DoomwatchTM vs. Timesizing®
Collapse trends - February 1-15, 2002
[Commentary] ©2002 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080
2/15/2002 headlines from hell -
2/14/2002 headlines from hell -
- Report shows a rise in television clutter, by Allison Fass, NYT, C2.
...The time devoted to nonprogramming content like commercials and promotions increased last year in most instances [according to] an annual report...from agencies and advertisers that are concerned that clutter makes viewers less likely to watch or remember their spots.
[And well they might be concerned - we always hit the Mute when the marathon commercials for the Olympics get started after every single ski jump it seems - or in the morning when Boston's commercial classical-music station (motto - "best music, worst commercials"?) starts into its seemingly lengthening chain of jarring ads.]
The Television Commercial Monitoring Report, by the American Assoc. of Advertising Agencies and the Assoc. of National Advertisers, found that clutter set records in
[The best commercials are the calm ones like the one for "The Quiet Company" showing landscapes and people walking slowly, commercials that don't force you to lunge for the Mute in pain by trying to blast their way into your consciousness. If the classical music station only knew how much audience time it's losing by not strictly rejecting the raucous and desperate tastelessness of many of its commercials. They completely negate its attempts to portray itself as "relaxing."]
- the early-morning period with an average of 18 minutes and 2 seconds in each hour, in contrast to 17 minutes and 44 seconds in 2000....
- daytime hours at 20 mins. 57 secs compared with 20 mins. 3 secs...
- local newscasts at 17 mins.10 secs. compared with 17 mins. 5 secs....
2/12/2002 today's headlines from hell -
- Bush plan expected to slow, not halt, gas emission rise - A response to the Kyoto treaty, which Bush has said is too costly, by Andrew Revkin, NYT, front page.
...The Kyoto Protocol [is] the 1997 treaty accepted by...all other large industrialized countries.... Bush rejected the treaty last March, calling its targets arbitrary, its schedule too costly...and its terms...unfair....
[thus dressing the USA like one of those people who is only friends with you when they need you - for "Wars on Terrorism" and such.]
- Japan moves to devise economic recovery plan, AP via Boston Globe, E3.
[Sounds good, right? Then why is it in the 'headlines from hell' dept? Because whether it's Japan or whether it's AP or whether it's the Boston Globe, it doesn't mention the key thing Japan has started experimenting with to dig itself out; namely, work-sharing. The central workable strategy for recovery goes unmentioned both in the headline and in 11 column-inches of text. Here's a taste of the verbose circumlocution -]
TOKYO - Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi ordered his top economic advisers yesterday to devise a[n] economic recovery plan by the end of the month.... Koizumi instructed his advisers to devise a plan to reverse Japan's continually falling prices, which undercut hope for a turnaround....
[and characterize depressions, such as the Great Depression in America 1929-1941. But the language here doesn't even admit a continuous and chronic recession, let alone a depression -]
Japan has been dogged by deflation as it slides into its third recession in a decade.
[The media don't even agree on the number of little recessions in the past decade - we've seen them as high as five. We tend to agree with Kosuke Suzuki that distinguishing separate recessions is a meaningless academic exercise because Japan has had "twelve years of recession" or even depression - see "Japan on the brink," letter to editor by Kosuke Suzuki of Tokyo, Time Magazine 3/18/2002, 18.]
..\.."We must agressively implement concrete and effective anti-deflation measures," [Koizumi] said in a statement.
[Very laudable, to be sure, but falling prices alias deflation is caused by too much money in too few hands - hands that already have everything they want. One symptom of that inefficient concentration of the national income? - Stocks keep going back up, regardless of negative fundamentals, because there's so much money in so few hands that there is literally nowhere else to put it -]
Japanese stocks rallied for the fourth-straight session.
