and hauled him away for failing to serve his sentence all those years ago. Anderson maintains that he was never a fugitive and he never hid his whereabouts from authorities.

‘We did everything we were supposed to do,’ Anderson told Snow. ‘We filed all the paperwork. My attorney (at the time) told them that I wasn’t incarcerated, that I was out on bond.’

Anderson told Snow that as the years passed, he registered his businesses with the state of Missouri, renewed his driver’s licenses, got married and even voted — all the while using his full name and his current mailing address.

‘A fugitive is someone that they’re looking for and that’s running,’ Anderson said. ‘I never ran, and they weren’t looking for me. … I used to think, ‘Maybe they just wiped the slate clean.’”

No, they did not wipe the slate clean, through clerical error they had lost Cornealious “Mike” Anderson in the state correctional system. If you ever want to see a low caliber operation, visit your prisons. I had to laugh when one guard was explaining to me how to secure a vehicle in a heavily patrolled area. In the early seventies, I chased prisoners for the USMC during the few months remaining of my enlistment. Existence in the state system for many workers is measured by how little you do.

Missouri caught up with Mike and they want their 13 years of prison-time-slice of his life. Mike is now sitting in prison today “It’s — it’s like my life is wasting away.” Considering what he has contributed to society over the last 13 years as a normal citizen making a living and paying taxes, Mike’s life is wasting away. Mike has gone from being a contributor in society by leading a normal life, raising a family, and paying taxes to a prisoner in a Missouri prisoner and the state and its citizens paying for his upkeep.

Thirteen years of making ~$40,000 annually or ~$520,000 in economic activity to 13 years @ $22,350 annually or $290,550 in cost to the state plus the loss of his salary for a total 0f $810,550 over the next 13 years plus welfare for his wife and 4 children. All just to get even with a person who made a normal life for himself.

“I gave my life to the Lord and he changed my mindset, gave me a new heart — changed my mind about the way I was living, the way I thought about things. And I just — I became a man.” This fits in with the religious culture one would see in this part of the state. It is also not unusual to see this reaction in prison where the prisoners become religious, especially when they are cut off from family, as they have no one else to turn to while there and they cling to anything. We have bought a few Bibles and teaching Bibles for prisoners from time to time and have probably stocked a library or two with our purchases of other books. Mike did this outside of prison when he really did not have to do so and he proved his worth. Maybe if he were white the reaction might have been different as back when the Pew Report was written, 1 in 11 adult African-Americans were imprisoned as compared to a lesser rate for Caucasians. The US imprisons more African-Americans then Caucasians.

We as a society really do some dumb things.

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