Category Archives: Labor

Yes, The ‘Banksters’ Are Bad, But So Is Greek Profligacy & Sloth

Debt, Economy, EU, Europe, Federal Reserve Bank, Labor, libertarianism

After midnight, tonight, Greece will turn into a pumpkin. The Eurozone nations won’t be bailing the country out again after the deadline. Or so they say. For the life of me, however, I can’t understand why some ostensibly rational libertarians have joined Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert at RT in shaking the fist at the “banksters,” on behalf of the Greeks robbed.

Because EU manipulations have hurt Greece the most, some libertarians have concluded that Greece is the most victimized. That’s but part of the picture. True, the “apparatchiks of the EU” have aimed to create “one nation under inflation.” The EU superstate is especially bad for the unproductive Greeks. The same can be said for the effects of the European central bank and its beneficiaries: they harm the Greek people most.

But why discount the simpler realities of Greek’s political economy? As even this (unhinged) article concedes, “Greece had been on a steady path toward bankruptcy for 25 years.” Why not Germany, the workhorse of Europe?

Greece is among the least productive and most profligate EU countries. It’s a messy habit of mind that ignores this reality in favor of an analysis of macroeconomics alone. Thus, for example, Greece has a population of about 11 million, close on one million of whom were in the employ of the public sector, in 2009.

Is that 10 percent?????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Do you know what kind of liability that creates in perpetuity in terms of pensions and perks? The sovereign debt crisis has since forced the government to fire some parasites, but you get the drift.

As far as I know, Greeks have not voted to leave the EU and restore their own currency. This would indeed make them more competitive. And the Greek people have elected a socialist government that is resisting cuts to the public pension system, changes in the parasites’ retirement age (ridiculously young), and flexibility in sclerotic labor markets, socialized by the people’s choice. Would the Greeks rather starve than work? It seem so.

More Greece facts: “Greece deal: Seriously, what’s holding it up?”


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UPDATE II: Lagging Labor Participation (Just Another Gov. Index)

America, Canada, Economy, Europe, Labor, Russia

About the decline in US labor-force participation, when compared to other developed countries: One would think that the US has to have an absolute greater labor participation percentage than the rest of the far-less vibrant, Third-Way, Western economies, given the vitality of our economy. What RT is screeching about pertains to the rate of decline in US labor participation rates. One would expect this to be more precipitous in our economy, given that extreme welfarism and interventionism in labor markets are newer here than in the already atrophied European economies.

RT Boom & Bust: “The US stands alone, at least when it comes to labor participation rates. If you compare America to seven other advanced economies, such as Canada, France, and Germany, it’s the only country that hasn’t shown gains in labor force participation over the past 15 years. That’s according to a new study out by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Boom Bust’s Ameera David weighs in.”

First, Russia’s labor-force participation rate, if these figures are accurate, is better than expected:

“The World Bank provides data for Russia from 1990 to 2012. The average value for Russia during that period was 61.9 percent with a minimum of 57 percent in 1998 and a maximum of 67.2 percent in 1990.”

The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development) ranks the Russian Federation at 68.2 participation rate, in 2011. Not bad.

The number of Americans not in the labor force, as of 05/08/2015, is a staggering 93,194K, “with the result being a participation rate of 69.45 or just above the lowest percentage since 1977.”

This still puts the US above all other developed countries, besides Sweden, Norway and Iceland whose participation rates are in the 70s.

These 2013-2014 values for G-20 Economies are somewhat different:

Labour Force Participation Rate – USA 62.60% Apr-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – Japan 59.06% Mar-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – Germany 60.40% Nov-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – France 56.50% Nov-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – Brazil 55.86% Mar-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – UK 62.90% Nov-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – Italy 49.20% Nov-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – Canada 65.60% Apr-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – Australia 64.81% Apr-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – Spain 58.80% Nov-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – Mexico 59.64% Nov-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – South Korea 61.79% Mar-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – Indonesia 66.90% Aug-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – Turkey 49.12% Feb-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – Argentina 60.53% May-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – South Africa 57.13% Nov-2013

The Rest are Here …

UPDATE I (6/28): Labor Participation: Just Another Gov. Index.

