Thursday, April 30, 2009

A cab driver vs. economics -- and economists

As ALWAYS, our progressive economists leave out of ANY and EVERY discussion of the dropping price of American labor any mention of POWER or in the American case the total lack of union based bargaining power in the labor market -- actually in the American case even the lack of discussion of labor power among laborers themselves, which is where we came into this sentence.

Bargaining power is not all Xs and Os -- bargaining to paraphrase a NY Giant football coach of old is a game played by two players down in the dirt. But the American labor team typically just takes whatever employers offer -- believing that somewhere in the conjugation of distant equilibrium points their actual worth to their employer (and ultimately to their employer's customers) is automatically tallied up.

Extreme example: doctors are too busy taking care of us to take care of themselves: average physician income increased only 2/3 as average income doubled since 1968. Dentists apparently not too busy to take note that medical insurance something like doubled since 1996 because of all the new treatments and machines and seem to have doubled their fees for doing the same old same old; perhaps hoping no one notices in the climb out of medical costs.

Overall result of unorganized -- and unawake -- American labor (and unawake progressives?): CBO reports for 2006, average top one percentile household income at $1,200,000. Meanwhile the bottom 20-25% of the American labor force earns less than LBJ's 1968 minimum wage ($10/hr). The later have 25 times more livers and hearts to treat; no wonder doctors are being squeezed.

Sector-wide labor agreements (say it over and over). If we had sector-wide we would be like Europe and we never would have elected George Bush-league. Labor empowerment is the ultimate progressive answer -- the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end. When are progressive leaders going to at least mention the concept out loud?

Posted by: Denis Drew | Link to comment | May 04, 2009 at 09:28 AM

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