Saturday, November 07, 2009

Shooting Yourself In The Head

To fix a broken arm. Thomas Walkom's column is a depressing read today. In it, he outlines how governments are going to use deficits as hammers to break their unions and cut their workers' pay and benefits. In other words, they are fighting the recession and its loss of economic demand from the private sector, by intentionally depressing the spending power of their own workers. If the economy is a drowning man, the governments are throwing it an anvil. Do you suppose a public sector worker, upon hearing his wages are going to be cut, is going to go out and buy a new car? Not on your life, he is going to hunker down and save. This will further depress the demand for cars and other goods and services and create a death spiral of more cuts in the private sector followed by calls for more cuts in the public sector.

I can see how pitting private and public sector workers at each other's throats makes good politics. Driving a wedge between the private and public sector working class keeps the focus off of the poor performance of the government and the ruling class (and has a side benefit of keeping people from thinking too much about bankers' bonuses and just how we got into this mess in the first place). But, gutting public sector wages, as an economic policy, during an economic downturn, it makes no sense at all.
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  1. The sad part is that a lot of leftards will line up in favour of this destruction.

    There is a counter strategy that I'm working on. It involves ferreting out wasteful government spending that can be cut in order avoid gutting wages.

    An example on the federal level would be this. If slashing wages will save $10 million then that $10 million can instead be saved by scrapping the ten percenters MPs are sending out. In this particular scenario it would force these bastards to make a choice between wages or propaganda.

    With enough of a concerted effort I think we might be able to turn the tables on their union busting efforts.

  2. Sounds like a great idea.

  3. I strongly support breaking public sector unions, in times of recession or in times of prosperity.

    They organize to shake down not profit-seeking entities, i.e., private firms, but the general polity.

    As for the private firms using threats of closings to drive down wages, if I were a union boss, I'd take a look at the balance sheets and consider whether to call their bluffs, from time to time. Sometimes, they really _are_ going under. Other times, they're crying, the same way they do to squeeze money out of the government.

    (Which we should never provide -- never again! If it's "too big to fail", it's too big to be allowed to exist. (Though our preferred solutions would differ -- I'd let them fail.))

  4. I strongly support breaking public sector unions, in times of recession or in times of prosperity.

    No surprise there. ;)

  5. Well, I just want to put myself on record, every so often...