Posts Tagged ‘government expansion’

Why Government Unions Are Proof That Democrats Have Become An Inherently Un-American Threat

February 22, 2011

FDR never wanted to see public sector unions.  FDR wrote:

“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.”

[Well, that hasn’t really come to pass now, has it?  FDR continues]:

“Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that ‘under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government.'”

Why did FDR say that?

Read this article from The Wall Street Journal and understand the inherent threat of public unions.  And then open your eyes:

It’s now official: In 2009 the number of unionized workers who work for the government surpassed those in the private economy for the first time. This milestone explains a lot about modern American politics, in particular the paradox that union clout with Democrats has increased even as fewer workers belong to unions overall.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently that 51.4% of America’s 15.4 million union members, or about 7.91 million workers, were employed by the government in 2009. As recently as 1980, there were more than twice as many private as public union members. But private union membership has continued to decline, even as unions have organized more public employees. The nearby chart shows the historical trend.

[1unions]

Overall unionism keeps declining, however, with the loss of 771,000 union jobs amid last year’s recession. Only one in eight workers (12.3%) now belongs to a union, with private union employment hitting a record low of 7.2% of all jobs, down from 7.6% in 2008. Only one in 13 U.S. workers in the private economy pays union dues. In government, by contrast, the union employee share rose to 37.4% from 36.8% the year before.

In private industries, union workers are subject to the vagaries of the marketplace and economic growth. Thus in 2009 10.1% of private union jobs were eliminated, which was more than twice the 4.4% rate of overall private job losses. On the other hand, government unions offer what is close to lifetime job security and benefits, subject only to gross dereliction of duty. Once a city or state’s workers are organized by a union, the jobs almost never go away.

This means government is the main playing field of modern unionism, which explains why the AFL-CIO and SEIU have become advocates for higher taxes and government expansion in cities, states and Washington. Unions once saw their main task as negotiating a bigger share of an individual firm’s profits. Now the movement’s main goal is securing a larger share of the overall private economy’s wealth, which means pitting government employees against middle-class taxpayers.

And as union membership has grown in government, so has union clout in pushing politicians (especially but not solely Democrats) for higher wages and benefits. This is why labor chiefs Andy Stern (SEIU) and Rich Trumka (AFL-CIO) could order Democrats to exempt unions from ObamaCare’s tax increase on high-cost health insurance plans. To the extent Democrats have become the party of government, they have become ever more beholden to public unions.

The problem for democracy is that this creates a self-reinforcing cycle of higher spending and taxes. The unions help elect politicians, who repay the unions with more pay and benefits and dues-paying members, who in turn help to re-elect those politicians.

The political scientists Fred Siegel and Dan DiSalvo recently wrote in the Weekly Standard about the 2006 example of former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine shouting to a rally of 10,000 public workers that “We will fight for a fair contract.” Mr. Corzine was supposed to be on the other side of the bargaining table representing taxpayers, not labor.

From time to time, usually requiring a fiscal crisis, middle-class taxpayers in the private economy will revolt enough to check this vicious political cycle. (See Scott Brown.) But sooner or later, the unions regain their political advantage because taxpayers have other concerns while unions have the most to gain or lose.

This is why most Democrats once opposed public-sector unionism. Such 20th-century liberal heroes as New York Mayor Fiorella LaGuardia and Franklin Roosevelt believed fervently in industrial unions. But they believed public employees had a special social obligation and could too easily exploit their monopoly position. How right they were.

As we can see from the desperate economic and fiscal woes of California, New Jersey, New York and other states with dominant public unions, this has become a major problem for the U.S. economy and small-d democratic governance. It may be the single biggest problem. The agenda for American political reform needs to include the breaking of public unionism’s power to capture an ever-larger share of private income.

The public sector unions and their power over the people was recognized to be an un-American and an inherent danger even by advocates of unions such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  We have only to look at Wisconsin and at what fascistic Democrats such as Community Organizer in Chief Barack Obama are doing in that state and others to see how right past Democrats like FDR were.

