Saturday, May 30, 2020

EITC + min wage -- versus -- regularly scheduled union ballots


EITC shifts only 2% of income while 40% of American workers earn less that what we think the minimum wage should be -- $15/hr.
http://fortune.com/2015/04/13/who-makes-15-per-hour/

The minimum wage itself should only mark the highest wage that we presume firms with highest labor costs can pay* -- like fast food with 25% labor costs.  Lower labor cost businesses -- e.g., retail like Walgreens and Target with 10-15% labor costs can potentially pay north of $20/hr; Walmart with 7% labor costs, $25/hr!

That kind of income can only be squeezed out of the consumer market (meaning out of the consumer) by labor union bargaining.

Raise fast food wages from $10/hr to $15/hr and prices go up only a doable 12.5%.  Raise Walgreens, Target from $10/hr to $20/hr and prices there only go up a piddling 6.25%.  Keeping the math easy here -- I know that Walgreens and Target pay more to start but that only reinforces my argument about how much labor income is being left on the (missing) bargaining table.

Hook up Walmart with 7% labor costs with the Teamsters Union and the wage and benefit sky might be the limit!  Don't forget (everybody seems to) that as more income shifts to lower wage workers, more demand starts to come from lower wage workers -- reinforcing their job security as they spend more proportionately at lower wage firms (does not work for low wage employees of high end restaurants  -- the exception that actually proves the rule).

Add in sector wide labor agreements and watch Germany appear on this side of the Atlantic overnight.
 * * * * * *

If Republicans held the House in the last (115th) Congress they would have passed HR2723-Employee Rights Act -- mandating new union recertification/decertification paper ballots in any bargaining unit that has had experienced "turnover, expansion, or alteration by merger of unit represented employees exceeding 50 percent of the bargaining unit" by the date of the enactment -- and for all time from thereafter.  Trump would have signed it and virtually every union in the country would have experienced mandated recert/decert votes in every bargaining unit.
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2723/text

Democrats can make the most obvious point about what was lacking in the Republican bill by pretending to be for a cert/recert bill that mandates union ballots only at places where there is no union now.  Republicans jumping up and down can scream the point for us that there is no reason to have ballots in non union places and not in unionized workplaces -- and vice versa. 
 * * * * * *

Biggest problem advocating the vastly attractive and all healing proposal of federally mandated cert/recert/decert elections seems to be that nobody will discuss it as long as nobody else discusses it -- some kind of innate social behavior I think, from deep in our (pea sized) midbrains.  How else can you explain the perfect pitch's neglect.  I suspect that if I waved a $100 bill in front of a bunch of progressives and offered it to the first one would say the words out loud: "Regularly scheduled union elections are the only way to restore shared prosperity and political fairness to America", that I might not get one taker.  FWIW.

Another big problem when I try to talk to workers about this on the street -- just to get a reaction -- is that more than half have no idea in the world what unions are all about.  Those who do understand, think the idea so sensible they often think action must be pending.

Here is Andrew Strom's take:
https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/

*1968 federal minimum was $12/hr – indicating that consumer support was there at half today's per capita income.
https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=1.60&year1=196801&year2=202001



Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Could America be saved financially/socially even if not all medically by $1 a piece masks


Wouldn’t we be much less anxious about going about reopening consumer markets (department stores, computer repair, jewelry etc.) if ourselves and everyone else were wearing N95 masks?  Ttalking theoretically -- understand numbers unavailable.

Could the US corona transmission rate drop below 1 if we all could wear N95s all the time -- lock downs or no?

We would for sure feel safer (even safe?) on airliners if all aboard wore N95s.  Virologist and NBC contributor Joseph Fair opines he caught the bug on the airplane even though he was wearing the best breathing protection because the virus entered his eyes. Of course if his fellow passengers had all been wearing his (presumably N95) level of protection the viral load of the air in the passenger cabin should have been negligible.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/05/14/virologist-joseph-fair-believes-he-got-coronavirus-through-his-eyes/5192195002/



"To get technical, airplanes deliver 10 to 12 air changes per hour. ... Airplanes also use the same air filter — a HEPA filter — recommended by the CDC for isolation rooms with recirculated air. Such filters capture 99.97 percent of airborne particles."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/18/airplanes-dont-make-you-sick-really/


Could America be saved financially/socially even if not all medically by $1 a piece masks -- flattening the curve in most non-restaurant style businesses all by themselves?  Could the airline industry be saved for $1 a passenger.  If so, time to stop talking theory and start manufacturing tens of billions of N95 masks?

