Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"Virtual co-ops" [see post below] can clear the American labor market -- and Chicago's drop-dead ghettos


Under "virtual co-ops" [see post below] the market will clear at a higher price for labor then under what I call our current "two-tier" labor market (unorganized) where labor's price is set relative to other labor instead of consumer preference (bring back the steam looms!).

Actually today's American labor market is NOT clearing because the price of labor is too low to clear: e.g., 100,000 out of (I estimate) 200,000 Chicago gang-age males are in street gangs because the minimum wage (to cite one thing) is $3.50 below LBJ's 1968 $10.75 DOUBLE THE PER CAPITA INCOME LATER!
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gang-wars-at-the-root-of-chicagos-high-murder-rate/

The proportion out of the labor market may be worse. Somebody pointed me to a Forbes article stating half of Ferguson's young African-American males are missing from the census.

"While the problem of missing African American men is especially severe in Ferguson, young black men are absent from most U.S. cities. In the neighboring cities of East St. Louis, IL and St. Louis, about 38% and 24% of African American men age 25 to 34 are absent from their communities, respectively. On average, about 18 percent of young African American men are absent from large cities. (This calculation is based on the combined population of 33 cities with the largest African American populations, home to about one quarter of African Americans in the U.S.) In contrast, outside of large cities only about 4% of young black men are absent from their communities. The challenges posed by an absence of black men in Ferguson are problems faced primarily by larger cities."
http://www.forbes.com/sites/modeledbehavior/2015/03/18/half-of-fergusons-young-african-american-men-are-missing/

Actually, there may be a ray of hope in this for the long run solution to Chicago's seemingly permanent drop-dead ghettos. Fix the American labor market as a whole and the men and women who live there may be very flexible about commuting or even emigrating to where the jobs are. Then, they can bring demand back into the neighborhood -- or send money back like foreign immigrants! Gradually, economically healthy neighborhoods can emerge.

A NATION of VIRTUAL co-ops


Sure as the pricking of my thumbs something unraveling inequality this way comes. 

Apply RICO and the Hobbs Act to the practice and (in the case of consultants) profession of union-busting -- firing workers who try to carry out the federally prescribed steps to establish collective bargaining with their employer -- and when the prosecutions begin all the busters may head for the hills waiting (how ever many years it takes) for the cases to reach a conclusion in the higher courts. 

Meantime we can unionize the country right out from under them -- be too late to do anything about no matter how the rulings come down (could work).

Be nice if every firm were a co-operative -- where labor squeezed the consumer as hard as ownership? Combine ACROSS THE BOARD UNIONIZATION -- with -- CENTRALIZED BARGAINING (all similar jobs under one contract with different employers) and you have the equivalent of A NATION OF CO-OPS. 

Ask Germany; ask Denmark. Remember, unions are the average persons only political counterweight -- which should make right-to-work legislation allowing free riding employees a serious (devastating) First Amendment infringement on the mass of employees.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Big Pharma more market distorting than John D Rockerfeller?


We have to start looking at these drug monopolies as if they were John D. Rockefeller land. They may be temporary monopolies but when 5 million Hep C patients can use a new drug that costs $84,000 a treatment that adds up to $400 billion+ for one treatment of one ailment.

Steven Brill reports the government paid for the initial research on the med but when the researchers smelled money they switched to private funding. Brill says 1/10 the price would be reasonable. The endocrinologist at the heart of the research made $440 million for himself.

If you can go to India and stay 12 weeks you can do the same course of treatment for $1,000 (maybe you can sneak the pills back; don't know if that'd be legal -- why not?). Wouldn't it make the point if Medicare did something outlandish (I wont say crazy) like approving payment for the Indian trip to save tens of thousands of dollars (I've seen an estimate of $54,000)?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Planting progressive feet on labor market terra-firma


The big thing -- and it is a very big thing -- that progressive economists (I could understand if it were CATO) perpetually leave out of minimum wage/employment discussions is any acknowledgement of the tradeoff between the proportion of the wage gain and the proportion of the possible job losses.  Simply, if we double the min wage and some of the jobs are automated out (in Australia the customer may operate her own order on the key pad) the workers are way (way!) ahead.  This should be at the center of every discussion or we are leaving out what could be -- literally -- the most important factor.

Another huge factor -- which I don't expect individual store owners to grok (they might)-- but which should be the alpha and omega of progressive economists' thinking, is how the income shift of, say, 45% of employees getting an $8,000 average raise ($15 min) will affect the demand at the businesses those employees work in (and don't forget the businesses/employees whose wages get pushed up as a secondary result).

