To The Daily Sun,
Diana Lacey of Belmont, president of the state employees' association of NH/SEIU Union, Local 1984 waxes unhappily regarding the compensation of labor in America. I have a Labor Day wish as well. Visionary union leaders to replace the incompetents that have led labor over a cliff for the past 50 years.
Some thoughts and observations:
Samuel Gompers founded the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1886. Interestingly, he is buried within yards of one of the most successful business leaders of all time, Andrew Carnegie. Death silenced both men but that isn't much of a solution to the deep differences that still exist between labor and management. If only both sides would simply stop trying to harm each other, every person in America would benefit.
American industry thrives. Businesses are more profitable than ever, but unions have struggled for a half century. Employers in the early 1900s lacked the foresight to provide basic benefits and proper safety for labor, a stain that remains on business to this day. Unions deserve full credit for for righting that wrong. Despite those victories, unions are a dying breed, with good reason. Union membership peaked in 1979 at 21 million or 34 percent of the workforce. Today, membership is about 11.4 million or 11.3 percent of the workforce.
Why the unending slide of almost 50 percent? Answer: the average wage of a union worker in 2012, including benefits, was $53,552. That number is $12,000 more than non-unionized workers. Government union workers earned an average $81,637. Is it any wonder government employees like those at the IRS want only to EXPAND GOVERNMENT payrolls. Diana mentions selfish CEOS, lets talk about GREEDY, ARROGANT, government UNION employees always trying to stuff their pockets at tax payers expense. Their actions are just as egregious as anyone's.
This huge disparity of wages is not a sustainable model, as has been proven over past decades. Union jobs with high wages put EVERY UNION job at RISK to be eliminated FIRST by every business and business owner who now has to compete, not just locally and domestically but globally. Some union leaders FINALLY SEE IT. Richard Trumpka, president of the AFL-CIO said recently " to be blunt our basic system of workforce representation is FAILING to meet the needs of Americas workforce by every measure". In 1924, Gompers gave his most memorable speech saying "no lasting gain has ever come form COMPULSION". Gompers believed labor should be inspired by "the spirit of service" in order for the movement to be respected and successful. Compare that thinking to the words of SEIU union president Mary Kay Henry last month: " Our PRIMARY GOAL is to help workers BOOST WAGES". That narrow objective is a universe away from Gompers lofty goals. For some incomprehensible reason, union people still think their jobs are safe. Despite the huge membership losses they have already sustained and the flood of machines, robots, computers and technology, let alone cheaper labor in other countries ready to REPLACE THEM.
IF union leaders like Diana Lacey truly want to turn the tide on the fate of unions on this LABOR DAY, they will let Gompers words guide them. To uphold the "spirit of service", unions could at long last help, not hinder employers to become more competitive while demanding work force retraining required to elevate labor skills. Unions have to stop defending poor labor performance when it occurs. They must embrace productivity, not obstruct it, to the advantage of both sides. Simply demanding higher wages will only result in further DECLINING UNION MEMBERSHIP and fewer people who respect what unions stand for. Gompers had it DEAD RIGHT.
Recent rabble-rousing by paid SEIU workers demanding a DOUBLING of wages for McDonald's employees to $15 is the PERFECT EXAMPLE of how UNIONS KILL JOBS. Not only does higher wages with no increased output harm buying power, it eliminates the DOLLAR item MENU. The children's "Happy Meal " becomes the "UNHAPPY meal " at $10 instead of $5, with millions FEWER BOUGHT. Further, it ignites individual store owners operating on razor thin, fast food margins to replace high paid labor behind the frylator with a robot and the counter person with a self service I -pad like touch screen for ordering as fast as possible. The speed and intensity at which labor is sought to be removed is directly proportional to its impact on profits. The only question is will union honchos like Diana Lacey ever see the logic before unions truly become extinct.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 September 2013 10:15
"Catastrophic!" said Sen. John McCain. If Congress votes "no" on a resolution calling for U.S. intervention in Syria's civil war, says McCain, it would be "catastrophic" for U.S. credibility in the world.