(See also) https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2020/05/how-much-mask-wearing-do-we-need/

PS. The model of N95 with an exhaust valve on the front does not protect others from our viruses.

Friday, April 24, 2020

No rational relationship to a valid state interest: locking down driving


No rational relationship to a valid state interest: prohibiting driving around just for the sake of driving around.  In my case I come out of my gated garage to roam in my germ proof Toyota bubble.

I can walk in the park, I can bicycle, I can shop for groceries -- but I can't roll around in my private sealed bubble?

And getting out and around just for the sake of getting out and around IS essential.  Man and woman do not live by bread alone.

PS  Book stores are First Amendment protected -- period.  We can't close publishers -- we can't close retailers.  Suppose there were no Amazon; suppose this situation were going to go on for years.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Indisputable proof of global warming -- in three sentences :-O


Earth’s atmospheric temperature is already high enough to melt the permafrost (part of year freezing, part melting, more melting than freezing). The permafrost (I’m not exactly sure what that is) reportedly contains twice as much carbon as there is in the atmosphere now (may not be all in gas form but believe will all end up in gas form eventually: one and a trillion tons to add to 750 billion tons now). The more it melts, the more carbon dioxide is released, the hotter it gets, the more it melts, etc.: more than enough to eventually turn the earth into a pole to pole swamp — the normal condition of the earth for the majority of the last 500 million years (see video).  Indisputable — without any additional human help. 
https://www.pbs.org/video/polar-extremes-mfaum5/
****************************


At first (last year) I thought the only way out was for all electric output to go nuclear — that was the physics of course; not the politics, good luck. My reasoning was that in 100 years the human population would need 10X more electricity — and I couldn’t see doing all that with windmills and photovoltaic).

I’m figuring thermonuclear to come along in about 50 years — for however that feeds into all of this. The technological way is well charted but it will take tremendous R&D working out. (see The Future of Fusion Energy by Ian Kershaw — must be good; I could only read about half of it).  
https://www.amazon.com/Future-Fusion-Energy-Popular-Science-ebook-dp-B07MYTCRNS/dp/B07MYTCRNS/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=

Then, I came upon carbon capture technology. 

[cut-and-paste]
Carbon capture technology: practicably end global warming – even reverse it — for 5% of GDP with a reasonably lo-tech process – once the price to gets down to $100 a ton?


According to a Businessweek article, worldwide we add 34 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year. Said article says Squamish Engineering, in B.C., Canada expects to launch a plant that will remove a million tons a year, located somewhere in the Permian Basin in Texas. Squamish says it can do this for $200 a ton. 

My back-of-the-envelope calculates that, when the price reaches $100 a ton, then, worldwide we can keep cool for $3.4 trillion a year – less than 5% of world GDP. US kick-in about one trillion – out of $20 trillion GDP. That figure would grow as US economy grows – but: for every trillion of growth only additional $50 billion would go for removal, leaving us $950 billion ahead: set for the life of the planet.  (closest link I could find) https://www.magzter.com/article/Business/Bloomberg-Businessweek/A-Big-Step-for-the-Sky-Vacuums
[snip]


Snag: where to put all that carbon we capture — there is reportedly room for two trillion tons of captured carbon in some kind of rock formations. (can’t get back to link)

If we are putting 34 billion tons or carbon in the air now — could we be doing 340 billion tons a year 100 years from now — if we don’t replace carbon with thermonuclear? 100 years from now hopefully earth will be rich enough to go completely thermo. And here comes 1.5 trillion tons from the permafrost. 

