Look, for example, at the article by CUNY’s labor historian Joshua Freeman, writing in The Nation. Arguing that the fire took place “at a moment of radical challenge to the national structure of power,” Freeman sees an exactly parallel situation today. He writes:“Today, as a cult of deregulation, a rabid ethos of unrestricted capitalism and the ability of firms to play workers in one country against those in another have seemingly sent us careening back in time toward a pre–New Deal regime of labor relations, there is less domestic opposition to sweated labor than 100 years ago (though low-paid workers overseas have been increasingly militant, evident in the fusillade of strikes in China). Periodic waves of moral outrage sweep across college campuses in antisweatshop campaigns, but as an organized force, labor has weakened to the point that the percentage of privately employed workers who belong to a union is now lower than in 1911.”
These people are basically whining that all of the consequences that the right has warned them about at every step in their push for more regulation and more state control really are real. It’s like they’ve had their fingers stuck in their ears for the last six decades and are now stomping up and down in a tantrum, because the consequences are finally too big to ignore.
They wanted more-regulated workplaces with unions around every corner, work rules, and benefits galore. The right warned that this would make manufacturing less efficient, increase the cost of labor, and reduce the number of US jobs. The left said, we don’t care, we want it anyway.
They wanted tighter environmental controls on business, driving up the costs of raw materials, energy, production, and delivery. The right warned that this would make domestic manufacturing prohibitively expensive, drive factories overseas, and reduce the number of US jobs. The left said, we don’t care, we want it anyway.
The left wanted higher taxes on business, to the point where the US has the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world. The right warned that this would place domestic companies at a disadvantage, force companies to open and incorporate elsewhere, and reduce the number of US jobs. The left said, we don’t care, we want it anyway.
The left wanted laws on corporate financial reporting so stringent, that CEO’s of private companies are afraid to grow their companies by going public, because they face the threat of federal prison if their financial statements don’t meet with government approval. Instead, they are incorporating overseas, or forgoing the capital infusions of going big and public and staying small and private. The right said that this will drive corporations to other countries, stifle domestic investment, and reduce the number of US jobs. The left said, we don’t care, we want it anyway.
The left wanted laws nearly-nationalizing healthcare insurance, eliminating reduced-coverage and reduced-price options for lower-skilled and lower-pay workers, forcing many companies to either report massive losses on their books (to great hue and cry from the left), to go on bended knee to beg the government for a waiver like a supplicant before a tyrant (my high school physics teacher often pointed out that the definition of tyrant is one who rules arbitrarily,) or to dump their employees’ insurance completely. The right warned this would reduce the number of people who could afford health insurance, increase the costs to business, increase the cost of labor, and thus reduce the number of US jobs. The left said, we don’t care, we want it anyway.
The left wanted more taxes to soak the rich. No one should be that rich, they said. We have the money in this country to do everything our little hearts desire; we just need to take it from those bastards! But those bastards don’t have a safe in the basement filled with gold. It’s invested in stocks, venture capital start-ups, real estate, and the economy. Every time taxes go up on the investor class, the right says this will cost the economy capital for investing in new businesses. Businesses won’t grow, new jobs won’t be created. The left said, we don’t care, we want it anyway.
We’ve had sixty years of the left not listening or caring what the consequences were. Sixty years of the left making it harder to do business and create jobs. We were rich enough to take the hit, they countered. Surely, we’re a rich-enough country to provide all of this. But each law, each tax, each regulation makes it harder and harder to employ people. Sooner or later, the weight of all of it forces a collapse.
What our government and the left must start doing every time a new law is proposed is to ask themselves: will this help marginal employers create jobs, or will it help to destroy jobs? In other words, what are the consequences of each turn of the tax and regulatory ratchet, because sooner or later, the ratchet drives the bolt home, and we’re all royally screwed.
Update: As if on cue, this article appears today from "Ray Buursma is a Laketown Township resident":
You are either stupid or lazy. Maybe both.In light of what I wrote above, that's a promising start, right?
Now, I’m not referring to your work ethic or job performance. [...] I’m addressing the way you view economics and employment.
[...Y]ou continue to elect leaders who offer nothing but tax cuts, as if that would stem the flow of disappearing jobs.You knew that was coming, right? Here's more:
Did you demand your leaders address America’s trade imbalance or continuous outsourcing of jobs? [Oh, lord!] Did you demand your leaders require foreign countries to buy a dollar’s worth of American goods for every dollar of goods they sell here? [Dude, we got a dollar's worth...in cold hard cash.]He then goes on to praise unions to the sky. After a while, he lets off this whopper:
[...] You made concessions to your employer and hoped that would stem the exodus of jobs, or at least yours.
Does your company offer a pension plan, or do you now fund your own 401(k)?Take an econ course, bonehead--either you fund your own retirement plan or you take the money from your kids after you retire. There is no other way. Where the h*&% does he think the money comes from? It comes from what a worker produces, that then gets sold, and the employer keeps part of it, and passes the rest to the employee in wages and benefits. Whether those benefits are a matching contribution to the 401K or some other program. The alternate is if you don't pay for your retirement out of your own productivity, but expect your employer to pay for you later. You get a nice big fat paycheck while you're working, but your kids get screwed, because the fixed benefit pension you enjoy is coming out of their pocket, not yours. Nice work if you can get it. Or does money fall from the sky?
I warned you I’d likely offend you, and I suspect I did. But once you overcome your anger, consider my analysis. Then, either wise up and do something about it, or resign yourself to a lower standard of living for the next decade.I'm only angered by this guy's breathtaking stupidity.
Of course that's not all. I saw this article because two of my college friends linked to it on Facebook. College educated friends, of course. I reposted it as a form of bait. A junior high teacher of mine has since posted it as well--I don't know if she saw it from me or saw it on her own.
This is the world I grew up in and have lived in all my life, first in liberal Shorewood, Wisconsin; then at liberal Grinnell College; then in liberal Minneapolis; now in Los Angeles. Every single day supplies another reason to shake my head in dismay.