ICYMI: Purple states, razing homes and the UAW heads south

Response to this feature last week was pretty good, so I’m trying it again today: a rundown of articles, essays, graphs, etc. from this week that are interesting but haven’t made it to my blog until now.

  • Polls from so-called battleground states suggest President Obama’s re-election chances are worse than the national surveys would indicate.
  • All the talk about spending cuts in the debt-ceiling debate ignores the fact that neither side is talking about anything more than slowing the growth rate of spending. And here’s a useful graph comparing the two plans by Speaker John Boehner and the one by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
  • An astonishing chart showing the price of the average U.S. house in ounces of gold. It’s enough to make one consider selling gold and buying real estate — so long as you do it before banks reduce a lot of the housing stock by tearing down unwanted, foreclosed homes.
  • Someone else argues the higher tax rates of yesteryear won’t solve Washington’s budget deficits unless we also return to ye olde spending levels. This example uses figures from the 1950s, versus my earlier suggestion about taking the example of the Clinton-Gingrich-Lott era.
  • Talk about the UAW organizing workers at Volkswagen’s new factory in Chattanooga may mean that a potential Audi plant, for which Georgia might have competed, will end up in Mexico instead.
  • Georgia’s newest Public Service Commissioner is making the rounds — Savannah, Albany, France — on the dime of taxpayers and campaign contributors, with the latter group contributing not only to his election but his personal business.
  • Finally, a thought-provoking piece from the always-worth-reading Walter Russell Mead about the dark side of human progress, as revealed in Norway. (It’s fairly long by online standards, and I don’t agree with every word, but it’s worth your time.)

– By Kyle Wingfield

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70 comments Add your comment

Jefferson

July 28th, 2011
12:44 pm

The UAW won’t have a chance if the company and management treats the employees fairly. Otherwise its a free country.

SLK 65

July 28th, 2011
1:05 pm

The UAW, the union that paid it’s employes to watch movies and do cross word puzzles. And people wonder why American cars are such junk!!

Ryan

July 28th, 2011
1:05 pm

It’s not a completely free country if I can’t fire people that strike. It the company and management don’t treat you fairly then find another job. Either somebody else will work in your place or the management/company will have to respond to -market- demand and make conditions and/or pay better.

Alatsea

July 28th, 2011
1:08 pm

Unions in the south, can’t wait to watch that.

Maggi

July 28th, 2011
1:28 pm

It will be an absolute frozen day in hell before the UAW takes any type of hold on manufacturing facilities in the south.

We absolutely do no want their filth in our state.
You want Atlanta to become the next Detroit? Let the UAW in and watch it happen.

Mr_B

July 28th, 2011
1:28 pm

And I suppose that the VW plant in Germany Aren’t unionized?

BW

July 28th, 2011
1:29 pm

It was only a matter of time on UAW in the South….all good things must come to an end

ByteMe

July 28th, 2011
1:30 pm

And here’s a useful graph comparing the two plans by Speaker John Boehner and the one by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Note that the chart is “Non-War” whild Reid’s plan assumes a fast draw-down of our middle east military presence. So much for apples to apples comparisons, huh?

Talk about the UAW organizing workers at Volkswagen’s new factory in Chattanooga may mean that a potential Audi plant, for which Georgia might have competed, will end up in Mexico instead.

May, might, kind-a, would-a, should-a, could-a….. or not.

Kyle Wingfield

July 28th, 2011
1:37 pm

ByteMe: And the House already counted the savings from such a drawdown in its 2012 budget. The Senate doesn’t have a 2012 budget.

If we’re talking apples to apples.

Kyle Wingfield

July 28th, 2011
1:42 pm

And since the drawdown either will happen or it won’t — unless you actually believe the Senate or the House would defund the wars before the president is ready — it seems pretty gimmicky to include it in a debt-ceiling proposal.

yuzeyurbrane

July 28th, 2011
1:46 pm

Kyle, I have never seen a union that you liked. Is my observation accurate?

Mishap

July 28th, 2011
1:48 pm

I’m no fan of unions but if a corporation can be considered a person then I don’t see why they aren’t allowed to exist. Just as unions try to skew the tables by buying influence, corporations do the same so I honestly don’t see all that many real corporate victims. GM/Ford/Chrysler had decades to figure their problems out and an antagonistic labor relationship wasn’t the only reason they sucked.