[Since the top income brackets can't think of anything to spend it on, they keep trying to invest it. So the vast productive output of the economy goes to waste, unsold and unsaleable. The concentration of purchasing power is so astronomical that it's actually vacuuming the markets away from its own investments. As Will Rogers said, "Money's like manure - it's no good unless it's spread around." And you can't just spread it around as handouts if you want to avoid dependency and parasitism, so you've got to spread it around as well-paying jobs. But you can't find enough well-paying jobs in the midst of the most highly technologized economy in the world, where mechanization, automation, computerization, robotization, and cybernetics are doing most of the work and you've still got a pre-technology workweek of over 40 hours a week per person. Japan has just started to address this contradiction with the concept of work sharing. After a decade of huge costly public works programs that tried to create enough artificial jobs to keep everyone spinning their wheels for at least 40 hours a week, Japan is just beginning to get an inkling of the idea that maybe she should stop straaaaaaaaaaining to counter the efficiencies of her technology with artificial makework, and just share the limited natural, market-demanded work. But start talking like that and 99 out of 100 English-speaking economists will start ridiculing you and chanting, "Lump of labor fallacy, lump of labor fallacy," regardless of the fact that they mean "lump of employment" not labor, and this so-called "fallacy" worked, from 1776 to 1940, in halving the workweek from the 80-hour level and doubling, tripling, quadrupling pay and general prosperity. Why? Because it kept job-seekers from overwhelming the job market and depressing pay. But Saint FDR, who, as we all know, can do no wrong, had a gigantic propaganda campaign against the work-sharing approach (in the form of the 30-hour workweek bill of 1933) and that costly progress-blocking mistake has been with us ever since. And with most of the rest of the world -]
Economics Minister Heizo Takenaka said a bare outline decided on yesterday will target 5 basic policies:
Moody's Investors Service said yesterday it will consider downgrading its rating on the Japanese government and several private banks....
- getting rid of the banks' bad loans,
[That means the wealthy have to just forgive them?]
- stabilizing the financial system,
[the financial system is not the cause of deflation]
- re-energizing financial markets,
[it's the 60% of the Japanese economy that is upheld by the consumer markets that need re-energizing, not the financial markets, which will automatically follow]
- helping small- and medium-sized companies get loans
[What are they going to do, force banks to make loans to companies that have no markets? That kind of behavior - making loans to unsustainable ventures - is what precipitated their banking crisis in the first place!]
- and loosening monetary policy.
[How much looser can it get when interest rates are already virtually zero? Are they going to print more money? That just creates runaway inflation, and starves everyone on a fixed income, most of whom aren't competing for the shrinking supply of 40-hr/wk jobs anyway.]
[A wise move until Japan gets focused on its new work-sharing direction, and realizes that it's going to have to run a gauntlet of withering gratuitous sneering from ignorant English-speaking economists.]
2/10-11/2002 this weekend's headlines from hell
- EU plans to approve e-commerce tax, AP via Boston Globe, F2.
Despite renewed last-minute objections from Washington, the European Union was moving ahead with a new law imposing a value-added tax on Internet purchases of software, music, and other "virtual goods" from companies outside the EU....
[Until we all quit taxing purchases and go back to taxing hoarding (ie: wealth and income accumulation as pure "pecking order" markers), we'll kept creating deeper and deeper recessions.]
- Pentagon pork, letter to editor by Jack Fyock of Rochester NY, NYT, A16.
How convenient that just as...Bush wants to throw more money at our bloated military, Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warns of additional terrorist attacks (Feb. 1). Perhaps Rumsfeld's warning is prudent, but one is reminded of the decades-long deception by military and intelligence services that dramatically overestimated the threat of the Soviet Union in order to justify defense spending.
We already spend three times more on the military than do Russia and China combined. If the Pentagon can't defend us with that much money, that is a management, not a resource, problem.
[Amen to that!]
- [And speaking of a management problem -]
Bush budget's fuzzy math, op ed by Thomas Oliphant, NYT, A17.
To get really boring, the gigantic credibility problem created by...Bush about his administration's economic policies boils down to what is claimed on page 396 of the new budget and what is admitted on page 417.
The claim, made on Bush's behalf by budget director Mitch Daniels, is that this year's deficit in the budget he just submitted is a mere $106 billion assuming some kind of economic stimulus eventually clears Congress.
The admission buried in a table in the back of the book is that the amount of government debt outstanding at the end of this year will rise by fully $367 billion to a new world record of $6.1 trillion. [In short, on] page 417, the numerical admission is that..\..the deficits showing up now are going to be "small and short-term." \Meanwhile\ there is another claim, made by Bush himself and now part of his administration's political chants - that the deficits...are going to be "small and short-term."...
["Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics."]
2/08/2002 today's headline from hell
- 2/10 Laid off and stressed out - Unemployment taking an emotional toll on some, by Maggie Jackson, Boston Globe, K1.
[or on all?...]
Ed Carter has been out of work since November, and his frustration is building. His marriage is stressed.... Carter of North Reading MA [is] a former CFO of a laser printer manufacturer....
- 2/10 Ex-chief of Enron will not testify before Congress - Will use 5th Amendment - ...Congress is spurned for a second time by a key player, by Richard Oppel Jr, NYT, front page.
[But who can blame him considering the behavior of Bush and Cheney -]
- 2/11 Bush's stance on secrecy draws a number of critics, by Anne Kornblut, BG, A3.
...'We have been forthcoming at every turn, and we have always valued the right and the need of the public to have information about their government' - Anne Womack, White House spokeswoman. [blowout quote]
During his first year in office, Bush has -
[All this without mentioning -]
- delayed the release of presidential papers from the Reagan White House,
- imposed limits on public access to gtovernment documents,
- refused to share revised data from the 2000 Census, and
- shielded decades-old FBI records from scrutiny..\..
The battle between Congress and the administration over documents from VP Dick Cheney's energy task force..\..
[And Bush's half-serious admiration for dictators and dictatorship -]
During a tussle with Congress last summer...Bush cracked that "a dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier" [and] a few months later Bush joked that he admired the media strategy of Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who abruptly ended a joint news conference and walked away after fielding one question....
[This guy should go back to flicking towels in the locker room.]
- 2/10 Fearing limits on soft money, parties fill coffers, by Alison Mitchell, NYT, front page.
...Republicans and Democrats alike have been raising money so aggressively that they are breaking records, despite an informal fund-raising moratorium after 9/11....
- 2/10 Study finds increase at all levels of government in cost of criminal justice, by Fox Butterfield, NYT, A14.
[Freeze your workweek, inject worksaving technology, get as "efficient" as you can by downsizing your markets via layoffs, and watch crime grow!]
- 2/10 Cardinal says scandal won't force him out, AP via NYT, A21.
[Hello, still Cardinal Law. Bye-bye Roamin' catholic church. Some guys just don't get it.]
- 2/10 In Ohio school hearing, a 'new' theory will seek a place alongside evolution [our quotes - ed.], by Francis Klines, NYT, A14.
...the theory of intelligent design, not the old foe creationism...
[Oh no? Then what's the diff? De-emphasized the seven 24-hour periods for the big magic wand waves? Big deal. Some people really have a tough time imagining the scale of trial-and-error available for life to 'learn the hard way' - no instruction manual from a designer. Our whole purpose as economic designers is to cut that huge time expense and get some substantial human progress. Like full employment provided on a market, not makework, basis.]
- 2/11 Executives be[sides] Enron['s] took months to report [personal stock] sales, by David Leonhardt, NYT, C1.
- 2/10 Stock options, once a rallying point, [now] sullied by excess, by Steven Syre, BG, G1.
Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski made $100m exercising stock options. [photo caption]
[As Teddy Roosevelt used to call them (when the Republic Party still had something in their heads and not just their wallets) - "malefactors of great wealth."]
- 2/11 How executives prospered as Global Crossing collapsed, by Fabrikant & Romero, NYT, C1.
- 2/10 Economic, political unrest fueling Argentina's exodus - Middle class's fall adds to the chaos, by Sophie Arie, BG, A8.
2/07/2002 headlines from hell - never mind WWW - Spice up your beerparty/cocktail party conversation with extreeeme views from HHHs (Hyde's Headlines from Hell and Headlines from Heaven - buzz off, Dr. Jeckyll!) -
- Argentina paying heavily for squandered blessings - Once it was one of the world's richest countries - Now it's bankrupt, by Larry Rohter, NYT, front page.
