Saturday, June 30, 2012

Want More Time Off? Sorry, Can't Help You


Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I realize that this is about "elite" workers, but, really, the statistics cover ALL workers, and when we talk about the benefits enjoyed by workers, once it becomes fashionable to take them away from some, the employers will reduce them for all. Yes, even pesky lawyers.

Our Galtian overlords think we are lazy, indolent, overfed, and underworked. That's why they are destroying public sector unions--those people sometimes get as much as six weeks off per year. Since the late 1970s what has happened? Private section union membership has decreased while most of the union membership has stayed in public sector unions. So, the only thing standing in the way of reducing the amount of time off, on average, that the American worker enjoys is the size of the public sector unions. Once they are destroyed, it's over.

The elimination of benefits for workers begins with those who have no voice. Once they see their benefits reduced or eliminated, it becomes easier to chip away at the benefits enjoyed by others. If American workers at all levels remain in a "I've got mine, screw the other guy" tribal mentality, then there's very little left for anyone to wish for. This really is one of those situations where we're all in it together. The people at the very top are hoping on division and strife to destroy huge chunks of the American workforce, and public sector unions are under siege right now. After them, the fatter benefits enjoyed by workers depicted above are next.

If you want to argue that people should have more time off, fine. But don't pretend that employers are going to give that away. They might negotiate with employees for more time off, but unless you are organized, forget about it.

With over 8% unemployment, they're not going to give anyone anything unless it is pried from their greedy, chubby little fingers. And, of course, people hate unions, unions are corrupt, unions are full of mafia members, unions destroyed America five times before Ronald Reagan saved us all, blah, blah, blah...

The simple fact is, tribalism is bringing down America, and our elites couldn't be more pleased with that.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Which Way Do You Want It?

President Obama and his socialist minions finally find a way to stay out of the way of small government conservatives and libertarians alike and this is the thanks he gets?

So, the President is not supposed to be spending money that we don't have, but the President is supposed to be spending money on planes that might not even have helped contain this fire because certain wind-driven forest fires cannot be stopped, no matter what?

We don't have any money to spend on health care, a stimulus package, improving our nation's infrastructure (hello, what do you think a fire-fighting plane is part of but the infrastructure of the Federal firefighting effort?), taking care of Veterans, investing in new technologies, getting off foreign oil, or finding renewable energy sources, but we're supposed to buy the idea that there's plenty of money to fight forest fires from the air in Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs only but the Obama Administration has been too slow to spend that money we don't have?

Convoluted logic much? Either you believe in a functioning, active government that spends money and invests in things like planes and technology and preventative forest management or you believe in things like the Ryan budget plan which cuts money for those things and starves old people and gives tax breaks to the wealthy. If you're going to sit here and say you believe in both, get the hell out of town.

That reminds me of a saying. Everybody hates the government, but damned if they don't change their mind when a fire truck pulls up at two in the morning and saves their house from burning down. Damned if they certainly don't.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brad DeLong Buries Austerity


The move to austerity crippled Europe; I don't think there is a sane person who would argue otherwise. But, austerity in America has been a huge bust, and you have to champion those who called it for what it was--stupid, irresponsible, and utterly, utterly ruinous.

One quibble--when DeLong celebrates Larry Summers, I know he's praising him in the big picture sense. In the small picture, however, it was Summers who argued against using TARP funds to aid small businesses.

I would argue that America's problem, economically, stems from the fact that not enough was done, or is being done, to stimulate small business activity.

This is the sort of madness that true economists face.



How much faith would you put in that nonsense? And yet, I can guarantee you that far too many decision-makers follow the line of thinking espoused by Pethokoukis rather than Krugman, et al.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Virgin Airlines Leads the Way


There is almost no chance I'll be able to fly Virgin Airlines this summer, but, if I could, I certainly would.

But, then there are people who will say, oh, it's all a sham. Well, so what? At least they are trying.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

CEO Pay Continues to Rise

There is a great deal of suffering in the United States, but none of it is being experienced at the top. The pay of CEOs, on average, rose 2 percent in 2010 and 5 percent in 2011. Despite the fact that tax rates are incredibly low on the wealthy, job creation is still muddled and troubled and the rich are getting richer. At what point do people begin to realize that the shakedown of the American people has entered a tenth calendar year and is shooting for an eleventh with no break in sight?

