The recent special session and our demographic picture. That latter will look at the state and the nation.
Thanks for reading.
The 2017 Special Session Ends
What was accomplished?
The newspapers and the blogs will give you the complete wrap-up. Mostly, it boils down to filling the $227 million budget hole.
This was accomplished with:
- $76 million in spending cuts
- $94 million in fund transfers
- $30 million charged to the State Fund
That comes out to $200 million.
Where’s the other $27 million?
We know that $15 million of it might come from a new contract with that private prison in Shelby. Whether the governor goes this route isn’t known at this point.
Another $15 million might come from furloughing workers, which is a fancy way of saying we’ll cut their hours in half…if not more.
Austin Knudsen says the governor brought legislators in even though he didn’t have a plan, so the GOP came up with a plan and that’s what we have.
Helena’s Mary Caferro was disappointed, saying that we should have followed the governor’s original plan – increasing taxes. Caferro, for instance, was a big proponent of raising cigarette taxes.
There will be no tax increases, however.
The GOP is happy, the Democrats aren’t, and most people around the state aren’t even paying attention. They’re busy – working. And not just jobs that require taxpayers to foot the bill and pay for their insurance.
Many of us actually work in the real world…the private sector…an area of the economy where they expect results.
That’s the thing that all those complaining-in-their-safe-districts-in-the-city Dems don’t seem to understand: we don’t care about you and your problems.
If we did, you’d have majorities in both chambers of the legislature. But you don’t, haven’t had ‘em since 1991.
The reason for that is simple – people don’t care about you. They don’t care what you say, they don’t care what you think, and they don’t care what you do.
Your election results over the past 25 years in this state are a testament to that. Sure, you might pick up a few seats here and there, maybe snag a spot on the PSC, or even get the governor’s mansion.
It never amounts to anything. Bullock’s tenure has been one unmitigated disaster after another, and Schweitzer’s cult of personality was the only thing that saved his administration from a similar fate.
Before that we had 4 years of Judy and 8 years of Marc. In 3 years we’ll have either Tim or Greg.
Don’t matter none to me. What happens in Helena doesn’t affect my life. Well…if Dems had their way it would – I’d have to pay more for cigarettes, something that doesn’t benefit me at all.
Democrats enjoy their worn and tired phrase, “It’s not all about you.”
Yes it is.
The personal situation of every voter is the most important thing to them. Sure, they’ll pay lip service to other causes and other concerns, but at the end of the day when they pull that curtain and then the lever, they’re voting for their own self-interest.
To think it’s any different is silly, and is yet another example as to why Democrats can’t win in Montana, or even America, anymore.
It’s not about you, it’s about me. Many Democrats around the country are simply giving up, breaking up with their Party. “It’s not you…it’s me,” to quote the cliched line so many hear when being dumped.
- Over at MT Cowgirl the answer is to chastise the Montana GOP, call-out the ‘especially evil’ legislators, and rally the base of urban voters to once again elect the safe-in-the-city Dems. If any Republican voters in the state even read that site – the majority of which surely don’t – I’m not sure they’d care anyways. Probably give ‘em a good chuckle while affirming their belief that the other side is ‘crazy.’
- Over at ID it’s the same story, with disbelief that the special session could have turned out ‘so badly.’ As if we didn’t know this outcome before the special session talk even started. Sometimes I wonder at that site’s ability to see things for how they are, and not just how they want them to be.
- Flathead Memo is upset by the results, though not surprised. Conner encourages progressives to win if they want different outcomes in the future. He’s right, though I don’t see progressives winning anything anytime soon. Let’s not forget that the only progressive officials this state has ever seen were Republicans in the 1910s.
- Last Best News and Missoula Current both have the same copy-pasted story up, which is about the same you’ll find on the newspaper and TV sites.
And that’s it. Another 2-day’er in the books and most Montanans’ lives have continued as if it never happened.
Politicians want you to think that government is the main factor in your life and what it does is meaningful to you, and has deep impacts on your future.
That’s simply not true.
You know damn-well that your decision to get up in the morning, get yourself out the door and to that job is what impacts your life. Hell, impacts it so much you might even have two of ‘em, or four like me!
It’s called self-reliance. This state and this country were built upon it. Either you make it or you don’t. You have no one to blame but yourself for whichever outcome results.
