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UNIONS PROTESTING MORE COs, SPARKING NEW FEARS ABOUT JOBS
JIM LACAMP: Every time you make it harder for an employer to hire somebody, they're going to hire less people. We're already seeing it in the jobs numbers. ObamaCare has already cost a tremendous amount of jobs, and since the president was re-elected and it became apparent that ObamaCare was coming back in, we've seen those layoffs accelerate. Now the unions are trying to kick businesses at a time when businesses are hurting and at a time when they are already uncertain about their labor cost. This is going to take full-time jobs to part-time jobs and it's going to mean the closing of plants and factories. It's already met one with the Hostess Twinkie factory.
TOBIN SMITH: We're fortunate in our overall economy that we have over 150 million workers. We're only now at a nine or 10 percent union total labor force. In the states, when you look at the numbers, the states are not right to work states where unions can force a company to pay dues. Those states are falling behind. The clear empirical evidence is that the more these guys have power, fewer jobs get created.
GARY B. SMITH: Unions were obviously a big supporter of Obama and the liberal agenda and rightly so because they've worked nicely with each other. As unions become bigger than the nine or ten percent that Toby said, it tends to work the opposite of what we want to see happen to jobs and unemployment. We want to see unemployment go down but the whole point of unions is to raise wages and benefits. Unions want to have fewer jobs so they could have more benefits for each worker. It tends to work against full employment as Jim pointed out. You saw it at Hostess and finally they got to the point where it broke the back of the company and now you have those eighteen thousand jobs gone.
STEVE MURPHY: Clashing is not a great thing, but it's the way that unions get their point across. Having more of the workforce unionized is a great thing for the economy and not a bad thing. This is still 70 percent a consumer economy. People need money in their pockets in order to purchase things and drive the economy forward, and right now that's not happening because wages have gone down per capita dramatically over the last couple of generations. The strongest economies in the world have the highest level of unionization in Northern Europe.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: Unfortunately, with the way that the global economy is changing it's very difficult to negotiate anything as a union. That's why unionization rates in the private sector are shrinking and will continue to shrink even though the White House is favorable to unions. You can't fight this global market force, and it's very difficult to negotiate higher benefit packages that people used to get thirty years ago. It's too easy to move offshore, it's too easy to outsource and it's just not going to happen. As far as the relationship to unemployment rates - it's kind of a strange one. That's not where you see the damage from the union that it does to mostly profits and also to the economy. In fact, the state with the highest unionization rate is New York which has a lower unemployment rate than North Carolina which has the lowest unionization rate of 2.9 percent versus 28 percent. In some cases, unions actually stopped firing and although it's not good for the economy -- it keeps the unemployment artificially high, but it removes flexibility to the employer which could hurt an economy in the long run.
FEDERAL WORKERS GROUP: DON'T TOUCH OUR PAY, BENEFITS IN FISCAL CLIFF DEAL
GARY B. SMITH: It comes from two perspectives. One, in like for like jobs including the benefits and wages, government employees make out a lot better than their counterparts in the private sector. Two, the unemployment rate for government workers is about half of what the unemployment rate is for the general population is about four and a half percent. They've been doing fabulously on the backs of the private sector which has suffered. Asking them to contribute a little bit more I think is quite fair.
STEVE MURPHY: They have done enough, but they're going to have to do more. White collar federal workers don't do as well as their counterparts in the private sector. Blue collar workers do, but white collar workers don't, but we're talking over a trillion dollars here. We're talking a national crisis. We're talking about something that could bring the country and the world economy down. Everyone is going to have to do more. Wages were frozen, but we're going to have to have the federal workers as well as just about everybody who's touched by the federal budget make big sacrifices.
JIM LACAMP: They've seen their pay disappear. They've lost their jobs and we haven't seen as many federal workers lose their jobs. If you want to break down the numbers it is true that maybe their salaries aren't higher for white collar workers, but their retirement plans are significantly better and they can retire earlier and have a much longer pension. Those pensions are largely absent from the private sector now, so they do have a better deal and a lot more job security. I think that the hand that feeds them is suffering and they need to be more willing to take more cuts. If you don't like it, then you can go onto the private sector and leave that public sector job.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: Not only is it unfair, but it's not possible because there is so much wrong with the budget. The beauty of the cliff is that it is across the board and needs to be across the board both on the tax increases and the spending cuts. The minute you start carving out groups that aren't going to get a tax increase or the spending cuts the government needs to do -- the whole thing starts to unravel and that's what happened with the health care plan. We've got too much of a budget gap, and yet they took some pay freezes, but in low inflation times like we're in now -- it's not as hard to cut as it sounds like. It's going to be taxes and spending cuts across the board particularly to federal state and local workers.
TOBIN SMITH: We're not even talking about that state, but at the federal level the good news is that the cost of the federal workers relative to the budget deficits are small, but the idea that we're picking on them and they're not getting the right deal -- get out to the real world.
REPORT: MAJORITY OF RECENT COLLEGE GRADS SAY 'AMERICAN DREAM IS DEAD'
TOBIN SMITH: Let's go back and look at the Dow Jones for instance. In other words, we've continually as the United States gone through these cycles, and part of learning in college is about the cycle in the twenties and the thirties, World War II and 9/11. We have come back and we've been stronger because we as a people and the American dream have always been alive. That dream is opportunity, hard work and the ability to take a risk, and be rewarded for a risk. We haven't taken those things out of our economy. Let's look to history and history says we're going to be just fine.
GARY B. SMITH: I appreciate Toby's optimism, but I'll put myself in the shoes of my daughter who graduated about eighteen months ago from college and what does she face? Can't find a job, I think she'll face persistently high unemployment; she'll face having to service this huge deficit that we've run up through higher taxes which we know are coming. She'll face, in my opinion, higher healthcare costs not lower health care costs. She probably will be very hard pressed to ever get a loan for a house now that we've clamped down on the whole mortgage industry. The American dream is not dead, but it is on life support at this moment.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: The American dream that these students are thinking about is dead. The one with the gold watch, job security, and owning a house with a picket fence - that American dream is gone. That's not really the American dream. People didn't come to America to have mansions with granite counter tops and to have job security. They came here to start a business because you could do that and it's still the best place to do that.
STEVE MURPHY: It's never been easy and I don't understand this generation from one perspective. Forty years ago over 60 percent of high school students worked in the summer. Today it's 40 percent. Where is the hardship?
JIM LACAMP: Things are different than they were even 25, 30 years ago. When you graduated from college you could get a job coming out of college. Things are different and the administration hasn't made it any easier with all this class warfare with the one side always being vilified and angry at the other side. Americans will get through this. We've made it through the civil war, through two world wars, we're almost halfway through the Obama administration -- we're going to make it through these things.
TOBIN SMITH: (EBAY)
GARY B. SMITH: (TGT)
JIM LACAMP: (UNG)
JONAS MAX FERRIS: (MMM)