Toughest case: fast-food?  Doubt it.  The 25% increase in prices (33% labor costs) may not even be noticed by the 65% of customers coming through Ronald's drive-thrus if they don't listen hard before they pop the plastic -- what are they going to do, bring peanut butter sandwiches?  When Illinois raised its min wage pretty quickly from $5.15 to $8, I and retired teacher who were regulars in the Ronald's across the street from me noticed a pickup in what we might call the third-world end of the business, mostly Mexican.  Now the new owners across the street have just raised prices on many items 20-25% seemly because they think they can get away with it -- didn't seem to worry them.

The 35% coming through the doors will have more money to spend -- which wont cost the consumers of businesses they work in very much -- SORT OF A "MAKE-BELIEVE" MULTIPLIER.  Un-toughest example: Walmart.  $15 min wage raises Walmart prices 4% (7% labor costs).  Wonder how many jobs lost at Walmart -- unless their newly flush low income buyers decide to move upscale -- Walmart can always move their merch upscale.

When people argue whether the economics profession knows what it is doing on macro-micro theory -- way above my (NY-Chi-SF cab driver) pay grade.  But when economists perpetually leave out the most important labor market factors (to people actually in the labor market!) I wish they would plant their feet more solidly on terra firma.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

HOW TO CLOSE PHONEY ONLINE UNIVERSITIES


JUST HAD AN IDEA THAT MIGHT LIMIT THE DAMAGE OF THESE PHONEY ONLINE COLLEGES (pardon shouting, but I think it's justified):

Only allow government guaranteed loans (and the accompanying you-can-never-get-out-of-paying) IF a built for that purpose government agency APPROVES said loan.

The threshold step should be to allow bankruptcies.  This is not costless and clearly limits "moral hazard."  Think of it as amnesty -- we  goofed and went in the wrong direction (in more ways than one -- don't forget exponentially rising tuition, and for profit pirates) -- time to reverse what's looking more and more like irreparable harm to the newest generation.  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Junking states: Republican style


Insofar as Right-to-Work legislation under-prices a state’s labor – extracts less than consumers would be willing to pay – it draws down the income a state receives from the other 49 states, either from exports or visitors.

I understand there’s a lot of chicken/egg-six/half-dozen in economics – but before legislators agree to Right-to-Work legislation, I think this concept would be a good place to start wondering.  If you build what they want, they will come and buy.
 * * * * *
Another conundrum: states will yield billions in tax giveaways in the hope of drawing thousands of jobs – but the very same states refuse billions in Medicaid giveaways (to them!) from the federal government which would undoubtedly fund tens of thousands of high quality medical jobs – and bring unquestionably needed health care to their neediest.
 * * * * * *
Illinois governor Rauner wants to squish the incomes of the bottom 50% of employees (keep the minimum wage low; wage war on unions public and private) who get 10% (or thereabouts) income share – to make the state more competitive (with where: Bangladesh?).  Poorer people get less education, get a lot less competitive, more educated people want to get out of the unproductive milieu.

Wisconsin governor Walker wants to cut straight to the chase on cutting education: $300 million off the state university.

Both Republican governors want to turn their industrial states into South Carolina.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Medicine: the un-exportable, rust-proof industry of the future?


Why do economists never look at the medical industry as the growth industry of the future -- the un-exportable growth industry?

When it comes to products that come in shiny packages we want growth, growth, growth.  But, when it comes to not being sick there isn't the same natural intuition.  Last week I read of a doctor saying medical knowledge doubles every two  years.

Here's an article from yesterday: Alzheimer's 'breakthrough:' noninvasive ultrasound technique restores memory in mice


This readable online professional mag has several new such articles daily: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/ 

Of course most economists are still working age and therefore young enough not to think of the volume of medical care.  I took my mom to the cardiologist yesterday -- I'm seeing my PCP this afternoon.  Which brings up another growth prospect: as medicine keeps patients alive longer it creates an ever larger consumer base for itself (take that John D. Rockefeller).  Medical jobs pay better than average too -- the new (unexportable, rust-belt proof) factory.

Okay, okay; American (that is American, not medical science-an which latter is universal) cost twice as much as it should.  I read Brill.  I would not worry about what (most) doctors make; their pre-tax is only 10% of overall costs (dental folks seem to have doubled their prices in real terms over the last 20 years w/o justification -- probably watching medicine double and figured nobody would notice if they did too).  If Germany wants to pay pilots more than surgeons then Germany has a problem.

