Thursday, September 07, 2006

Incompetents of the World: Unite

Unemployment is at 4.7%, but that doesn't stop even college educated people from whining. Now, not only do they want to whine, they want to "participate collectively in the political process to advance economic policies that protect their interests."

[Thanks to for the photo.]

Yes, Public Choice again raises its ugly head, as people scramble to grab a piece of what they see as their rightful share of government protection -- big government protection, that is. Reminds me of France.

Barbara Ehrenreich, author of "Bait and Switch," and "Nickel and Dimed," is griping again, and encouraging anxious college-educated white collar workers to join her in a new inter-professional labor union she has dubbed the United Professionals. Read the whole prnewswire article on the subject.

The anxiety centers on "outsourcing, downsizing and their increasingly futile pursuit of the American Dream." The goal is to pressure government to force employers to offer employer based health coverage, an employer provided retirement plan, and guaranteed wage increases.

Here is the article's way of expressing UP's byline:

"UP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for white collar workers, regardless of profession or employment status. We reach out to all unemployed, underemployed and anxiously employed workers. Our mission is to protect and preserve the American middle class, now under attack from so many directions, from downsizing and outsourcing to the steady erosion of health and pension benefits. We believe that education, skills and experience should be rewarded with appropriate jobs, livable incomes, benefits and social supports."

The funny thing is, I'm not altogether in disagreement about there being something vaguely disquieting about knowing that "real wage growth for college educated workers is stagnant -- 1.3% from 2000 to 2005 (compared to 11% for the previous five years)". It's true, this is embarrassing when you see the profits corporations are making these days. My difference concerns their analysis of the causes (in fact, I don't see any effort at analysis on their part yet, just whining), and their proposal for a solution (political action organizing, special interest group lobbying, and socialist, union-style blackmail.)

Somehow, I don't think either (1) bigger government, or (2) whining, is going to cut it. And, let's be frank here. What employer in their right mind is going to hire a member of a Whiners' Union?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you objecting to a counteractive political force vs Lobbyists for business?

One egregious example is the banking interests who essentially wrote the recent bankruptcy revisions that were passed into law.

Why so much disdain for *people* wanting to lobby their own govt?

12:37 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

No, no, no. I'm not objecting to the creation of a counteractive political force parallel to the lobbyists for business. I am objecting to the Big Government that created the big businesses in the first place, and hence the lobbying (read "blackmaililng") institution. The lobbying itself is only a necessary evil created by the size of government.

It's blackmail because the lobbying group of size (small ones are ineffective) is threatening to retain their vote en masse. This is a good strategy if you need one.

On the other hand, I would rather advocate smaller government, which would eliminate the symbiotic relationship between Big Business and Big Government, and hence eliminate the need to waste time organizing consumer protection lobbying groups that have to fight them.

I have no disdain whatsoever for people wanting to lobby their own government. I disdain the big government that requires citizens to lobby (read "blackmail") for "protection" against big business.

Oh, and I do hate whiners.

That said, lobbying for bigger government is counter-productive. It just gives the politicians and Big Business more power. It's a vicious circle.

The Bankruptcy issue is another topic, for another day. I agree the banking interests are a part of the above-mentioned Big Business. However, I do think the bankruptcy laws were too lenient, and I approve at least some measure of tightening in that regard.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Katy thanks for expanding on your thoughts in the original post.

Agreed about whiners, and agreed (with some caveats) that BK laws needed to be adjusted somewhat. BK should certainly not be used as a financial planning tool...

OTOH in the past, lenders received interest in exchange for taking on risk that a loan would not be repaid, correct? That risk has now been transferred to the borrower. Perhaps the borrower should now receive the interest :)

2:45 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

Touche. You've got a point there. But perhaps now the market will allow the interest rates to adjust in the appropriate direction, i.e. somewhere in the middle, assuming bankruptcy debts will now be paid off at least half of the time.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, it would be cool if interest rates on say Credit Cards simply reflected the opportunity loss had the money been invested elsewhere. But I think it reflects a lot of other things ;)

Great blog, BTW :) Keep up the good work!

4:18 PM  

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