Tuesday, January 4, 2011
- The Major Media Discovers 'Big Labor'
Two editorials about organized labor caught my eye this morning, one in the Times and the other in the Journal. At first glance the journal piece is the more sophisticated – the Times piece is the same old leftist pro-union clap trap. (Oh wait, the Times piece isn’t listed as an Editorial at all. They think it’s hard news. I wonder how a mistake like that could have happened.) But the Journal piece raises the issue that the private sector unions are suffering because of high unemployment and they are beginning to see the strong public sector unions as at least a part of the problem.
This is pretty much true to type as far as the NY print daily’s are concerned. The Times is self congratulatory dribble while the Journal is technically correct, but a day late and a dollar short. Notice - neither piece raised the issue of a labor union’s effect on unemployment (it raises it) or it’s effect on business growth (it reduces it) or outsourcing offshore (raises) or entrepreneurship (reduces). Still, it’s informative to watch this ‘new’ information flow through the major media. Over the next week or so, Fox News will be talking about the battle between public and private unions while ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN will be talking about the evil republican politicians who are looking to undermine ‘the working man’. MSNBC will still be blaming George Bush for everything bad that’s happened since Charles Martel won the battle of Tours - but every court needs a jester I suppose.
I don’t have time to get into it today, but I’ve been working through some numbers. There is a well founded belief (not proven to my satisfaction yet mind you – but there is supporting evidence bubbling up and it’s embraced by people who’s judgment I trust) that no matter what you set the tax rate at, you can’t hope to siphon off more than 20% or so of GDP in taxes. If you grant that as an axiom, and you look at the combination of the interest on our present debt and our unfunded liabilities, then the only way we come out of this without a default at the federal level will be to radically transform the tax code to increase economic growth. I say ‘radical’ because I don’t think Congress is capable of the kind change required. It would involve a massive give back of economic liberty to the individual, and roughly half of congress (and all of the Whitehouse) still believes that’s the wrong direction to go. By the time we convince them of it, we’ll be 2 years further along at a minimum, and the change required by then if we want to keep things afloat, will be even more dramatic. for that reason it still might not be possible.
We need the economic education of the American left to outpace our descent into the fiscal abyss. History tells us that's unlikely. But they can either they wake up and smell the coffee today, or tomorrow they can wake to the smell of the house burning to the ground.
%%%%%% UPDATE %%%%%%
I'm in Greenwich today so I'm watching Bloomberg TV (although by now you'd think I know better). Bloomberg TV has all the hard hitting news content of CNBC (well - maybe not quite as much), but with hotter chicks. They just went on for 10 minutes about the serious financial crisis that's ravaging America's... higher education system. It seems that in spite of tuition rates that have VASTLY outpaced inflation, the universities can't seem to find enough money to meet their needs. Unionized professors are retiring and taking expensive and luxurious packages and free medical care for life while their indentured grad students are forced to do all the work for little pay. This reminds me of something I've read somewhere, but I can't seem to recall what.
Bloomberg TV hasn't been able to deduce a cause for this mysterious fiscal wreckage yet - but when they finally do (I'm betting in a year or so), I'm sure it will have something to do with George Bush.