Once we get drug and medical device and insurance bureaucracies costs under control then we can welcome growth in the real new high-tech economy. 

BTW; nothing like this will ever take place without a German/Danish style labor union take over.  May be just around the corner.  Once RICO and Hobbs cases begin (if they ever begin) against union busting, all the union busters will cease and desist until they see the outcome of these cases.  In the time it will take for these cases to go through the courts we can have the whole country organized.
http://ontodayspage.blogspot.com/2014/12/collective-bargaining-constitutionally.html

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

USING RICO-HOBBS TO BUST UNION BUSTERS NEVER GET PAST THE USSC? -- think many times again


We have a lot of in between courts -- think trial courts in 50 states; think West Coast liberal appeal courts.

They tried to use RICO on prolife demonstrators. Prolife only got away because they did not seek any economic gain. One of the USSC dissenters (Stevens?) argued that prolife took the power to operate their business from the clinics and gained it for themselves. This may be a very stretchable drum skin -- very straight forward criminal law that can't easily be ducked -- even if nobody thought to do it up to now; everyone trasfixed on the ONE-DIMENSIONAL legality of firing a non-contract worker.

Even if it all dies at USSC the flurry of cases across country must change the CULTURE -- waking sleeping Americans to the UNDEMOCRATIC REALITY they have descended into economically AND politically via creeping de-unionization; to their current desperately helpless condition.

BTW; While I'm not looking forward to locking up half the business owners in the country or all the union busting consultants; once the first guiltys come down the consultants will run for the hills as the fines come down -- wont want to chance it until it settles out. Businesses the same. Matter of fact, once the first cases go to court -- probably one word gets around that cases MIGHT go to court -- the same should run for the hills til they see what happens.

Meantime labor may be able to organize with impunity so that by the time the cases make USSC it's too late: we're all organized! :-O
* * * * * *
Teamsters Union motto: "Greed is good (for us too).


Teamsters' song (hope Mad Magazine's copyright, circa 1960, has run out):
Over hill, over dale, we will hit the union trail;
As the Teamsters go rolling along;
And it's high, high, hey when we want a raise in pay;
we shout out our grievance loud and strong!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Short-hand explanation for $50K minimum needs (poverty) line for a family of three


My short-hand, shore up of $50K minimum needs (poverty) line for a family of three -- detailed in chart 3-2, on p.44 of the MS Foundation book Raise the Floor 
(You may want an inflation calculator -- I possess the 2001 book: http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl)

My quick look:
$11,000 Obamacare for a family of four (not three), $498 a month (after $541 subsidy) + $4900 deductible (from Brill, p. 346, close enough);
$4,000 payroll taxes (not even counting all those regressive taxes that we take for granted in consumer prices);
$15,000 rent and utilities for any place decent;
leaving a big $400 a week to feed, cloth, transport (entertain?; MS does not allow a cent for entertainment) four people.  I would call that minimum needs. 

Meanwhile the median income is $26,000. 

3.5% shift in income would pay for a $15 minimum wage (half the workforce is seriously treading water between $300 a week (assuming min wagers get 40 hours; most may not) and $500.  If the 16% of income that shifted to the top 1% after the mid-seventies had instead shifted to the bottom 90% (the top 10% mostly held on to their income share until recent years) the latter would be swimming in money (and FICA collections would be going through the roof -- would stop diverting funds to over bloated TF at some point).

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Gov. Rauner would raise the min wage 50 cents over 7 years (adjusted for expected inflation)


Governor Bruce Rauner wants to raise the minimum wage from $8.25 to $8.75 – if adjusted for expected inflation -- over seven years.


The fed inflation target is 2% – compounded over 7 years that comes to 15%.  Which would chop 13% off the $10 (100% inflation cuts buying power 50%).  Round off to $8.75.


This amounts to about a 6% increase in real buying power after 7 years – about half the expected rate of average income growth in the US –for people who work two jobs for the pay of one now.


1956’s per capita income was about 40% of 2015’s – back when the US Senate Majority Leader took advantage of a few opponents missing from his chamber to quick on the sneak, slip through an $8.75 federal minimum wage (in today’s dollars).  In 1956.  

