Some Thoughts On Labor On Labor Day

When one looks back over the history of the development of the modern economy from the agricultural age, to the industrial age, to the information age, the development of a strong labor movement has to be one of the signature events. Capitalism, taken to its excesses, does not allocate economic value fairly to all participants in the economic system. The workers, slaving away to build the railroad, the skyscraper, etc, provide real and substantial value to the overall system and yet, because they are commodified and interchangeable parts, they don’t always get their fair share of the economic value they help to create. So the labor movement provides the market power that each worker individually cannot provide.

The emergence of the middle class in the developed world in the 19th and 20th centuries has as much to do with the emergence of a labor movement as it has to do with anything. And a growing middle class in turn drove economic development as the obtained earning power was spent on needs like homes, cars, education, etc.

I am a fan of the idea that labor needs a mechanism to obtain market power as a counterbalance to the excesses of markets and capitalism. I think we can look back and see all the good that has come from a strong labor movement in the US over the past 150 years.

However, like all bureaucratic institutions, the “Union” mechanism appears anachronistic sitting here in the second decade of the 21st century. We are witnessing the sustained unwinding of 19th and 20th century institutions that were built at a time when transaction and communications costs were high and the overhead of bureaucracy and institutional inertia were costs that were unavoidable.

One has to think “if I were constructing a labor movement from scratch in 2015, how would I do it?”  My colleague Nick Grossman coined the term “Union 2.0” inside our firm to talk about all the organizing tools coming to market to assist workers in the “gig economy.” But I think Union 2.0 is way bigger than the gig economy. The NY Times has a piece today on workers in a carwash in Santa Fe organizing outside of the traditional union system. One can imagine leveraging technology, communications, and marketplaces to allow such a thing on a much larger scale.

I don’t know how much the traditional union system taxes workers to provide the market power they need. But if its like any other hierarchical system that we are seeing replaced by networks and markets, the take rates are in the 20-40% range and could be lowered to sub 5% with technology.

That’s a big deal. And I suspect we will see just that happen in my lifetime. I sure hope so.

#economics#entrepreneurship#hacking government#Uncategorized

Comments (Archived):

  1. pointsnfigures

    “Capitalism, taken to its excesses, does not allocate economic value fairly to all participants in the economic system.”This is where we disagree. Can someone please quantify for me what’s fair? As soon as you veer into what’s fair, we are not playing with economics. We are playing with value judgements. “Normative economics”. It’s a slippery slope. “Positive economics” is where everyone should play. If externalities occur, we should fix them carefully.I’d also point out that public worker unions tax society. They tax the poor more than they tax the rich.

    1. Twain Twain

      Yet value judgments are endemic in every single economic transaction.The difference is that in positive economics we’re dealing in and measuring with Price and treating it as a proxy and equivalent to value.There are all sort of issues with the legacy frameworks of Normative Economics.Still…it’s entirely possible to quantify and qualify fairness based on the market’s value judgement rather than Price.Just not with existing tools but perhaps with tools to be invented / already invented but not yet released.

      1. pointsnfigures

        What’s important to you might not be important to me. That’s why markets exist. They work really well when we have transparent prices. The biggest problem in many markets is transparency. For example, when I buy shoes, I might only look at the price and the features that I can get. Others might worry if they are made in China. As long as both of us are free to choose, it doesn’t matter. Limiting my purchase of those shoes with a tariff, or a duty because of someone’s value judgement eliminates freedom.As I said, I disagree with those that think we should try and make everything fair. The only way to do that is at a point of a knife.

        1. Twain Twain

          Thanks, I agree with “free to choose”. What’s your view on these ideas and which would you say makes more sense:(1.) Value = price x subjective factors; and(2.) Transparent Price = hidden value baked in as latent factors.

          1. pointsnfigures

            I’d need to know a little more of what you are asking. Especially on #1. On #2 transparent price is the price. For example, the reason the medical system is so screwed up is regulations are littered with value judgements-and there is little competition with 3rd party payers paying the price. When you go to the doctors office, how much is the real cost of a procedure? Even if we live in the same city, go to the same office, we might pay a different price because of all kinds of other factors. If medicine priced their services more like a hot dog stand, we’d be able to price discriminate and be free to choose. Doctors could be rated by the social network and we’d know which ones to stay away from.

