Details of a plan reached last week appear to show [Illinois] state legislative leaders are attempting to solve Illinois’ $100 billion pension crisis in part by changing workers’ retirement age, reducing automatic pension increases, and limiting their collective-bargaining privileges.
Public union leadership disagrees with this, though, and they’re turning on that Democratic Party leadership. These union leaders consider carefully selected and targeted Democrats to be “persuadable,” and these unionists are going to do some “persuading.”
Never mind that the plan will save roughly $160 billion over 30 years, according to Governor Pat Quinn (D) and the leaders of the Democrat-controlled State Assembly.
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 1028, which represents 1,300 employees of the Will County, IL, government, has taken its members out on strike.
The county offered to pay 90% of their health insurance costs along with a 14.5% pay increase. This isn’t enough, though. Anders Lindall, spokesman for AFSCME, objected: the pay raise is too little, and the 10% the union employees must pay for their health insurance is “double their current premiums.”
It’s “not fair.”
Cry me a river.
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The jobs and GDP reports last week had a couple of interesting tidbits in it, aside from reflecting the continued anemic, below trend recovery in which our economy is mired, courtesy of this administration’s policies. These reports covered October and the third quarter, respectively. Now, what momentous things happened that month? Yes, yes, the ObamaMart rollout, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. The Democrats’ shutdown of the Federal government happened that month. Also, the sequester cap on Federal spending continued that month. Here are some of those tidbits:
- BLM said private employers added 212,000 jobs on the month
Investor’s Business Daily‘s online site compiled, as recently as mid-October, a list of companies that are…adjusting…hours and employment policies in response to Obamacare. Where IBD was able to discern the number of jobs affected for an individual company, they included that datum in their list. IBD also updates the list at regular intervals.
The short version of their work is that, as of mid-October, 352 companies had been pushed into Obamacare-caused jobs-related action, and those actions impacted over 19,000 jobs.
As the recent government shutdown demonstrated, there’s a lot of fat that can be cut in the personnel department. This is no fault of the personnel, but the fact is, we don’t need that many in Federal employ.
Here are a couple more items on that score.
The Department of Agriculture is fairly typical of most agencies in its sometimes incongruous responsibilities and huge some say too huge workforce. It employs roughly 99,000 people to service the roughly 1.4 million Americans employed in farming.
That’s 14 farmers for every DA employee.
It has been claimed—Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) is the most famous proponent of the theory—that unemployment payments to the unemployed are inherently stimulative: the recipients promptly spend the money. The stimulus is assumed to come from what’s called the velocity of money.
The velocity of money is a concept in economics that looks at how many times a dollar gets turned over in a local economy: a man buys groceries and pays rent, the grocer pays his clerk, who buys…, and the landlord hires maintenance workers, who then spend on…. The velocity aspect comes from measures of how many times that dollar gets turned over before it disappears from—has been consumed by—the local economy.
Why do we even have food stamps and farm support? Here’s a brief, over-simplified history. During the Great Depression, with unemployment at historic levels and mom-and-pop farms failing at a high rate (not enough income from not enough sales of produce to an unemployed population), Franklin Roosevelt pushed through Congress a pair of bills that had negative impacts on the unemployed and on those farms (and that prolonged the Depression, but that’s for a different post).
Purdue University President Mitch Daniels (and ex-Governor of Indiana) had a thought on STEM graduates and gluts. He spoke about this at his keynote address to the National Academy of Engineering a week or so ago.
Engineers, unlike, for instance, lawyers or financial experts, frequently generate through their innovation new work for themselves and others. Somewhere in any potential “glut” will be new Watts and Edisons and Noyces who give birth to entire new industries that require the services of engineers and non-engineers alike.
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Mentalities: Engineering or Liberal Arts?
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There are conflicting reports concerning the impact of Obamacare on job creation. The President’s Council of Economic Advisors says, for instance, that since Obamacare’s enactment in 2010, 9 out of every 10 jobs created have been full time jobs—that is, by the Obamacare definition, jobs that required 30 or more hours of work each week. Other economists disagree and talk about stunted job creation due to Obamacare.
Who’s right? The answer depends on more than whom you ask; it hinges on the time period covered by the answer. CEA is right when the time frame runs from the end of March, 2010, when Obamacare formally became law.
Churn is a measure of job turnover of a particular type: workers leaving one job in favor of another (usually a better one and usually in another company), while other workers are hired to fill the just-created vacancy. The net result is the same level of employment as before, hence “churn” rather than “new hires.”
In the time before the Panic of 2008—2007, for example—churn was working to the tune of 3 million workers per month: 3 million workers would quit their present job and go to another job to work. Last July, that number was 2.3 million. The churn isn’t churning.