Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011: The Year of the Labour Union Strike?

Europe and the world teeters on the brink of a massive and decades long economic depression, and what do labour union leaders do? They threaten massive strikes if they do not get what they want!
Senior union leaders today predicted a surge in strike action for 2011 on a scale not seen since the campaign to abolish the poll tax.

Mark Serwotka, the leader of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said strikes in the spring were "inevitable"....The TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said it was going to be a "horrible" year, with cuts in benefits and public services and an increase in unemployment.

And RMT general secretary, Bob Crow, said the "fightback" against cuts would see public and private sector workers take to the picket lines.

Serwotka told the Times: "Strikes are inevitable. We are looking at the spring. The more of us that stand together against the cuts, the more problems we can create. Unless you look like you want a fight, they won't negotiate. The government has to see we are serious."

...The TUC regularly brings together public sector unions – in the civil service, health, education and local government sectors – to discuss ongoing issues."

In his new year message, Crow said: "2010 saw the initial skirmishes in the fightback against the ConDem cuts, led by a magnificent and resurgent students' movement – 2011 will see those protests escalate into a popular movement that will match the success of the anti-poll tax campaign and RMT members will once again be right in the front line. _Guardian
At a time when most people should be grateful to have jobs with pension benefits, labour unions are threatening to topple governments unless they keep getting more...more...more!

Nations from Greece to Spain to France to the UK to several US state governments, are on the edge of bankruptcy, default, and possible dissolution. Public sector union greed, political clout, and latent violence casts a dark shadow over the effort of a few honest government officials' efforts to save their jurisdictions.

It sounds as if the unions are striking the drums in a call for war against the general public and taxpayers. How should the people respond?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

US Employment, Housing, Point to Stagnant Economy

The images on US employment below come from Mish's Global Economic Analysis Blog.
Due to the growing budget crunch, local governments are being forced to lay off a large number of workers.
State governments, on the other hand, continue hiring blithely, as if there were no budget crisis whatsoever. They are no doubt expecting the federal government to bail them out.
Manufacturing continues to be outsourced overseas, with minimal startup activity under the Obama regime of energy starvation and economic strangulation.
The graph for total nonfarm employment over 10 years points to the ongoing stagnation following an aborted recovery.

The housing picture follows the employment picture, as you would expect.
The prices of homes, like any other asset, commodity or security, he added, are dictated by the laws of supply and demand.

“Here we are … three to four years after the initial detonation and we’re still left with this gargantuan inventory and that’s going to put an ongoing downward pressure on residential real estate prices,” he stated.

Even worse, he noted, despite the sharp declines in mortgage rates, home sales and demand remain tepid.

“We have excess supply, home prices can go down even more dramatically,” he said.

Housing is the quintessential leading indicator of economic activity, Rosenberg asserted

“As long as housing is in the doldrums and home prices keep going down and putting people in negative net equity position, the government will have to find… creative ways to keep the [economic expansion] going,” he added.

Indeed, he noted, many investors don’t seem to realize that the U.S. economy and markets are still operating on “steroids” (namely, government stimulus and quantitative easing). _IntBusTimes
Perhaps many of the institutional investors understand the precarious nature of the US economy under Obama, but the individuals involved may believe that they can get out safely before the next bubble bursts.

The stock market and commodities are presenting a false picture of economic resurgence to a gullible public. Journalists are too stupid to know better, and those who do know better are generally keeping quiet so as not to annoy Obama and his zombie army.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Will We See These Faces on Wanted Posters?

Every month, more US citizens wake up to the fact that their own government is killing them slowly, through regulations, taxes, and business-strangulating policy. All agencies of the Obama regime have gone all out to damage the US private sector economy, but the environmental agencies are particularly destructive.
Who's doing the most to hobble the productive power of the U.S. economy, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson or Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar? President Obama's top two Cabinet appointees on environmental issues are running neck and neck in their race to see who can issue the most job-killing, growth-suffocating bureaucratic edicts. Regardless of who "wins" their contest, of course, the losers will be the rest of us. We will have to endure long-term double-digit unemployment, skyrocketing energy and utility costs, and the loss of individual freedom that inevitably accompanies the growth of government regulation.