          2. Twain Twain

            On #1, suppose the price of a pair of shoes is $50 for both of us (same features, same availability, same place to buy it).Suppose that we’re equally able to buy those shoes.Now suppose you need those shoes as a “nice to have” whilst I need those shoes as a “need to have”, e.g. maybe I need them immediately to go to a wedding.Then Value (you) = $50 x subjective factor of item utility.Value (me) >>> Value (you) even as the price is constant.

          3. Twain Twain

            Haha, thanks, totally brilliant. ‘Road to Freedom’ was compulsory on our reading list and that little YouTube snippet says more in 2 minutes than in all those pages.

    2. Amar

      While I agree with you, i am curious to learn if there was any other way for the middle class to emerge in the 19th and 20th centuries (in the absence of the labor movement). Didn’t the labor movement have more of a causal effect on this not just a correlation?

      1. pointsnfigures

        The same way it will grow again. Education, and having the skills necessary to compete. The way the mobile phone is transforming the economy and creating opportunity is going to allow more, not less, people to participate. Nothing lifts up people’s lives like capitalism.

        1. awaldstein

          Are you saying that everyone has equal opportunity as that is obviously stylized by where you started?Off the boat or second/third generation wealth coming out of B school are hardly the same.I’m very biased by my roots in the lower middle class obviously.When you grow up with that regardless of personal success it sticks. If you don’t and don’t touch it in life, in the people you employ it looses its grit and meaning.

          1. pointsnfigures

            Everyone has equal opportunity. They don’t have equal resources. They don’t have equal outcomes. But yes, the opportunity is there. I was with a person yesterday that participated in the August 1 uprising against the Nazi’s in Poland. He was 14. He was taken prisoner, almost killed several times. He escaped. He and his wife found their way to America. They had zero money. They found jobs, became middle class. Then, she took a risk and started a business. Now they are wealthy.

          2. awaldstein

            DunnoThis sounds like academics to me honestly.You see to think that it all sorts itself out which it does in abstract.And of course some peoples goals are wealth and some are to teach. Granted.My take on your viewpoint is that it does little to deal with those who don’t have a leg up to start. And it does nothing but exacerbate the inequality gap of income generally.Sure–take chances and get rich works for those that rise to the top.Societies in my view should be judged not by their exceptions but by the level of the average people.

          3. bsoist

            An economist, a physicist, and an engineer are all stranded in the wild with nothing but a can of beans.When it comes time to eat those beans and they have no way to open the can…The engineer says “We bang the can on this rock until it opens.”The physicist says “First, we start a fire and then heat the can until it explodes.”The economist says “First, we assume a can opener.”

          4. laurie kalmanson

            When I was in my first year of grad school at Chicago that joke cheered me immenselyWe are as great as what we do for the worst offIt does nothing for the masses to celebrate those who succeed despite everything

          5. laurie kalmanson

            And there will always be those at the bottom — defining the bottom as a permanent and closed caste of misery and suffering or a place of decency and opportunity is a decision that sits beyond supply and demandPoor neighborhoods with broken schools are providing the opposite of opportunity

          6. pointsnfigures

            BTW, want to get rid of poor neighborhoods and broken schools. Vouchers will work for schools. Competition. For the neighborhoods create opportunity by lifting government regulations and barriers to employment. Capitalism.

          7. JLM

            .Opportunity is not for the “average” it is for those who are willing to step outside themselves and take a chance. It takes a bit of risk taking to create success in big and small things.We should be a country of equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.There is very little traffic at 5:00 AM because not everybody is willing to get out of bed and hunt down success.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          8. awaldstein

            I don’t see this.We-you and i- are fortunate. We go to restaurants and events and blah blah blah.When we have breakfast at Balthezar’s the supply chain of people who are putting this together quickly dives off the deep end to insanely hard working people working crazy hours, doing skilled and back breaking work for damn little money.Is there enough margin in our poached egg with salmon to pay them more.I dunno but I do know that behind the kitchen and bar doors of where we spend our money, people are working really hard and making damn little.

          9. JLM

            .I worked those same jobs. They were part of the education I received. I loved those jobs. They propelled me along.In the summers, I worked construction, restaurants, life guard, mowed grass, washed cars. All at the same time.Construction during the day, restaurants at night, life guard on the weekends — and the others when I could fit them in.They are not “outcomes”, they are steps on the road to success.It is a journey, not a destination.Those jobs are the launching pad not the final target.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          10. awaldstein

            You are the exception not the rule.Culture emulates the exceptions but is defined by its norms.That’s my point.

