Friday, May 06, 2005

Wine of the Week - May 6

Tonight, I'm dining on Dominoes cheese pizza and drinking as much of a 2002 Lodi Merlot as I can to wipe from my memory this weeks whining. This Talus Collection merlot is a product of Todd Ziemann Wineries. It has a bold flavor that would go well with even the spiciest marinades and peppercorn sauces. Where "Great" would be the highest rating, I would give this wine a "Good" rating, and recommend making a little room for it in the cellar.

Now for a whine with a truly foul stench, we turn to Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times who is crest-fallen over the California ballot initiative that will cripple workers' God-given right of collective political action.

This initiative would require all public employee unions to obtain annual written permission from their members before contributing money to political candidates or groups. The promoters hope to exploit human inertia to hobble the unions in one of their most important functions, which is to support candidates who promote workers' interests over industrialists': If union members have to affirmatively approve such expenditures every year, the backers assume, a sizable percentage won't bother.

The reality is that all the talk by the initiative's sponsors about empowering the worker is fatuous bunk; they're really out to cripple one of the few tools the worker has to be heard by the powers that be — collective political action.

But they know and care nothing about the wants and needs of workers. Their ostentatious solicitude reminds me of a scene from Bernard Shaw's "Man and Superman," in which the wealthy nonentity Octavius Robinson declares, "I believe most intensely in the dignity of labor." To which the hardworking mechanic, Enry Straker, replies: "That's because you never done any, Mr. Robinson."

What a drama queen! The worker has never had the power of collective political action, that is a power that labor union leaders assume for themselves to further their own interests at the expense (figuratively and literally) of their members. Honestly, I think the truth of that statement will be proven if this initiative is passed by the voters. Union members aren't going to risk the ire of the labor bosses who wouldn't hesitate to ruin any number of livlihoods to defend their power of collective political action.

*The Editorial Board at the Des Moines Register is this week's runner-up by whining about the plight of the average worker in Iowa under President Bush's proposed Social Security reforms.

Under one proposal he's endorsed, a worker earning $36,507 this year would see his or her monthly benefit check fall from $1,653 to $1,382 in 2045. In Iowa, where median earnings for a working male in 2003 were about $36,000 and for a female $27,000, that means a substantial loss.

There are less painful strategies to shore up the safety net, such as lifting the cap on the payroll taxes used to fund Social Security.

Yet the president chooses the most painful road - taking dollars from middle-class working Americans upon retirement. It's unnecessary and defies common sense. Congress should look at other options.

Pity those poor Iowans making $36,000 per year. I wonder if the Register Editorial Board bemoaned the 85 percent cut in benefits inflicted upon those workers in 1993, as I point out in my Ponzi scheme post?

**Nature Magazine Online gets an honorable mention for the whine of the week for an article decrying the contribution clean air is making to the problem of global warming. (hat tip: QandO Blog)

Reductions in industrial emissions in many countries, along with the use of particulate filters for car exhausts and smoke stacks, seem to have reduced the amount of dirt in the atmosphere and made the sky more transparent.

That sounds like very good news. But the researchers say that more solar energy arriving on the ground will also make the surface warmer, and this may add to the problems of global warming.

Stop Global Warming, Burn More Coal!.


Blogger Mike said...

Labor unions are losing their grip on American politics. They were useful back when people worked for one company their entire lives. Now people jump companies and jobs an average of 8 times in their careers. They have no loyalty to the company or the labor union. They used to be a powerful force back when there were monopolies on many industries, but now with free markets and trade they are a thing of the past. All they do is drive up the costs for their companies and accelerate their decline.

7:22 AM  
Blogger The Indigent Blogger said...

Agreed. In fact, I believe Teachers are actually UNDER paid BECAUSE of the labor unions. I believe if the education system were opened up and private schools were permitted to compete for education dollars using the same standards for teacher qualification and student testing, private schools would begin popping up everywhere and competition for qualified teachers would sky-rocket, along with their salaries.

7:52 AM  
Blogger a senior administration official said...

In his June 6 piece, Hiltzik is at it again, promoting tax hikes to support the state Assembly's spending habit. Cutting spending would be too simple a solution. We wrote about it here.

9:22 AM  

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