Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rigorous Honesty - 21st Century Reformation

Go here. I hope to have started blogging again at least at my religion blog. Rigorous Honesty in Discipleship

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Need for Labor Policy Change - The Emmployee Free Choice Act

Statement from Economic Policy Institute. This statement below clearly articulates my positions on some of the structural changes needed to sustain growth in the long run.

Statement from leading American economists:

Although its collapse has dominated recent media coverage, the financial sector is not the only segment of the U.S.
economy running into serious trouble. The institutions that govern the labor market have also failed, producing the unusual and
unhealthy situation in which hourly compensation for American workers has stagnated even as their productivity soared.

Indeed, from 2000 to 2007, the income of the median working-age household fell by $2,000 – an unprecedented decline.
In that time, virtually all of the nation’s economic growth went to a small number of wealthy Americans. An important reason for the
shift from broadly-shared prosperity to growing inequality is the erosion of workers’ ability to form unions and bargain collectively.

A natural response of workers unable to improve their economic situation is to form unions to negotiate a fair share of the
economy, and that desire is borne out by recent surveys. Millions of American workers – more than half of non-managers – have
said they want a union at their work place. Yet only 7.5% of private sector workers are now represented by a union. And in all of
2007, fewer than 60,000 workers won union status through government-sanctioned elections. What explains this disconnect?

The problem is that the election process overseen by the National Labor Relations Board has become drawn out and
acrimonious, with management campaigning fiercely to deter unionization, sometimes to the extent of violating labor laws. Union
sympathizers are routinely threatened or even fired, and they have little effective recourse under the law. Even when workers
overcome this pressure and vote for a union, they are unable to obtain contracts one-third of the time due to management resistance.

To remedy this situation, the Congress is considering the Employee Free Choice Act. This act would accomplish three
things: It would give workers the choice of using majority sign-up-- a simple, established procedure in which workers sign cards to
indicate their support for a union – or staging an NLRB election; it triples damages for employers who fire union supporters or break
other labor laws; and it creates a process to ensure that newly unionized employees have a fair shot at obtaining a first contract by
calling for arbitration after 120 days of unsuccessful bargaining.

The Employee Free Choice Act will better reflect worker desires than the current “war over representation.” The Act will
also lower the level of acrimony and distrust that often accompanies union elections in our current system.
A rising tide lifts all boats only when labor and management bargain on relatively equal terms. In recent decades,
most bargaining power has resided with management. The current recession will further weaken the ability of workers to bargain
individually. More than ever, workers will need to act together.

The Employee Free Choice Act is not a panacea, but it would restore some balance to our labor markets. As economists,
we believe this is a critically important step in rebuilding our economy and strengthening our democracy by enhancing the voice of working people in the workplace.

Passage of the Employee Free Choice Act is critical to
rebuilding our economy and strengthening our democracy.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Balance Sheet recession and the Revenge of the Glut

Revenge of the Glut - Paul Krugman

The best explanation of the financial crisis I have heard and it's solution came from an NPR expert from Japan. He explained how property owners are experiencing balance sheet problems.

The result is very obvious. Our balance sheets are wacked so we must recover by saving. This savings a has lead to a ridiculous problem of the paradox of thrift. The paradox is that if everyone attempts to repair their balance sheets at the same time and get financially health all at once, then the economy as a whole goes to hell in a handbasket.

Can I get a witness?

The solution is that we allow the government to temporarily and intentionally get its balance sheet into trouble and spend while we all save. I do see a problem with this fix. The trouble with this solution is that the government already has a balance sheet problem. BUT, nonetheless, if they government tries to fix it's balance sheet problem now, like Hoover did, then the problem will get as severe as the '20's.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Robert Reich: Finally a Progressive Budget

Robert Reich's Blog: Finally a Progressive Budget

This is so right on!!! Reich understands so thoroughly the real roots of the recession side of our economic problems.

Praise for the Obama budget. I am so partisan; it is kinda funny.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Stimulus and Politics - Ideology and Clear Thinking

I must admit that I get rather frustrated when I consider the 800 billion missed opportunities of the proposed stimulus plan. More accurately, closer to 300 billion of the opportunities are missed. The frustration is that both parties hold onto pet ideologies in light of what amounts to pretty simple economics.

Basic economics
I think the formula of basic multipliers and direct jobs created is not that hard to understand. Create demand NOW!!!
Tax cuts do not create demand when people have debt to pay off and consumer confidence is this low.

Obama Losing His Cool
The other hard pill to swallow is that Obama tried to get tough as opposed to staying cool and killing then with facts and confidence. When you have the truth on your side, start gently educating the populous.
Instead, the president got snarky.