Better get busy. Better get busy finding room to hide lots more carbon — if that is possible — or whatever. Did somebody say: The Green New Deal … is not remotely sufficient to stabilize global warming at a non-catastrophic level?
****************************

Where to find or create enough storage space for 15 trillion of tons of dry ice (captured CO2) while the world awaits totally nuclear, thermonuclear and renewable energy:

At 100 pounds per cubic foot of dry ice (frozen CO2), a 100 foot X 100 foot X 100 foot block would contain a 100 million pounds, or 50,000 tons. At a cost of $100 a ton to capture CO2 from the atmosphere, it would cost 5 million dollars to capture enough to fill one cube.

15 trillion tons of dry ice would take up the volume of 300,000,000 such cubes (15,000,000,000,000/50,000).  At 50 blocks per mile -- both width and length -- that would come to 120,000 square miles of frozen CO2 (300,000,000/2500).  That would fit into a space 3000 miles long and 40 miles wide.

5% of GDP to capture, 5% of GDP to contain = 10% of GDP to keep C02 from turning our world from turning into Venus -- while awaiting a completely non-carbon fueled civilization.  May have to contain the stuff forever, but shouldn't cost much.


Possible design feature: storing dry ice containers at the bottom of the oceans could utilize the massive pressures at that level to hold the containers intact.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

We may freely roam in our private car bubbles


It occurs to me that you can freely roam in your private car bubble during a shelter-in-place order.  That sounds indistinguishable to me from taking a stroll or a bike ride.  For a lot of people -- the elderly in particular -- it may be the only way they can get out and about just for the sake of getting out.  If you may drive to a park to take a walk, why may you not drive back and forth to a park just for the ride?

I may be just getting over a pretty mild case of the virus myself.

I had planned to come out of my gated garage in Chicago to utilize the McDonald's drive thru across the street for lunch everyday (my usual lunch).  But instead I always find myself taking a short jaunt to a McDonald's a mile away -- a nice relief.  Getting around a bit in our closed car bubbles may be just the thing to help us tolerate movement restrictions as this thing drags out -- to avoid temptation to break the "prohibition."

You can take your whole family out for the same old Sunday ride around as long as they live with you -- and stay buttoned up.
 * * * * * *

There should be strict work rules in place to protect workers who have to handle money and credit cards all day.  Hand washing facilities should be placed right at the work spot so they can sanitize immediately when they leave the work place.  I'm worried about the kid in the McDonald’s drive thru window. I was thinking about sanitizing my credit card but I am guessing he of she is going to do 50+ an hour X 8 hour shift.
 * * * * * *

Another common sense thing would be some mechanism to allow people who have passed through the illness and are beyond the transmission to others phase to be returned to circulation so to speak -- if there is some scientific/bureaucratic way to do it.  Might possibly get things rolling back to normal a hell of a lot sooner -- and more smoothly transitioned.  Make everyone feel a lot better to watch the world coming back -- start tomorrow.  I know there is some process by which you can tell whether someone has achieved immunity -- may be just a question if possible to manufacture enough I guess.

This latter could be done at the local level -- prodding the federal to get moving.  Bring the economy back for the price of some ID badges?  Use the state driver's license facility?  Got nothing else to do.


Sunday, March 8, 2020

$15 minimum wage = what unionized market would pay at very bottom


Were the US labor market fully unionized, the lowest negotiated hourly wage would probably clock in at around $15. *   Setting same as the minimum wage in that fair and balanced market would not make a lot of difference.
   
In the case of a no minimum wage and no unions at all market, labor would be subject to subsistence-plus pricing -- each bit of extra employee ability is rewarded with a bit more pay – w/o reference to how much consumers might actually fork over.
   
In today’s actual US labor market the federal minimum pays about half what my theoretical unionized market above pays at bottom -- $7.25 – with next-to-no unionized private firms, compared to other rich economies – 6.2% (and dropping).  Simply raising the federal minimum wage to $15 would mostly subject labor to $15-plus pricing – would mostly not provide labor across-the-board with the mechanisms to collectively extract the max the consumer market would be willing to pay.