 

12 years later, that same leader, now president of US, steamrollered a $10.75 minimum wage through Congress – in step with 23% increase in per capita income over the same span.  We knew LBJ, and Rauner’s no LBJ.
 * * * * * * * * *
E.I.T.C., $55 billion out of a $16,000 billion economy – 1/3 of 1% of GDP – is too small to have a measurable effect on poverty; lost in the noise.

 

$15 is the 45 percentile US wage -- $26,000 is the median income (must have lost some hours in there somewhere).  Table 2-3 on p. 44 of the Ms Foundation Book Raise the Floor calculates the minimum needs of a family of three that has to pay its own health insurance at $1,000 a week.  (Quack fed poverty line is based on three X price of an emergency diet, dried beans, no expensive canned!).
 * * * * * * * * * *
The Governor wants a low minimum wage to keep Illinois competitive – with whom?  Basket weaving factories in Estonia?  Illinois ranks sixth best out of fifty-one states and D.C. on high income and low local prices.   

http://wallstcheatsheet.com/personal-finance/10-states-where-salaries-are-too-low.html/?a=viewall

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The ultimate prosecutable sweeheart contract -- no contract at all?


The ultimate – federally prosecutable -- sweetheart labor contract may be no contract at all.

No one would doubt the criminality of a mob union boss and/or an employer threatening to fire workers for speaking out against a mobbed-up sweetheart contract – in order to obtain for themselves the pay and benefit moneys that might otherwise have gone to employees through fair bargaining practices.  A for certain RICO or Hobbs Act target.
http://ricoact.com/

Why shouldn't the exact same extortionate activity be view in the exact same extortionate light when union busting “consultants” and ownership threaten to strip away workers' economic livelihoods should they dare to participate in a federally approved path to establish federally approved union bargaining rights?
US Attorneys -- Criminal Resource Manual 2403
http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm02403.htm

In current (virtually universal) practice this economically -- and by extension politically -- ruinous extortion is “punished” only under administrative law laid down by the National Labor Relations Board -- and employers found guilty pay only a (usually small) compensation for lost wages (not a penalty).

Alternate route: if any state independently outlaws this form of labor market extortion with a penalty of at least one year in prison, federal prosecution can automatically step in.
 * * * * * * * * * *  
Too obviously, commercial speech (selling soap) is no way nearly as constitutionally protected as political speech (Gettysburg Address).  Not nearly so obvious to the broad swath of public opinion is that commercial association (collective bargaining) should be on almost the high plane of political association (demonstrating) – given its core impact on almost everyone's lives (extracting the max the labor market is able to pay – instead of the min the labor market is willing to pay).

Historically, only labor organizations have empowered the average person with political muscle (campaign financing and lobbying) equal to ever persistent business interests -- deservedly ranking commercial association right along side political association -- and freedom of speech.

Saith the Wisconsin Supreme Court reaffirming legislation that sharply curtailed state employees bargaining scope: “… collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation. The First Amendment cannot be used as a vehicle to expand the parameters of a benefit that it does not itself protect … ” [my emphasis]  http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/supreme-court-to-rule-thursday-on-union-law-voter-id-b99321110z1-269292661.html 

Labor’s threshold question here can only be: could any government — federal, state or local — constitutionally bar all employees from collectively bargaining with any employer(s)? Seems impossible given any sensible take on freedom of association. Courts may balance constitutional rights against other interests, or course.  But, at what point along what spectrum may a core constitutional right be said to transmogrify into a non-binding “creation of legislative grace”?
 * * * * * * * * * *
Judicial action?
Labor can challenge type laws that arbitrarily shrink the scope of bargaining.  Wisconsin limited bargaining by state employees to wages (capped to inflation! -- ever hear of econ growth?), all gone on benefit cuts, yearly contracts and union re-certifications, whole categories like home care and child care workers stripped of all bargaining.  Illinois recently passed crackpot legislation requiring public school teachers to have a 75% majority vote to strike (they did!). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Wisconsin_Act_10

 
"Union Bargaining a Dream For Many State Workers" -- runs off a long (and growing) story of states that have reduced state employee bargaining leeway from short to none.  http://www.nbcnews.com/id/41810901/ns/business-us_business/t/union-bargaining-dream-many-state-workers/#.VKIEAP8FAE 

Legislative Action?
SCOTUS just ruled federal law supposedly allows Amazon not to pay workers for security check time when leaving -- California labor law says very differently (perhaps also Nevada, Arizona and Pennsylvania).  A state may add a face shield requirement to an OSHA helmet requirement.