The things about economics and the economy that FDR believed in were wrong.  They were proven wrong in history.  That’s why the industrial unions that he adored have nearly vanished; they simply create too many impediments to a strong economy – particularly in today’s competition with countries like China that do not have “a union problem.”  And so Americans in our free market system decided long ago that it was better to have an actual job than it was to belong to a union and wonder why they had no jobs.

Modern Democrats, in desperation, turned to the very thing that they saw as an inherent un-American threat in the past.  They have to be hypocrites and liars because they have abandoned the very nature of their previous beliefs about the nature of the economy in a democracy.  Now public unions – once rightly an anathema – have become the foundation of their strength.  Big Union money constitutes more than TEN TIMES any Republican special interest money; and it obviously comes overwhelmingly from the public sector unions that FDR warned us about.

And in doing so, the Democrat Party has become an un-American and inherent threat themselves.

Jesus’ words in Luke 22:25 sum up Democrats and unions so well today: “Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.'”  Because liberals and unions literally take our money from our children and then tell us they’re doing it for our own good.  And the Democrats who take and take and take from us while calling themselves our “benefactors” today is hardly anything new.  And hardly anything Jesus approved of.

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Obama Keeps Lying About The Economy

August 12, 2010

“Fish story.”  “Such statements hurt his credibility.”  Let’s just call it what it is: a pile of lies from a profoundly dishonest man.

JULY 21, 2010
Obama’s Economic Fish Stories
On unemployment, the president claims that the stimulus bill was several times more potent than his chief economic adviser estimates. Such statements hurt his credibility.
By MICHAEL J. BOSKIN

A president’s most valuable asset—with voters, Congress, allies and enemies—is credibility. So it is unfortunate when extreme exaggeration emanates from the White House.

All presidents wind up saying some things that make even their own economists cringe (often the brainchild of political advisers unconstrained by economic principles, facts or arithmetic). Usually, economic advisers manage to correct these problematic statements before delivery. Sometimes they get channeled into relatively harmless nonsense, such as President Gerald Ford’s “Whip Inflation Now” buttons. Other times they produce damaging policies, such as President Richard Nixon’s wage and price controls. The most illiterate statement was President Jimmy Carter’s late-1970s plea to the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates to combat high inflation, the exact opposite of what it should do. Not surprisingly, the value of the dollar collapsed.

boskin

Martin Kozlowski

President Obama says “every economist who’s looked at it says that the Recovery Act has done its job”—i.e., the stimulus bill has turned the economy around. That’s nonsense. Opinions differ widely and many leading economists believe that its impact has been small. Why? The expectation of future spending and future tax hikes to pay for the stimulus and Mr. Obama’s vast expansion of government are offsetting the direct short-run expansionary effect. That is standard in all macroeconomic theories.

So, as I and others warned in 2008, the permanent government expansion and higher tax rate agenda is a classic example of what not to do during bad economic times. Worse yet, all the subsidies, bailouts, regulations and mandates are forcing noncommercial decisions on the economy, which now awaits literally thousands of new diktats as a result of things like ObamaCare and the financial reform bill. The uncertainty is impeding investment and hiring.

The president does not say that economists agree that the high future taxes to finance the stimulus will hurt the economy. (The University of Chicago’s Harald Uhlig estimates $3.40 of lost output for every dollar of government spending.) Either the president is not being told of serious alternative viewpoints, or serious viewpoints are defined as only those that support his position. In either case, he is being ill-served by his staff.

Mr. Obama’s economic statements are increasingly divorced not only from competing viewpoints but from those of his own economic advisers. It is surprising how many numerically challenged pronouncements come from this most scripted and political of White Houses. One slip is eventually forgiven, but when a pattern emerges, no one believes it is an accident.

For example, on the anniversary of the stimulus bill, Mr. Obama declared, “It is largely thanks to the Recovery Act that a second Depression is no longer a possibility.” Yet his Council of Economic Advisers just estimated the stimulus bill’s effect on GDP at its trough was 1%-2%.

The most common definition of a depression is a long period in which GDP or consumption declines at least 10%. The decline in GDP in the recent recession was 3.8%, in consumption 2%. No one disputes the recession was severe, but to reach a 10% GDP decline requires tripling the administration’s estimate (three times their 2% effect) added to the actual 3.8% decline. On the alternative consumption standard, the math is even more absurd. The depression statement isn’t credible. The stimulus bill has assumed certain mystic powers in administration discourse, but revoking the laws of arithmetic shouldn’t be one of them.

