Third Party & Independents Archives

What Do Light Bulbs And Yaks Have In Common?

From a Washington Post article I read where GE is unable to compete with the cheap labor markets of the world in manufacturing the newer energy saving compact fluorescents (CFLs). The last major GE factory making incandescent light bulbs in the US is closing this month. This product and GE can be traced back to Thomas Alva Edison’s innovations in the 1870s. In 2007 the US government established lighting energy levels that will effectively ban incandescent lighting by 2014.

Managers will be transferred to other GE facilities but the remaining 200 workers at the plant will lose their jobs. Most of the workers are in the 40s and 50s with little prospects of finding a job and no prospects finding a job paying near their current wages.

An incandescent converts about 10 percent of the electricity used into light. A typical CFL uses 75 percent less energy for the same amont of light. In the 1970s a GE engineer, Ed Hammer, and others figured out how to take advantage of fluorescent lightings low energy as compared to an incandescent light. Fluorescent bulbs are most efficient when constructed in long tubular form. By enlisting the talents of several glass blowers he was able to produce a CFL by working the glass into a spiral, giving it the length needed and the small size that would work as a replacement for the incandescent. However, the idea was shelved as the production cost for a CFL was too high.

Last month President Obama stated that the commitment to ‘Green’ would create 800,000 new jobs by 2012. Strong words for a country that has lost 40% of its manufacturing jobs to globalization. Cheap labor wins big in the production of CFLs. Ellis Yan, a Chinese immigrant to the US, started a lighting company in China and 14,000 to get CFLs off the ground. The process has been somewhat automated and Yan will cut the number of employees down to 5,000 by year’s end. An estimated cost to build a US production facility was estimated to be $40M and CFLs produced by that plant would cost about 50 percent more over CFLs produced in China.

Yan says he would like to put up a plant in the US if he can secure $12.5M in government funds. How he could compete with his China facilities I don’t know. I would suspect through taxpayer subsidy and the use of temporary worker visas would be a major part of his plan.

It’s clear the US can’t be competitive in every job market. Perhaps downstream when the manufacturing process becomes highly automated the US may be able to become a player in producing CFLs. Doubtful that 99 weeks of unemployment will cover that time span. Then there’s the wage thing too - - -

Another Wash Post article relates that China is stirring resentment as its global influence grows. This spring, after an angry mob in Kyrgyzstan toppled the President, they turned on a Chinese shopping center-mall, looting and smashing and burning everything in sight. Much of the resentment comes from the fact that China tends to bring Chinese workers in large numbers on any project the undertaken between the two countries.

In China the Dalai Lama is officially a dangerous separatist and a criminal. His supporters are forbidden from discussing him or even displaying his picture. The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet, lives in exile imposed by China. After a group of monks called for the preservation of Tibetan language and culture a monk was beaten and tortured and made to denounce the Dali Lama. China has established ‘Management Committees’ to ensure that the senior monks toe the correct political line.

It seems that China, having become the darling of the WTO and globalization, is being given free rein to develop and loot the resources of Tibet. Another ‘too big to fail’ entity as China holds the lion’s share of world debt. Certainly, this administration is cowtowing to China on the Tibetan issue. The silence is deafening. Still, China is finding that being a global superpower comes with a different set of problems.

Posted by Roy Ellis at September 9, 2010 7:06 PM
Comment #308192

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Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 9, 2010 7:17 PM
Comment #308193

Why cheap and exploited labor may be a 20th century thing, I do believe a thrid political party could make the argument such a move cuts the profits of all businesses and is the base cause for most civil unrest.

In fact, if you listen to the debates of today’s pundits talking about why we need cheap labor and compare it to some of the debates in the mid-1800’s I do believe you’ll discover some fun facts.

Now, fast forward to the Late 1800’s and Early 1900’s (Labor Movement) and can you see what will happen if Americas’ Democratic and Republicam Civil, Political, and Religious Leaders keep the Statue Quo of the 20th Century.

Hopefully, the Children of the 70’s and 21st Cebtury are smart enough to get over the ideas which held the Youth of the 60’s and Silver Spoons of the 70’s from building the nest world they could some 30 years ago.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 9, 2010 7:52 PM
Comment #308200

Frankly, I prefer old light bulbs. The efficiencies are negligible in my house, as they are in most houses.

