Friday Roundup: After McCleary, income inequality, and concerns about the future of maritime work

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Seattle Times (editorial): McCleary is over, but work to improve education in Washington is not

The state has added $8 billion in state dollars to the K-12 budget since the Supreme Court’s 2012 McCleary decision. The Legislature met the court’s demands to take on the responsibility of paying for basic education, rather than relying on local property taxes. And some important education reforms like smaller classes in the early grades have been funded.

But the results are still lacking.

Too many high school students are dropping out before graduation, especially among children of color. For the class of 2017, 81.9 percent of white students graduated in four years, while 71.5 percent of black students, 72.7 percent of Hispanic students and 60.3 percent of American Indian or Alaskan Native students graduated.

Wall Street Journal (Kessler): The Canard About Falling Incomes 

As election season approaches, chants about the hollowed-out middle class predictably grow louder…. “In 1973, the inflation-adjusted median income of men working full time was $54,030. In 2016, it was $51,640,” the New York Times breathlessly reported last year….what makes this argument totally bogus—is the phrase “inflation-adjusted.”

The odoriferous offender is the manufacturer of inflation data, the Bureau of Labor Statistics. …As consumer items got more feature-rich and complex, the BLS simply couldn’t note the absolute price of, say, a microwave oven…

…the CPI absolutely doesn’t take today’s technology-infused lifestyle and work backward to show how much more expensive it would have been in 1973. Yet that’s what pundits infer when they talk about a hollowed-out middle class. How would the BLS reverse-decompose artificial intelligence and Alexa? Good luck with that.

The CPI is obsolete.

American Enterprise Institute: Yes, income inequality has stopped growing

A recent report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has analyzed the data over the last four decades. From 1979 through 2007, inequality increased significantly, no matter how income was measured — whether or not it was based on market income (the sum of employment, business and capital income), or if it included government social insurance and safety-net payments, or if it subtracted federal tax payments. Depending on the income measure, the CBO found that inequality increased in this period between 23 percent and 31 percent.

But from 2007 through 2014, the figure stabilized. Looking at market income, inequality increased by only 3 percent. Once you add in cash payments and in-kind transfers from government safety net programs, inequality actually fell over this period.

Crosscut: Maritime workers wonder: Will there be a next generation?

Seattle owes its existence to the waterfront. But, in a city looking past heavier industries to a future powered by tech and service work, maritime workers and business owners wonder how long they will remain a vibrant part of the cityscape…

As the urban landscape transforms, Seattle’s maritime sector struggles to adapt on the land it already occupies. The sawmills and canneries that dotted Elliott Bay were swept away as the city evolved into a major gateway to Asia with a containerized shipping port. Now, shipyards – vital to maritime industry – continue their work even as condos and apartment towers rise near the waterfront industrial belts.

Geek Wire: Washington makes its pitch for Boeing’s future 797 jet

Boeing hasn’t yet declared whether it will build a new breed of midsize passenger jet — variously known as the New Mid-Market Airplane, NMA or 797 — but Washington state officials are already arguing they have the best place to build it.

And now they have a statistics-filled report to back up that claim.

The report, known as the Aerospace Competitive Economics Study or ACES, was researched and written up by aerospace consultants at the Teal Group and Olympic Analytics for labor unions at Boeing, on behalf of the Choose Washington New Mid-Market Airplane Council.