Friday, January 21, 2011

Under 7%, people

Recession Continues to Take a Toll on Union Membership | CEPR Blog

The labor market recession continued to exact a toll on union membership in 2010. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics Union Membership report, the unionized share of the U.S. workforce dropped to 11.9 percent last year from 12.3 percent in 2009. The private sector unionization rate fell to 6.9 percent in 2010, from 7.2 percent in 2009.

Even as employment losses slowed in 2010, unions continued to lose members, compared with 2009 where union membership and overall employment decreased at about the same rate. In 2010, union rolls shrank by about 600,000 members. Over 2009 and 2010, the Great Recession helped to reduce union rolls by more than 1.3 million members. In the absence of federal support for state and local governments, public sector cutbacks will continue to depress the overall union membership rate.

Don't Blog, Organize!

I've been working on it for two days now and I have still not made it all the way through this great post on L'Hote. As I was thinking I should finish reading it before commenting on it, it occurred to me that maybe there is no strong labor presence in the blogosphere because people who care about labor are working very hard organizing people and they have little free time to be thinking about how to craft a left critique of the modern political scene, let alone write about it. Lord knows there are precious few brilliant people in the labor movement today - dying professions tend not to attract large numbers of the best and brightest - and those that exist need to be in the field, not running blogs.

And I second Farley at LGM, let's not be thinking that the modern American labor movement is populated with a whole of far-left people, especially in any kind of leadership role. Hasn't been the case since the 50s. As the post itself makes clear, centrist liberals have been willing to run away from the crazy commies for a long time now and people who espouse far-left ideas do not rise high in any American bureaucracy, including labor.

All of which is kind of covered in the post itself. I wish I had more time to engage with it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

For God's Sake, Why Can't We Put This State on Kruse Control?!

Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

E-Newsletter Number 1, Volume 1

Working Hard For You


I received a few interesting responses to my last newsletter. There were some who seem to get the impression I am anti-government. Actually there are people who seem to think many of the groups who have sprung up around this country, like the Tea Party, are anti-government. They are not and I am not. Government is essential for a well ordered society. The alternative is anarchy, which no reasonable person would want. The real question is; what is the role of government? This is the question our Founders tried to answer with the Constitution.

Some answers seem easy, like national defense and police protection. But even areas like these can have subsets. Clearly an army needs to be of a national scale, but do we need a national police force? As in most areas of government The Constitution assigned these duties and responsibilities to the individual states. Additionally the states have assigned core functions to the individual cities and counties. This is simple in principle as the best government is at the level closest to the people. In reality the states have found it necessary to have a state police force to deal with public safety issues that cross jurisdictional boundaries. Similarly the federal government found it necessary to create the FBI to deal with public safety issues that crossed state boundaries. I don’t think anyone would argue this matrix is not necessary and appropriate, but it should also be noted jurisdiction starts at the local level and moves up based on defined criteria.

The transportation infrastructure is another example of an area government involvement is logical and necessary. This area also has well defined areas of jurisdiction and responsibility. While it is important for the federal government to have responsibility for the part of the transportation system connecting the country, it would create an unmanageable mess to put the feds in charge of all city and county roads. The reality is, in most areas of government involvement, the farther up the “food chain” one goes the more complicated and non-responsive things become. This is a good agreement for local control in everything from education to social services. One size does not fit all and never works the way it is intended.

The question before us now is quite simply has government become involved in areas of our life it does not have the Constitutional authority to be involved in. Example: the Federal Department of Education. The enumerated powers clearly leave this authority with the states and very few in the education enterprise will tell you they find benefit from this agency. The same can be said for all social services. What we have seen at both the state and federal level over the last 60 years is a growth in government that has out stripped our ability to pay for it with increasingly diminishing returns on investment. Currently the only sector of our society experiencing growth is government and the increasing tax burden is making it harder for many in the private sector to stay solvent. During this Legislative Session it is my hope we will revisit a lot of the programs enacted over the years (most with the best of intentions) and make discrete decisions as their continuation.

I want to tell you a story about a conversation I had with a constituent many years ago. She called to complain about the quality of food her kids were getting in the school breakfast program. At the end of the conversation she actually said (almost as a threat) that if there wasn’t improvement she was going to start feeding her kids breakfast before they went to school. I told her maybe that would be a good idea. When we have reached the point where people think it is government’s responsibility to raise and feed our children we have gone too far.

Without personal responsibility there can be no personal success. As long as a person is dependent on government they will never achieve their full potential; which would be my wish for everyone. Government is not smarter than people and people know more of what is in their own personal best interest than government does.

A line from a John Lennon song from the 60’s was “power to the people”. It is time to once again make that line a reality.


Senator Jeff Kruse

Gun Show

When we live in a country where someone can seriously advance the argument that the fact one of the people who tackled the Arizona shooter to the ground had a concealed weapon on him at the time is proof that concealed carry works and gun control is a loser, liberal idea, then I don't know what the hell we're gonna do.

Said it before, say it again, seems like we lost the debate somewhere and were not even in the fraking game any more.