I was rewiring my garage recently to accommodate a generator and accidentally ran 220 volt current through the 110 volt fluorescent lighting circuits. Sparks flew. All of my fluorescent fixtures were burned out. The good old incandescent bulbs still work like a champ. I’m not going to replace the fluorescent fixtures.

Posted by: gergle at September 9, 2010 11:03 PM
Comment #308210

I have to ask because the question is almost always poised as a labor cost. Is it really labor or what if the top 30 heads of any given company made say 10 to 20 times the wage of the average worker not the 400 to 500 times it is now. I think that could help make us more competitive.

Posted by: Jeff at September 10, 2010 8:34 AM
Comment #308214

I’ve got a few questions: what if government employees were paid salaries and bennefits packages equal to private sector jobs, what if democrat politicians were required to pay their taxes or actually go to prison, what if public school teachers were required to do thier jobs or be fired, what if college professors and administrators were not overpaid and as a result brought college prices down, what if democrat politicians had to pay for their social programs out of their own pockets instead of the taxpayer’s, and last bit not least - what if government did their job and got out of our lives?

Posted by: Beretta9 at September 10, 2010 9:13 AM
Comment #308215

Since we are talking about “Green” light bulbs; I have another question that pertains to the subject. What are the results of improperly disposing of the new fluorescent bulbs and what are the consequences of not doing so?

Posted by: Beretta9 at September 10, 2010 9:18 AM
Comment #308216

Just more rambling B.S.

Posted by: Jeff at September 10, 2010 9:19 AM
Comment #308218

From Ian Fletcher’s “Free Trade Doesn’t Work” the United Nations Development Programme has estimated that the income gap between the top fifth of the world’s nations and the bottom fifth was 3:1 in 1820, 7:1 in 1870, 11:1 in 1913, 30:1 in 1960, and 74:1 in 1997. Must be something close to 100:1 now.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 10, 2010 9:34 AM
Comment #308220

I almost want to ask how you managrd to hook up 220 to 110, but seeing the mistake is about as easy as hooking up a 12volt battery to a 6 volt system I wonder if your power tools worked any better?

Although I doubt if you could get more than handful of Management to give up their pay in order to keep a company profitable. Seeing that the New Poor is now the Upper Middle Class care to make a wager on how long it will be before they start losing their standard of living due to greed from above?

What if elephants were pink? Yes, still the world most powerful word I think it is a shame that conservatives would rather say no than to challenge Americas’ Democratic Civil, Political, and Religious Leaders to a good old fashion debate of “What If.”

As far as the light bulbs, their gas is dangerous if not deadly to inhale and considering the White Light Diodes put all current lighting to shame even though it requires less electricity and resources. Care to venture if today’s light bulbs will make their way to the crushing zone just as Americas’ Muscle Cars did some 30 years ago?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 10, 2010 9:49 AM
Comment #308222


“I have to ask because the question is almost always poised as a labor cost. Is it really labor or what if the top 30 heads of any given company made say 10 to 20 times the wage of the average worker not the 400 to 500 times it is now. I think that could help make us more competitive.”

Then you must also consider this rambling B.S. too?

Posted by: Beretta9 at September 10, 2010 10:36 AM
Comment #308225

B9, I’ll bite:

what if government employees were paid salaries and bennefits packages equal to private sector jobs
Overnment Employees are not paid more if you take away disparities in education and experience. Another relevant fact:The number of federal employees is the same today as it was in 1963.
what if democrat politicians were required to pay their taxes or actually go to prison
I hope you actually meant GOP politicians as well, in that case I agree.
what if public school teachers were required to do their jobs or be fired, what if college professors and administrators were not overpaid and as a result brought college prices down,
I agree with your sentiments here.
what if democrat politicians had to pay for their social programs out of their own pockets instead of the taxpayer’s
what if democraticRepublican politicians had to pay for their socialmilitary programs out of their own pockets instead of the taxpayer’s. Providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare are listed side-by-side in the Constitution’s outline of the role for government. The decision as to how much to fund one or the other is a purely political decision to be determined by elections.

Since we are talking about “Green” light bulbs; I have another question that pertains to the subject. What are the results of improperly disposing of the new fluorescent bulbs and what are the consequences of not doing so?

