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Walker gins up budget shortfall

Wisconsin's new Republican governor has framed his assault on public worker's collective bargaining rights as a needed measure of fiscal austerity during tough times.

The reality is radically different. Unlike true austerity measures -- service rollbacks, furloughs, and other temporary measures that cause pain but save money -- rolling back worker's bargaining rights by itself saves almost nothing on its own. But Walker's doing it anyhow, to knock down a barrier and allow him to cut state employee benefits immediately.

Furthermore, this broadside comes less than a month after the state's fiscal bureau -- the Wisconsin equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office -- concluded that Wisconsin isn't even in need of austerity measures, and could conclude the fiscal year with a surplus. In fact, they say that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of tax cut policies Walker enacted in his first days in office.

"Walker was not forced into a budget repair bill by circumstances beyond he control," says Jack Norman, research director at the Institute for Wisconsin Future -- a public interest think tank. "He wanted a budget repair bill and forced it by pushing through tax cuts... so he could rush through these other changes."

"The state of Wisconsin has not reached the point at which austerity measures are needed," Norman adds.

In a Wednesday op-ed, the Capitol Times of Madison picked up on this theme.

In its Jan. 31 memo to legislators on the condition of the state's budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million.

To the extent that there is an imbalance -- Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January.

You can read the fiscal bureaus report here (PDF). It holds that "more than half" of the new shortfall comes from three of Walker's initiatives:

$25 million for an economic development fund for job creation, which still holds $73 million because of anemic job growth.

$48 million for private health savings accounts -- a perennial Republican favorite.

$67 million for a tax incentive plan that benefits employers, but at levels too low to spur hiring.

In essence, public workers are being asked to pick up the tab for this agenda. "The provisions in his bill do two things simultaneously," Norman says. "They remove bargaining rights, and having accomplished that, make changes in the benefit packages." That's how Walker's plan saves money. And when it's all said and done, these workers will have lost their bargaining rights going forward in perpetuity.

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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

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Walker gins up budget shortfall

Wisconsin's new Republican governor has framed his assault on public worker's collective bargaining rights as a needed measure of fiscal austerity during tough times.

The reality is radically different. Unlike true austerity measures -- service rollbacks, furloughs, and other temporary measures that cause pain but save money -- rolling back worker's bargaining rights by itself saves almost nothing on its own. But Walker's doing it anyhow, to knock down a barrier and allow him to cut state employee benefits immediately.

Furthermore, this broadside comes less than a month after the state's fiscal bureau -- the Wisconsin equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office -- concluded that Wisconsin isn't even in need of austerity measures, and could conclude the fiscal year with a surplus. In fact, they say that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of tax cut policies Walker enacted in his first days in office.

"Walker was not forced into a budget repair bill by circumstances beyond he control," says Jack Norman, research director at the Institute for Wisconsin Future -- a public interest think tank. "He wanted a budget repair bill and forced it by pushing through tax cuts... so he could rush through these other changes."

"The state of Wisconsin has not reached the point at which austerity measures are needed," Norman adds.

In a Wednesday op-ed, the Capitol Times of Madison picked up on this theme.

In its Jan. 31 memo to legislators on the condition of the state's budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million.

To the extent that there is an imbalance -- Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January.

You can read the fiscal bureaus report here (PDF). It holds that "more than half" of the new shortfall comes from three of Walker's initiatives:

$25 million for an economic development fund for job creation, which still holds $73 million because of anemic job growth.

$48 million for private health savings accounts -- a perennial Republican favorite.

$67 million for a tax incentive plan that benefits employers, but at levels too low to spur hiring.

In essence, public workers are being asked to pick up the tab for this agenda. "The provisions in his bill do two things simultaneously," Norman says. "They remove bargaining rights, and having accomplished that, make changes in the benefit packages." That's how Walker's plan saves money. And when it's all said and done, these workers will have lost their bargaining rights going forward in perpetuity.

Here's a link to the PDF referenced in the article.
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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
Not really the point and you know it.
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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
There's also the assumption that it's in the public's interest to pay government workers as little money as possible. That may be the case sometimes, or even often, but it's not a universally applicable rule no matter what. I'm sure most would agree that it's not in the public interest to pay teachers minimum wage, or intelligence analysts, or prosecutors, etc.
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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
Not really the point and you know it.
The "point" is flawed. It's just an aw-shucks slogan that fits on a poster.
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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
Not really the point and you know it.
What is the point?
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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
Not really the point and you know it.
True, they are also taxpayers, but that fact isn't really relevant to the discussion for obvious reasons.
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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
There's also the assumption that it's in the public's interest to pay government workers as little money as possible. That may be the case sometimes, or even often, but it's not a universally applicable rule no matter what. I'm sure most would agree that it's not in the public interest to pay teachers minimum wage, or intelligence analysts, or prosecutors, etc.
It's also not in the public's interest to overpay, but it is in the unions' interest to have the public overpay.
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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
Not really the point and you know it.
The "point" is flawed. It's just an aw-shucks slogan that fits on a poster.
That would be one horrible poster.