So, if we were to raise the tax rate on everyone who makes more than a half a million per year by six percent, we'd fall into revolution and anarchy, would we not?

It is patently unethical to continue in this manner. The wealthy in America enjoy a standard of living completely unheard of on Earth as it is in Heaven. The suffering at the bottom grows and the comfort of those at the top races into the stratosphere. And Mitt Romney could very well be the next President, guaranteeing four straight years of unrestrained corporate greed with zero accountability.

Amazing.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

What Happens When the Banks Are Empty?


Correct me if I am wrong, but, when the banks are empty of deposits, there really is no reason to consider them banks anymore, right? And, when that happens, the economies of Spain and Greece are going to collapse further, and whatever cash these poor people have hoarded is going to be worthless anyway, wouldn't you say? Because that is what is happening right now--in parts of Europe, people are taking their cash out of the banks. These would be the same banks everyone is trying to prop up.

So, what we have here is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe everything is failing, then your actions will contribute to that failure, especially if you no longer trust the institutions of the society in which you live.

Has anybody figured out what will happen when these countries tip into anarchy, revolution, and civil war? Or is everyone of the opinion that people are just going to sit around with no money, no jobs, no food, no homes and enjoy the summer weather?

About a hundred years ago, all of Europe fell into a massive war over far, far less than what is happening right now. Then, it was a misunderstanding among cousins and the death of some fat member of one of the royal families. Now, it is the story of millions and millions of people being asked to suffer needlessly for the sins of the elites.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Not Everyone is Working This Week


Whenever the subject of football comes up, people in Europe find a way to stop working and do something about watching the game. Here where I am at, they are setting up outdoor viewing parties and they are getting ready to celebrate Germany vs. Portugal.

The Euro 2012 starts today, and this could be the last gasp of a Europe unified by the Euro currency. What happens now is so far up in the air only football can help people feel connected to something. No one seems to care that Spain is unraveling or that joblessness and helplessness are entering yet another summer.

This is a haves vs. have-nots sort of thing. Can you really relax and fly to a tournament in Poland or Ukraine? Consider yourself fortunate.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Wisconsin is the Mirror That Reflects What America Could Become

Does this man have a right to stand there and wave his sign?

Absolutely.

The problem is, neither side of the political spectrum really believes this is a right that people are entitled to anymore. Those on the Republican side of the spectrum cannot tolerate anyone who protests in their presence; the quickest way to get a Republican to start believing in the rule of law again is to allow them to use it to silence people who point out what lying bastards they are.

I'm rather disappointed that this lone, tragic Scott Walker supporter wasn't given a blanket, a chair, a bottle of water, and his own retinue of "buddies" to help him understand that the Democrats in Wisconsin are all that stands between the future and oblivion. The destruction of unions, the elimination of organized labor, and the inability of any group to seek redress of grievances in the workplace leads to the tyranny of corporations; it leads to a future where everyone works for five bucks an hour and where they're lucky to get that. It leads to the 1870s all over again, buddy.

They should have cleared a space, put tape around him, and allowed him to act like an ignorant jackass in public. They should have fanned the hot air away from him and given him free access to the toilet if necessary, with the promise that nothing would happen to his sign if he needed a break.

I guess it is possible that he broke some law and bashed someone with his sign; perhaps he is another ignoramus with a handgun sticking out of his pants. Who knows?

Be overly polite and tolerant of these people; they know not what it is they believe in. They don't understand that their future is as bleak as everyone else's when the billionaires win and when the people lose. Waving their signs and bellowing their nonsense is what connects them to whatever it is they think they believe in. I can't figure out what that is; it has something to do with what happens when a broke, desperate community mortgages itself to bail out a crummy professional sports team and builds a stadium only rich people can afford to use.

Hey, maybe I've got it wrong. Perhaps this fellow has a few billion rolling around in his sock drawer. Maybe he's a robber baron in disguise, hoping to break a few unions so he can put the screws to his terrified workers. Really, sir. Jeans? In public? How unbecoming of a man of means.

Wisconsin is the most important place in America right now. If Scott Walker survives, then Americans face a future that will be reflected back at them from a darkened mirror. They can count on staring at themselves in the morning, and then dragging themselves off to jobs that are unsafe and miserable. They can count on being underpaid and they can count on being exploited.

Who wants to live like that? Besides this jackass, obviously.