BUENOS AIRES...- Everywhere they gather in these days of crisis and collapse, Argentines are asking themselves the same question: how could it have come to this?... Early in the 20th century this was the 7th richest country in the world, with a per capita income ahead of those of Canada, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Japan and Spain and not far behind that of the United States.... This country is blessed with some of the most fertile soil in the world, under which ample supplies of oil also lie.... Wheat, corn and...soybean grow almost effortlessly..\.. Herds of cattle roam...the endless pastures known as pampas..\.. How has this country, whose name derives from a Latin word meaning money and whose elegant capital faces an estuary called the River of Silver, managed to go bankrupt?...
Even more than the United States, modern Argentina is a nation of immigrants: at the peak of the influx, nearly 1/3 of the population was foreign-born, more than double the highest rate in the U.S. But instead of forging a sense of nationhood that could substitute for the absence of other values, Argentines came to see their country as a "piece of Europe that broke off and landed in South America," in the words of a diplomat here. Rather than integrate with the rest of Latin America, Argentina held itself apart from and above its neighbors, an attitude encouraged by its isolation at athe southern end of the continent. Other Latin Americans responded in kind, with sayings like: "An Argentine is an Italian who speaks Spanish, wishes he were English, acts like he is French, and suffers under a German army"..\..
Today, the average Argentine income is less than a quarter of America's, and 40% of the country's 37m people live below the poverty line. Unemployment is at a record 22%, and the situation is getting worse....
No one can say that Argentines, the most highly literate population in Latin America, are not reflective about themselves or their national malaise. Buenos Aires is said to have the heaviest per capita concentration of psychoanalysts of any city in the world..\.. Over the last decade, Argentina has opened to its Latin American neighbors and the rest of the world.... But the old problem of a rapacious ruling class [America, be warned!] has been compounded by the arrival of foreign companies willing, it appears in retrospect, to do anything to get a slice of the pie, including payment of bribes for sweetheart contracts.... Said Marcos Aguinis, author of...a recent bestseller, "...What came was volatile short-term capital looking for a quick return and an easy exit, content to earn a 20% rate of return and send the money home instead of reinvesting."
2/06/2002 headlines from hell -
- Productivity increases as companies eliminate jobs, AP via NYT, C2.
[American CEOs are still using technological efficiency to destroy their markets along with their jobs, instead of making life easier for everyone, including themselves (since extra money is already unspendably meaningless to most of them except in terms of chest thumping) by cutting hours and keeping employees (and consumers) going.]
...The Labor Dept. said that productivity - the amount of output for each hour of work - increased at an annual rate of 3.5% in Q4, up from a 1.1% rate in Q3....
[So what is the basis of the productivity that increased so we can compare it to Europe? The accompanying chart gives nothing but an incommensurable US-specific measure, where output per hour of all workers in nonfarm businesses, seasonally adjusted, is merely compared to the US 1992 level set artificially at 100.]
Job losses averaged 311,000 for Q4 \and so\ workers' hours in Q4 fell at a 3.7% rate - the biggest drop since 1Q91 - while output declined [only] at a 0.4% rate..\..
[Look at the cynical crap that our own Labor Dept. and the Associated Press are dumping on us here. Production alias output actually declined and we're getting applause for a rise in productivity? What a crock! And saying that "workers' hours fell" is totally misleading. What fell was (1) employment hours - which would only be positive if output was either maintained or increased AND if the workforce aka our consumer base was maintained or increased to make said output saleable - and (2) the workforce. So one of the conditions required to make the decrease in the available employment hours positive is not satisfied and that decrease is therefore negative and destructive. At least they're honest enough to say -]
The cutback in payrolls, causing the total number of hours worked to drop at a faster pace than output, thus created the "rise" [our quotes - ed.] in productivity....
[...a rise in unsaleable productivity - which is meaningless and one of the major features of the Great Depression, otherwise known as "over-production" or "under-consumption." Sound familiar? It's exactly what Japan has been going through for the past 10 years and if you're an optimist, you describe them as in chronic or recurring recession. If you're a pessimist, you describe them as caught in a vicious circle or downward spiral. In a world armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, the only way out of the economic death spiral we're all entering, globally (France is entering slower because at least it's down to a 35-hr week), is cutting hours, not jobs - timesizing, not downsizing.]