Seriously, how is the point flawed?

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I don't think you can legislate rights away without a fight.

That's a pretty liberal use of the word "rights". Calm down with the rhetoric - it's making your (good) case really weak.
So you looked at everything I said and found one thing to complain about and told me to calm down.You know what I meant - the courts will likely decide this.
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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
Not really the point and you know it.
What is the point?
The point is that the taxpayer isn't an interested party in negotiations between a private employer and private unions. However, the taxpayer is an interested party between negotiations between a private union and the government.
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Using the March 2010 CPS data, regression analysis controlling demographic characteristics (full-time, education, years of economic experience, gender, race, citizenship, and organizational size) confirms that total hourly compensation for Wisconsin public sector workers is 4.8% lower than for private sector (-5.1% for Wisconsin State workers, and -4.7% for local government). The differentials are bigger for annual compensation. These estimated differentials are statistically significant, as shown in Table 4.

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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
There's also the assumption that it's in the public's interest to pay government workers as little money as possible. That may be the case sometimes, or even often, but it's not a universally applicable rule no matter what. I'm sure most would agree that it's not in the public interest to pay teachers minimum wage, or intelligence analysts, or prosecutors, etc.
It's also not in the public's interest to overpay, but it is in the unions' interest to have the public overpay.

True. But it doesn't work the other way. It's in neither party's interest to have the public underpay. That's my point- it can't be assumed that the interests are pitted against one another. In fact at some point the interests align. So the quote isn't quite true.

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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
Not really the point and you know it.
True, they are also taxpayers, but that fact isn't really relevant to the discussion for obvious reasons.
They are interested as taxpayers in quality public services and interested as employees in being fairly compensated.
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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
There's also the assumption that it's in the public's interest to pay government workers as little money as possible. That may be the case sometimes, or even often, but it's not a universally applicable rule no matter what. I'm sure most would agree that it's not in the public interest to pay teachers minimum wage, or intelligence analysts, or prosecutors, etc.
It's also not in the public's interest to overpay, but it is in the unions' interest to have the public overpay.

If you look into that you will probably find teachers make less than the equivalent in the private sector as many former teachers would tell you.

As for tenure I'm not for that and should be negotiated, but not by legislating collective bargaining away.

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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
Not really the point and you know it.
What is the point?
The point is, the Public Sector should be paying their fair share like the Private sector.

No more, no less.

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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
Not really the point and you know it.
True, they are also taxpayers, but that fact isn't really relevant to the discussion for obvious reasons.
They are interested as taxpayers in quality public services and interested as employees in being fairly compensated.
I agree with what you're saying, but to me it's obvious that your point is not truly relevant to the discussion. Of course they are also taxpayers, and if taxes go up they have to pay more along with everyone else. But, the are net winners in that scenario, while anyone not members of their union are net losers.

Do you really not see the difference between a public union vying for benefits versus the taxpayers versus private employees versus a corporation?

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So let me see if I have this straight. It's bad for companies to engage in "union busting" (a method to lower labor costs), but it's also bad to ship jobs overseas (a method to lower labor costs). If a company needs to lower its labor costs in order to compete globally, what is the official cr8f approved method?

We are engaged in a race to the bottom. The US can't compete with $1 an hour labor, child labor, forced labor, etc.. The bigger question is why should we? Unless you own a business, you're a worker. The trend is cheaper labor, longer hours, lower income and lower quality of life standards. I'm not sure what the answer is, but there was a time when made in America meant something besides being the cheapest. Along with our jobs I think we also exported our pride.Consumers need to figure out that all of this is tied together. There are hidden costs for buying the cheapest foreign made product, and we are paying them.
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They are interested as taxpayers in quality public services and interested as employees in being fairly compensated.

I agree with what you're saying, but to me it's obvious that your point is not truly relevant to the discussion. Of course they are also taxpayers, and if taxes go up they have to pay more along with everyone else. But, the are net winners in that scenario, while anyone not members of their union are net losers.

Do you really not see the difference between a public union vying for benefits versus the taxpayers versus private employees versus a corporation?