CFL bulbs usually contain about 5 mg of Hg. Improper disposal may result in inhalation/ingestion of Hg fumes or Hg itself. Nevertheless, I am sure you are familiar with the old Hg thermometers. These posed the same risks as the CFL bulbs do; actually they posed more of a risk of Hg poisoning because they usually contained 500 mg of Hg. For more info look here.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 10, 2010 12:19 PM
Comment #308226

Are you saying that the cost of management shouldn’t be cut in order to keep America competitive?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 10, 2010 12:20 PM
Comment #308233

Beretta9, what if the CEOs of the mega corporations were paid a salary equivalent to that of the President of the U.S.?

Posted by: jlw at September 10, 2010 3:02 PM
Comment #308235


I think it’s called stupidity. I wired the 220 side of my 5000 watt generator into the main breaker, forgetting that the 220/110 is phased from the power company. So 220 was fed through both the 110 and 220 side of the breaker box. I felt like a really big idiot. Didn’t seem to damage anything else except the flourescents. Needless to say, I disconnected it quickly.

Posted by: gergle at September 10, 2010 3:41 PM
Comment #308236

Roy, new and improved doesn’t necessarily mean safer.

All is not rosy in China. The Chinese government wants to create a huge consumer base. The Chinese are under attack from The American Dream TV advertising; they like what they are seeing and they want it all. But, the majority can’t afford the lifestyle. Product inflation is rising rapidly. Wage demands are rising rapidly. Wage inflation will have to exceed price inflation if the Chinese government is to achieve its goal of creating a huge consumer base.

Beretta9, perhaps conservatives should be taxed to pay for the military and foreign policy, the liberals can pay the social program taxes and the wealthy can pay for the infrastructure, research and administrative costs.

Conservatives would then be calling for isolationism, a nuclear preemptive defence policy, the elimination of foreign aid and national health care.

Posted by: jlw at September 10, 2010 3:44 PM
Comment #308237

jlw, does that include ALL the perks of the president?

HS: yes, let the free market control their salaries.

Posted by: Beretta9 at September 10, 2010 3:45 PM
Comment #308240

IMO, good ole fashioned competition is the best, easiest, most facil, doable, way to dampen runaway pay scales. Use anti=trust law to bust up the monopolies/conglomerates which will create more managers, more workers and way more competition. Human nature to monopolize where possible. Then comes shutting the lil guys out of the market. Next is shut down R&D and do things like taking a developed product, make a microscopic change and market as a new patented product, etc. Innovation dies with monopolies while the corporate payscale increases.

Anti-trust died with the Regan admin during the era of ‘greed is good’. I agree, for the corporates greed has been very very good. For the rest of us we are looking at $6% of federal debt in US TAX dollars.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 10, 2010 4:27 PM
Comment #308241

Roy, one could make a logical argument that over the last century, the single greatest contributor to inflation, static unemployment, and poverty has been the dramatic accumulation of wealth into ever fewer hands. Not to mention the high costs of fighting economic recessions, often caused by those managing that accumulated wealth, but shouldered by the non-wealthy. This is what makes Obama’s follow through on the bailouts such a radical change, given the repayment of those bailouts by the big banks and auto companies. American workers will not have shouldered the cost of those bailouts. Not directly, anyway.

If, of course, the repaid funds are used to expand government spending, then of course, the workers will still shoulder the burden of the bailouts. On the other hand, if as is proposed by Obama, the government does follow the Commission on Debt and Deficit reduction recommendations, and the Bush tax cuts for the non-wealthy are made permanent, while rescinding those for the wealthy, then truly, the non-wealthy workers in America will not have shouldered the burden of at least a large part of the cost of recovering from this last Great Recession - which will constitute a dramatic change from the past.

One of the consequences of the accumulation of so much wealth into so few hands, are the myriad hidden use taxes that have been implemented since the Reagan era as offsets of revenues not acquired from the wealthy. From national park fees to all manner of government service fees, to federal taxes on goods and services, hidden in the prices of items like energy products and transportation services, the non-wealthy have compensating increasingly for tax relief for the wealthy.

Through the 1970’s, capital formation aided the growth of the middle class and lifted quality of life, even to some extent, for the poor. However, beginning in the 1980’s, increasing untaxed accumulating private wealth has not been
circulating through the U.S. economy, but, instead, circulating through foreign economies in all manner of ways, culminating finally in the erosion of jobs and wages in the U.S., which you remarked upon.

Since the end of the 1980’s, our economic woes have not been caused by a lack of capital, but, increasingly less discretionary consumer spending by American consumers, to the point that the Clinton, Bush, and Obama era recessions have been primarily protracted and reiterated by diminished consumer spending. The loss of real wages over the decades amongst non-wealthy consumers has been so dramatic as to call and end to the consumer driven recovery from recessions.