- More millionaires pay less in taxes, pointer digest (to A17), NYT, A17.
The income of Americans with million-dollar incomes nearly tripled from 1995 to 1999, government figures show.
[Note this includes billionaires, cuz all you need for "millionaires" is a million bucks collected and standing still. Here we're talkin' a million bucks coming in just during last year alone.]
The percentage of income that went to pay federal income taxes, however, fell 11%. The incomes of all other Americans grew as well, though by far less, and the share of their income that went to taxes rose slightly.
[Oh that should be great for the health of our consumer markets! Hope these boys like recession. This is Unsustainability Un-Ltd. Let the people who already have everything get more unspendable spending power. The only cure for this kind of recurrent crap comes from Prime Minister Luigi Einaudi is postwar Italy - no proposals for government spending without prior or simultaneous passage of funding proposals. It's called "closed circle" problem-solving and it's Ecologically Correct, like making cities put their water intake downstream of their effluent outflow. And then we have the recurrent crap about how much of the same kind of incentive ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$......) the rich "need" - when clearly they don't need anything except a dose of reality testing. The only cure for this is to wake up our economists to their own neoclassical doctrine of marginalism, particularly the marginal efficiency of capital = the more concentration, the less circulation. And these idiot savants may require things to get a lot worse (ie: more of them get laid off) before they get back "on issue" here. And it would be nice to have a few more of the wealthy, particularly the nouveau riche, waking up to the fact that this much concentration of money is suctioning the markets away from its own investments. The centripetal force on money overwhelms the centrifugal force (= "astrophysical economics"). "Trickle down" is useless in the context of "Pour up," considering that even with "Pour down," the big money osmoses back into the top brackets in about 2 weeks anyway. "Money's like manure," said *Will Rogers. "It's no good unless it's spread around." And money spreading has to start with work spreading, ergo Timesizing.]
- A plea to Washington, Bloomberg via NYT, A8.
Top executives of the Big Three auto manufacturers have sent a rare joint letter to the White House, asking...Bush to appeal to the Japanese government to stop weakening the yen to lift the profits of Japanese automakers, industry officials said yesterday.
[So let's see. "The Big Three." That would be GM, Ford, and Toyota?]
The CEOs of GM, Ford Motor and the Chrysler unit of DaimlerChrysler, which together account for nearly 4% of the U.S. economy, said in the letter sent last week that the weak yen was a threat to recovery.
[Holy Chrysler, where'd they come from? Toyota is the 3rd biggest US auto manufacturer now! So the old outdated set of "big 3," having replaced hundreds of thousands of employee-carbuyers with robots, are now squealing to Bushbaby to stop the Japanese yen from deflating - as if he (or even the Japanese!) have any control over that! Pathetic. It was their own (and Japan's) abusive use of robotization - to cut jobs&markets instead of workhours - that created this whole chronic recession in the first place. And they even have the clearest and simplest warning anecdote in their industry - Henry Ford says to union leader Walter Reuther, "Let's see you unionize these robots!" and Reuther retorts, "Let's see you sell them cars."]
- German unemployment is growing problem for Schroeder, by Steven Erlanger, NYT, A8.
BERLIN -...The seasonally unadjusted unemployment figure was 4.289m, a 2-year high, bringing the rate to 10.4% from 9.6% in December.... Adjusted for factors like seasonal hiring and weather, the unemployment figure increased by 31,000 to 3.978m.
[We think Stevie scrambled a couple of things in this last sentence. What we think he meant to say is, the unemployment figure of 4.289m in Jan. increased by 310,000, from 3.978m in Dec.]
...The newspapers here [in Deutschland] concentrate on the unadjusted numbers....
[You'd think the supposedly efficient Germans would by now have swallowed their pride and copied the French 35-hour workweek, since that has made France so much more recession-proof than Germany. Or maybe they could maintain their pride, take over the idea of work spreading via cutting the workweek, and do it much more efficiently than the French (which wouldn't be difficult). After all, the Japanese labor minister didn't go to France to study worksharing systems a couple of weeks ago - he went to Germany, presumably to Volkswagen and similar layoff-averse companies that are "below the radar" of our highly parochial and self-absorbed American media.]