Jackson temporarily nosed ahead early last week when she got a green light from the White House to move forward with new regulations to combat greenhouse gases. Jackson threatened to issue these regulations last year if Congress failed to approve "cap-and-trade" legislation sought by Obama. Cap and trade was decisively defeated by a bipartisan coalition in Congress earlier this year, and now Jackson is making good on her threat. Her move elicited a chorus of pre-Christmas squeals of delight from the legions of Big Green activists angered over congressional rejection of cap and trade. She promises to issue a draft rule next year and a final rule in 2012 that will establish new "performance standards" for power plants and refineries. These standards will drive up the cost of energy, especially the electricity that lights our homes and powers our computers and the gas that keeps our cars and trucks running.

Not to be outdone, Salazar countered toward the end of the week with an audacious end-around play of his own. The Constitution gives Congress exclusive authority to manage U.S. public lands. Thus, the wilderness areas, national parks system and other public lands are overseen by Interior only because Congress authorized the executive branch department to do so. Big Green environmentalists went nuts in 2003 when Gail Norton, Salazar's predecessor in the Bush administration, liberalized Interior's public lands management process to enable more energy development. So Salazar has invented out of whole cloth a "Wild Lands" designation that entirely circumvents the congressionally sanctioned process. _Examiner
Carol Browner, climate czar, is equally destructive to the private sector, working behind the scenes from her White House office to subjugate US industry and business to international climate law.

Until Obama, the US has never had a presidential administration that actively worked to diminish the US in as many ways as possible. As conditions grow worse for average Americans, it is an open question as to when American resentment will grow strong enough for ordinary persons to begin striking back against a government that is increasingly seen as the enemy.

The best form of resolving the problem is through the ballot box, and through revocation of the destructive legislation and regulatory landmines that Obama's people have so carefully and maliciously laid across the landscape. Hope that such a peaceful approach will be enough.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Obama Gains Weight, Explains Net Neutrality Laws

Obama Explains Net Neutrality

A newly rotund President Obama sat down recently to answer questions about his new "Net Neutrality" laws governing the internet. Significant opposition to the new rules exists among the grassroots.
In response to a draft of the Order, net neutrality advocate Free Press joined about 80 other grassroots organizations in signing an open letter to the FCC calling for what it termed “real net neutrality.” _ImpactLab
More about the new law:
The new law expands 2004 restrictions on content in radio, television and print media. In an unprecedented move, it now also includes content from the Internet and electronic subscription services, making webpage managers “responsible for the information and content” published on their websites.”

It is meant to crack down on media content that “makes an apology of crime,” “promotes unrest in the population” or “challenges legally established authorities.” Webpage managers must now “establish mechanisms to restrict, without delay, the diffusion of messages… that are included in the ban.” The measure increases fines imposed on media violations to “10 percent of the previous year’s gross income,” in addition to “72 hours of continuous suspension of services.” _ImpactLab
Mr. Obama appeared surprised to learn about the grassroots opposition to his new internet control laws. But he assured everyone at the press conference that with enough hope and change, anything is possible. "The grownups are now in charge," Mr. Obama declared. "There will be a lot of changes made. We will be watching."

Programme for International Student Assessment Scores

These graphs were compiled by Steve Sailer and published at VDare. The top graph illustrates US PISA scores by ethnicity. The graph below provides the 2009 PISA reading score by various geographical (and sometimes ethnic) groups.

PISA scores provide a fair but imperfect proxy for IQ scores.

Steve Sailer explains in the VDare article how difficult it is to obtain scores from US educational authorities which are broken down by race. Political correctness prohibits looking at population scores with a clear head or unbiased eye.

Perhaps that will not always be the case.

H/T Half Sigma

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

US States Living on Borrowed Time

It goes without saying that spend-easy US states are living on borrowed money, like most European nations. But how long before the bond market kicks their prodigal butts back into the gutter where the politicoes and bureaucrats actually belong?

The people who have sucked the states dry -- like their federal and county level counterparts -- are what are generally considered low life scum of the Earth.

In an Idiocracy, however, most of the citizenry is too fat, blind, and stupid to know any better, or to imagine how things might be done differently.

With the ongoing third worldification of the US and Europe, there is no end to the Idiocracy.