Consider what the senator is saying here. Because Barack Obama, two years ago, said "Assad must go," and, one year ago, said any use of chemical weapons crosses his "red line," Congress has no choice but to plunge America into yet another Mideast war.
Can this be? Are we really, as a nation, required to go to war to make good the simple-minded statements of an untutored president who had no constitutional authority to issue his impulsive ultimata?
Are we really required to go to war to get the egg off Obama's face?
Not since the War of Jenkins' Ear has there been a dumber cause for a great country to go to war. Is there no way out?
There is, and it's right in front of us.
The House, Senate or both can vote "no" on the war resolution and Obama can then say, as did David Cameron, that, while he disagrees, he respects the decision of a Congress in which the Constitution placed sole authority to authorize America's going to war.
Are Brits now crying "catastrophe!"? Do the Spanish no longer think the Brits will defend Gibraltar? Is Britain now wholly non-credible to the world?
For Obama, and for us, it is the other options that invite catastrophe.
If, for example, the House or Senate votes down the war resolution and Obama, without authorization from Congress, the Security Council, NATO or the Arab League plunges us into a new war this nation does not want to fight, he will be courting a geostrategic and political disaster.
Even if Congress approves a war resolution, the president should think long and hard about diving into a war he sought to avoid and stayed out of for over two years. Make no mistake; if Obama attacks Syria, be it for hours or days, we are in that blood-soaked abattoir for the duration.
In his dramatic statement Saturday, as politically astute as it was constitutionally correct, Obama called Syria "someone else's war."
Whose war? It is Shia Alawite vs. Sunni, Muslim vs. Christian, Kurd vs. Arab, Islamist vs. secularist. Backing Bashar Assad are Iran, Hezbollah and Russia.
Backing the rebels are Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, al-Qaida, foreign jihadists and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Assad is accused of killing 100,00 people. But that is the total of the dead in a civil war Assad has as much right to fight as the rebels. While his army is accused of using gas on civilians, the Islamist rebels have murdered Christians, massacred captives and engaged in public acts of cannibalism on dead Syrian soldiers.
Gas is a sickening weapon. Yet, there is no evidence thus far that Assad ordered its use. Rebel elements are said to have been found with sarin. As for Americans who tend to prefer white phosphorus, napalm and cluster bombs, upon what lofty moral ground do we stand?
Have we forgotten that Churchill wanted to drop anthrax on Germany and settled for two days of firebombing the defenseless city of Dresden? Or that our great friend Anwar Sadat was the confidante of Gamal Abdel Nasser when Egypt was using poison gas on Yemeni tribesmen?
The United States does not have any national security interest in Syria's war. Why would we then launch missile attacks to "degrade" Assad's military, when that army and air force are all that stands between us and a privileged sanctuary for al-Qaida in northern Syria, not unlike what al-Qaida had in Tora Bora and Waziristan.
We are told that if we do not strike Syria — making good on Obama's threats — Israel, Turkey and even Japan and South Korea will not be able to trust us ever again.
What nonsense. We have treaties with Japan and South Korea. As for Turkey and Israel, if what is happening in Syria is outrageous and dangerous, why do they not act? Why do they keep tugging at our sleeve?
The Israeli Air force is five minutes from Damascus, its army a two-day march. The Turks have three times Syria's population and a 400,000-man army equipped with NATO weapons. Together, they could invade and turn the tide in a week. Why do they not man up?
McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham came out of the Oval Office saying Obama was open to wider strikes on Syria and more lethal support for the rebels. As Iran, Hezbollah and Russia would then upgrade their own weapons shipments to Damascus, this will mean more dead, more wounded, more tens of thousands fleeing into exile and a longer war.
But what it will likely end with, after America is dragooned in, is a U.S. war with Iran; our allies, sitting in their box seats, cheering us on.
And that is the dog you will not hear bark in the war-on-Syria debate.