Recovery from this last recession has been marked by record profitability and an abundance of capital for which there is no demand and little earning capacity (ultra-low interest rates). Which is another way of saying that there is so much wealth accumulated in so few hands, that no one knows what to do with it, anymore, as the economy and working people struggle, except to let that capital sit idly as cash reserves in wealthy accounts earning little to know interest in a very skeptical environment for returns on investments here, or in foreign markets of economic growth.

This enormous imbalance between diminished consumer spending power amongst maximum labor availability, and accumulated wealth in so few hands, is what is retarding recovery from economic slow downs, bubbles, and recessions.

The solution, as your comments suggest, is lowering the ratio of accumulated wealth amongst the wealthy and the middle class consumer classes, especially among the lower and mid range middle classes. This is true of westernized economies overseas as well. This is precisely what Obama’s proposal to keep the Bush tax cuts for the middle classes while ending them for the wealthiest, will in part, accomplish ( IF deficits are reduced to zero commensurately over the next decade, and that is, of course, one helluva big IF. If Republicans win back control of the House, that cannot and will not happen.. The chances of it happening if Democrats remain in the majority is very small, given the filibuster rules of the Senate. ) Sorry, if I sound so pessimistic - but, political realities are what they are.

Unless voters take matters into their own hands through a growing anti-incumbent movement that insists on fiscal responsibility in exchange for their incumbent vote, our economic future is dim indeed.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 10, 2010 4:29 PM
Comment #308248


Very well presented analysis of the problems of growing wealth inequality and excessive accumuluations of wealth by a small minority on the general economy.

Posted by: Rich at September 10, 2010 6:34 PM
Comment #308249

Why you may wish to allow the free market to control salaries, you are about 30 years to late. For why minimum wages are set for jobs requiring college degrees, sports, and a host of other positions. They are/were established for secarl reasons. With one of them being the need to feed the Learning Institutions.

For look at the cost of a four year degree over the last 4 decades and you will see no subject has dexreased in cost. And than look at the pay level for the first year grad. Now, answer yourself why the two go hand in hand.

Yes, the free market can regulate the number of jobs needed over a certain time frane; however, why would student select a degree if their projected income would mean they cannot afford to pay for their education? One of the most recent subjects in America that fell into that froup was computor programers. Seems it is cheaper to educate and hire them over in India than in America.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 10, 2010 6:45 PM
Comment #308255

HS, when you say “WHY”, do you mean “WHILE”? You always say WHY and I’m assuming you mean WHILE. It is very confusing sometimes.

Let me tell you something Henry. I don’t care how much company CEO’s make, and I don’t care how much college costs. I don’t care how much money corporations make and I don’t care if they stay in this country or go to foreign countries. I might have cared at one time, but when Bill Clinton, a democrat, signed NAFTA, I stopped worrying about it. You see, democrats are the ones who say they are for the working man, and it turns out they are just like any other politician. I have a fairly new one ton Dodge truck, the parts were made in America and sent to Mexico to be assembled. Obama does all this talk about the republicans sending jobs overseas; well, it makes good political talking points, but the problem is that Obama took over GM and Chrysler. If obama is worried about where things are made, why are Dodge truck parts still sent to Mexico and assembled, and then sent back to America to be sold?

I have to agree with D.A.N. on this one, we have the clowns in office that we continue to re-elect. Henry, you have a lot to say about corporations, but it was big phama that backed obamacare. You ever thought, “what was in it for big pharma”? Aren’t they a big corporation?

Posted by: Beretta9 at September 10, 2010 11:40 PM
Comment #308256
What Do Light Bulbs And Yaks Have In Common?
Posted by Roy Ellis at 07:06 PM

What do Government and it’s Citizens have in common?

The first video is our government’s position. Watch this video first. It’s tedious, just watch it.

The second video is a citizen’s position. Watch this video!

Posted by: Weary Willie at September 11, 2010 12:10 AM
Comment #308258

Henry, this one is for you:

“New GM CEO’s pay package worth $9 million”

“DETROIT – New General Motors Co. CEO Daniel Akerson will get the same $9 million pay package as the man he replaced, Ed Whitacre.

Akerson, a former telecommunications industry and private equity executive, will receive $1.7 million in annual salary, $5.3 million in short-term stock payable over the next three years, and another $2 million in stock that’s part of the company’s long-term executive compensation plan.

