This was the article I was waiting for today …….. Labor Day and I knew someone would come out and claim Workers need the Minimum wage increase and we need more Unions to help. Also the inevitable “Corporations need to pay more”. While I do agree we may need to raise the minimum wage you can’t dispute the fact that an increase will result in layoffs or at least hour reductions. Im reminded every time I walk into Wal-Mart and see the Self Checkouts of what could happen. None of this takes into account the loss of jobs in this country. I grew up in the Northeast filled with textile mills and Plastic producers. Everyone knew or was related to someone that worked in the mills. Now when I return home to Maine and wonder how the town still stands after Cyro or Sprague pulled out. So with the thoughts of Electronic Tolls and Self Checkouts will an increase in the Minimum wage actually solve the greater problem ……… The USA used to be a Producer of goods and has turned into a consumer of goods. Anyway I have included some excerpts of the WaPo article by Jared Bernstien:
If you hear a Labor Day speech today, you’ll probably and appropriately hear a call for replacing some of what American workers have lost over the years: bargaining power, wages, robust job opportunities, a fair social compact. And those are all highly relevant things to call for.
But I think what’s missing from our national debate over labor and the condition of working families — those who depend on paychecks, not stock portfolios — is something more fundamental: courage.
So on this Labor Day, I’d like to call for more courage, especially by those of us, and I include myself, who are shy to the point of apologetic about what needs to change, about re-balancing labor’s power with respect to that of capital.
That framing itself — labor vs. capital — has become a “no-no” in polite company. To tee it up that way is to engage in “class warfare” or, far worse, to invoke accusations of Marxism. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) argues that framing the argument this way is akin to “preying on the emotions of fear, envy and resentment” and “sowing social unrest.”
It’s a fascinating counterattack, as it explicitly states that what is actually a critically important response to the extent of today’s economic imbalances — social unrest — is a negative. Of course, such unrest is a fundamental and essential touchstone of democracies and, conversely, a forbidden act in oppressive political systems. And yet here is a top Republican legislator, a former and surely future aspirant of higher office, arguing that “social unrest” is something to be avoided.
It is not incidental that budgets written by Ryan propose to cut trillions in spending on those in need and trillions in taxes on the wealthy. And to do so at a time when the share of income going to the top 1 percent is twice what it was before inequality began inexorably climbing (households in the top 1 percent now hold 22 percent of the national income compared with 10 percent in 1979).
I reject the arguments of those bemoaning class warfare when they themselves are envoys of the winning class.
A trenchant Labor Day analysis thus requires us to ask this existential, if impolitic, question: Why is capital so strong and labor so weak in today’s America?
The fact that the private-sector unions represent only 7 percent of the workforce is both part of the explanation and a vivid sign of who’s winning the class war (public-sector unions, historically less vulnerable to outside pressure, represent a much larger 35 percent of the public workforce, but they’re under attack as well). Again, it’s no accident that the decline of unions is correlated with the increasing concentration of wealth.
I’ve argued elsewhere that “economics, as currently practiced, is part of the problem. Not the discipline itself, which historically has been flexible enough to offer wide ranging and useful tools for analyzing and solving economic problems, but the way it interacts with wealth and power today to support capital and hamstring labor.”
And here again is where courage comes in. It is incumbent upon those of us in this debate, from pundits to policymakers, to aggressively challenge the dominant arguments, the “facts” that are not facts at all, the faux “research” that’s bought and paid for by those who ordered up the phony results, from labor market policy to climate change.
You know the claims:
— We can’t have unions in a competitive global economy because that will create competitive disadvantages that will ultimately hurt, not help, the working class;
— We can’t regulate financial markets or tax our corporations because they’ll flee our borders.
— We can’t raise the minimum wage because employers will lay off the affected workers.
— We can’t tax a polluter because that will crash our GDP.
— We can’t provide a safety net benefit to someone out of work because it will just discourage them from getting a job.
When it comes to addressing the imbalances plaguing our economy, whether it’s the doubling of inequality noted above or the fact that in this five-year-old economic recovery, equity markets are up 92 percent in real terms while middle-class incomes are down 3 percent — it’s “we can’t, we can’t, we can’t.”
On the other hand, cut a high-end tax rate, whack a safety net program (as in the Ryan budget), get rid of the minimum wage, unions, financial oversight, and growth, jobs and financial liquidity will allegedly flourish.