At the same time, the total number of unfilled [job openings] rose to 422,425 from 389,145,...
[Hmm, let's see. 4,289,000 unemployed and only 422,425 job openings. That still leaves 3,866,575 Germans unemployed and unemployable because the jobs aren't there, despite Germany's adjustment of the workyear down by an average of 35 vacation days per year (that's seven (7) weeks, you surly American wageslaves!). No wonder there's a big movement to quit yanking in immigrants and no wonder there's a book out by a sociology professor in Munich (Ulrich Beck) called "The Brave New World of Work" which argues that the work society as we've known it is coming to an end because of smart technologies. Well, if work society is coming to an end, that means that parasite society is beginning. And parasites are neither efficient nor incentivizing nor sustainable. This was the same dumb message that Jeremy Rifkin peddled in his 1995 effort, "The End of Work." And while we agree that something has to be done to wake up the decision-makers to the new world of robotization and cybernetics, pushing parasitism on them as The Answer is not going to wash, and rightly so. But, sez you, isn't it OK to parasitize technology and let it support us? Sure, but somebody still has to check the programs every now and then, and run the referendums that let the robots know what adjustments the humans want. That's good old fashioned work where you give up control over a certain amount of your time to attend to somebody else's agenda, even if that "somebody else" is the whole community. That effort, however small, needs to be shared or at least rotated, as widely as possible throughout the population. Why? Because it confers absolute power and absolute power corrupts. One or more of the permanent workers may decide that s/he has had enough and just zap a couple of billion human parasites some evening. It's happened before - Idi Amin, Stalin, Hitler,.... And they did it to people they turned into parasites, just as we're turning people into parasites by not spreading and sharing the vanishing market-demanded work. But let's see. If 4.289m Deutschkins are 10.4% of the adult population needing work, that means the whole ball of wax is 4.289m/10.4x100= 41.240m (checking 3.978m/9.6x100= 41.438m, close enough). Therefore the unemployable clump of 3.867m Krautlings who can't get jobs even if every single job opening is filled constitute 3.867m/41.24mx100%= 9.4% of the whole shmegegy. Now we know that fulltime Deutschers, despite decades of "efficient" Deutsche discussion about a 35-hour workweek, are still hovering around 42.9 hrs/wk (see our looong workweeks page) and they constitute 54% of the workforce, which would be something like 54%x41.24m= 22.270m fulltimers, and averaging 42.9 hrs/wk apiece means there's a total of 22.27mx42.9hrs/wk= 955.38m hrs/wk of work is available from these fulltimers. Now let's go out on a limb and estimate that German parttimers are averaging half of what fulltimers are averaging, namely ½x42.9hrs/wk= 21.5 hrs/wk. And we know they constitute 100%-54%= 46% of the workforce, which amounts to 46%x41.24m= 18.97m people. And these parttimers are taking up a total of 18.97mx21.5hrs/wk= 407.86m hrs/wk of employment. So there is, excluding the crummy low-pay job openings that we've nevertheless assumed filled and deducted from our Jan. 4.289m unemployed, 955.38m+407.86m= 1,363.24m hrs/wk of work available in Jerryland. Now, sportsfans, the final coup de boche. Let's assume that all 3.867m Willies-without-work want part-time employment at our estimated average parttime level of 21.5 hrs/wk. That would mean they need 3.867mx21.5h/w= 83.14m hrs/wk. How much less would the fulltimers have to work to do a meaningful reorg for once and reorganize the German national workload of 1,363.24m hrs/wk onto EVERYbody, das heisst JEDERman? Antwort/answer: OK, fulltimers hog 955.38m hrs/wk and we need 83.14m for the jobless, so 955.38m-83.14m= 872.24m hrs/wk. (As we work this out, we're listening to the Kyoto U. Glee Club sing in German. Life is bizarre.) So now we have 872.24m hrs/wk for those 22.27m fulltimers, which means they now have to average 39.17 hrs/wk instead of 42.9 hrs/wk. Big deal, right? A mere (42.9-39.17)/42.9x100%= 8.7%, say 9%, hourscut. But then of course, we will hear from the squawking workoholics who are sooo Important and Indispensable that they "have to" keep working 60-70 hrs/wk etc. etc. So we start by instituting automatic overtime/overwork conversion to training and hiring (Timesizing Phases 2 and 3) only at the highest observed workweek level and nudge these workoholics' self-importance over into leading the world in overtime reinvestment - lotsa press etc. And gradually bring down the level where reinvestment starts - maybe just an hour a quarter (set it by referendum) and cut the parasitism and taxes. A truly efficient solution that would do credit to the Fatherland and kick our Anglosaxon butts into copying them in order to compete with that level of recession-proofing.]