          11. JLM

            .I was not and am not a pimple on the world’s ass. I stood on the shoulders of an immigrant family who was willing to work for success.On Labor Day — we celebrate the nature of work, the promise of work, the social contract of work. It is available to everyone who is wiling to get up early, stay late, work hard.That is really the norm, not the exception.We have to preach the American Dream but more importantly, we have to breathe life back into the American Dream. Now.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          12. laurie kalmanson

            Yes this so muchA few generations ago, the people running the corner candy store had a reasonable hope of owning a home and sending their children to collegeNow, not so much.Wages should bear some relationship to what it costs to live.

    3. fredwilson

      fair is hard to establish. unfair is obvious for all to see.

      1. Jamie Friedrech

        If you do not know what ‘fair’ is, how can you possibly know what isn’t ‘fair’?

        1. Matt A. Myers

          It’s the process of learning and understanding what is fair and unfair that is important. Most people’s ego and personal bias – based from fears of survival and scarcity – keep people from understanding and being compassionate.

          1. Jamie Friedrech

            Is it possible to learn to be an impartial third party and know what is fair or unfair? Meaning, can a certain procedure of logic be used to arrive at a common definition among those whom are able to depart from their ‘ego and personal bias’?

          2. pointsnfigures

            No, do you know any angels that can do this. Everyone can decide for themselves. What’s good for you might not be good for me. That creates supply and demand curves, and a market.

          3. Matt A. Myers

            Fear of scarcity vs. abundance — you really don’t think we have the knowledge and technology to bring a high quality of life to everyone? And I don’t mean instantaneously, however through a manage roadmap we very easily and efficiently can get there — it will however take some time, though right now we’re on a path of destruction and war – not of compassion, care, and belonging – or “Union 2.0.”

          4. pointsnfigures

            Free market capitalism will allocate the resources to technology to bring higher qualities of life to everyone better than anything else. Unions will increase costs, decrease supplies of labor and create dead weight loss in the allocation of those resources due to the artificial constraints they put on the labor market.

          5. Matt A. Myers

            I hope so, however the ego is strong so each person may have to find or realize their own strong personal impetus.A simple exercise I like is when you give someone two different scenarios – 1st world vs 3rd world scenario — access to health, education, etc. vs. not. You then ask what scenario, if they had no choice and it was random, would they want to be born into, e.g. what minimum quality of life would they hope they personally got.The next level of friction usually happens at defining relativity – of how healthy or how good of a quality of life people should have, how much education, etc. There is so much noise out there and most people have never had the time or environment to do this kind of internal/personal belief investigation – which is why the status quo is how it is. Change does happen, though slowly, and I’d argue not as efficiently as it could.

      2. Scott Juranek

        This is like saying “beauty is hard to establish. ugly is obvious for all to see.”. It isn’t logical. Fair can be defined by both parties accepting a transactions (such as wages) willingly, not under duress, and typically with other options. However, we often fail to see other options and then see things as “un-fair”. If I don’t like the wages I receive I generally have many other options unless I made prior decisions that restricted my options. (E.g. I choose to live in a place with few options, I’m unwilling to travel, I don’t have the skills or risk to start my own business, etc.)

      3. Pete Griffiths

        This is seems to have confused some but the truth behind this aphorism is quite simple. Equilibrium is harder to recognize than something that is wildly out of equilibrium.

    4. Matt A. Myers

      Only a simple question that needs to be asked.Do you care if other people suffer unnecessarily?Anything on top of that question is simply noise and distraction.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Yup, and free market capitalism lifts them up better than anything else.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Bullshit. Please go into depth as to why it lifts them up better than anything else, too – if you’re being sincere with your belief and not giving a shallow response.Capitalism’s main benefit is simply leading to organization and pooling of resources, however there are a ton of negative aspects of ‘free market’ capitalism as well.

          1. Jamie Friedrech

            I think a better method is to look at history. Historically, which systems have worked, and which have failed disastrously?

          2. pointsnfigures

            We aren’t going to agree. The data bears me out. Look at capitalistic countries standards of living for everyone versus countries that are socialistic or communistic, monarchy, fascist or totalitarian in some other way.

        2. Erin

          Assuming boots, to which we assign bootstraps and the ability to lift the former by, assuming a particular nurturing upbringing and/or the right set of life circumstances. This argument to me always sounds like “Nobody else can have access to financial aid for boots because I don’t allow myself to ask for help, and if I’m not allowed to be vulnerable enough to ask, neither are they.”

