Monday, August 29, 2011

A union flunky speaks

This was originally a response to a reader comment that can be found here:

The comment itself, from Bob Dobolina:

if the red states are so awesome then why are their "free market" systems not just blown up their economies? I mean if their lower taxes, pro business and family values then they should be just crushing it right? Last I checked that's not the case. The only one that wins out in those states is the companies that are there. Sure as hell isn't the people that work there. it is a fact that red states are welfare states. The are subsidized by the blue states. If their awesome systems really work and are so good then why are welfare states just that?

Republican foundations of lower taxes, pro business and family values are a good idea but in reality they are failed policies. Like supply side economics. Never worked no matter how many times the right pushes it. It's like a broken record. Cut taxes and regulations and the country will be awesome. Well, it's been going on for 30 years and look what we've got. It's no coincidence that the decline of manufacturing mirrors the decline in unions? Our country was made great on the backs of labor. But conservatives hate labor. The major things we now take for granted were originally created by the sweat and blood of labor. 5 day work week, vacations, sick time, etc.....

Over the last 30 years we've seen republicans main foundations front and center. And if they are so good then our country should be the crown jewel of the world and the stock market should be over 20k. Kill unions, ease regulations and massively low taxes. But check it out, during that time the rich and companies have seen triple digit increases in profits and pay. The regular folks that make those companies run have see what for gains over that time?

Zero gains for the working man. Didn't even follow inflation.

If these basic foundations they say are their core beliefs should be just blowing up our economy. Should be unparalleled prosperity. they've had their way for 30 years and if it works then we should be in a better place now. But no. They're like snake oil salesman. peddling these ideals that sound great but in practice the only benefits they have are for the rich. Record profits and oceans of cash but are those making their way to the regular folks? Nope. Businesses have employees over a barrel. They can pay them anything they want and show them the door if they don't like it. High unemployment is the best time for companies because they can pretty much do whatever they want and people are just happy to have a job.

Welfare states are red states. Pro business isn't pro worker. there is a difference. But hey, screw the regular people right? If job creators are happy then republicans are happy. Just sad that blue collar workers carry water for people that care zero about them and their families. My blue state dollars are paying for these people that scream self reliance. What a joke. Talk about how the poor are a bunch of slackers with their hands out. Maybe they should put their and in their own pockets when it comes to red state handouts.

My response:

There is so much wrong with what you've written that I don't even know where to begin. So I'll begin in the middle, then probably shower and go to work.

The decline in manufacturing does mirror the decline in union membership, but not because the latter caused the former.

Correlation does not mean causation.

Besides which, only fools choose to be serfs. That is what union workers generally are. They're unable to make a living on their own because they lack the skills and talents necessary to be independently employable. So they bind themselves together into a group and try to extract as much money as they can for their menial, but necessary, work. I don't hold them in contempt for this as such a development is inevitable. The capital investment most manufacturing requires means that firms can't easily chase the labor market. They set up shop somewhere, and once established cannot instantly move elsewhere just because the people there will work for less.

But even so this does eventually happen, just not as quickly. Instead of moving existing plants, they expand into these other labor markets and then close the previous plant as it becomes less profitable instead of refurbishing or retooling it when manufacturing processes change. Unions are created to prevent workers from having to compete with each other, but eventually they do, in this case with people in other nations who are willing to work for what would be less here in America, but is actually a good wage over there due to the difference in cost of living.

There are several consequences of this.

First, the unit cost of production goes down, making that company more profitable and therefore more competitive. Such companies generally lower the prices offered to consumers. Other firms must then follow suit and find ways to lower their own production costs, or risk failure. So they relocate as well, or go out of business.

Second these lowered consumer prices means that our money goes further. We can afford to buy more with less money (adjusted for inflation).

Third, the wages that are being paid to the workers overseas makes those workers more able to purchase goods and services from us, improving the economies of both nations.

The only people who lose are those whose reluctance or inability to compete in the labor market is what led them into union work in the first place. When you can't get a good paying job based on your own competence and merit, jobs that require neither are your only escape.

The lesson is to stay in school and to sharpen and hone your skills and abilities so that you are able to support yourself in a field based on individual accomplishment. Doctors, lawyers and engineers belong to professional associations, not unions. There is a reason for this.

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