Pretty much all of VW’s European operations are union so perhaps they’re a little more skilled in union negotiation. Then again, the UAW tried to unionize my school which failed miserably so I don’t know how good they are at actually collective bargaining.

SLK 65,
I don’t know if they actually ever put a V12 in an SLK but I’m pretty sure it and any German built Merc was made by lazy union workers.

Given how anti-union much of the south is and how desperate our unemployment situation is, I think so long as VW plays it carefully by the rules, if a union actually makes forms and causes a strike via economic conditions, they could have a line of scabs all the way to Florida. That seriously weakens the ability for the UAW to get much of a hold. Obviously you gotta have lawyers watching every move but so long as they pay the prevailing wage the union doesn’t stand a great chance of catching on in a red state even if conditions are bad.

Kyle Wingfield

July 28th, 2011
1:52 pm

I dunno, Yuze, how many unions have you seen? :-)

bo

July 28th, 2011
1:55 pm

unions wouldn’t actually be new to the south, just new to foreign car manufacturers located in the south.

bo

July 28th, 2011
1:56 pm

you mean the lack of unions are the only thing making the south more attractive than Mexico?

GT

July 28th, 2011
2:01 pm

Is the Tea Party part of UAW?

Alice

July 28th, 2011
2:03 pm

You should post scenic wilderness picture then go on vacation for a week. Jay did that and now he has well over 3,000 comments on his blogs and he isn’t even there! I think that’s hysterical. Just goes to show any ol’ spambot could do his job and nobody is really listening anyway.

Alice

July 28th, 2011
2:06 pm

Bo, that’s true what you say. The Teamsters and IBEW have been in the south since way before I was born. But I don’t think this is the right time to appeal to autoworkers in the south. Everyone just so glad to have a job. I’m still trying to get a job at the KIA plant or the Hyundai plant.

the red herring

July 28th, 2011
2:22 pm

Unions are part of what is sending jobs overseas and across the border. Like it or not after constant votes and re-votes to try to unionize an air conditioner manufacturer in a nearby Ga. town closed up shop and moved those jobs to mexico. Approximately 700 jobs were lost in a mid-size town. Was it worth it to allow the union to keep badgering the people to vote to unionize after they voted 3 consecutive years not to. I doubt it as the company simply got tired of the threat(s).

Jefferson

July 28th, 2011
2:28 pm

If not for bad management, unions would not have any reason to exist. Its a two way street.

Linda

July 28th, 2011
2:29 pm

If you count accurately spelled words & complete sentences, Kyle’s blogs are longer.

Hillbilly D

July 28th, 2011
2:29 pm

unions wouldn’t actually be new to the south, just new to foreign car manufacturers located in the south

This is very true.

Mishap

July 28th, 2011
2:29 pm

^Solution to our problem. Let’s get the UAW to unionize Mexico. Japan already has higher labor costs, China’s consuming more cars than it can build, and our unions are already into CA.

Alice

July 28th, 2011
2:29 pm

I tried to read the piece by your friend Walter Russell Mead but I just couldn’t do it. He rambled on so, he sounded like that TBO guy that blows up Jim Wooten’s blog.

As far as polls and predictions on who might win the next election, it seems both democrats and republicans fail to cater to moderates. The democrats and republicans still have not acknowedged that President Obama won in a landslide because the republicans were too busy catering to the far right and now the democrats seem to be more concerned with catering to those who are already on their side. Whoever can win that large group of people in middle, the moderates, the indepents; that’s who will win the election. They have always been the deciding vote and neither side will acknowledge that. That’s why it’s time for a third party. The party of common sense.

Hillbilly D

July 28th, 2011
2:29 pm

Oops. Put my / in the wrong place.

Ken

July 28th, 2011
2:44 pm

Enter your comments here

SimonLegree

July 28th, 2011
2:50 pm

Oh for the days when a man could just own a worker, wink wink nudge nudge. None of this here workers rights and that claptrap. Why less than 100 years ago goon squads could lynch a union organizer like Frank Little and get just a tsk tsk from the authorities! However did we let such good times go away? Everyone knows its the union worker that is the criminal and not the employer, why those Triangle factory worker should have worn asbestos undergarments and they wouldn’t have burned to death so readily. Employers would never abuse a worker, because how can you abuse something that doesn’t have rights. Am I right?