    5. bsoist

      we are not playing with economics You are absolutely right. So what. Maybe we need to “veer into what’s fair” no matter where it takes us.

    6. Pete Griffiths

      And here is where we disagree. As you point out yourself, you are still playing with economics, normative economics. There is nothing whatsoever about economics that precludes making value judgements. Without value judgements, without normative economics, there can be NO policy recommendations. And let’s bear in mind that politicians, economists and casual observers of all stripes are all too happy to make policy recommendations. If normative economics is a slippery slope it is a slope that must all climb if we are to participate in policy.””Positive economics” is where everyone should play. If externalities occur, we should fix them carefully.” This is a very interesting statement because, to me at least, it suggests that we can and should run our economy in accordance with positive economics, that this may result in ‘externalities’ (which to me in this context is a misuse of the term) by which I assume you mean consequences, and that if these consequences are in some sense negative we should ‘fix them carefully.’ But this implies what is, to me at least, a clearly mistaken view of how economic policy works. Policy is inevitable. No economic system can just run itself without policy. And those policies are indeed normative. Policy isn’t something that is used to fix an economy that can be run along positive lines.And here is where we agree. It is a perfectly valid question to ask ‘what is fair?’ And it is a hard concept to ‘quantify.’ BUT that fact, doesn’t mean that you can just ignore it because if you do, you rule it out in any and all policy considerations.

    7. Sandy

      Agree. I always had a salary or did gigs in the past, which was a very simple and emotionally comforting life.Entrepreneurs deserve the credit and money they get. Working hard is not why they earned it. Many people work 100 hour weeks, so that’s not special.Entrepreneurs earn it by providing something of value to other people, while giving up emotional and psychological security for themselves.That kind of generosity and courage is far harder than it sounds. It’s not just a little harder.I’ve never done physical labor, but my best friend did for years. He’s quite well off now, but he always worked construction growing up. He said it was the highest paying job for the least amount of work.He used to smile and call me ivory tower ignorant, when I would coo at him in sympathy. He said drilling concrete was by far the best job he’s ever had in his life. No thinking, no stress, same hourly rate as most doctors, he was in the best shape of his life, tan sculpted body, women turning heads, he said what’s not to love. He said I should coo at people working sedentary at a desk, caged up indoors with heart disease and obesity.

    8. Erin

      I don’t believe in slippery slopes. They’re issues that need to be looked at with greater attention to find the nuance.

  2. Twain Twain

    “Labor needs a mechanism to obtain market power as a counterbalance to the excesses of markets and capitalism.”Labor gains market power through 4 channels:(1.) Wage to pay for goods.(2.) Shares to own goods/services production.(3.) Votes to elect leaders.(4.) Technology that enables them to earn or effect any of the above.The biggest economic opportunity as-yet unsolved is how to reward people for their labor output of content.Interestingly… Sam Altman, who led Reddit’s $50 million fund-raising round last year and is now on the company’s board. That planis to give Reddit’s users a financial stake in the company’s success by rewarding Redditors with equity — a move that could align the aims of Reddit the company with Reddit the community, turning a sometimes rage-prone message board into a placid worker-owned cooperative.*

    1. Matt A. Myers

      AFAIK the equity reward isn’t moving forward because of legal issues. They were going to give away the equity randomly as well — that’s an insulting way to give a ‘directed’ reward to people – and more is a way to try to strengthen the brand and have people have vested interest/buy-in, to manipulate the crowd in favour of you.

      1. Twain Twain

        Equity distribution in exchange for content and user self-management is a really interesting idea — not withstanding the current legal issues.It’s a question of how to do it in a “fair” way and to prevent the process being “gamed”.There is the mathematical definition of “fair” which is to do with averages, tosses of coins, “fair” dice and normal distributions.However, then there’s the human definition of “fair” which is ethical and moral and linguistic associative — for which there isn’t really a mathematical model for (that’s why the economists struggle with modeling “fair”, by the way).You commented on the illusion of curation and quality on yesterday’s threads.What’s happened is that, over time, quantity and quality have been treated as the same and equivalent when they’re not.An example is when some Data Scientist says, “We’re 95% CONFIDENT our users like cats because they click on cat pictures.”That 95% actually says nothing about the quality of the cat picture or the quality of the users.