...which supported industry's complaint that many of the unemployed prefer to get generous benefits rather than take low-paying or unpleasant jobs....
[Oh what a surprise. Even "efficient" German industrialists don't seem to yet "get" the connection between low pay and disincentive, or low pay and recession. They don't quite get the marginal utility of wealth, as in "the more concentration, the less circulation." Let's spell that out for them - the more concentration of profits and income, the less MARKETS. Well, let them force-through labor market "reforms" and see how much deeper they dig themselves -]
Mr. Schroeder's efforts to get employers and unions to agree to voluntary reforms of Germany's inflexible labor market have not been successful, and the unions are currently asking for pay increases more than 2 times the inflation rate.
[German unions are about to discover 2 things that American unions have already found out -
The current German reality of 3,866,575 Germans unemployed and unemployable is pathetic and unsustainable. That's nearly twice as many people as we Americans have in jail (2m), though including our homeless, disabled, unemployed-and-still-collecting, welfare-and-still-collecting, and pressured-to-retire, we probably exceed the 3.8m German figure. And German taxpayers may be paying less to keep each unemployed human parasite outside prison than we're paying to keep them inside prison. Latest figures we've been hearing have risen from $25-30 to $30-35K per year.]
- that you can easily kill the goose that lays the golden eggs (NYC unions killed off all but a couple of NYC daily newspapers) and
- that, of the two traditional goals of labor (shorter hours and higher pay), shorter hours gets you both and higher pay gets you neither. Shorter hours creates shortage of labor, which market forces automatically reward with higher pay. Higher pay creates robotization and desperate downsized people willing to do your job for lower pay.
2/2/2002 headlines from hell -
- [another specimen for our recession collection -]
Saudi Arabia: Recession expected, Bloomberg via NYT, W1.
Saudi Arabia will suffer its worst recession this year since 1985 because of a decline in oil production and prices, stalling efforts to cut unemployment, the Saudi American Bank reported....
[Just spread whatever employment there is and no one will complain because - they're all in it together.]
- Failing to save for bad times during boom - Albany faces crisis on the jobless fund, by Richard Perez-Pena, NYT, A24.
For years, New York has ranked near the bottom among states in saving money to pay unemployment claims, setting aside less than one-third of what the federal government recommends to guard against economic downturn. ...State officials refused to take the politically unpalatable steps that would have built up the reserve:
In fact, in 1998, Gov. George Pataki did the opposite, lowering the tax and raising benefits. Now with waves of layoffs brought on by the recession and 9/11, New York is being forced to increase payroll taxes by $300m/yr...and start borrowing about $350m/mon from the federal government.... Only one state, Texas, is in as bad a situation as New York....
- either raise the payroll tax that pays for unemployment insurance,
- or curtail benefits.
[What a "coincidence"! That's where Bush has just done such a good (shortsighted) job as governor! Of course, none of this would be an issue if we modernized our economy to swiftly and smoothly convert overtime to training&hiring and automatically spread employment throughout the entire adult population by workweek adjustment (mostly downward).]
- New York City invites corporate cash, and names - In cash-strapped New York City, the names of public parks are for sale, by Jennifer Steinhauer, NYT, front page.
2/01/2002 headlines from hell -
- United reports staggering $2.1B loss, by Stephanie Stoughton, BG, C1.
