Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

As I’ve long believed, companies whose workers are unionized thrive; while those who don’t don’t. Case in point: I once worked for Airborne Express. A coworker proudly announced, “We aren’t unionized. Airborne couldn’t survive if we were.” Not being particularly astute to the workers’ rights I didn’t have a response. Sometimes I feel like the “watcher” in the series “Highlander”. The “watcher” character didn’t have an active roll but did offer counsel to the main immortals. I don’t even try to offer unsolicited counsel. I prefer to follow Dale Carnegie’s idea that “you can’t tell anybody anything. You can only seek to inspire…” At least that’s a paraphrase of what he said. But I digress. The point is: there are two other thriving shippers, Fed Ex and United Parcel Service. And, guess what: they both thrive and are union. And where is Airborne Express these days? It was bought out by another multinational and you don’t see their (DHL) delivery trucks around here any more. So, today I see an article in a side-bar on page A8 of today’s Seattle Times, “Strike vs. Amazon” that the Amazon.com workers in Germany (unionized) are striking for more wages. That would seem to indicate that unions are somewhat strong in Germany (I’d have to check that one out) and, guess what is the strongest economy in Europe? You guessed it: Germany. I googled “unions in Germany” and, boy did I get an education… just by reading the citation headings. One could do a study on the subject by following the links. Another article in today’s Seattle Times tells of the newly elected Seattle City Counsel who proudly proclaims she is a socialist! She addressed a union gathering and advanced an idea she has had for quite a while that the government should use eminent domain and take Boeing and sell it to the workers…

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Reading a column in the  July 26, 2011 edition of the Kitsap Sun headlines “The New Party of Ronald Reagan” I am filled with a new introspection of an issue of economics that has been formulating in me for years.

I am reflecting on a short conversation I had with a certain bus driver many years ago at the outdoor part of the then Cafe Destino. She made the point that the good or bad that occurs during an administration’s years are the results of policies of the previous administration. If she is right, then logic would seem to dictate that the economic meltdown during George Bush’s administration might be the result of policies of Bill Clinton’s administration. One of the bragging points that Bill often talks about is his balancing the budget. So, did balancing the budget result in the economic woes that came about in the next administration?

We can have some measure of certainty that the current economic woes are brought about by how Dubya mishandled the economy in his administration. I often remember the political cartoon published early in Dubya’s administration showing a relay race. The runner who is finishing his part of the race hands off a sputtering torch named “economy” to the next runner. Of course the finishing runner was Bill Clinton and the new runner was Dubya. Sometimes I think political cartoons are dead on, in terms of accuracy… especially years later after the ensuing turns of events.

I hope I can see the bus driver sometime in the future to exchange reflections.

While I am loath to associate Republicans in the U. S. congress the possibility of any coordinated effort to achieve a stated goal, let us consider this possibility. After publicly claiming that their most important objective is to make sure Obama is a one term President the Republicans are setting about to fulfill their goal.
Let’s consider the possibility that they are smart enough to know that the economy is the number one issue that the public believes makes or breaks an administration’s claim to success. That being the case how do they make a poor economic recovery a certainty until the next administration? I would offer: every way they can. This would make every seemingly crazy idea about methods to increase economic activity a very controlled and logical progression. Crazy becomes perverse. Perverse becomes antithetic. Negative economic growth becomes a positive orientation when one is trying to ensure an outcome.
Here are some of the ways Republicans are contributing to stifling economic growth.
Increasing the disparity in wealth between the richest 1% and the rest of the American population will contribute a lot towards this goal. It is well established that the periods of wide disparity are also periods of poor economic performance. The real connection beyond just numbers is established by the fact that economic performance is dependant on money circulating in a society. When there is a great concentration of wealth among a few people money circulation is reduced because the few simply do not contribute to the necessary flow of money in society nearly as much as when the majority of the population is using it.
Right now industry heads have said that one of the greatest inhibitors to their hiring is an uncertainty in what to expect in respect to expenditures connected with a large work force. That major expenditure is health care costs. As long as Republicans can create uncertainty by challenging any coordinated method of delivering health care and paying for it they can stifle hiring thus keeping money out of circulation.
Reducing government spending is a major contributor, in the absence of a good job market, to shrinking the money in circulation. As long as the budget hawks, mostly Republicans but too many Democrats who knuckle under the false impression that this is what the public really wants, then shrinking the money supply is a success in stifling economic growth. Don’t forget: as the work force shrinks, so too does the flow of revenues, in the form of taxes, into government coffers .

I believe that one of the highest priorities to consider when deciding what not to cut is where money goes that will be returned to the state’s coffers via taxes on the circulation of the very money we dispense.
When the legislature continues to shrink the state’s economy by reducing the budget it is penny-wise-and-pound-foolish. This plays into the paradigm that contributes to the economy’s downward spiral.
If we were to relegate the budget hawks to the flotsam of marginalized spheres we could keep them at bay and get on with the job of providing the very help that is so essential to maintaining a safety net and improving the economy.