State card check?  That the current federal schematic sets up a gauntlet almost no one can pass (50% of private employees are said to want union membership -- but only 5% and going down[!] have it) could create a powerful impetus for First Amendment protected state facilitation of genuinely workable labor organizing schemes -- if there were any question of federal preemption.  

Centralized bargaining!  Should be considered the gold standard of collective bargaining – wherein employees in similar occupations negotiate one universal contract with employers in similar businesses -- the only practicable (75 year, round the world tested) solution to the, otherwise inevitable, labor market race-to-the-bottom.  Given America's unorganized-organized labor -- wherein unorganized Walmart undermines the contracts of organized super markets; where even organized regional airline pilots with $100,000 educations and a hundred lives in their hands are reduced to applying for food stamps -- states could make a heavy substantive case for any First Amendment protected, facilitation of, or even mandating of, sector-wide labor agreements -- again, assuming any preemption question exists.    

A wild card here may be invoking minority union representation where no majority union exists.  This was how American unions often came into being and how they often remained (most Western European unions are minority unions) in the era the Wagner Act was passed -- and other than having fallen out of practice seems to be a federally condoned path to collective bargaining -- according to 230 pages of close analysis by professor Charles J. Morris in his, 2005, book The Blue Eagle At Work: Reclaiming Democratic Rights in the American Workplace (which I'm currently wading through)

PS.  For more encouragement check out Chicago labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan's latest book: Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A $20 an hour minimum wage would NOT (!) cost a lot of people their jobs

My response to "A $20 an hour minimum wage really would cost a lot of people their jobs"
by Matthew Yglesias, in Vox, October 28, 2014  
 


If average Walmart nonsupervisory pay were raised to $100 an hour, the price of $10 items rise to $15. Walmart labor costs are 7%. Nonsupervisory workers average $12 an hour. $12 X 8 = almost $100. One of the $12s is included already.  7x7% = 49%.

Double current Walmart nonsupervisory pay to $24 hourly, throw on 25% for benefits to make it $30 and prices rise about 10%.

Somebody challenged me that raising Walmart prices 10% (at $30 -- only 3.5% at $15 min wage) would charge low income consumers $26 billion more a year ($260 billion sales).  I pointed out they could take it out of the $560 billion raise they would get from a $15 minimum wage. 

A $15 minimum wage would shift about 3.5% of income from the 55 percent of the workforce who garner 90% of income to the 45% who scratch only 10%.  $8,000 average raise X 70 million (45% of 140 million + 5% at minimum now) = $560 billion out of $16,000 billion GDP.  BTW, 45% of workforce not going to be sent home over a 3 1/2 percent shift in income share.

100,000 out of (my estimate) 200,000 gang age, Chicago males are in street gangs – I say because they wont work for a minimum wage several dollars below LBJ’s 1968 minimum wage ($10.95) after per capita income about doubles.  A $15 an hour minimum wage might actually put American born workers back to work at America’s McDonald’s.

 * * * * * * * * * *
 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/28/business/international/living-wages-served-in-denmark-fast-food-restaurants.html?_r=0
”Denmark has no minimum-wage law. But Mr. Elofsson’s $20 an hour is the lowest the fast-food industry can pay under an agreement between Denmark’s 3F union, the nation’s largest, and the Danish employers group Horesta, which includes Burger King, McDonald’s, Starbucks and other restaurant and hotel companies.”

What Denmark does have – along with most of continental Europe and French Canada and Argentina and Indonesia -- is a labor market setup called centralized bargaining where every employee doing similar work (e.g., retail clerk) negotiates one common labor contract with all employers doing similar business (e.g., Safeway, Best Buy, Walmart).

$20 an hour + benefits: it’s the (centralized bargaining) free market!  
 * * * * * * * * * *
Last breath: our difference with Denmark is not education:
Progressive economist Ha-Joon Chang says that our much increased education doesn't add much productivity to the economy.  It is just what we have to do to keep up with what others are doing.  He uses highly efficient and productive Switzerland as an example: going from 15% college to 40% over two decades.
(2011 book, 23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism)

Berkeley political scientist Martín Sánchez Jankowski spent nine years on the streets of five NYC and LA poverty neighborhoods and discovered, among other things, that ghetto schools don't work because students (and teachers!) don't see anything remunerative enough in the labor market when they finish school to make it worth the extra effort.
(2008 book, Cracks in the Pavement: Social Change and Resilience in Poor Neighborhoods)

Some truly free labor market education may be gained reading: Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life by Thomas Geoghegan.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Obama abandons “the defining challenge of our time” -- after nternal polling


http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/07/07/Internal-Democratic-Polls-Prompt-Obama-to-Abandon-Income-Inequality-Message

“Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) candidly admits that internal polling data proves the class warfare and soak the rich rhetoric is an election loser.