I see that that's the way the slogan frames it. It states outright that their economic interests are necessarily at odds. That's just not true.
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So let me see if I have this straight. It's bad for companies to engage in "union busting" (a method to lower labor costs), but it's also bad to ship jobs overseas (a method to lower labor costs). If a company needs to lower its labor costs in order to compete globally, what is the official cr8f approved method?

We are engaged in a race to the bottom. The US can't compete with $1 an hour labor, child labor, forced labor, etc.. The bigger question is why should we? Unless you own a business, you're a worker. The trend is cheaper labor, longer hours, lower income and lower quality of life standards. I'm not sure what the answer is, but there was a time when made in America meant something besides being the cheapest. Along with our jobs I think we also exported our pride.Consumers need to figure out that all of this is tied together. There are hidden costs for buying the cheapest foreign made product, and we are paying them.
If the answer is relying on consumers to pay higher prices because it's the right thing to do - we're screwed. You're smart enough to know that.
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I thought this point made in Patrick McIlheran's editorial was enlightening:

'Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness.'

Juxtaposed against:

'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'

To me this is far from a black and white issue, and I've never thought about it in this way before.

Government workers are also taxpayers and voters.
Not really the point and you know it.
What is the point?
The point is, the Public Sector should be paying their fair share like the Private sector.

No more, no less.

I don't think anyone disagrees with that concept. Public sector employees in Wisconsin have long recognized that there are going to be cutbacks in their comp and benefits. Walker essentially wants to gut the public sector unions (other than fire and police). The opinion piece from McIlheran linked above apparently draws a distinction between public and private sector unions. I'm sure there are relevant differences, but they are not immediately apparent to me so I am asking the two posters who referenced it to explain the significance. I do agree with Battersbox that this is "far from a black and white issue."
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They are interested as taxpayers in quality public services and interested as employees in being fairly compensated.

I agree with what you're saying, but to me it's obvious that your point is not truly relevant to the discussion. Of course they are also taxpayers, and if taxes go up they have to pay more along with everyone else. But, the are net winners in that scenario, while anyone not members of their union are net losers.

Do you really not see the difference between a public union vying for benefits versus the taxpayers versus private employees versus a corporation?

I see that that's the way the slogan frames it. It states outright that their economic interests are necessarily at odds. That's just not true.
You're going to have to share this slogan with me, because it sounds like it sucks.

Regardless, forget the slogan, the central point is that it's NOT THE SAME THING. Private vs public....private vs private. You can argue all day that the public workers' union (such as the teachers' union) have the public's welfare at heart, and I would partially agree with you. But it's still not the same thing and that is a very valid point.

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They are interested as taxpayers in quality public services and interested as employees in being fairly compensated.

I agree with what you're saying, but to me it's obvious that your point is not truly relevant to the discussion. Of course they are also taxpayers, and if taxes go up they have to pay more along with everyone else. But, the are net winners in that scenario, while anyone not members of their union are net losers.

Do you really not see the difference between a public union vying for benefits versus the taxpayers versus private employees versus a corporation?

I see that that's the way the slogan frames it. It states outright that their economic interests are necessarily at odds. That's just not true.
You're going to have to share this slogan with me, because it sounds like it sucks.
'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'
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So let me see if I have this straight. It's bad for companies to engage in "union busting" (a method to lower labor costs), but it's also bad to ship jobs overseas (a method to lower labor costs). If a company needs to lower its labor costs in order to compete globally, what is the official cr8f approved method?

We are engaged in a race to the bottom. The US can't compete with $1 an hour labor, child labor, forced labor, etc.. The bigger question is why should we? Unless you own a business, you're a worker. The trend is cheaper labor, longer hours, lower income and lower quality of life standards. I'm not sure what the answer is, but there was a time when made in America meant something besides being the cheapest. Along with our jobs I think we also exported our pride.Consumers need to figure out that all of this is tied together. There are hidden costs for buying the cheapest foreign made product, and we are paying them.
Great. So what should the company do to compete in the meantime? Again, you're demonizing companies which lower wages, and you're demonizing companies that send jobs overseas, so what should they do that will meet with your approval?
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So let me see if I have this straight. It's bad for companies to engage in "union busting" (a method to lower labor costs), but it's also bad to ship jobs overseas (a method to lower labor costs). If a company needs to lower its labor costs in order to compete globally, what is the official cr8f approved method?