Europe has all sorts of labor laws, increasingly creeping up on America. For example, job-sharing. Instead of firing, two individuals will be forced to “share” one job. Fewer work hours and less pay is involved, but “labor participation” is kept up artificially. Naturally, the more skilled occupations are less prone to this central tinkering.

Yes, productivity: I am told by my sources in high-tech hubs that while the great American companies will have one super-duper specialist working on, say, a niche design in a product; the Scandinavian competitors—countries that sport the highest labor-participation—will have seven experts working that niche in a product.

In other words, productivity in an American mega-company is way higher, with one man doing the work of seven. However, the obviously misleading labor-participation index will lag the more productive a country is.

UPDATE II: Via Facebook Thread:

John Clement: If the job participation rate is at 69.45% then why isn’t the unemployment rate at 30.55%?

Ilana Mercer: John Clement, we presumed that LPR is calculated on the basis of an estimation of the number of people who ought to be working. So if total employment is 100%, your point is a good one.


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UPDATED: Kill #Amtrak For It Will Kill AGAIN

Business, Economy, Labor, The State

Amtrak is a government-run entity. As such, it answers not to the consumer but to politicians and union bosses. Nor does the National Railroad Passenger Corporation respond to the laws of economics. Despite running at an annual loss—is it more than half a billion dollars annually?—it never “fails” or goes belly up, for the taxpayer is forced to fund it.

Whether you use it or not; approve of it or not—government takes from you to give to the Amtrak financial and operational train wreck. In fact, the worse it does—the more people it kills—the greater its rewards: the louder the calls for Amtrak’s funding. Whereas a business that squanders lives and money would go under; a state enterprise will only grow under the same conditions. Let me put it this way: Try and withhold your fungible tax dollars, and you’ll be staring down the barrel of a gun.

In state-run entities liability is socialized and limited by the power of legislation—isn’t it great to be able to legislate yourself a Get Out of Jail Free card? Socialized liability means that the costs of any criminal or tort action will be borne by government, which is funded by YOU, its victim; the taxpayer.

These are just some of the inverted incentives that make Amtrak go off the rails, again and again.

Amtrak can no more be reformed than the Soviet Union’s communistic economy could be. It can only be liquidated, wrote Gregory Bresiger.

The latest on the “catastrophic train derailment near Philadelphia this week that killed at least eight passengers and injured more than 200 others,” via the New York Times.

UPDATE: It is true that the Dutch, for example, have tremendous pride in their infrastructure. So do the Germans. But this too will pass once European sense of nationhood is dissolved beyond repair by the supra-state, the EU.


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‘Minimum Wage, Maximum Folly’ In The Ivy League

Economy, Labor

“Economic malpractice” in the Ivy League is nothing new. In promoting minimum wage laws, hundreds of so-called top economists have defied the “law known as the first fundamental law of demand.”

The law states that the higher the price of something the less people will take of it and vice versa.

Alas, members of “the brie, tofu, and champagne circuit” regularly pretend that this natural law, “to which there are no known real-world exceptions,” is unaffected by minimum wage legislation.

Now comes news that a California city is to raise its minimum wage to $16.00. This unemployment-causing folly is a good opportunity to revisit WALTER E. WILLIAMS’ magnificent, ongoing efforts to “embarrass the economists” who lie about the costs of raising the price of unskilled labor:

… Some people suggest that if the price of something is raised, buyers will take more or the same amount. That’s silly because there’d be no limit to the price that sellers would charge. For example, if a grocer knew he would sell more — or the same amount of — milk at $8 a gallon than at $4 a gallon, why in the world would he sell it at $4? Then the question becomes: Why would he sell it at $8 if people would buy the same amount at a higher price?

There are economists, most notably Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who suggest that the law of demand applies to everything except labor prices (wages) of low-skilled workers.

