Philosophy for any failing enterprise

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  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 20, 2013 4:33 p.m.

    @2 bits – “The correlation between Unions and Inflation was the point I was trying to make.”

    It has been correlated at times (and other times not) but it is not the cause of inflation.

    Inflation is caused by printing money in excess of economic growth, and unless this increase in the money supply is offset by other downward pressures (like what we have been experiencing since 2008), inflation will skyrocket.

    I believe a brief look at the countries that have seen high inflation at times over the last 100 years will bear this out.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Aug. 20, 2013 3:56 p.m.

    Re: "Teachers must have at least a Master's Degree to be certified and teach. Then they make about $15 and hour."

    First off, teachers can be certified and teach, even without a degree, but normal initial certification is with a Bachelor's.

    Secondly, Utah teachers with a Master's average at least double your cited figure [$46,889/yr; $29.96/hr (2011)].

    Which is substantially higher than most Utah workers [40,776, private sector; 40,992, public sector], particularly since a teacher's 9-10-month salary is often supplemented with substantial summer-vacation earnings.

    Maybe the dog ate the teacher union boss's homework.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 20, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    The correlation between Unions and Inflation was the point I was trying to make. And you highlighted it perfectly.

    Wages are not going up as fast as they did in the 70s. Because unions have stopped pushing for the huge wage increases they were striking for in the 70s. So everybody doesn't a need huge raise every year to keep up with 16-17% inflation.

    IMO Democrats, Unions, and Inflation tend to go together.

    Democrats like inflation (because it makes the masses think they are stimulating the economy). But when there's big inflation, eventually the masses realize that their income is not keeping up *they can't buy as much as they used to, even though the economy is growing, because inflation is also growing). Unions go to battle for their workers because they insist their worker's wages must outpace inflation. So the next group of laborers also need an increase (or they'll strike) because the truckers or the auto unions got their people a big raise. But the union inspired wage inflation just costs businesses more (because their labor costs went up), so prices go up, so wages must go up again. And the cycle continues.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 20, 2013 1:24 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah

    What level of education do you have?

    Teachers must have at least a Master's Degree to be certified and teach.
    Then they make about $15 and hour.

    It isn't the Teachers or the Unions over-paying Teachers that for sure.

    Your Red-Herring rants over blaming Union workers for America's economic woe's falls on the deaf ears of CEO's making $60,000 and hour.

  • mountainmoremanly mesa, AZ
    Aug. 20, 2013 11:41 a.m.

    The fact is that conservative covet the ease in which many third world countries strong arm and pilfer their countries. Privatization of everything is the only way to achieve their goals. They want a subservient class.

    The privatization experiments were first done in South and Central America including bringing the government to financial ruin first so the World Bank could mandate terms of reorganization. Buckle your seats America, it's already game on.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Aug. 20, 2013 10:48 a.m.

    Geez, all this talk about taking away the little bit of voice the worker might have, you put a lot of faith in the benevolence of people who are out for their own pocket book and power base. I know, lets pay them all minimum wage so they can live off food stamps and other subsidies not to mention that should really give your kids a quality education and give them safe civic protection.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 19, 2013 5:08 p.m.

    Look at how many still drink the union kool-aid. They seem to be lost in a time warp. Are they unaware of Kennecott? Are they unaware of the garment industry? Are they unaware of Detroit? Are they unaware of every business that has left this country because the unions made those businesses unprofitable?

    Teachers' unions do not serve the students. They do no serve society. They serve themselves. They keep poor teachers in the class room and they keep schools from innovating, just like they keep every business from innovating. How long ago was it that they insisted that "firemen" ride in the caboose with the "conductor" on every train, even though neither the "firemen" nor the "conductor" did anything more than play cards?

    When unions care enough about their people to insist that those people become productive and competitive, then, just maybe, unions will serve a purpose. Until them, they only serve themselves. They collect money from their members. Period.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 3:31 p.m.

    We have a massive problem in this country with plumbers. More and more Americans are experiencing major toilet failures. To solve this problem, it makes no sense to talk to plumbers. After all, what do they know? Let's ask airline pilots. They have all the answers!

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 19, 2013 2:54 p.m.

    2 bits,

    Need is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. Were they more necessary pre-WWII? Sure - they had big issues to fight. Were they more effective a few decades ago? Sure. Effectiveness (in terms of getting things to go their way) and membership are strongly correlated.

    I won’t quibble about the when. The graph has a bit of a plateau.

    Union domination did nose-dive under and after Reagan. The breaking of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization was the start of the slide.

    But, as Roland Kayser points out, the loss of union influence has also translated to lower wages generally and I believe has contributed to some of the loss of the US middle class.

    Check a paper from the MIT Industrial Performance Center titled “Inequality and Institutions in 20th Century America” or "The Great Divergence" series at Slate.