  3. awaldstein

    I was brought up in a labor union household.Sweat shop garment district labor organizer with my grandfather at one end of the kitchen table, public school teachers with my Dad at the other.There was a reason to be for both back then.There is a reason for collective bargaining I think for many stratas of the work force today that could be reinvented in better and new ways.Great food for thought. Thanks.

  4. Jamie Friedrech

    “Capitalism, taken to its excesses, does not allocate economic value fairly to all participants in the economic system. The workers, slaving away to build the railroad, the skyscraper, etc, provide real and substantial value to the overall system and yet, because they are commodified and interchangeable parts, they don’t always get their fair share of the economic value they help to create. So the labor movement provides the market power that each worker individually cannot provide.”At what percentage of value created (or any other substantive metric) would be considered, by you, to be ‘fair’?

    1. fredwilson

      that is impossible to determine. that’s why negotiation and market power is important

      1. JLM

        .In life you never get what you “deserve”; you get what you negotiate.Been true since Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden of Eden. They negotiated their deal with the Holy Ghost.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  5. Tom Labus

    During this period of our history, the two sides are rarely or ever in balance. Why is that?Work is so defining for all of us and yet that satisfaction eludes most workers who have a “job”. It’s probably more human nature and dynamics than eonomics.Even in Utopia, some people would be pissed.

    1. JLM

      .Consider the following to have been shoplifted:”Even in Utopia, some people would be pissed.”Very well played. Indeed.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  6. Matt A. Myers

    Some deeper feeling today has me wanting to question everything everyone says — I wish there would be a discussion regularly on how the bias of what someone writes is likely impacting their view. In reality that can come out in comments, however most analysis never goes so deep as the starting point and level of depth is lead by the author, and there is only so much time for a day and only so much value given to philosophers.As I see the world pass by, my and many people’s thinking far exceeding what their own lifetime will allow them to see, I can only be at awe and disappointment at the beast that is allowed to thrive – systems that can function at speed, however where we’d be better off if thoughts into action were more narrowly focused, contextualized with deep nuances — it is however the generalizations of systems that then allows pooled resources to be distributed to people who probably have only broad thinking of a subject or system, lacking important nuances – at minimum killing or seriously hampering the pace of evolution and positive change in the world, at an exponential rate, and at worst accelerating us towards friction and even stronger control systems.There are so many systems that are harmful to people, so many battles to push back against capitalistic mechanisms that are at their ‘excesses’ or left to reach their extreme improperly checked and managed.The more I see this the more my heart sinks in realizing how severe everything is and how far I am from having any real or substantial impact on it.Posting this here will have no impact either.”If you’re going to try, go all the way – otherwise don’t even start. If you’re going to try, go all the way….Isolation is the gift. All others are a test of your endurance – of how much you really want to do it….You will ride life straight to perfect laughter – it’s the only good fight there is.”

    1. Jamie Friedrech

      “There are so many systems that are harmful to people, so many battles to push back against capitalistic mechanisms that are at their ‘excesses’ or left to reach their extreme improperly checked and managed.”Could you possibly link to a place where I could learn more about this?

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Think of any of the industrial complexes. I don’t know of any specific links or pages, just the ones I have come across and been hurt by.

  7. creative group

    Fred:this article is one of the many reasons I subscribe to your blog. Ideas, Ideas, Ideas. Promoting people to think about change. Change is one of the most difficult for people. (Death, divorce, relocating, etc.) The ideas might not have started with you but you are able to succinctly gather them together.

  8. BillMcNeely

    @fredwilson As an Uber driver I often hear from folks in the upper middle class and above say something like this:they are X workers with low education/skills so they don’t deserve $X.My response is always:If X workers with low education/skills are returning 3-10 times $X wage why shouldn’t they get paid X wage?I rarely hear a simple ROI argument . I don’t think I have ever heard a CEO say “hey a cashier is paid $7 an hour because they only bring in $9″I personally could buy that argument and I think most Americans could as well.What most likely is/was happening were folks were getting paid $7.50 but bringing in $21.50 or $28.50Obviously with companies like Walmart bouncing from $7.50 to $10 an hour wages overnight for front line workers there was a lot of value being created and kept by the corporation.