(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00
To The Daily Sun,
You right-wing nuts are giving me a pain. I suspect all of you have access to medical services, for which you are not paying the full bill. Try looking into the eyes of a mother of a sick child and tell her you don't want her to be able to take her child to the doctor before she gets pneumonia and must go the ER.
You may be the children of fathers who thought Social Security and Medicare were the start of socialism and had to be stopped. Now it is Medicaid and Obamacare that is socialism which we can't afford. Get real. Our taxes are going to give subsidies to big agribusinesses, oil companies, and wars, as well as tax breaks for billionaires who don't need them.
Your desire to impeach Obama is behind your efforts to kill Obamacare. You "haves" do not want to help the "have nots", who are growing in number. If you pay attention when you go to your mosque, synagogue, or church, pay attention to the message. In all religions it is "...do unto the least of me..."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 10:21
To The Daily Sun,
I hope that all of you young people with no health care are getting your money together to buy Obamacare. In New Hampshire, they are meetings on the implementation of Obamacare. Here are some facts for you:
— The Affordable Care Act (ACA) A/K/A Obamacare is so complex that federal government is funding navigators to explain what is going on. A quick question: did you have a navigator for auto or your homeowner's insurance?
— One of the goals of Obamacare was that competition in the health care insurance market would reduce premiums. However, there is only one carrier (company) on the health insurance exchange. If you can only buy clothes at one store in N.H., is this competition?
— Some of you may say, I am not going to buy health care insurance. If you don't, you will be subject to a tax. In the insurance lingo, this is called the individual mandate.
— There was an employer mandate whereby employers would have to provide health care to full time employees. However, President Obama decided to postpone the employer mandate. Should you be upset about this, I am. What is fair for the employers should be fair for the employees.
— Congress and their staff regardless of income are getting a 75 percent subsidy on Obamacare. Are you?
I would strongly recommend that everyone familiarize themselves on Obamacare. It is important to know the names of the people who voted for Obamacare. This is the gift from Rep. Shea-Porter and Senator Shaheen.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 10:14
To The Daily Sun,
There's an old adage that says one should never discuss religion, politics or money in polite conversation. I guess we're all supposed to restrict our communication to discussing the latest variety of tomatoes we planted this year? No thanks. These opinion pages are definitely not "polite" means of communication — especially in some of the "freebie" papers circulating around the Lakes Region. Back to America's mega-problem.
There is a movement going on to try and amend the Constitution to counteract the effects of the Citizen's United Case. For the uninitiated, this case gave corporations the power to spend obscene amounts of money to screw us over — not that they needed any help to begin with. Most politicians will jump on the bandwagon during the coming elections and decry the influence of ungodly amounts of money as the main reason for our dysfunctional democracy and if we believe them then we are contributing to what all politicians know, ie we are so ill-informed that we can actually be influenced by shallow spin-dried TV ads.
Yes, apathy is still the #1 root cause of our dysfunction. It's not a couple hundred thousand conservatives rallying in Washington. The problem is the couple hundred million citizens who are tuned out of politics altogether. Don't look to our main stream media to help us out. With their herd mentality, they're more interested in letting us common folk know what upsets conservatives or liberals and regurgitating the "platitude du jour" as uttered by some politician. I could give two hoots and a holler about what they think. Just tell me how public policy is going to affect my life.
If we think local politics is any better, consider Jeanie Forrester, our District 2 State Senator. She writes, or should I say her staff writes, a weekly "travelogue" for some of the papers in her district. Thanks to her, I keep abreast of all the recreation areas, wineries, farms and various and sundry ribbon cuttings in our area. I usually get this kind of information from the New Hampshire magazine or the Hippo. I'm sure these papers consider her sometimes quarter page "public service" messages as appropriate but I hope they are at least charging her for the space — if not then they're missing out on some good revenue. Public policy Jeanie — that's what the people elected you for — not photo ops. Tell us how you implement public policy and how it affects our lives. Talk to us about GMOs , hemp production, labeling of foods, education funding, casinos, infrastructure. Tell us how you voted and why, so that the papers that print your stuff can really justify it as a "public service message".
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 10:11