” ‘There are some who believe it’s better to talk about the negative parts of wealth that people have accumulated, but our polling data show people care less about that and more about how we’re going to help them,’ said [Democratic Sen. Charles] Schumer.”

Cut to CENRALIZED BARGAINING:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/28/business/international/living-wages-served-in-denmark-fast-food-restaurants.html?_r=0
”Denmark has no minimum-wage law. But Mr. Elofsson’s $20 an hour is the lowest the fast-food industry can pay under an agreement between Denmark’s 3F union, the nation’s largest, and the Danish employers group Horesta, which includes Burger King, McDonald’s, Starbucks and other restaurant and hotel companies.”

It would help if Obama and friends were not helpless to know what actually might reverse middle-class decline (God help the growing ranks of the poor), what modality could reverse the race-to-the-economic-and-political bottom.

A modality at work in every just and bountiful economy in the world: Germany, France, Nordic democracies and continental Europe in general, French-Canada, even Argentina, even Indonesia.  Walmart closed down 88 big boxes in Germany where it had to pay the going wages and benefits (see Denmark above).

Did somebody say CENTRALIZED BARGAINING, as in legally mandated?  In place for nearly seven decades on the continent.

How come America has Marxists and Austrians and every species of economic/social advocate except centralized bargaining oriented believers? ???  Could it be because nobody ever mentions the possibility out loud?

One exception to that: Thomas Geoghegan: Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life.  Wake up and return to broadly spread prosperity America.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The issue to end all progressive economic issues: (legally imposed) CENTRALIZED BARGAINING


All we progressives can all bat all the air we want to with wonderfully understanding delineations of all the troubles we’ve seen … but wont ever be able to do a single thing about any of it until America is unionized by law via CENTRALIZED BARGAINING as its statute imposed centerpiece -- like Germany and so many other of the worlds most successful economies have done.  

Whereby, all employees doing similar work negotiate one common contract with all firms: ending the race-to-the-pay-and-benefits-bottom and reestablishing full parity of political muscle with ownership.
 

Open the issue up (that means mention it out loud in the public square!) and get out of the way of the stampede once people realize what it can do for them.  Supermarket workers and airline employees would kill for centralized bargaining!  !!!  (Look no further than French Canada next door for confidence -- or inspiration)
 

In his “The Seeds of a New Labor Movement” Harold Meyerson in his American Prospect article portrays David Rolf as the top (I would call it) “ground gainer” (Patton style) of today’s American labor movement.
 

He writes: “More than most union leaders, Rolf is a student of labor history.” Yet Rolf thinks collective bargaining is dying — just waiting to be dead: “Every condition and factor that underpinned unions’ power from the 1930s through the 1960s was gone: immobile capital, government assistance, the Cold War defense establishment, even organized crime, which propped up some unions so it could loot them. Not to mention losing two generations of workers by not organizing in the private sector after the 1940s. In the ’80s and ’90s, Andy’s [Stern’s] generation rediscovered organizing, but it was too little, too late.”
 

Top American labor leader sees the history of America and thinks labor is dead. Ever hear of the history of Germany and continental Europe, David? Or of French Canada or even Argentina or even of Indonesia? Wake up and smell the opportunity.   

Ever read a very recent tome by whom many think to be America’s top labor lawyer: Thomas Geoghegan, Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How theEuropean Model Can Help You Get a Life.

My personal reaction, a decade ago, on learning of centralized bargaining was: “Why didn’t I think of that?” After wondering for a decade what possible modality could reverse American labors tailspin, the answer seemed so perfectly obvious once you heard it.

It’s sort of like I wondered for two decades why energy increases with the square of the speed. Then, some kid on a science-fiction newsgroup explained to me that: you go twice as far when you go twice as fast; ergo, four times the energy. (If you are doing the two cars hitting head on at 50 miles an hour versus one car hitting a still care at 100, remember to double the weight when two cars are moving — figured that out myself :-))

So when are progressives going to stop pointlessly batting the breeze with their well reasoned complaints and start talking up the issue to end all the other issues?