    1. JLM

      .Further to your Walmart story –……Walmart raised the wages of approximately 100,000 workers and no sooner did it hit their bottom line than they began to reduce hours by compressing the hours at formerly 24-hour stores and imposing work rules to reduce the number of hours worked by their now more expensive hourly workers.Big head fake, y’all!Not taking sides just reporting the freakin’ facts. You decide.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. BillMcNeely

        Our course, corporations will do what they can to appear fair, while keeping/improving their margins

      2. Matt A. Myers

        A war is going on – whether people want to believe it or not.

        1. JLM

          .Bit over dramatic, perhaps.The war is being waged at the FEBA (forward edge of the battle area) of immigration.We are allowing millions of low skill, low wage expectation workers into our country and then wondering why wages are stagnant and median family income is decreasing and has been for a decade.All of this is connected.You can’t be crying big wage rate alligator tears (not saying you are, Matt) and then let enormous numbers of illegals to enter the country.JLMwww.themusingofthebigredcar…

          1. Matt A. Myers

            It’s mostly machines doing the majority of work required for food requirements and we can even mostly automate home building as well. I don’t buy the artificial border argument. There are enough resources, knowledge, talent, and technology for everyone in the world to be cared for.

          2. JLM

            .You are just flat wrong. Come see how lettuce, grapes, tomatoes are grown. Hand. Picked.Home building is not even remotely automated.Look at this.http://themusingsofthebigre…Show me the automation. See any?Remember in Texas, we love Mexican illegal workers. Hell, they built the state. But, now, it is too much — the criminality is too real — and they are no longer Mexican. They are further south.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Matt A. Myers

            All processes, no matter how gentle and time consuming they may be can be completely replaced by machines – even picking all of the above — and the machines can be designed and built to last for decades if not 100 years with little maintenance.Here’s a more brute force version for ‘picking’ cherries –… – and it’ll be easy to replace the driver with a computer, and then mostly automate all of the transit, including giving a headsup on demand and forecasting based on weather, etc..

          4. JLM

            .Cherries and pecans are automated.What does that have to do with the examples I noted?Home building is not even remotely automated even when it is prefabricated.You can pump concrete, fly the forms, but it still takes an ironworker to install the rebar and a cement finisher to finish the concrete.Reality. Get with it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          5. Matt A. Myers

            Innovation. Get with it.

          6. JLM

            .Fair play to you. Innovation cannot get here fast enough but until it does, the real world is still building homes by hand as the pictures clearly show.http://themusingsofthebigre…JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          7. Matt A. Myers

            It’ll be here soon and in a very big way.

          8. Matt A. Myers

            And here’s your lettuce harvesting.. could be further automated and centralized like drone pilot systems –

          9. JLM

            .This is the “first” such thing and it still requires hand work to get it into a box in the plant.Don’t get me wrong, I wish it were all automated.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      3. LE

        Exactly. They are just getting out in front of the problem to prevent a worse alternative imposed by the government. Water always finds the easiest route. Nobody increases wages like they did for altruistic reasons it’s an offensive move so they don’t have to play defense.The true scourge of Walmart is not in how little they pay (if you buy into that I don’t actually it’s not their responsibility to pay more than the supply of labor demands) it’s how they sell shit that is not needed to people with no money.

    2. Erin

      I may be generalizing here, but I don’t think the first priority of corporations is to pay someone what they “deserve”. Rather, what they can get away with paying them.

      1. BillMcNeely

        Probably why we need to do a better job educating our young financial literacy so they can figure out what their worth is

      2. Jamie Friedrech

        For the most part, an employer wants to pay as little as possible and an employee wants to get paid as high as possible. Finding the equilibrium wherein they are both better off than they were prior to engaging is critical.

      3. Matt A. Myers

        Indeed, it’s the way for a reason – however everything is relative to everything else. At any level we could have price controls to give the next level up more value so they have more buying power – however we don’t currently and so the value leads to the top with the squeeze and negative pressure being put on all systems below.

      4. Drew Meyers

        “Deserve” is a word I’m not a huge fan of at all. Everything should be earned.http://www.drewmeyersinsigh

        1. Erin

          Absolutely. And what you earn should be able to support a certain level of lifestyle. I guess what kind of lifestyle corporations want their employees to be able to afford is the point in question…

  9. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    I would love to see a situation where unions 2.0 benefit most by securing the long term value of the industry they represent. Without this short term change threatens and the result is that industries collapse from inevitable external forces (eg foreign competition). It is good for the world production system if what can be effectively built at home is, but where (eg due to raw material availability) what can be better purchased from remote suppliers also has a crack of the whip.The Luddites… famously hurt their own interests because they faced the British Army – this so clearly shows where an enlighted approach by industry and employees is needed to protect long term interests of both.