Alice

July 28th, 2011
2:54 pm

Hillbilly D, mind where you put your /. You could put someone’s eye out.

SimoneLegree, you are right. That’s why it’s always best to get illegal immigrants to do the work. They don’t complain so much. I mean really, who are they going to complain to?

RGB

July 28th, 2011
3:21 pm

Gotta love it when people live soooo far in the past they have to go back 100 years to find a boogeyman to use as a reason why we should want to have dope-smoking, beer-drinking auto union workers in the South.

You people never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

commoncents

July 28th, 2011
3:22 pm

SimonLegree: “Employers would never abuse a worker, because how can you abuse something that doesn’t have rights. Am I right?”

I’m pretty sure in the last 100 or so years regulations/agencies have been passed/created that guarantee rights and working conditions for employees… just look at OSHA, minimum wages, equal opportunity, etc. Unions are not much needed anymore.

If I’m unsatisfied with my job, I am free to look for work somewhere else where I am more valuable. Unions are a crutch for those incapable of doing so for themselves when they decide that they need more money, more vacation, earlier retirement, etc

RGB

July 28th, 2011
3:24 pm

What are the dangers of the American motoring public driving an automobile assembled by a UAW worker?

On their smoke breaks at lunch, they probably don’t inhale……or swallow……or if they do they’ve developed a tolerance……really.

commoncents

July 28th, 2011
3:26 pm

When I was looking to buy a new jeep recently, I couldn’t in Augusta. It seems that CSX was striking and shut down the rails between there and up North, resulting in no new shipments of my precious jeep! Amazing that one union could easily stop an entire industry.

Hillbilly D

July 28th, 2011
3:28 pm

why we should want to have dope-smoking, beer-drinking auto union workers in the South

My Daddy is 63 year member of the UAW (retired), don’t drink alcohol and never used drugs.

Unions are far from perfect but where would we be without them? As for those who say they are no longer necessary, if they were to all go away tomorrow, it’d just be a matter of time until things reverted back to where they were 100 years ago.

The current rate of union members in the work force is now somewhere around 15%. Doesn’t seem like a big enough percentage to be killing our economy to me.

And by the way, the highest paid auto workers in the world are in Germany.

MarkV

July 28th, 2011
3:52 pm

Kyle,
With all your emphasis on cutting spending as much as possible, here is my question to you: Who is it who will NOT receive the money you want to cut? What will be the effect of those people NOT getting the money and therefore not being able to spend them?

carlosgvv

July 28th, 2011
4:08 pm

You “Godbotherers”, before you start asking for God’s compassion, might start by wondering what kind of God would allow this tragedy to happen. If you are able to drop all your illusions and delusions and use your common sense and reason, you will conclude that, for all practial purposes, there is no God and we are on our own here.

Jefferson

July 28th, 2011
4:09 pm

Why is a polical union like parties ok with you anti union types?

Jefferson

July 28th, 2011
4:10 pm

political, that is.

Bart Abel

July 28th, 2011
4:52 pm

RE: “And since the drawdown either will happen or it won’t — unless you actually believe the Senate or the House would defund the wars before the president is ready — it seems pretty gimmicky to include it in a debt-ceiling proposal.”

Yes it is. But Paul Ryan included the drawdown to exaggerate the savings in his budget. He claimed $1.6 trillion in deficit reduction from 2012 to 2021 when about $1.3 trillion would have come from the drawdown.

Republicans are in no position to complain when Dems steal their gimmicks.

@@

July 28th, 2011
5:01 pm

Kyle, the “useful chart” has yet to appear. Does that mean the money’s gone already?

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

July 28th, 2011
5:38 pm

Here’s the Question of the Day-

The national debt now stands at $14.3 trillion. We are being asked to allow Washington to borrow even more. When does the day for fighting actually come?

Bohner and Hairy Reed have same plan, boy, didn’t Kyle say it all?

