Friday, June 8, 2012

Good day to you all on this sunny and predicted to be warm Friday.  I didn't see anything I wanted to comment on yesterday.  The gardens are doing well though I have to change my watering patterns to morning.  Everything is so dry and, with the temperatures going up, morning is the best time.  And the rains that have actually arrived as predicted have been less than needed.  I saw the first dragon's tongue bean pod on my plants--it is very pretty with its pink splotches.  The dragon's egg cucumbers are blooming profusely as are the tomatoes.  Let's see what I find on-line this morning.

Welcome visitor who commented as Anonymous.  Though disappointing, the results in Wisconsin were not unexpected--at least not by me.  I figured it could go either way.  I am glad that, at least at this time, the election has shifted the balance in the Wisconsin senate by one vote toward the Democrats.  The only reason Walker was able to do what he did was because he had majorities in both houses of their legislature. The shift in power away from organized labor also isn't really surprising either.  I found this NYT article noting that union membership (private and public) have fallen to historic lows.  At the height of membership only about one-third of workers in private industry were union members (mid-1950s).  Now only 11%.  Public sector unions have shadowed the growth and decline in members shown by the private industry unions.  During the heyday of unionism the economy was in the first stages of the post WWII boom and, in a rapidly growing economy, companies were far more willing to meet union demands on wages and benefits.  And government was far more supportive of unions and companies far more tolerant.  Both attitudes have shifted since the 1980s.  The traditional unions, centered in manufacturing, were always far more successful in organizing skilled, male labor--a category which has been in decline with the shift away from manufacturing and toward a service economy where the labor force includes large numbers of women and unskilled workers.  I have seen reports that say Scott Walker's tactic in breaking the public unions (and let's be honest--he was breaking them) was to divide and conquer.  It was a perfect strategy for these times.  He was able to tap into the resentment of blue collar workers who had lost jobs or, if they still had jobs, wages and benefits.  He redirected their anger toward public workers who he presented as living high with intact benefits and overgenerous wages.  Take a look at the story about the election results in Southern California which basically stripped public workers in two cities of wages and benefits.  Similar story.  I think you are exactly right about looking to something other unions for the future.  Unfortunately, I think we also have to look to something other than government at the state and federal levels also.  A brief news segment this morning featured a clip of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel saying much the same.  I just don't think the institutions have been created (or re-created) yet.

Howard Gold has posted an interesting article on Market Watch this morning.  The constant mantra in the Repthuglican party has been 'make the Bush tax cuts permanent and release the job creators.'  Basically it is a restatement of the supply-side Reaganomics.  I have read summaries of studies for a very long time now that say the claimed results--more jobs and paradoxically increased tax receipts from significant tax cuts--simply don't measure up.

I have no intention of seeing The Dictator--it is a form of comedy that doesn't appeal to me.  But this post has an interesting clip and transcript from it that reveals a nice touch of political satire.

I found this CNN Money article in a link on Chris Martensen's Blog.  It summarizes a recent CBO report comparing the likely results of two possible courses of action on the economy.  In one case the House and Senate leave the laws presently in force alone--no change in the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, no change in the sequestration spending cuts, etc. In the second case the tax cuts are extended or made permanent, the spending cuts are rescinded, etc.  It seems to me that if the Repthuglicans really thought the deficit was the most important problem and dealing with it was a real priority, leaving things alone would do more to curing the deficit than any tax cuts for the 1%.  Either plan will mean continued recession so there isn't much to choose from there.

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