Today’s US labor market 40 percentile wage is about $15.  Raising the minimum wage to $15 would only assure 40 percent of earners what a thoroughly unionized market might pay at very bottom -- not accomplishing much if we are serious about building (rebuilding) a fair and balanced US labor market.
http://fortune.com/2015/04/13/who-makes-15-per-hour/  

Should Republicans win back the house while holding on to the senate and white house they must certainly foist a ratchet down labor law – like the one they had in the hopper last congress, requiring union recert/decert elections at every private (non-gov) workplace where union membership has rolled over 50% since last certification. 

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2723/text

Assuming the Democrats take back the senate next year, why (oh why?) shouldn’t they enact a ratchet up/ratchet down labor law – requiring periodic union cert/recert/decert elections at every private workplace as SEIU lawyer Andrew Strom has put forth?
https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/

* A fairly robust guesstimate: 1968 federal minimum was $12 – at half today’s per capita income -- meaning consumer support was there.
https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=1.60&year1=196801&year2=202001

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Carbon capture tech: can 5% of GDP cool the world?


Carbon capture technology: practicably end global warming – even reverse it -- for 5% of GDP with a reasonably lo-tech process – once the price to gets down to $100 a ton?

According to a Businessweek article, worldwide we add 34 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year.  Said article says Squamish Engineering, in B.C., Canada expects to launch a plant that will remove a million tons a year, located somewhere in the Permian Basin in Texas.   Squamish says it can do this for $200 a ton. 

My back-of-the-envelope calculates that, when the price reaches $100 a ton, then, worldwide we can keep cool for $3.4 trillion a year – less than 5% of world GDP.  US kick-in about one trillion – out of $20 trillion GDP.  That figure would grow as US economy grows – but: for every trillion of growth only additional $50 billion would go for removal, leaving us $950 billion ahead: set for the life of the planet.
(closest link I could find)  https://www.magzter.com/article/Business/Bloomberg-Businessweek/A-Big-Step-for-the-Sky-Vacuums

Even if we could switch worldwide to 50% renewables today, that might only be fulfill 5% of needs 100 years from now when growing prosperity and populations might require 10X more.  Can we really expect to do that much with sun and wind?

The latter is why I thought at first that mostly nuclear was the only way to go – the physics anyway; wouldn’t want to think about the economic and  (mostly?) political barriers.  Then, I read there may not be enough water available in the whole world for the massive hydro needs of reactors – and that is only at 2020’s level of power needs.
https://prospect.org/greennewdeal/the-tantalizing-nuclear-mirage/

Thermonuclear?  50 years from now?  Same econ and pol barriers?

“For two potentially powerful NETs—direct air capture and bioenergy with carbon capture—it’s not enough just to capture CO2. The substance must also be stored. … deep geological formations with the necessary rock characteristics are sprinkled around the globe. In total, they could hold more than 2 trillion t of CO2 … ”  That’s about enough room for 60 years of CO2 output at today’s level.  I would assume less than ideal rock will be available or be discovered – plenty of time. 
https://cen.acs.org/environment/greenhouse-gases/Capturing-carbon-save-us/97/i8

Can we essentially pull all the entire atmosphere through carbon capture plants?  Plausible.  Another Businessweek article depicts species of tree that grows fully in 10 years and can remove 103 tons of carbon per acre per year.   My calculation that amounts to half a million square miles of planting to remove today's carbon creation.  Carbon capture plants should be able to interface the same volume of air I would think.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-08-02/we-already-have-the-world-s-most-efficient-carbon-capture-technology

Thing is: no impossible (?) political hassles trying to get everyone to switch over to renewable/nuclear -- no radical disruption of econ/pol fabric needed.  Assuming capture can work, just develop technology as fast as possible and put it to work as fast as it finally gets through to all that we don’t want 120 degrees in the shade in the winter in Chicago – no longer any motivational deficits when we reach some point along the Celsius/Fahrenheit scales.  And assuming it works, we can potentially even dial the temperature back, if we want to badly enough.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Workable way to implement Bernies plan to wipe out a trillion in student debt


A way to implement Bernie’s plan for the federal government to wipe out all student debt. How to transition to a European like college loan system: 25 years to pay off — income based — then, forgive for any amount left. The kind of system we should have had in the first place.