We are engaged in a race to the bottom. The US can't compete with $1 an hour labor, child labor, forced labor, etc.. The bigger question is why should we? Unless you own a business, you're a worker. The trend is cheaper labor, longer hours, lower income and lower quality of life standards. I'm not sure what the answer is, but there was a time when made in America meant something besides being the cheapest. Along with our jobs I think we also exported our pride.Consumers need to figure out that all of this is tied together. There are hidden costs for buying the cheapest foreign made product, and we are paying them.
If the answer is relying on consumers to pay higher prices because it's the right thing to do - we're screwed. You're smart enough to know that.
They are paying a higher price in the terms I talked about. I'm old enough to remember my grandfathers generation. There was cheap crap made in Japan and China then too. They didn't buy it. There was a social stigma on foreign made junk. They had pride in the American worker and the American product. He bought American cars only, even when there were cheaper ones out there. That kind of thinking is gone and it isn't a coincidence that wages are stagnant and there are more dual income families than ever. The trade off for cheap goods and services is high. And I do feel that we are screwed. I haven't seen any evidence to the contrary in the past 15 years.
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They are interested as taxpayers in quality public services and interested as employees in being fairly compensated.

I agree with what you're saying, but to me it's obvious that your point is not truly relevant to the discussion. Of course they are also taxpayers, and if taxes go up they have to pay more along with everyone else. But, the are net winners in that scenario, while anyone not members of their union are net losers.

Do you really not see the difference between a public union vying for benefits versus the taxpayers versus private employees versus a corporation?

I see that that's the way the slogan frames it. It states outright that their economic interests are necessarily at odds. That's just not true.
You're going to have to share this slogan with me, because it sounds like it sucks.
'Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters.'
That's not a slogan, it's a line of text. Unless you're telling me people are driving around Madison with that on their bumper stickers.
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So let me see if I have this straight. It's bad for companies to engage in "union busting" (a method to lower labor costs), but it's also bad to ship jobs overseas (a method to lower labor costs). If a company needs to lower its labor costs in order to compete globally, what is the official cr8f approved method?

We are engaged in a race to the bottom. The US can't compete with $1 an hour labor, child labor, forced labor, etc.. The bigger question is why should we? Unless you own a business, you're a worker. The trend is cheaper labor, longer hours, lower income and lower quality of life standards. I'm not sure what the answer is, but there was a time when made in America meant something besides being the cheapest. Along with our jobs I think we also exported our pride.Consumers need to figure out that all of this is tied together. There are hidden costs for buying the cheapest foreign made product, and we are paying them.
Great. So what should the company do to compete in the meantime?
To only just compete or worry about their stock price, profit margin and shareholders? Seems like the later is all this country cares about.
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So let me see if I have this straight. It's bad for companies to engage in "union busting" (a method to lower labor costs), but it's also bad to ship jobs overseas (a method to lower labor costs). If a company needs to lower its labor costs in order to compete globally, what is the official cr8f approved method?

We are engaged in a race to the bottom. The US can't compete with $1 an hour labor, child labor, forced labor, etc.. The bigger question is why should we? Unless you own a business, you're a worker. The trend is cheaper labor, longer hours, lower income and lower quality of life standards. I'm not sure what the answer is, but there was a time when made in America meant something besides being the cheapest. Along with our jobs I think we also exported our pride.Consumers need to figure out that all of this is tied together. There are hidden costs for buying the cheapest foreign made product, and we are paying them.
If the answer is relying on consumers to pay higher prices because it's the right thing to do - we're screwed. You're smart enough to know that.
It is all related. Price-sensitive consumers pay for cheaper goods because, with stagnant wages, it is their only choice to avoid a declining standard of living. If their wages hadn't been stagnant for the last 30 years, perhaps we wouldn't have such a large demand for cheap goods.
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So let me see if I have this straight. It's bad for companies to engage in "union busting" (a method to lower labor costs), but it's also bad to ship jobs overseas (a method to lower labor costs). If a company needs to lower its labor costs in order to compete globally, what is the official cr8f approved method?

We are engaged in a race to the bottom. The US can't compete with $1 an hour labor, child labor, forced labor, etc.. The bigger question is why should we? Unless you own a business, you're a worker. The trend is cheaper labor, longer hours, lower income and lower quality of life standards. I'm not sure what the answer is, but there was a time when made in America meant something besides being the cheapest. Along with our jobs I think we also exported our pride.Consumers need to figure out that all of this is tied together. There are hidden costs for buying the cheapest foreign made product, and we are paying them.
Great. So what should the company do to compete in the meantime?
To only just compete or worry about their stock price, profit margin and shareholders? Seems like the later is all this country cares about.
Or you could try answering the question. If a foreign company has cheaper labor and can produce the same product for lower costs, what should the American company do?
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So let me see if I have this straight. It's bad for companies to engage in "union busting" (a method to lower labor costs), but it's also bad to ship jobs overseas (a method to lower labor costs). If a company needs to lower its labor costs in order to compete globally, what is the official cr8f approved method?

