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Noted with Interest, March 2011

Mar 28, 2011

The Collapse of Globalization
by Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, Mar 27, 2011. Accessed Mar 28, 2011.

Losing Our Way
by Bob Herbert, who is leaving the Times (this is his last column). First Frank Rich, then Bob Herbert. How soon before the last two decently liberal voices, Kristof and Krugman, are gone? From The New York Times, Mar 25, 2011. Accessed Mar 28, 2011.

This Time We’re Taking the Whole Planet with Us
by Chris Hedges. From Truthdig.com, Mar 7, 2011. Accessed Mar 8, 2011.

Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software
By John Markoff. Who needs globalization? The non-managerial middle class can be replaced by an Intel chip. From the New York Times, Mar 4, 2011. Accessed Mar 8, 2011.

Degrees and Dollars
By Paul Krugman. Krugman’s take on the previous item. From the New York Times, Mar 6, 2011. Accessed Mar 8, 2011.

2011 Annual Letter from Bill Gates
By Bill Gates, undated. Well worth a read. From the Gates Foundation. Accessed Mar 8, 2011.

Unintended but Sound Advice
By Bob Herbert. We hang together, or we hang separately. Which do you think is happening today? From The New York Times, Feb 28, 2011. Accessed Mar 1, 2011.

tags: Noted with Interest

Death by a Thousand Cuts

Mar 10, 2011
The anti-labor activities in Ohio and Wisconsin in recent days are the tip of the iceberg—the tip that the mainstream media has seen fit to cover. Here are some dramatic numbers which are a harbinger of perilous times to come:1

  • Twenty-three percent of the jobs lost during the recession were low-wage jobs, while 49 percent of the jobs gained in the last “recovery” year were.
  • Forty percent of the jobs lost in the recession were high-wage jobs; and an even less favorable number gained in the last year were—only 14 percent.
  • One in five who are working part time want full-time work.
  • Six percent of the significant productivity gains seen in the last 18 months were shared with workers. In past recoveries, that figure has averaged 58 percent.
Worker participation in unions in the private sector has dropped from over 35 percent at its peak in the 1950s (even that but a modest one in three) to 6.9 percent today—essentially no one. Although there are many more workers in the private sector, there are more public sector workers who are unionized—at least for now.2 Shameful legislation in Wisconsin and Ohio have established the momentum to whittle away at public sector union representation.

But then, what is a union today? The Transportation Security Administration workers (the ones who pat you down at airports) recently gained the right to vote for union representation and will be doing so through April 19. The union representation they are voting for, however, will not allow them to strike, engage in slowdown activities, or bargain for wages.3 This is a union?

This is death by a thousand cuts. The radical right—I would not grace them with the name of Republicans and besmirch the party of Lincoln, TR, Eisenhower, and even the felon Nixon, who had more decency than they have—the radical right are on the ascendant everywhere, including the White House.

And we put them there. The fault lies squarely with the American electorate, with you and me.

And that is the source from which our redemption will come. We, the people, will reclaim our nation’s pre-eminent place among history’s grandest experiments, or, along with the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome, we will fade into the back pages of history. Knowing the world as I know it today, I don’t want it to be denied America’s example, the America I know we have in us, the America I have lived, and hope to live again.4
1 Jobs returningóbut good ones not so much, by Zachary Roth, from Yahoo! News, Mar 9, 2011.
2 Union Membership in U.S. Fell to a 70-Year Low Last Year, by Steven Greenhouse, from the NYTimes, Jan 21, 2011.
3 Screeners Under Obama May Give Federal Unions Biggest Vote Win in Years, by John Hughes, from Bloomberg.com, Mar 9, 2011.
4 Are America’s Best Days Behind Us?, by Fareed Zakaria, from Time Magazine, Mar 3, 2011.
tags: Economics | Labor | Governance

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