Simple: fed gov offers to pay off any college loan amount that you owe — in exchange you agree to take on the European style loan setup. For people just out of school the exchange would be simple — straight forward trade of debt. How to handle people, say, twelve years out of school, who have of have not kept up their original payments, it will take a national conversation to sort out different situations.

The loan switching scheme avoids some of the problems with graduates who have kept up their payments objecting to simple loan wipe out for graduates who have not.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Three steps to Medicare for all


Three steps to Medicare for all:

-- make all health insurers nonprofit,
-- make all insurance plans offer the same benefits,
-- or the other way around;

-- phase in government covering premiums over 10 years, so employees can gradually reconstruct contracts with their employers to compensate for lost benefit remuneration;

-- phase in 50-75% (hopefully) labor union density,
-- coupled with sector wide contracts,
-- to see to it that gradually dropping benefit remuneration is actually compensated for.
(hint) https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/
 * * * * * *

How to relieve college loan burden sensibly to most peoples' taste: government pays off your loan and issues you a new loan for the same amount -- to be paid off at some share of income (or whatever scheme; examples in Europe) over 25 years -- after which balance forgiven.  Anybody objects to subsidizing better off, just say all grammar school, high school ed covered by state; college you have to pay for most or all of.

Bonus: make credit scores forget old college loan defaults, once gov covers?

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Should America take in a million Kurdish refugees?


Should  America take in a million Kurdish refugees?

After the Vietnam war, over a million refugees fled communist retribution -- not just rule.  The new regime shot 130,000 collaborators and put over 300,000 in re-education camps, mostly for three to ten years.  Half a million Viets ended up here or in Canada.

https://www.amazon.com/Better-War-Unexamined-Victories-Americas-ebook/dp/B003ZX86AA/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+better+war+lewis&link_code=qs&qid=1571709561&sourceid=Mozilla-search&sr=8-1
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Re-education_camp_(Vietnam)

The book by the last western journalist to spend years in Syria, Sam Dagher, Assad Or We Burn the Country, makes Saddam Hussein  look like a Catholic saint in comparison.  Syrian president Bashar Assad systematically carpet bombs his own country from to end for eight years now, putting down dissent and/or rebellion one non-combatant/combatant at a time -- even sending in death squads following capitulations to kill medical personnel who treated the wounded or males old and young at random or any other category that occurs, even to looting and burning the locale's homes -- year in, year out.
https://www.amazon.com/Assad-We-Burn-Country-Destroyed/dp/0316556726/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Assad+Or+We+Burn+the+Country&link_code=qs&qid=1571757249&sourceid=Mozilla-search&sr=8-1

God help the captured ISIS fighters if the Syrian army gets to them first -- we wont have to worry about what they are going to do to us.

Ditto for the Kurds who enter government controlled territory?  The more you understand Assad, the less you'd be surprised at any but the darkest mayhem.

Taking in a mass of Kurds be a perpetually embarrassing immigration issue to shove up the Donald's "nose."

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Two X nothing = nothing


Bernie Sanders Sets a Goal: Double Union Membership in 4 Years
"...would allow a majority of workers to form a union simply by signing authorization cards, rather than winning a secret ballot election ... "
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/us/politics/2020-democrats-iowa-labor-unions.html

The Big Squeeze (2008), Steven Greenhouse
Loc 504  “Ultimately, officials with the steelworkers say, 60 percent of Landis’s [plastic] production workers signed union support cards.”

Loc 694  “A far higher percentage of workers were immigrants, from Latin America, Vietnam, Bosnia, and Sudan. Kathy calculated that of the more than one hundred workers who had signed pro-union cards two years earlier, only fifteen remained.”

Lot of good card check going to do there.

Greenhouse, later in the book (I'm about a third through), presents Fed-X Ground drivers as making only $25,000-35,000 a year, compared to $60,000 for UPS (Teamster Union) drivers.  Amazon gig drivers may now be absorbing those jobs.  Supermarket jobs were middle class jobs pre Walmat, pre two-tier labor contracts.

Even having a union not much help there.
 * * * * * *

Two X  nothing = nothing.  Bernie will double 6.5% private (non-gov) union density?  13% union?  40 percent of workforce under $15/hr – what min wage should be.  Min marks what highest labor firms can pay (e.g., 25% labor costs fast food) – most businesses could pay substantially more.  13% unions going to help them a lot.