We are engaged in a race to the bottom. The US can't compete with $1 an hour labor, child labor, forced labor, etc.. The bigger question is why should we? Unless you own a business, you're a worker. The trend is cheaper labor, longer hours, lower income and lower quality of life standards. I'm not sure what the answer is, but there was a time when made in America meant something besides being the cheapest. Along with our jobs I think we also exported our pride.Consumers need to figure out that all of this is tied together. There are hidden costs for buying the cheapest foreign made product, and we are paying them.
If the answer is relying on consumers to pay higher prices because it's the right thing to do - we're screwed. You're smart enough to know that.
It is all related. Price-sensitive consumers pay for cheaper goods because, with stagnant wages, it is their only choice to avoid a declining standard of living. If their wages hadn't been stagnant for the last 30 years, perhaps we wouldn't have such a large demand for cheap goods.
You think that if American car companies suddenly raise wages, American workers will stop buying Japanese and German cars?
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So let me see if I have this straight. It's bad for companies to engage in "union busting" (a method to lower labor costs), but it's also bad to ship jobs overseas (a method to lower labor costs). If a company needs to lower its labor costs in order to compete globally, what is the official cr8f approved method?

We are engaged in a race to the bottom. The US can't compete with $1 an hour labor, child labor, forced labor, etc.. The bigger question is why should we? Unless you own a business, you're a worker. The trend is cheaper labor, longer hours, lower income and lower quality of life standards. I'm not sure what the answer is, but there was a time when made in America meant something besides being the cheapest. Along with our jobs I think we also exported our pride.Consumers need to figure out that all of this is tied together. There are hidden costs for buying the cheapest foreign made product, and we are paying them.
If the answer is relying on consumers to pay higher prices because it's the right thing to do - we're screwed. You're smart enough to know that.
It is all related. Price-sensitive consumers pay for cheaper goods because, with stagnant wages, it is their only choice to avoid a declining standard of living. If their wages hadn't been stagnant for the last 30 years, perhaps we wouldn't have such a large demand for cheap goods.
You think that if American car companies suddenly raise wages, American workers will stop buying Japanese and German cars?
No.
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So let me see if I have this straight. It's bad for companies to engage in "union busting" (a method to lower labor costs), but it's also bad to ship jobs overseas (a method to lower labor costs). If a company needs to lower its labor costs in order to compete globally, what is the official cr8f approved method?

We are engaged in a race to the bottom. The US can't compete with $1 an hour labor, child labor, forced labor, etc.. The bigger question is why should we? Unless you own a business, you're a worker. The trend is cheaper labor, longer hours, lower income and lower quality of life standards. I'm not sure what the answer is, but there was a time when made in America meant something besides being the cheapest. Along with our jobs I think we also exported our pride.Consumers need to figure out that all of this is tied together. There are hidden costs for buying the cheapest foreign made product, and we are paying them.
Great. So what should the company do to compete in the meantime? Again, you're demonizing companies which lower wages, and you're demonizing companies that send jobs overseas, so what should they do that will meet with your approval?
It doesn't matter what I think. The cat is out of the bag. The US way of life is dying by 1000 paper cuts. Globalization is a zero sum game. For other countries to rise, ours has to sink.Companies who are so enamored with the low wage countries and no taxes should move everything there, not just their manufacturing. Move their families there. Use their schools. Use their roads. Instead we are in a period of reckoning. Corporations are moving jobs away, look to avoid paying US taxes and yet they expect to enjoy the freedoms, infrastructure and safety America affords them and their families.
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They are paying a higher price in the terms I talked about. I'm old enough to remember my grandfathers generation. There was cheap crap made in Japan and China then too. They didn't buy it. There was a social stigma on foreign made junk. They had pride in the American worker and the American product. He bought American cars only, even when there were cheaper ones out there. That kind of thinking is gone and it isn't a coincidence that wages are stagnant and there are more dual income families than ever. The trade off for cheap goods and services is high. And I do feel that we are screwed. I haven't seen any evidence to the contrary in the past 15 years.

That kind of thinking seems silly in this day and age. We should aspire to be more like Apple, an American company that makes innovative products that both Americans and ROW are happy to pay a premium for. Propping up Ford or GM for making similar quality cars to Honda or Toyota at a higher cost just because the employees are American is a recipe for disaster.
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Everyone wants the problems fixed but nobody is willing to make any sacrifices to make it happen.

Which is why we keep lowering taxes on the rich?
I've stated numerous times that I have no problem with tax increases as long as they are accompanied by significant and meaningful spending cuts. :thumbup:
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