The automaker, which is 60.8 percent owned by the U.S. government, disclosed the pay package in a filing on Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is identical to what the company disclosed for Whitacre in February.”

$9 mill from obama motors, you agree with this?

Posted by: Beretta9 at September 11, 2010 12:31 AM
Comment #308281

Although the myth is the Democrats are for the “Working Man” they are limited to Big Business Unions (Labor). So why President Clinton signed NAFTA, U do believe it was a Republican Congress who wrote the bill.

Now as far as the GN CEO pay, If you are asking of I think the person deserves $9 million under contract the answer id no. And here are some reasons why.

1) This person cannot by themselves produce the vehciles required to generate the $27 million in sales.

2) Offer him more money in short term stocks rather than long term stocks lends itself to cooking the books not increasing sales and services.

3) Probably the most important reason is he has no experience or education in the automotive industry. Sure he can probably use profits in equity trading to keep the company a float; however, let us see him break new automotive history by delivering the 21st Century fleet of Government and Society Vehicles.

Than maybe I would say he earned the $9 million dollars, but bottom line IMHO his pay should be that which equals a level one factory worker.

Now, can we agree with the fact no experience should result in lesser pay?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 11, 2010 12:44 PM
Comment #308282

The last six President’s have stood up for free trade. Abysmal failure. Anti-trust would work well to control the upper pay scales, increase competition and innovation. But, the Corpocracy/free traders don’t like anti-trust, and they sure aren’t going to complain about their pay scale.

We need to change our trade policy, currently an ‘old mens club’ (WTO), and abolish corporate personhod law lest we perish in fairly quickly from this point. 3rd party and all that - - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 11, 2010 12:50 PM
Comment #308284

Henry, I agree that CEO’s don’t really deserve the pay and bonuses they get, but the working man has no control over it, so why dwell on it? I worked for CSX and when John Snow became treas. sec. he took, I believe, a 72 mill seperation package. When he gave up his gov job, he sued CSX for anothr 13 mil, saying his package wasn’t enough. I don’t know the results of the suit.

So, you’re against the 9 mil to GM CEO; could or should obama have stopped it?

I agree, it is a myth that dems are for the working man, and yes they are for the unions, because the unions gives them finacial support and provides a platform to preach from. A lot of union workers do not support the dems, but they are forced to watch their union dues go to democrats. I have always considered unions a necessary evil, but they are fast becoming just an evil.

Posted by: Beretta9 at September 11, 2010 1:19 PM
Comment #308285

State and Fed employee’s unions are killing the economy; especially states with their early retirements and benefit packages. France is in the process of raising he retirement age to 62 as a result of their retirement packages and the economy.

Posted by: Beretta9 at September 11, 2010 1:27 PM
Comment #308296

Although workers could go on strike as they did at the turn of the last century, people like David Remer are going to have to explain how Americas’ Consumers and Stockholders can get the CEO’s pays and benefits under control. For why I don’t believe we need to repeat history, I do believe with the right twist of the corporate arm even Mr. Snow could come to see the light.

Now, as far as the GM CEO. Yes, as legal representative of the majority stockholders President Obama could use certain laws and legal procedures to limit the pay of the CEO; however, given the slack he recieved with AIG I doubt this close to the election he wants to get involved in the Status Quo.

And why State and Federal retirement and benefit packages seem to be the problem, if you look under the hood, it is the consent underfunding of them which has made the mess.

BYW, it was IMHO the Thinking of the Elders of the 70’s which would allow lower and middle management and senior labor to come together in order to work out their differences. Instead today it seems we have level one labor and top management crying on how the world is so unfair to them.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 11, 2010 5:04 PM
Comment #308301

“…and top management crying on how the world is so unfair to them.”

Well said! Since the early 80s, top management compensation has skyrocketed while labor compensation has stagnated. On top of that, their tax liablility has decreased. Wealth inequality increases to a level not seen since the late 20s and, yet, it is they that are being treated unfairly.

Posted by: Rich at September 11, 2010 6:38 PM
Comment #308304

Right Rich, since the 80’s. Wasn’t that when Free Trade, Regan, and greed is good came into being?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 11, 2010 7:24 PM
Comment #308308

“US poverty on track to post record gain in 2009”

“By HOPE YEN and LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writers Hope Yen And Liz Sidoti, Associated Press Writers – Sat Sep 11, 2:13 pm ET

WASHINGTON – The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama’s watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.

