Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Gang members are not interested in the up-to-date kitchen or ...

Some stuff I'm working on -- while reading James Kwak's book Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality.

Nations are just like people -- nations are just as free to decide to consume more and invest less or vice-versa.  Do individuals always obsess on containing every possible dime of consumption so as to invest more later?  Let's look at what (who!) Republicans think our nation should conserve less of to invest more later.

Let's see: less Medicaid, less food stamps, less education, less ... .  Wait a minute; looks like the lowest people on the economic totem pool, the poorest are expected to consume even less (through lower government spending) so that the rich can save more (through heavy tax cuts) and invest ... and make all our futures brighter later.  Mmm.

Doesn't seem to be working in Chicago at least where our quarterback Jay Cutler has a $126 million contract for 7 years -- and 100,000 out of my guesstimate 200,000 minority, gang age males are in street gangs. 

Gang members (and their out of work blue collar, rust belt, former manufacturing counterparts) are not interested in the up-to-date kitchen or two mini-vans sitting in the garage.  They just want a decent life.

A $10 an hour job is not a decent life -- a $20 an hour job or jobs is.  Most $10 an hour jobs could pay $20.  The min wage was $11 when per capita income was half today's.  45% of today's workforce takes 10% of overall income -- used to be 20%.  2/3 of workforce will always be non-college -- only way to $20 is through collective bargaining with the ultimate consumer -- able to not show up to work for the 55% if they won't fork over.  Oh, uh, top  1% used to take 10% overall, not 20% -- all of which means the money's there -- somewhere.

Labor is sold sort of on reverse-margin.  Meaning labor can raise the price of Walmart's goods for instance only 7% while getting 100% raise for itself.  The money's there.

1 comment:

Denis Drew said...


There is something we can do. We can start to protect collective bargaining at the state by state level.

Old saw is that federal preemption cuts states out of protecting collective bargaining rights. But just because Congress never included felony prosecution for union busting doesn't mean Congress did not want anyone else to -- and would not have mattered if Congress did not want it. All state protection does is reinforce the (toothless) federal set-up.

Congress could not constitutionally pass a law that states may not protect bargaining (OF ANY KIND!) from being muscled. No more than Congress may prevent states from making their own minimum wages (which Republicans would have tried a long time ago if it were possible).

Jimmy Hoffa said: "A union is a business." There is no reason one business (owner) should have carte blanche to bust the bargaining power of another business (labor) in a democracy.

Progressive state to start with: WA, OR, CA, NV, MN, IL, MA, NY, MD, etc.

And don't forget to get around to centralized bargaining (like the Teamster's National Master Freight Agreement -- or, where else, German, Denmark, etc.). Supermarket and airline workers (especially employees under RLA) would kill for (legally mandated?) centralized bargaining.

Reply Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 07:23 AM