Are Demographics Shaping Montana’s Economy?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics gives us all kinds of reports and tables. One of them is Table 1300, the age of reference person in relation to consumer spending.
We learn that there are nearly 130,000 consumer units in America, which I take to mean people that actually buy things.
How does this break down by age group?
- Under 25: 7,300
- 25-34: 21,000
- 35-44: 21,000
- 45-54: 24,000
- 55-64: 25,000
- 65-74: 18,000
- 75+: 13,000
Let’s break that down further, putting the information into a generational context.
- Millennials (1985-2004): 28,000
- Gen X (1965-84): 43,000
- Baby Boomers (1946-64): 43,000
- Silent Generation (1925-45): 13,000
The average age in Montana is 39-years-old.
Men and women are split fairly evenly. Here’s the generational population picture for Montana:
- Generation Z (2005-?): 19.5%
- Millennials (1985-2004): 25.7%
- Gen X: (1965-84) 26.5%
- Boomers (1946-64): 22.6%
- Silent Generation (1925-45): 5.5%
So nationally, the largest groups of buyers are Gen X and the Boomers. Here in Montana, however, there are more Millennials than Boomers, and Millennials are damn-near outpacing Gen X’ers too.
Let’s not forget that the Boomers will be slowing down a lot on their spending, especially as more get into Social Security age.
Millennials will be picking up their spending, especially as the youngest move from their current age of 13 into their later-teens and 20s.
I’d love a housing crash so housing prices could come down and I might get a shot at buying a home, but I think this is unlikely.
The reason? We’ll never get over our need to keep building new houses, as many as we can, as fast as we can.
Housing starts were down 4.7% in September. We have about 1,000 less housing starts a month than we did in 2002. Look at the demographics of it. Gen X has about 8 million fewer members than the Baby Boomer generation. So you're going to have fewer people buying houses.
On top of it, many of us Gen X’ers don’t have any money. We’re also running up against Boomers staying in the workplace instead of retiring, making it harder for us to get into careers. Montana isn’t as bad as other places, as we have a severe workforce shortage, something that’s hitting the skilled trades especially hard.
The good news is that there are nearly 10 million more Millenials than there were Baby Boomers. We'll be building new houses as fast as we can for years to come. We currently need 7.4 million units nationwide. Millennials are also more interested in supporting local businesses than online behemoths, and we’ll see this clearly as more of them move into their 20s.
So who’s working?
According to the BLS, we know that:
- 30% of 16-19 year-olds are working
- 65% of 20-24 year-olds are working
- 77% of 25-34 year-olds are working
- 79% of 35-44 year-olds are working
- 77% of 45-54 year-olds are working
- 62% of 55-64 year-olds are working
- 31% of 65-69 year-olds are working
- 18% of 70-74 year-olds are working
- 8% of 75+ are working
Which occupations are people working in the most?
- 4.6 million are in computer/math jobs
- 4.4 million are other managers
- 3.5 million are bus drivers
- 3.3 million are retail salespeople
- 3.2 million are cashiers
- 3.1 million are elementary/middle school teachers
- 3.1 million are nurses
- 2.7 million are secretaries
- 2.4 million are customer service reps
- 2.3 million are janitors
- 2.1 million are cooks
- 2 million are waiters/waitresses
- 1.9 million are laborers
- 1.8 million are construction laborers
- 1.7 million are accountants
- 1.6 million are chief executives
- 1.5 million are stock clerks
- 1.5 million are maids
- 1.4 million are software developers
- 1.4 million are post-secondary teachers
- 1.4 million are personal care aides
- 1.3 million are child care workers
- 1.3 million are human resource assistants
- 1.3 million are mail clerks
- 1.3 million are carpenters
- 1.1 million are financial managers
- 1.1 million are food service managers
- 1.1 million are lawyers
- 1.1 million are bookkeepers
- 1 million are physicians/surgeons
- 1 million are metal fabricators
- 1 million are marketing/sales managers
- 1 million are food prep workers
We can also look at Montana’s labor force and get numbers.
Missoula wages compared to the rest of the country. You'll notice that our cooks make 14 cents an hour more than the national average (an extra $5.60 a week) and our retail workers make $1.20 more an hour (an extra $48 a week). For everything else, we're lower than the national average.
The average earnings by county in the US are $1,111 a week. In Missoula County it's $770.
Just some numbers and a bit of analysis. Thanks.