Census figures for 2009 — the recession-ravaged first year of the Democrat’s presidency — are to be released in the coming week, and demographers expect grim findings.
It’s unfortunate timing for Obama and his party just seven weeks before important elections when control of Congress is at stake. The anticipated poverty rate increase — from 13.2 percent to about 15 percent — would be another blow to Democrats struggling to persuade voters to keep them in power.

“The most important anti-poverty effort is growing the economy and making sure there are enough jobs out there,” Obama said Friday at a White House news conference. He stressed his commitment to helping the poor achieve middle-class status and said, “If we can grow the economy faster and create more jobs, then everybody is swept up into that virtuous cycle.”

I don’t guess the hopey/changy thing is working. How do you get the people off poverty with a welfare check?

Posted by: Neocon at September 11, 2010 10:00 PM
Comment #308318

Seeing it was republican policies that created higher numbers in welfare and they have done nothing to promote high paying skilled jobs over the next 10 years than maybe President Obama and the Democratic party might want to introduce a new Workfate Program starting with pentilizing Big Business who pay their employees below a Livable Wage.

For why the case can be made that the Stock Holders suffer the most when a Corporation pays their employees below a Livable Wage. One could also force the leap of faith which would show how the Corporation can make large profits and still cause their Stock Holders not to be able to make money.

Take for example Corporation A making $20 million dollars a year in profits selling $1,000.00 products(a good thing correct?); yet, they pay the Stock Holders only $500.00/yr in dividends and their employees below the proverty line. So who is buyimg their products? And given the long term outlook how can Corporation A stay in business.

Now, why I do not expect or give creedence to the idea even Americas’ Government should force Corporation A to pay a livable wage. Looking at the Big Picture, I would expect The Corporation (Washington) to make it illegal for Corporation A to swindle not only their Stock Holders, but the Stock Holders of other corporations who understand why every employee is worth the price of a Livable Wage.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 12, 2010 9:36 AM
Comment #308339

Beretta9, the legislation authorizing a bailout of the auto industry which you say turned General Motors into Obama Motors was signed by Bush Jr.

Here is a list of the American entities that are now owned by the federal government due to bailouts, the presidents involved, and the cost of those bailouts.

Penn Central Railroad—Nixon—$3.2 billion.

Lockheed—Nixon—$1.4 billion.

Franklin National Bank—Nixon—$7.8 billion.

New York City—Ford—$9.4 Billion.

Chrysler—Carter—$4 billion.

Continental Illinois N. Bank & Trust—Reagan—$9.5 billion.

Savings & Loans—Bush Sr.—$293.3 billion.

Airline Industry—Bush Jr.—$18.6 billion.

Bear Stearns—Bush Jr.—$30 billion.

Fannie & Freddie—Bush Jr.—$400 billion.

AIG—four times—Clinton/Bush Jr.—$180 billion.

Citi Group—Bush Jr.—$280 billion.

B of A—Bush Jr./Obama—$142.2 billion.

Auto Industry—Bush Jr./Obama—$25 billion.

T.A.R.P.—Bush Jr./Obama—$700 billion.

I agree with you that the Democratic politicians were paid well to abandoned the workers in favor of free market capitalism and that the liberals still support those politicians. IMO, the unions still support the Democrats because they now represent the least of two evils, they need them for protection because their members are indebted and much more reluctant to strike and many of their members have become turncoats, supporting Republicans whose philosophy is death to unions. Approximately 12% of the U.S. workforce are union members, meaning that 88% are not. Listening to Republican rhetoric about the power of unions, one would think that the exact opposite is true.

With the election of Reagan and the onset of the conservative/liberal alliance in Congress, wages of workers became stagnated, and corporate earnings soared. Rather than increasing wages so that workers could afford their products, corporations loaned their new wealth to workers at hefty interest rates. The results are now obvious, massive consumer and government debt and an intractable recession.

The two camps, the unregulated free marketeers vs the regulated economy promoters. The latter claims that we can re regulate and all will be fine. I disagree. Corporations were always searching for ways around regulation and often finding them. For the most part, boards of directors of corporations are anti regulation and they now have the wealth to weaken and loophole any attempts at re regulating the markets; the recent legislation is a reminder of this.

Of course, the solution is a radical one. It is called employee ownership of corporations in which management becomes rank and file employees and boards of directors are eliminated, replaced by the workers. The primary thing workers need to account for is the quality of their product in the eyes of the consumers. If they are productive, investors will take notice.