  10. laurie kalmanson

    An economy with only an aristocracy and slaves / serfs … Not sustainableWe need crops planted and picked, clothes made, iPhone’s built, stores stocked — why are the people who do those jobs consigned to poverty?A friend who grew up in the Bay Area remembers a friend’s dad making enough money driving a bread delivery truck to buy a house

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Industrial complexes pooling money to the top is exactly why all of what you said exists or likewise how in the past you could have a part-time job during highschool that provided enough to pay for college.

      1. laurie kalmanson

        Opportunity — tied to wages above subsistence

  11. JLM

    .There is no doubt that the history of organized labor in the US has been, up to some point in time, one of the best things to have ever happened to the United States and today is the day to celebrate just that — the dignity of the working man, woman.I was a union cement finisher in high school and college so I saw the unions from the inside. What nobody on this blog really gets is that the unions were, once upon a time, similar to a trade guild in that they provided training to their novitiates.I started as a “mud mixer” — a kid who set jobs up, mixed additional concrete by hand or in a mixer to touch up big concrete placements, cleaned tools, hauled trash, and did the most basic jobs.One day a master craftsman handed me a trowel and taught me how to “work the snot” which means how to hand trowel concrete and to finish the edges.Then I was taught to lay out and build sidewalks.My big break came when I was taught how to use the long float and to run a finishing machine with a single head. Then I was taught how to run the “3-headed monster” which also came with an improvement in my wages.Then, there was the freakin’ OVERTIME!On big pours, somebody had to stay, almost through the night, and run the 3-headed monster, put the concrete “to bed” (water it down, cover it with poly or Visqueen, spray the finisher and water barrier on it, lay wet burlap sometimes).I used to work until 1-3 am and sometimes I slept at the job overnight. But, damn did I make some great money — basic wage, overtime, machine premium and lots of hours.In the summer I would make $4-5,000 while a full grown man was making $8K.The union boss used to come by and see me and ask if I was learning anything. I used to see him at church on Sunday and he would tell my mother I had the makings of a man in there somewhere.In those days, the unions also had mandatory classes a couple of nights a week. I would often get a pass because I was on a big pour. The union trained you how to do the work.It was a damn good system.The contractors used to be able to pick up any number of cement finishers from “the bench” which meant the union hall.It was a damn good system and it taught me how to work hard and I made (for the times) a shit pot of money.It was a damn good system and then we managed to fuck it up.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. BillMcNeely

      Interesting point made, training used to part of the job, union or not.Now it’s avoided like the plague.

    2. Chimpwithcans

      Nice writing – That ending made me chuckle. I’ve never been in a union, and i doubt I ever will. They seem to be a different animal here in South Africa, and I am not the union demographic as a white collar, white male worker. I have relatively so little to complain about.Extraordinarily powerful (bringing Platinum powerhouses to their knees) and unnecessarily disruptive, their leaders (note I do not say their members) seem to have the country right where they want it.

    3. Tom Labus

      I asked our plumber if he could get anyone to be an “apprentice” and learn the trade. He laughed and said it was impossible for him to find anyone who wanted to do that. Cash, status or ego . Take your pick

      1. JLM

        .You know who likes to learn those trades?Illegal immigrants in Texas and those going to community colleges.If you learn to weld in Texas — Oil Patch — you can make a damn good living and run a business on the side.The American Dream is alive and well but you have to be able to lay down a straight and thick bead of molten metal.Oil Patch joke for Labor Day:”What are the only three things a good welder can’t join with a straight, thick bead?””The crack of dawn, a broken heart, and tissue paper.”JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. PhilipSugar

          So true. One of my wife’s nephew’s pulled up in a lifted truck bigger than hers. She said what are you doing?? He said I finished my apprenticeship in welding I am working in the refinery. I make a ton of extra money sleeping at the plant and they wake me up when they have an emergency. I make my normal day wage, not only don’t pay rent but get a stipend, and make double overtime in the middle of the night. Good for you Dustin. That is hard work.

          1. LE

            Possible problem is if your wife’s nephew adjusts his lifestyle expecting that extra money to always be there over the long haul.

          2. PhilipSugar

            He made enough money welding and lifting others trucks to buy his. A choice. I don’t appreciate cars anymore but some do.