Krugman says that paying fast-food workers $15 an hour wouldn’t cause big companies such as McDonald’s to cut jobs. In other words, Krugman argues that raising the minimum wage doesn’t change employer behavior.

Before we address Krugman’s fallacious argument, think about this: One of Galileo’s laws says the influence of gravity on a falling body in a vacuum is to cause it to accelerate at a rate of 32 feet per second per second. That applies to a falling rock, steel ball or feather. What would you think of the reasoning capacity of a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who’d argue that because human beings are not rocks, steel balls or feathers, Galileo’s law of falling bodies doesn’t apply to them? …

MORE.


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Your Get-With-The-Program, Demography-Is-Destiny Policy Paper

Education, IMMIGRATION, Labor, Left-Liberalism, Multiculturalism

You know just how scholarly an essay is when it is studded with loaded pop-words like “conversation”: “We need to have a conversation about race (when we do nothing but subject ourselves to one-way brow-beatings about imagined slights committed against the pigmentally burdened). “We need to have a conversation about immigration (translation: Get with the program of mass immigration from the third world and its implications for your communities—reduced quality of life, poorer education, environmental degradation; less safety and security, more taxation).

Jennifer Bradley of the liberal Brookings Institute lectures Middle America on how to prepare its diverse workforce for tomorrow.

Thus, for example, it is stated that “America is on the cusp of becoming a country with no racial majority, where new minorities are poised to exert a profound impact on U.S. society, economics, and politics.” The implication is that the seismic shift is due to a mystic force, and not to willful policies in which the host population has never had a say.

A feature of the Minneapolis-St. Paul diversity explosion, as Bradley sees it, is a widening “race-based education and achievement gap” that will “become a drag on workforce growths unless something was done to reverse these trends.” In other words, the immigrant population isn’t up to scratch.

I can think of a few options to narrow the gap. One is to welcome immigrants who’ll add value, not drain resources. But Bradely is here not to explore all options, but to dictate them.

The raiment of scholarship is shed as quickly as a hooker sheds her clothes (only less admirably; working girls deserve respect). Bradely brays about the need to “reframe the conversation about race-based education and achievement gaps in Minneapolis-St. Paul — turning what had been a moral (and insufficiently effective) commitment to its underserved communities into an economic necessity. Leading figures from the worlds of government, business, and academia, and public and private groups throughout the region, are now trying to figure out how to undo the effects of decades of neglect, tackling the problem from many perspectives and with an ever greater sense of urgency.”

If a population is not achieving parity it is inferred that it has been “underserved”; that its inhabitants need more resources rather than that the fault lies with the kind of incompatible immigrant being privileged by policy makers. The essay’s premise is that America is “underserving” her immigrant population, when it is the other way round:

Averaged out, the immigrant population is underserving the American economy.

And, research is only as good as the semantics used to state the hypothesis.

MORE braying (with apologies to donkeys; they’re adorable).


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And The Co-Conspirator In The Case Of Latest American Jihadi Is…

Affirmative Action, Jihad, Labor, Regulation, The State

The US government, of course. It always is.

It took the Kuwaitis to fire an alleged American Jihadi from a position he held in their country, as an airplane mechanic, in December 2014. It took the Turks to deny him entry into their country. And it took the Egyptians to deport him to the U.S.

Could these backward and benighted countries be looking out for their own better than the US does?

US Army veteran Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh was stopped—why, oh why? “keep jihadis OUT, not in”!—attempting to cross over into Syria, presumably not for the purpose of touring the ruins.

This avid Bin Laden supported was a former U.S. Air Force mechanic and had worked as a mechanic for American Airlines. And that was perfectly fine. So long as Pugh was endangering Americans stateside, he was safe from the American authorities (whose, constitutional duty it is to protect Americans).

Here in the US, labor and civil rights legislation guarantee that business can’t risk discrimination lawsuits should they fire bad people. They’d rather risk the lives of good people.


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