I used to think centralized bargaining was the magic bullet.  On second thought not sure how much influence 13% can have over 87%, especially if union density remains as concentrated locally as is -- not in an anti-labor culture like ours.

Centralized be a great clean up hitter if we got 25% certified unions.  Sector wide agreements would be the icing on the cake if we got 50-75% certified.

I used to think centralized bargaining would be the magic bullet until I came across Andy Strom’s:
https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/
 * * * * * *

“The new Data for Progress poll ... Trump’s favorability among the 215 Obama-Trump swing district voters who were surveyed is 71 percent—35 points ahead of Biden’s. And of all respondents, 45 percent view Trump very favorably, compared with only 4 percent who say the same for Biden.  (my bold)

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/08/obama-trump-voters-like-trump-not-biden.html

They may not be coming back.  Return to Obama days they implicitly rejected with Trump?  Come up with something new -- like regular cret/recert/decert elections.

Bound to draw bipartisan support in post 2020 Senate.


ADDENDUM
"It's pretty clear that Amazon reducing its dependence on USPS, UPS, and FedEx and moving more in-house for its logistics explains a big part of that volume drop (at USPS)," Morningstar consumer equity strategist R.J. Hottovy told Business Insider.
https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-fedex-first-usps-volume-drop-2019-8

https://www.amazon.com/Big-Squeeze-Tough-American-Worker/dp/1400044898/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1567021444&sr=8-2

Saturday, August 10, 2019

MY TWO NOTES TO Alexia Fernández Campbell


Re: Democrats tried to win over working-class voters. But they ignored their biggest worry.
https://www.vox.com/2019/7/31/20748003/democratic-debate-2020-working-class-voters-issues

(8/1)
"When you take inflation into account, workers’ real wages only grew about 1.3 percent over the past year."

Just a reminder: we don't need 3% raises -- we realistically need more like 100% raises (on average). If fast food can pay $15/hr with 25% labor costs, then, Walgreen's and Target can pay $20/hr with 15% labor costs, and, Walmart can pay $15/hr ($1,000/wk!) with 7% labor costs.

And don't forget centralized bargaining, a.k.a., sector wide labor agreements -- widely used in continental Europe, French Canada and, I believe, even in Argentina and Indonesia (once we get the unions in).

Now if the rest of the supposed (well meaning anyway) progressive class would just catch on.  ;-)

************************************************
(8/2)
More on doubling (on average) the pay of the lower 40%.

Just as with minimum wage, people auto associate hiking lower 40% wages with job loss -- predicting lessening of (what-I-call) 59% demand.  But, doubling lower 40% income share (at loss of 14% of mid-59% income) doubles 40% demand.  Upshot: no loss of overall demand.  Examples: higher end restaurant businesses may suffer when lower wage labor gets large raises -- but IHOP parking should get more crowded.
 * * * * * *

More on centralized bargaining.

Before I lucked into Andrew Strom's regularly scheduled cert/recert/decert proposal* the "magic bullet" I was pushing was sector wide labor agreements.  The big idea was that Congress could impose on whole industries any labor contract negotiated where the few unions already existed.  Of course, it might have been a stretch to impose agreements from 7% private (non gov) unions to the other 93% of firms.

Centralized will be a great clean up hitter if we got 25% certified unions.  Sector wide agreements would be the icing on the cake if we got 50-75% certified.
 

* https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Our 95% nuclear/thermonuclear future


Even if we could produce 50% of today's world energy needs with renewables (sun, wind, water power) -- IOW even if we could produce as much renewable power as we are ever likely to produce -- that would only amount to 5% of the power the world will need 100 years from now when we will need 10X as much (think all rich countries, population growth).

A 95% nuclear future is the only way to go -- adding on thermonuclear when we get there.  Thermonuclear will be a along time -- similar to applying steam power to transport and manufacturing.  It took a lot of very able people 200 years to bring steam along from pumping water out of coal mines to riding on rails.  May take 50 years for equivalent progress in thermo.