Linda

July 28th, 2011
5:40 pm

There are some good things that are happening as a result of these debt ceiling/debt talks. One is that the American people are awake. They know more about what is going on in DC than they did last month. They also are becoming aware of just how much trouble the country is in. We are borrowing 40% of the money we are spending & there is no way that raising taxes will solve the problem. There has been a spending problem going on in DC for decades, especially the last 2 yrs. If the debt ceiling is not lifted by “doomsday,” the treasury dept. will need to prioritize who gets paid. The govt. can afford to pay only 60% of those who are expecting checks. There is 40% of govt. that govt. simply cannot afford.

The spending cutting negotiations are a joke. We are adding over $1.5 T to the debt every year. If there is a bill that cuts $2 T over 10 yrs., that is a cut of an average of $200 B per year, of money that will not be ADDED to the debt. It means that we will ONLY be adding an average of $1.3 T instead of $1.5 T to the debt, which in 10 yrs. will be another $13 T added to the current $14.5 T.

The credit agencies are correct. There is no way that the country can sustain this debt. We will default. There are 2 ways to default. One is that we simply can’t pay our bills. That is likely not to happen since there is the Fed. Reserve who prints money out of thin air, causing inflation. The likely way that we will default is also because of the Fed. Reserve. The 80 million checks the federal govt. sends out every month simply will not pay the increasing costs of the expenses of the recipients, due to inflation.

Bart Abel

July 28th, 2011
5:53 pm

RE: “There has been a spending problem going on in DC for decades,…”

We had budget surpluses in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001.

Lil' Barry Bailout

July 28th, 2011
6:24 pm

Why did the national debt go up if we had “surpluses”?

Lil' Barry Bailout

July 28th, 2011
6:30 pm

Lil' Barry Bailout

July 28th, 2011
6:36 pm

Parasite nation continued:

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/ED-AN975_1downg_D_20110727155108.jpg

It’s the “entitlement” spending, stupid.

Linda

July 28th, 2011
7:20 pm

Bart@5:53, Nice try.
Budgets are projections, submitted months before the fiscal year begins. Actual expenditures & revenues can exceed or fall short of those projections. When Cheney said that budgets don’t matter, he was right in that debt matters more than budgets. What matters is the amt. added to the debt.
Regardless of the budget surpluses under Clinton during the years you mentioned, the national debt increased each & every year.
Correction: budgets are NORMALLY submitted months before the fiscal year begins, except the Democrats haven’t passed a budget in over 800 days. Obama’s budget, submitted on Valentine’s Day, made history. It was voted down in the Democratically-controlled Senate by 0-97. Not one Democrat would vote for it.

Rohandra

July 28th, 2011
7:38 pm

“— so long as you do it before banks reduce a lot of the housing stock by tearing down unwanted, foreclosed homes.”

Sure wish the bank would go ahead and bulldoze my next door neighbor’s house. They were foreclosed a year ago, still in the house but now squatters. The place is literally falling apart, grass knee high and they only mow it when the HOA sends them a letter. Thank you Community Reinvestment Act.

Linda

July 28th, 2011
7:45 pm

Has anyone else noticed that the $2 T in spending cuts that both the Republicans in the House & the Democrats in the Senate have come up with to cut over 10 years is about half of what the economic stimulus bill of almost $1 T cost? It’s taken weeks to come up with cuts of $2 T & only took a moment to spend $1 T, less than 3 weeks after Obama was inaugurated.

Has anyone noticed that Obama wanted to increase the debt ceiling by $2.4 T without any spending cuts attached to it? He wanted a clean debt ceiling bill to keep spending (paying for already spent bills) until after the 11/12 election. That means out national debt is projected to be $16.9 T in about 15 months.

Is anyone else alarmed?

Lil' Barry Bailout

July 28th, 2011
7:53 pm

I think Obozo did manage to identify, wait for it, $2 billion in cuts the first year. What a joke of an idiot we have in our White House.

gm

July 28th, 2011
7:54 pm

Of course the big business of the south hate unions, because they can pay slave wages to some of these emplyees.
Hickville is at will state, you can fire people at will, pay low wages and their is nothing they can do, you can not pay people up north or the midwest with the cheap pay you give these people in the south, unions fight for wages and rights, thats why the south is control by the rednecks who are to stupid to have a union to represent them, to have a better standard of living.