    I am not suggesting unions are always good or that they are the answer to our economic woes. But the frequent suggestions that now, at a time that unions are weaker than any time in the past 75 years, unions are our most significant economic problem is simply not supported.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 2:22 p.m.

    Employment is voluntary slavery. When you agree to be an employee, you park most of your rights and freedoms outside the door. You agree to work when, where and how your employer specifies. You start and stop your work and eat your lunch when the employer says. You come and go from your work station according to the wishes of the employer. Your outside activities may be controlled by the employer as in acceptable jobs, multiple jobs and even social activities. Any thing that you invent becomes the property of the employer, even if done away from the employment. As an individual your only recourse with the employer’s wishes is to leave the employment.

    Workers unions threaten the master/slave relationship and therefore business interests spend big bucks to demonize and weaken the unions. Their successful campaign has been helped by the availability of cheap labor and is the major cause of the poor economy.

  • metisophia Ogden, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 2:13 p.m.

    The biggest problem that I see in the letter is that she is blaming the craziness in education that has been mandated by politicians at the behest of business interests ( NCLB, RTTT, CCSS)on the actual educators who are teaching and running the schools. "We love all the hoops to jump through, all the tests to give and prepare for, all the grade each school nonsense, etc." said NO TEACHER EVER.

    If you think that public education is failing (which it is NOT, by the way -- that's another PR campaign meant to end public education) you can thank politicians, not teachers.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 1:56 p.m.

    Membership isn't my criteria for success. Need, and Effectiveness is my criteria. Membership just means they were good at recruiting (and in some cases requiring membership).

    Even if "Peak Membership" is your criteria... membership peaked in the 1950s (not the 1970s) which is where I indicated they started to lose relevance. I looked it up in your own source.

    By the 1970s Unions had driven America out of our area of dominance in manufacturing internationally. I was living in Japan at the time, and American cars and American made products were a joke internationally. We pulled out of that decline (partially because we got fed up with the "Missery Index" and threw Jimmy Carter and Democrats out in droves and elected Ronald Reagan (I know... that's going to drive some of the posters crazy but it's true, that's when America turned around and ended the 16% inflation, and Union domination really took a nose-dive).

    There was a time where Unions were REALLY important and needed. But that time was a LONG time ago.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 19, 2013 1:30 p.m.

    2 Bits,

    Look up "Labor unions in the United States" from the Wiki folks. There is a graph there that shows membership over time (as a percentage of total workers) from 1930-2010. Using zenith to mean apex or the highest point of attainment, the highest percentage of union membership was from the late 1940s to the early 1970s.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 12:46 p.m.

    I don't know when Labor Unions reached their Zenith. Nobody else knows either. It's just their opinion.

    IMO they were "Needed" in the early 1900s (when people were working in life threatening conditions and the employers were practically slave owners with most employees living in company housing and owing more than they could ever pay back to the company store).

    Labor conditions back then were REAL bad. Labor issues back then make today's labor issues (mostly about money and insurance) and today's labor unions look silly.

    The role of labor unions changed around the 1950's. And America changed around the same time. Unions are still needed, but it's not the same as the need we had for unions in the early 1900s.

    Around 1970's the United States went through quite an ordeal. My father was a Teamster Union member. I remember him being forced by the union to strike (without pay). I remember him trying to explain it too me. I remember interest rates in the 70s of 16% and higher on HOME loans (to keep up with inflation) and frequent strikes so workers wages could keep up with inflation.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 19, 2013 12:24 p.m.

    Steve Cottrell. The AMA and the ABA actually enforce and regulate standards of performances for doctors and lawyers, teacher's unions regulate nothing and only serve to protect bad teachers and schools. Nice try!

  • Jl Sandy, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    Darlene you letter has no relationship with fact. Your hyperbole indicates that at the very most you are a headline reader at best. Time to back your rhetoric I'd say.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    Unions reached the peak of their influence in 1970 and have been in decline ever since. Wages for working class men hit their peak in 1973 and have been in decline ever since. Am I the only one who notices a correlation?

  • Steve Cottrell Centerville, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 11:46 a.m.


    Perhaps you have never heard of the American Medical Association or the American Bar Association. But apparently you have heard of the Utah Education Association and the National Education Association. Each of these organizations is an ardent voice not only for their professional constituency but also for the audience they serve.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 19, 2013 11:21 a.m.

    @Mountanman – “I thought I have first claim on the money I worked for and earned, not the government.”

    Is it safe to assume the following?

    You never drive on roads, bridges, fly out of airports or use any ports?

    You have no need of police, fire department or the military (or will compensate them for your protection – fending of an invasion can be quite costly)?

    You will do all your own due diligence in all areas of commerce governed by laws & regulations (everything from signing a mortgage to buying meat and literally thousands of other areas we take for granted)?

    You will never open a business that will require any educated employees (or will pay us all back for their education costs)?

    You use no modern technology (most of which was initially researched by grant supported scientists)?

