Tuesday, June 27, 2017

How Republicans can explain how we cannot afford it


Republicans have this permanent game on: they can’t explain why the most productive country in the world cannot afford what everybody else can afford today …

… so they project the “cost” 40 years out and pretend that your grandchildren wont be able to afford it. How many people can realistically forecast in their minds 40 years out? So they fall for it — the far distant mirage.

Assuming the debt does pile up — thanks to Republican tax cuts for the rich and our unwillingness to pork the poor over them — our grandchildren and great grandchildren will have more money than we have to pay it off thanks to decades of productivity growth — but they wont pay; they will leave it for their great grands — who won’t pay for … . Nothing that would get me up early in the morning to work on it.

PS. Just who would we owe all this money to — ourselves mostly? To the Chinese can only loan us money left over when we buy stuff but neglect to sell them anything back. Cumulative GDP over next two generations something over 1,000 trillion — that would be a lot of stuff. To the great grandchildren of the rich who loaned the government money rather than pay taxes? Once unions return rule to the average person we can just confiscatory tax most of that back.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Raise US labor unions back from the dead -- tomorrow


How to raise US labor unions from the dead -- tomorrow -- practically and practicably:

In BALLOT INITIATIVE states it typically takes the number of registered voter signatures equal to 5% of the vote in the last governor's election to put your initiative on the ballot.  (OR, CA, MO, MI, OH, OK, CO, NE ND, SD, MT)

Check the numbers of who should line around the block to sign an initiative making union busting a felony:
 -- nationally, bottom 45% income share has dropped from 15% to a penurious 10% over two generations (as per capita income doubled).

Does that mean bottom 45% are ahead absolute terms: 66% of twice as much?  Not across the board: incomes are sorted on a slope.  That leaves 15% behind in absolute terms: why we have a $7.25/hr fed min wage -- down from $11/hr (adjusted) in 1968.

Check the numbers who should line up around the block to propose a higher state minimum wage:
 -- nationally, 45% of employees earn less than $15/hr. 

We could conceivably get 5% of registered voters (1% of population) out there collecting signatures!  :-O
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Some states like California put a winning initiative on the law books immediately. Most, allow the legislature one shot at approval.  If it doesn't approve the measure goes back to voters for final decision.

In California you write in plain language what you want your initiative to say and a state legal office will put it into proper words for a state law. 

In California circulators (signature collectors) may be paid employees.  This has led in recent years to initiatives becoming the play thing of billionaires -- the opposite of the original intention.

If initiatives can quickly and easily take our world back, then, Fight for 15 and labor unions and others now have a new, all critical mission: register and sign up as many voters as possible.

Raising the issue of making union busting a felony to a high level of national consciousness should prompt legislatures in progressive states to finally wake up and face what they need to do -- what we all need them to do. (WA, IL, MN, NY, MA, VT, CT, RI, PA, MD, VA, etc.)

http://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/ballot-measures/pdf/statewide-initiative-guide.pdf

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bernie v. Hillary -- Mr. bottom up v Ms. top down


Having read the book about Hillary's political demise,  Shattered and Bernie's book, Our Revolution -- I saw Hill's campaign contention that Bernie had no practical plan to do anything, only complaints about what's wrong.

FDR had no specific plans as far as I know to accomplish what he accomplished in his first hundred days.

Hillary is Ms. top down and Bernie is Mr. bottom up.  Top downs try to work out a calculus of all problems and ways to deal with all comprehensively -- a sort of three dimensional chess game.  Try and explain that to people.  Obama made a big speech that "inequality is the defining issue of our time" (it is!) -- didn't poll well next week; forgot about it.  Endless cajoling not his game.  ("Stronger Together?")

Bernie's book spews seeming endless one-at-a-time tales of problems across all categories -- astonishingly broad and deep iteration one-at-a-time. 

Folks like FDR and Harry Truman and Bernie come at everyday folks one narrowed down complaint at a time.  If you see the world from the bottom up you never stop trying -- because you for sure never run out of individual irritations to get an ulcer over.

Top down folks have more fun.  If you think you've manipulated the matrix the most you can do -- you can relax and head for Martha's Vineyard.  Bottom up folks can be cheerful -- but cheerful ain't happy. 

Top down solutions tend to sour because life is simply too complex to get a realistic hold on looking down through too many interlocking layers.  Complexity yields more practicably to people and politicians in immediate interface with everyday reality.

 * * * * * *

Crazy thought just occurred to me: under our actual labor practices all union certification may produce is the converse of what was intended.  Since management is as likely as not to ignore the newly certified union -- the only effect of certification may be to further insulate management from anybody else trying to bargain for the employees.  Not that that comes up as a practical situation very often -- but it makes a point about the lopsided imbalance of our American labor market.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

You heard it here first: California (and other states) makes union busting a felony via ballot intitiative


You heard it here first (maybe): a quick fix. Was thinking one way to break the cultural log jam on the way to criminalizing union busting (think social inertia biggest block) might be doing ballot initiatives in states where applicable (OR, CA, MO, Mi, OH, OK, CO, NE  ND, SD, MT). Some states initiatives go to legislature first for approval — back to voters to decide if not approved. In most states initiatives need 5% of the number of voters in the last governor’s election.

Then the brainstorm. Only 400,000 signatures needed in California. Workforce there something like 16 million. Nationally, 45% of workforce under $15/hr. Maybe 6 million California employees would line up around the block (!) to sign a petition to make union busting a felony.


We might get 400,000 people collecting signatures!
 

Most natural practice in the world to protect one business (“a union is a business” as Jimmy Hoffa said :-]) from being strangled by a competing business, from being muscled in (or out of) the market place. Merely getting caught taking a movie in the movies, you’re doing a couple of federal years. 6% union density in private economy is like 20/10 blood pressure: starves every other economic and political process.

Like I said, the biggest barrier is probably cultural — we are just so used to our hidden behind the oceans blind ways we think this is the way things “eternally” must be. A petition(s) that millions may stampede to sign should clear off those scales.

Recruiting Fight for 15 type organizations would be an easy way to start. From grandiosity headquarters.