Union to Management:

“Nice little company you have here.  Be too bad if something was to happen to it.”

That’s what the railroad union EVG said to Germany’s major railroad company, Deutsche Bahn, last Monday as it took its workers off the line, shutting it down, during the rush hour period—a timing intended to inflict maximum damage to DB.  It’s not just the railroad this union extortion strike affected, either.

The strikes also caused major disruption on the roads. Germany’s most populous state, and one of the worst affected by the strike, North Rhine-Westphalia, saw a combined 450 kilometers (280 miles) of tailbacks [backed up traffic from traffic jams], according to regional broadcaster WDR.

Second Thoughts?

The New York City city council has decided to hold a series of hearings on the just concluded Amazon HQ2 deal cut with the city.  The council’s beef is the secretive nature of the negotiations between amazon.com and the folks purporting to represent the city.

Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Economic Development Corp President James Patchett, and Amazon executives have been invited to the hearings, which will take place during the next few months, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s office said Thursday.

There’s nothing wrong with the negotiations themselves being done behind closed doors; that’s the only place “frank and open” discussions can occur.

A Thought on Amazon’s Choices

Amazon.com has made its selection (-s, plural as it turns out) for its alternate corporate headquarters: Arlington County, VA’s Crystal City and New York’s Long Island City, with a booby consolation prize—or a scrap bone—tossed to Nashville, TN.

I have a couple of thoughts about this.

San Antonio, in Texas, had misgivings and declined to play Amazon’s game.

“Blindly giving away the farm isn’t our style,” wrote San Antonio officials in an open letter to Mr Bezos.

Others openly groveled and kissed the ground on which Amazon officials walked when those worthies deigned visit.

The Wages of a Minimum Wage Law

Recall Seattle’s 2015-2016 minimum wage law that mandated a rise in minimum wage from $9.47/hr to $12 for small businesses and $13 for large businesses.  The University of Washington early on published a study that demonstrated a drop in hours worked by low-wage workers of some 9% with a resulting decrease in actual income for those low-wage earners—ones least able to afford the cut—of some $74/mo.

New, updated numbers are in, reflecting in particular tracks folks with jobs at the time the mandated minimum wage went up.

The Dangers of Welfare

These are illustrated by a Letter to the Editor in Friday’s Wall Street Journal.  The letter-writer wrote of a pay raise his company gave its employees and a bit of Panic of 2008 history:

Despite high unemployment rates [during the Panic], we still struggled to find well-qualified employees. We were competing against the federal government’s repeatedly extended subsidy for unemployment programs. We interviewed dozens of people who flatly told us they were only interviewing to obtain another log entry to remain qualified for unemployment benefits, and that they didn’t need to work for us when they could get paid almost the same to not work at all—for 52 weeks or more.

College?

I’ve written before about whether college is for everyone.

Some empirical evidence appears in a Wall Street Journal piece about last week’s unemployment number.

Peerfit Inc is growing, adding 80 staffers to its original 20 in just the last year and increasing their wages 5%-10% in the same period.  CEO Ed Buckley has noted the difficulty in finding “good people.”  Then he added this kicker:

When we first started, everyone we were hiring had a four-year college degree.  Now the skill set [of vocational hires] is sometimes even sharper than their counterparts coming out with a four-year college degree.

Ignorant Voters

Recall the erstwhile tax on job creation that the Seattle city government passed a while back, and then repealed.  The tax would have charged businesses making more than $20 million in annual revenue a per employee tax of $275.  Although, in response to business and public outcry, the city repealed the tax a couple months later, the commentary of the tax’s chief supporter is illuminating.  Seattle City Councilwoman Lorena González, the lead proponent of the jobs tax:

Jobs

French President Emmanuel Macron had the effrontery to say to a heretofore unsuccessful job seeker that, were the latter not absolutely set on a job in his chosen career field, the man easily could find work in France.  And the man wouldn’t even have to relocate very far.  The Left is in an uproar over Macron’s arrogance in saying an obvious truth.

The jobseeker, an aspiring gardener, said to Macron at an Elysee Palace open house,

I’m 25 years old, I send resumes and cover letters, they don’t lead to anything[.]

Macron’s terrible advice?

He Didn’t Build That

Our economy had the awe-uninspiring growth rate of 2% per year during ex-President Barack Obama’s (D) time in office.  Now, the Census Bureau has reported that

  • [r]eal median household incomes rose 1.8% to $61,372 between 2016 and 2017
  • the overall poverty rate dropped 0.4 per centage points to 12.3%
  • poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics fell to 21.2% and 18.3%, respectively, the lowest in more than 45 years
  • the share of people earning less than $15,000 declining 0.3 per centage points

Obama didn’t build that.  Those folks also think they’ve reached the point where they’ve made enough money.

Government Diktat

California style.  That state has passed a law.

The law requires a company to appoint one woman to its board of directors by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 a five-member board would need to have two women, while boards with six or more directors would need three. The Legislature, always alert to possible micro-aggressions, defines female as “an individual who self-identifies her gender as a woman, without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”

(One wonders whether the law would be satisfied by a male Board member self-identifying as a woman for the purpose of Board-related activities.  [/snark])