Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Republican NO-COMET STRIKE agenda

Let us peer at the year in-year out Republican moans and screams.

In psychiatry there is the concept of “transfer anxiety.” Some patients have so much anxiety (not the exact Repub problem) that they repress it to try to get away from it only to end up worrying about (usually irrational) something else — for instance, that throwing a cigarette in the street may ignite somebody’s gas tank. Can’t just make part of your perceptions go away.

Repubs anxieties OTH come from WANTING an anxiety — a healthy anxiety — wanting to save the world — DON’T WE ALL? But Repubs have no adult size issues they really care about: for instance, poverty, medical (all kinds of issues), discrimination, etc.

I like to say the Repubs have no “comet-strike” anxieties.

Repub issues:
Gun control: there are 300 million guns in this country. Do Repubs seriously think somebody is going to come and take them all away? More stringent check or safety standards or whatever: no comet-strike there.
Immigration: there are 12 million illegal immigrants here. About 8 million may be over worked, under paid Mexicans. Going to bring America down? No comet-strike.
The deficit: assuming this generation is going to leave a bill for future generations — those future generations will have more money to pay for it through economic growth (IF WE RESTORE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING TO OUR LABOR MARKET)/but may decide to lay it off on their future generations/who will have more money/but who may lay it off on their future generations. That’s human nature — but no comet-strike.

Maybe if someone could explain to Republicans what they are really (not) worried about, some of them might switch to adult (earth-shaking) concerns.

ADDENDUM (just though of this, this moment)
As to the big bugaboo "the government" -- the government is just an extension of the power of whoever (whatever interest group) runs it.  If your (high density) unions run it, the government is just an extension of your unions.  Still worried about that -- are you afraid to run the country for yourselves? 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Black employment is what really, REALLY matters

There are low skilled jobs aplenty that can pay just as much as factory jobs. With collective bargaining workers are paid by the max consumers are willing to fork up — not by the minimum for which desperate workers are willing to show up.

Lack of collective bargaining is especially harmful to American raised workers of all colors in mixed American raised/foreign raised work forces like Chicago’s. The labor market doesn’t clear evenly. Look at fast food in Chicago and it is all Mexican and (East) Indian labor. My old taxi job has been “outsourced” to the whole world.

Foreign raised workers are willing to show up for $400 a week — Am are not. We want $800. If there were nobody but Am around they would have to pay $800. Also if wages were set by collective bargaining they would have to pay $800.

In any case with collective bargaining you intuit you have squeezed the best the economy (a.k.a., the consumers) of your era can produce (a.k.a., pay).

Result of dropout of Am in Chicago: an unbelievable 100,000 out of my guesstimate 200,000 gang-age, minority males are in drug dealing street gangs. (Last night the TV said, if I remember correctly, 40 of the 52 shot over the weekend had 672 arrests among them.)

Especially with a mixed rich country/poor country work force you desperately need to restore collective bargaining — to make the American labor market workable (pun intended) again.

* * * * * * * * *
Intimidating union organizing is illegal everywhere — and nowhere/nowhere practicably. If caught firing an organizer you must rehire her. Doesn’t matter if you fully compensate her income loss and never fire her again — you got away with the real bank robbery money anyway; you barred the certification election anyway.

Only remedy that makes economic sense: a finding of union busting should lead to a mandatory certification election. I believe this sanction has to take place at the federal level (NLRB preemption). This could be possible if Hillary pulls enough reps and senators with her. [Be a great issue for Hillary with blue collar voters.]
 * * * * * * * * * *
At the state level union busting now needs to be taken as as seriously and harmful an unfair market practice as, say, taking a movie in the movies — which will get you a couple of years federal hospitality.

As long as nobody else talks about re-unionization (as the beginning and the end of re-constituting the American dream) — nobody thinks it is possible to talk about …
… or something.

Easy as pie to make union busting a felony in our most progressive states f(WA, OR, CA, NV, IL, NY, MD) — and then get out of the way as the first 2000 people in the many telephone directories re-define our future.

After I described the American spinning-wheels labor market to my late brother John, he came back with: “Martin Luther King got his people on the up escalator just in time for it to start going down for everybody."

Sunday, August 14, 2016

NLRB union busting finding: should mandate a certifciation election

Just thinking out loud: Maybe if the NLRB finds you have been union busting, you should be forced to hold a certification election (besides going to jail).

Union busting is illegal everywhere. Get caught and it is not even like getting caught robbing a bank and being forced to give back the cash. Sure you’re forced to take the fired employee back, but even if you don’t fire her (usually) for something else you have still succeeded in blocking the collective bargaining that makes for a fair labor market. You get to keep the money!

Noto bene: a 100% rich country (American raised) labor force will have lower wages w/o collective bargaining — than a 50/50% rich country/poor country (anywhere else) raised labor force w/collective bargaining. Ponder.
 * * * * * * * * * * * *
Most min wage scenarios ignore what I suspect is the re-circulation effect — of newly raised min income spent proportionately more at lower wage firms — than at firms it would have been spent otherwise. This may explain the Card and Krueger finding that min wage employment increased with the raise. Job loss/income loss may actually take place at higher income levels instead. The idea is to re-distribute. 

Seattle workers may lose out on much re-circulation/re-distribution effect of their (gradual) creep up to $15 an hour (which everyone is studying so intensely) because Seattle has the highest median household income around ($100,000). Re/re may work better in Chicago which has 60/40 minority/majority population.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Re: Trump and the damage done - Joe Stiglitz

Re:  Trump and the damage done - Joe Stiglitz

" ... a full-time male worker is lower than 40 years ago, the hourly wage at the bottom comparable to levels 60 years ago. "
" Trump has exploited this great divide ... "
" ... that he has received the nomination of one the two major parties, the Grand Old Party — puts all countries on notice: Next time, someone as or more extreme may be elected, someone even less committed (if that is possible) to honor old agreements. "

No such extreme could plausibly exist if we move America's labor market back to normally high union density.

To me labor Nirvana would be getting most low skilled jobs into the area of $800/wk -- $600/wk minimum (maybe for high labor cost businesses like fast food; maybe). My guess is that would take something like 12 1/2% shift in income from the top 55% who now take 90% of income (or from the top 54% who now take 70%) to the bottom 45% ($15/hr being today's 45 percentile wage).

Four labor union empowered 10% bonuses to get the 12 1/2% back for the 55% -- and everybody else:

10% saved on market rip-offs like medical (drug and device monopolies), education (for profit colleges), real estate skyrocketing (self-destructive zoning, no realistic rent control like Germany's, et al.) -- others can produce a much more comprehensive list than I can.
10% of overall income gouged back from the 1% who now take 20% (historically it was only 10%, which was thought to make very rich) via confiscatory taxation -- think Eisenhower level.
10% more productive economy by cutting today's finance share of the economy from a bloated 20% (where too many of our best young minds go to gamble) back to a genuinely useful 10%.
Another 10% potential savings in a pervasively union managed and monitored economy:  Sick: The biggest increase in healthcare costs in 32 years  
" ... $3 trillion annually on healthcare. That represents about 17% of total economic activity. The average for all nations within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is 9%. [...]  Family premiums have increased 20% over the last five years, which is a lot but a darn sight better than the 31% hike over the previous five years, and a huge improvement over the staggering 63% growth in the five years before that."