Thursday, October 01, 2015

They Zig, I Flog A Dead Horse And Pretend It's Zagging

I know all the trendy blogs will be covering the school shooting in Roseburg, OR today. I've been to Roseburg; I imagine everybody that's ever driven down I-5 has. It is a lovely little town, although the local Safeway did perpetrate a scam by selling us bags of apples that were confiscated about ten minutes later when we reached the California border. Amazing how porous the border is when agro giants are looking for employees and so impenetrable when they are blocking competition. Today on MarketPlace, though, they said that we've had a mass shooting more than once a day since the beginning of the year, so if it seems cool, I'll write about tomorrow's.

On their show today, they talked about something that hasn't happened for a generation; the United Auto Workers rejected a contract negotiated by their leadership. The reason; a two-tiered system of pay for old and new hires. And the reason this is a problem is because wherever a two-tiered system has been introduced, the higher tier doesn't remain the eventual pay grade for new hires, over time the lower pay becomes the default for everyone. I understand the argument in favor of these deals with the devil. If we don't accept this, then there won't be enough money, the company will close, all the jobs will go away. But since the 1970's, as companies have continued to cut worker's pay in real dollars, there has been a massive shift of wealth and power away from the middle class and towards the very richest in society.
In a free market, wages should rise and fall according to demand. But it's been a while since our markets were free. Among the things these nouveau robber barons have been buying is our government. And while the right rails against over regulation that strangles competition, the Kochs and their ilk (I love "ilk" because it sounds derogatory, but it's not) have been poisoning the air and water, and paying lower and lower wages. All while tax policy and regulations reward the winners for being clever and hard working enough to have been born rich. It's enough to make a guy grab a gun and go crazy, but that's been done to death.