This is happening in places like Silicon Valley, where employees are leaving corporations to set up small companies in garages etc., that are ran by the above model. Imagine that, there are Republican commies in Silicon Valley and Wall Street likes them.

Posted by: jlw at September 12, 2010 1:51 PM
Comment #308354

Warped wrote, in respnse to B9…”B9, I’ll bite: what if government employees were paid salaries and bennefits packages equal to private sector jobs.” He then gave us a couple of links.

Here’s a snippet from an article in USA Today.

“That’s because federal workers are much better off than private-sector workers in all the major markers of job satisfaction — salary, job security, benefits and job desirability. And it’s costing taxpayers a bundle.

Start with the money. The average federal employee earns an annual salary almost 60% higher than the average private-sector employee — $79,000 vs. $50,000. Federal employees do have more education (on average) than private-sector workers. Their unions argue that this justifies their higher pay. But it doesn’t. Even after controlling for education and experience, federal employees get paid significantly better — 22% more per hour, on average — than private-sector workers.”

“Once you add up benefits, the gap in total compensation rises even higher — 30% to 40% above comparable private-sector workers.

Federal civil servants enjoy another perk: near-absolute job security. Private businesses cut hiring and increase layoffs when sales drops. From 2007 through 2009, the adult unemployment rate in the private sector more than doubled, from 4.2% to 9.4%. Not in government. The percentage of federal employees who lost jobs barely budged, going from 2.0% to 2.9%.

This is largely because of civil service rules. It’s virtually impossible to fire federal employees for bad performance once they’ve passed a one-year probationary period.

Not surprisingly, federal employees rarely quit. In good economic times, they voluntarily leave at roughly a third the private-sector rate. And that disparity has only grown since the recession began.

Why should taxpayers care? Because it’s costing them money. If Congress were to set up a payment system like the private sector’s, it would save about $47 billion ($47,000 million) a year. That’s serious money.

Lawmakers can take other steps: reducing benefits, contracting more non-essential tasks to private-sector companies, and making it easier to dismiss underperforming employees.

“Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for,” Will Rogers once said. Indeed. With a little effort, we could even pay less for the government we have.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 12, 2010 5:26 PM
Comment #308355

I have a couple small flashlights that use three 3A batteries and six LED bulbs. It throws more light than any bulb I have in the house. I wonder when this technology will be used in our homes.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 12, 2010 5:52 PM
Comment #308357

Royal Flush, the LED’s I’ve seen are fairly directional. Could an LED be mfctr’d to light up a larger area? Dunno.
Also, can’t be so bright as to be blinding. Seems that wouldn’t be too difficult.

I agree on federal wages. Differing in that it stops around $200k or something like that while the sky is the limit for private pay.

I can’t get a bite on ‘the way to control wages in through anti-trust. Break up the monopolies and the too big to fail and in doing so you will create competition, innovation and way more jobs for mgrs and workers’.

Best done through a 3rd party with a different political attitude, etc.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 12, 2010 6:59 PM
Comment #308377

Damn guberment employees making all that money.

Posted by: Jeff at September 13, 2010 9:40 AM
Comment #308422

Has anyone every thought that the need for government employees to be paid more is due to the fact their taxes pay for their full wages at least two times a year? Something that the private sector does not have to deal with and would probably lead to their employees demanding more pay.

In fact, I would like to see what would happen if the CEO of a Privte Corporation had to pay their wages and bonuses twice a year out of their pockets. For imagine if one had an annual income of $12 million, but had to pay their corporation $2 milion a year just so they could stay employeed. Now, what about the Private hourly wage earner having to do the same. Great for the borrom line; however, I doubt if an American Worker would go for it at today’s wages.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 14, 2010 8:21 AM
Comment #308427

Neocon uneducatedly stated: “The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama’s watch,”

That poverty rate began rising during the Bush administration and got catpulted by the Great Recession which began under Republican governance. The GOP gift to Obama and Americans was a wrecked economy, and dysfunctional government, and every bad policy imaginable from Iraq to the BP oil Spill to the Katrina response to tax cuts expanding the canyon between the wealthy and non-wealthy in this country for generations to come. National debt doubled under GOP, which is a burden passed on to future generations to pay for. Quite a gift. The American people however, are not very appreciative, are they? They still don’t believe the GOP is the right party to lead this country, for all the above sound historical reasons.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 14, 2010 8:46 AM
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