Our universe is a very uneven and bumpy place. In our corner when we seek to impose ‘equality’, ‘balance’, and avoid ‘discrimination’, we have to take care how we go about smoothing things out, lest we also smooth out what is left of our humanity.
Private sector union membership continues its decline. When workers are given a choice, they choose not ‘to organize’ and threaten the future of their jobs with mandates for artificially high wages. Overall union membership fell from 11.3 to 11.1%. Already low, in 2014 private sector union membership dropped from 6.7 to 6.6%. The dismal story of government employees, in jobs where performance at best is optional, is that union membership actually increased from 35.3 to 35.7%. These are the gravy train workers who make up half of America’s unionized labor and must organize to threaten shutdown of critical agencies and departments if their demands for wages and impossible benefits contracts are not honored. Their unions allow no other basis upon which to determine their compensation packages.
The EU has discovered quantitative easing. QE the new alternative to national austerity programs to rein in government spending, programs that have not sat all that well with populations grown extremely dependent on the government tit. So the ECB (European Central Bank) will start printing new euros with which it will buy €60B worth of sovereign member nation’s debt each month. This essentially becomes a supply of almost free money to the several nation states. The failure of Europe’s austerity programs arises from their having been managed so as to shrink the wealth creating private sectors while growing (you guessed it) the wealth consuming public sectors.
Holman Jenkins Jr in the 24jan15 WSJ observes that “Nobody asks: How can we make our societies ones in which people find opportunity? They worry about the distribution of income but not the absence of income-creating opportunities for individuals.”
In America we have come to ape the socialist Europeans in many ways, including the imposition of ever higher job destroying minimum wages. (Yes, even liberal economists now agree that ever higher minimum wages destroy jobs, the kind which are most needed by the young and unskilled to begin their climb up the economic ladder. The ‘whether’ part of that debate is over; now we are dickering about the ‘how much’ part of the damage that minimum wages cause. Consider that in the EU unemployment among the younger workers exceeds 22%.) Our butt stupid administration – what would you expect with Valerie Jarrett on Obama’s shoulder doing the man’s frontal lobe processing? – insists that minimum wage jobs be compensated at a rate to allow the worker to support a family of four. Most people are aghast at such a premise, but enough are either blithely ignorant or terminally stupid about the implications of such a policy as to keep Team Obama taking comfort from the polls and successfully trolling for their votes.
The demonstrated result of all this is economic stagnation as demonstrated in Europe and Japan. Jenkins summarizes it nicely – “The essence of Europe’s malaise has long been a politics tilted heavily toward protecting those who have jobs from those who want them, where the biggest losers are the young and unskilled, and where stagnation is the general fate.” As again confirmed by our socialist President Obama with his target policy of taxing private 529 education savings accounts -
If you have reached the ability to save, you are a class enemy of the people because only government should be the guarantor of your future.
Clarity on the Keystone XL pipeline. A reader sent me these explanatory graphics from Bloomberg which should be understood by all who engage in debating its construction. (Unfortunately the graphics designer has yet to understand the proper use of the color palette. There is a reason we went from black to whiteboards which still eludes.) The second graphic puts the North American distribution of Canadian oil into a global context, the impact of which will trump any Keystone XL decision we wind up taking.