The recession would have been worse if not for the Fed’s monetary policy and quantitative easing. Also important were the unmentioned automatic stabilizers—taxes falling more than income, cushioning declines in after-tax incomes and consumption—which were far larger than the spending and tax rebates in the stimulus bill. Arguing that all these policies (including injecting capital into banks, which was necessary but done poorly) may have prevented a depression is perhaps still an exaggeration but at least is within hailing distance of plausibility. On that scale, the effect of the stimulus was puny.

On his recent “Recovery Tour,” Mr. Obama boasted, “The stimulus bill prevented the unemployment rate from “getting up to . . . 15%.” But the president’s own chief economic adviser, Christina Romer, has estimated that the stimulus bill reduced peak unemployment by one percentage point—i.e., since the unemployment rate peaked at 10.1%, it prevented the unemployment rate from rising to just over 11%. So Mr. Obama claims that the stimulus bill was several times more potent than his chief economic adviser estimates.

Perhaps the most serious disconnect concerns the impending expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, which will raise the top two income tax rates and the rates on dividends and capital gains. If these growth inhibiting tax increases occur—about $75 billion in tax increases next year, $1.4 trillion over 10 years—there will be serious economic damage.

In the most recent issue of the American Economic Review, Ms. Romer (and her husband David H. Romer) conclude that “tax increases are highly contractionary . . . tax cuts have very large and persistent positive output effects.” Their estimates imply the tax increases would depress GDP by roughly half the growth rate in this so-far-anemic recovery.

If Mr. Obama is really serious about a second stimulus, by far the best thing he can do is have Congress quickly extend the expiring Bush tax cuts, combined with real spending cuts set to take effect as the economy improves.

The president badly needs to make more realistic pronouncements. No one expects him to say his policies have failed (although most have delivered far less than claimed at large cost). A little candor about the results of experimentation in uncharted waters would go a long way. But at the very least, his staff needs to avoid putting these exaggerations on the teleprompter. It undermines confidence and raises concerns about competence. It’s doing nobody any good—not the economy and certainly not Mr. Obama.

Mr. Boskin is a professor of economics at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under President George H.W. Bush.

Day after day after day, Obama touts slivers of good news as magnificent, while ignoring pile on top of pile of bad news.  We keep getting these tortured numbers, cherry-picked out of a a rotten mess.  And we’re constantly told the increasingly laughable narrative that Obama’s incredible leadership is what kept everything from being even worse than it is.

The funniest aspect of all is when Obama and his mouthpiece Robert Gibbs keep assuring us that no economist disagrees with their policies when their very own chief economist is on record disagreeing with Obama’s policies.

Obama mouthpiece Gibbs declares:

I’ll let Congressman Boehner unwind his eloquent argument for preserving the tax cuts for those that are quite wealthy.  I don’t think the President believes — I don’t think there’s an economist that believes there’s a stimulative effect to — or a good reason in terms of economic growth to extend those tax cuts, particularly given the choice that one has to make about the budget deficit.

Forbes Magazine demonstrates how fallacious and even dishonest Obama’s and Gibbs’ statements have been in pointing out that the:

chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, herself a Keynesian, has done research that undercuts the Keynesian view of good fiscal policy.  Some of this research is in a March 2007 paper, “The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks,” co-authored with her husband, fellow University of California, Berkeley, economist David Romer.

In their article, they find that “tax increases are highly contractionary” and that tax cuts are highly expansionary.

And Forbes goes on to conclude:

“In other words, if she believes her own research, Christina Romer should be a strong critic of her new boss’s policies.”

So maybe you guys should stop making flagrantly false statements that all the economists agree with you, when in point of fact even your own economist doesn’t agree with you.  Or, at least only agrees with you by denying her own academic research for the sake of appearances.

That may be why she’s leaving the White House.  She can finally tell the truth – something that the Obama White House would never even dream of allowing her to do.