...Chicago-based United...the nation's 2nd-largest carrier..\..was the last of the nation's top 7 airlines to report earnings for the final 3 months of 2001 and the entire year. Its annual loss was unprecedented in the industry and surpassed the individual losses of other domestic carriers, including number one AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines..\.. UAL Corp., the parent of United Airlines, closed out the worst year in its recent history...reflecting a precipitous drop in air travel because of the slow economy and 9/11.... Including United's financial results released yesterday, the losses of the industry's biggest US players totaled more than $3 billion for the 4th quarter and about $7 billion for the year....
- Bush sees big rise in military budget for next 5 years - Up to $451 billion by '07 - Proposed buildup would rival Reagan's - Sharp increase in money for supplies, by James Dao, NYT, A1.
[So Bush is going to solve unemployment and downturn the same old bloody way, war, instead of the new intelligent way, Timesizing.]
- 2 top officials offer stern talk on U.S. policy...- U.S. will act as it sees fit, Powell and O'Neill declare - Blunt words on terror and Argentina stir unease at the Economic Forum, by Todd Purdum & David Sanger, NYT, frontpage.
...The 2 highest-ranking members of Pres. Bush's cabinet, both attending the World Economic Forum at the Waldorf-Astoria, declared yesterday that the U.S. was committed to defining its own solutions...even if that angers some allies.... Sec. of State Colin Powell warned that the U.S. would "go after terrorism wherever it threatens free men and women," even if that meant taking on "evil regimes"..\..
[These boys have been watching too much Harry Potter.]
Treasury Sec. Paul O'Neill told world business and government leaders yesterday that the Bush administration cut off aid to Argentina late last year because "they just didn't reform"....
[Well, Israel hasn't reformed either, and we're still sending it $4 billion a year, our biggest chunk of "foreign aid" dba subsidies for our arms industry.]
For earlier collapse stories, click on the desired date -
- [First, some European stupidity]
8 European air treaties in jeopardy, by Suzanne Kapner with Paul Meller, NYT, W1.
LONDON...- Eight European countries are breaking European Union law by negotiating civil aviation treaties directly with the United States....
[All that trouble to prematurely jump to a common currency, and 8 of these morons are undermining their common cause. What's the use of the Euro if they're going to just go along with "divide and conquer"?]
- [Then, more evidence that our leaders are nuts]
Bush plan defines fetus as person, by Sue Kirchhoff and Mary Leonard, Boston Globe, frontpage.
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration yesterday stirred the abortion debate by proposing that states classify fetuses as unborn persons so that low-income mothers qualify for prenatal coverage under a government health insurance program for children.
[So is he going to make them tax-deductible as "dependents"? Hey, why not look ahead and give them the vote. Or, wouldn't it just be easier to add pregnant women to the program? And who knows, maybe they're already included -]
Women's rights groups said that because most poor, pregnant women are eligible for health benefits under Medicaid, the move was unnecessary, politically motivated to please conservatives [this is hardly "conservative' - call it like it is, radical!], and designed to undermine abortion rights.
[Which women always had before the advent of x-ray movies of cute little fetuses in the 1950s, and which real conservatives and traditionalists always recognized. Trying to recognize a "person" inside and dependent-on another person is nothing but radical technological overkill. And it's awfully self-important too, because it's just an attempted shortcut-to-power by ignorant religious people who are trying to project the message, "I'm more sensitive than you are." Sound familiar? It's a variation on the theme of "holier than thou." Jesus Christ panned it in Matt. 23.]
- Sharon is sorry Israel didn't kill Arafat in the 80's, by James Bennet, NYT, frontpage.
JERUSALEM...- The Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, said in an interview published today that Israel should have killed Yasir Arafat when it had the chance in Lebanon 20 years ago.
[Oh what a diplomat! With such a Prime Minister, Israel can proceed efficiently with its metamorphosis into the successor of its World War II enemy.]
Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians' chief negotiator, said the comment indicated that Mr. Sharon "is going to correct his mistake now" by killing Mr. Arafat. Israel officials [backpaddled furiously for their foul-mouthed "leader" - ed.]
["Sew the wind, reap the whirlwind."]
Earlier Y2000 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec.1-10/2000 page.
Earlier 1999 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec.1-15/99 page.
Earlier months accessible via links at bottom of Dec/98 page.
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