    You will never collect social security and will provide for your own medical care when you’re 65+ (when private insurance premiums skyrocket because “old people” are bad for business)?

    No doubt we can argue how much to pay (the government) but not whether to pay…

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 10:46 a.m.

    Re: "If you don't like Communism, Thank the Unions."

    Such statements would be comical, if they weren't uttered in such apparent earnest.

    Unions are infested, at almost every level, with those whose message is the tired, thoroughly discredited, false communist mantra -- "Workers unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains."

    Even though communism/socialism utterly fails workers, EVERY, time it's tried.

    Posters here continue to chant the tired mantra, just mouthing new words. Things like "Unions also kept greedy businesses from off-shoring and out sourcing American jobs" -- which they clearly didn't. Or, ". . . it was the anti-government Republican congress that did [insert whatever] . . . ."

    Or, the most laughable, "Unions created and maintained the Middle Class in America."

    Trade unionism has been the most evil, classist, destructive force in the American economy for the last 150 years. It long ago ran out of any real reason for existing, but its perfect storm of economic destruction was created by an unholy alliance of greedy union bosses, their socialist/communist handlers, and callow, true-believing rubes.

    So sad.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 19, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    Yes, let's get our answers from the students and the parents instead of the people who have spent their lives studying education and how to do it. While we're at it, let's ask each other what to do about our health problems and leave all the dumb doctors out of the discussion.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 19, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    @ Maverick. With all due respect, let me try to help you understand. No one is criticizing education, its teacher's unions that protect bad teachers, bad schools and thus harm education in general. There are no doctor's or lawyer's unions protecting bad doctors or lawyers. If you have a bad doctor or lawyer, you have the option of taking your business elsewhere (free market). Not so with teachers because of teacher's unions. Can you see the difference? Have a nice day!

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 8:50 a.m.

    Education is literally the only profession in this country that is scrutinized beyond belief.

    If you had legal problems would you go to a doctor, teacher, or lawyer?
    If you had health problems would you go to a teacher, lawyer, or doctor?

    Yet, for education to we turn to teachers for solutions? Nope. We go to anyone and everyone else.

    Why the double standard?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    I think we should just listen to the Koch Bros and Eagle Forum. They know what is best. Also, ignore teachers. They know nothing.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 8:17 a.m.

    Let's just take the post office. The biggest reason the post office is in trouble is because congress required them to pre-fund their retirement program for the next seventy-five years. No private business would think of doing this, because it's insane. Of course it was the anti-government Republican congress that did this, just to show us that government always fails.

    Another reason they are in trouble is that they are legally forced to provide service in areas where it is unprofitable. If you live in a remote rural area it might well cost the post office $25.00 to get mail to you, even though legally they can only charge 44 cents. The Post Office has tried to close unprofitable post offices, but congress always prevents them from doing so.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 19, 2013 8:05 a.m.

    @ Ultra Bob. Thanks for setting my mind right, I thought I have first claim on the money I worked for and earned, not the government. I guess I was wrong. How much of my money should I give the government?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 8:00 a.m.

    It is strange to see a person laud the straight thing individuals and then proceed to demonstrate the warped mind set created by others with ulterior motives.
    But then again, maybe the writer is speaking of the unions, Art groups, associations, clicks, bars, gilds and other private enterprises, of people who’s best interest is simply to take the money that workers have earned without doing any work themselves.

    The people who work at protecting and providing for the people should have the first call for the taxpayer money. People who provide the services that are of dubious value should come last.

    Detroit is said to have an Art collection worth 2 Billion dollars. The article didn’t tell how much Detroit actually paid for the art collection and it’s maintenance.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 19, 2013 7:52 a.m.

    I fail to understand why, in an era in which unions are at their weakest in anyone's memory, we keep getting these letters.

    If unions are the source of all that is wrong in America, what about the 1950s-1970s when unions were at their zenith?

    Please understand, I think there ARE problems with unions (just as I think there are problems with corporate or govt. management). But the hysteria in such letters are simply beyond reality.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 7:34 a.m.

    Part II

    Unions also kept greedy businesses from off-shoring and out sourcing American jobs,
    Kept businesses from hiring illegal immigrants.

    Did you ever stop and ask yourself why Communist China outlaws Unions,
    while the rest of Europe, Asia and the rest of the free world doesn't?

    Blame the Unions,
    Ironically -- YOU are the Communists closest allies.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 7:21 a.m.

    Another day,
    Another "blame the Unions" letter.

    If only I had a dollar...

    Unions didn't ruin German, Japan, or Korea.
    Quite the contrary.

    Unions created and maintained the Middle Class in America.
    And the fall of Unions in America has now ushered in the fall of the Middle Class.

    BTW -- Just another reminder to all the anti-Union, anti-Socialist paranoid worry warts...
    Unions broke DOWN the Iron Curtain, not strengthened it.

    If you don't like Communism, Thank the Unions.