Meantime there may realistically be 1000 times the proven reserves of uranium out there.  Doesn't take much -- a pound of nuclear fuel provides as much power as 200,000 pounds of coal.  Ditto may even be extracted from the oceans (like thermo's deuterium).

The Japanese reactor disaster was easily avoided.  They only had to to keep their backup power supply high up enough to not be swamped by a tsunami -- which they were warned could happen.  Nobody died on Three Mile Island.  The Russian meltdown doesn't count for us.  Earth civilization is going to self-incinerate if we don't go nuclear -- totally.

Disposing of spent fuel: how many coal mines or salt mines, etc., have we dug while waiting to dig a few uranium sites?

That's the physics of it -- can't imagine how we will handle the politics and economics of it -- 95% nuclear/thermonuclear or bust.

The book you want to read (I could only read about half -- too technical in parts) is: The Future of Fusion Energy by Jason Parisi and Justine Ball.
https://www.amazon.com/Future-Fusion-Energy-Popular-Science-ebook/dp/B07MYTCRNS/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Future+of+Fusion+Energy&qid=1564161981&s=books&sr=1-1

For the histoy of steam among other power sources, check out: Energy: A Human History by Richard Rhodes (Pulitzer Prize winning  author of Th Making of the Atomic Bomb).
https://www.amazon.com/Energy-Human-History-Richard-Rhodes/dp/1501105353/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Energy%3A+A+Human+History&qid=1564162033&s=books&sr=1-2

Monday, July 1, 2019

Max wage extract at 25/15/7% labor costs firms -- ask the 40/50/60%


Most would agree that a minimum wage should extract the max consumers will pay -- which fits mostly at highest labor costs/low wage firms (e.g., 25% labor cost, Burger King).

Allowing that, why should consumers be spared, for years, paying as much as minimum wage labor is really worth to them -- why so many multi-year steps up to the bottom of the barrel?

Most should also agree that employees at lower labor costs businesses (e.g., 15% labor costs Walgreen's and Target; 7% costs Walmart) should equally be able to extract the max from consumers.  Why should we desire a different standard of wage setting for different labor cost levels -- or because maxing labor's take results in $20/25 hourly wages instead of $15 -- kind of arbitrary, no?

Collective bargaining: is there any other way for the 40/50/60% to recoup their long lost living wages?  40% today earn less hourly than what the minimum wage should be -- $15 -- most substantially less.
https://content.fortune.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/workers-by-demographic-group.png

If, early in American labor history, we laid down truly efficacious federal protections for collective bargaining rights, then, starting a couple of generations ago, it would have been much tougher for ownership to begin (illegally) dismantling, door jam by door jam, our former labor union superstructure (down to -7% private union density).

Too late for such laws now.  Institute card check, fines that are more than the cost of doing business, Canadian seriousness implementation NLRB orders -- and in ten years American labor unions might crawl back to 15% density -- never know.  Think of those interchangeable workers at Target and Walgreen's: think most are ready and eager to hit the picket lines?  The testosterone premium (ask my old, 1970, 804 Teamsters or today's CTU) is not universally on tap.  We need more like 50-75% unions to take our country back from the billionaire state -- same total campaign finance and most of the votes (plus lobbying critical mass to tackle every issue from drug prices to student loans).

Two inequality-menders management cannot disrupt or discombobulate -- two laws: minimum wage laws and regularly scheduled, by law, union cert/re-cert/de-cert elections.

Why Not Hold Union Representation Elections on a Regular Schedule?
Andrew Strom — November 1st, 2017
"Republicans in Congress have already proposed a bill [*] that would require a new election in each unionized bargaining unit whenever, through turnover, expansion, or merger, a unit experiences at least 50 percent turnover.  While no union would be happy about expending limited resources on regular retention elections, I think it would be hard to turn down a trade that would allow the 93% of workers who are unrepresented to have a chance to opt for unionization on a regular schedule."
[*] https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2723/text
https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/

What kills me: Andy Strom's proposal could potentially leave every other campaign topic in its center-of-attention dust and serve up Democrats a guaranteed 2020 big win -- but nobody even takes a poll.  Ask the 40/50/60%.