          3. LE

            Side story when a contractor rolls up in a kick ass Ford F350 all brand new and painted with his logo (those large graphics) I think “BOGU this guy knows how to make a buck watch out”. The other side of that is the pain in the ass craftsman who never returns your calls and has a shitty old truck. Does good work but has no clue on how to run a business and make money. As a result instead of raising prices even slightly simply turns away business and charges the same price as he has always charged.I had a guy install a new steel lite door at the office like that. The salt of the earth old truck guy charged $200 for 6 hours of labor and he had a helper (a guy who does maintenance for a church). Way way to cheap for what he did. He ripped the whole frame out and didn’t even disturb the paint. These guys have no clue how to adjust pricing for the market. They either charge to little or they are opportunists and charge to much. I am waiting for him now for other work that I need.

          4. PhilipSugar

            Like all things you want a happy medium. Actually pertinent to this thread: The guys that have shitty trucks and tools???? Stay far away. They guy that has a great truck that he drives but his work trucks are total shit?? Stay far away. Guy that has a happy medium.The only exception are the Amish (Mennonite Sect). They will have a not nice looking truck (they buy used and take off all the chrome) but the best tools you can imagine.

          5. LE

            You have to feel sorry for that entire home improvement industry though. It’s really the poster child for my “you can only be as honest as the competition” theory. You can be a good guy doing great work but you are competing with a bunch of guys who are selling a product to people who don’t know quality (they are not you or me) and as a result you will have a hard time competing with those people who do sub standard work because many times they are great bullshitters and do a good job selling and get jobs because of a low price and cutting corners. Hard to be a saint when you are just a boy on the streets (Springsteen song).The guy that I hired to do the bathroom used cheaper composite baseboards (the painter who I trust pointed that out to me). He said “they will warp over time”. Don’t even know if that is correct but judging by the way the rest of the job went I wouldn’t doubt it. And I didn’t buy on price I just couldn’t literally find anyone to even get the rehab work done. These guys are not robotic scientists if they were they’d be your brother.The painter that I trust didn’t use Benjamin Moore paint when he did the outside of my house (my wife pointed that out) even though that is kind of what I told him I wanted and I am am paying him more than “brand x” painter. He still does work for me but I have to literally check the paint cans. Why do I still use him? He does great work and is “the evil that I know”. I figure I am paying him 15% to 20% more for a job just for some certainty of end results. And this is for painting.

          6. PhilipSugar

            Sooo true. Caught my painter putting on a can of cheap stuff. WTF??? Ask me for $20. Made some stupid excuse. BTW: The top rated paint shockingly is top of the line Behr at Home Depot: http://industryedge.nationa…That is what I use.

          7. JLM

            .Not a very good cheat. A good cheat buys a 5-gallon bucket of Benjamin Moore and then refills it with cheap paint.Get the invoices and pay off them. Count the cans. Call the Benjamin Moore store and give them a job # and make the painter buy against that job #.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          8. PhilipSugar

            Here is the f’ed up thing. I buy the paint. He actually thought me he was doing a favor and bought it, thinking he would charge me back. I was so pissed, I made him sand it down and put on a new can to get his last 20%.I buy all of the supplies. The first thing I learned from experience which is the result of bad judgement is that contractors try and finance jobs through you.I need 30% for supplies. No problem I will buy them. I even have all of my own accounts. We can discuss terms upon milestones.Funny thing?? The Amish will not take money until they are totally done (but they know me) It is a matter of pride.I had some of the best corn of the season from Leon whose stand will close up soon after the season. He has been up on my metal roof several times as he does contracting work for Titus when he closes his big stand up and just keeps a small shop.Good upsell as well. He said I know your son loves those chicken legs and I have them half price today for Labor Day, why don’t you stock up. I will say, I don’t like drumsticks but have one off of a chicken that lives in the field (you have to make sure you don’t hit them as you come in) and there is no resemblance to the store bought ones.

          9. LE

            Honestly it must be a pain for these guys to deal with someone with a clue when there is so much low hanging fruit of ignorance that they can do work for that would never question them. The door on my bathroom (pocket door) closes way to fast and will no doubt pinch my fingers (needs friction). My wife would never ever notice that. She would just suffer thinking it is “ok”. I noticed it and want it fucking fixed before I pay for the job. (And I’ve got 20 things just like that that weren’t done correctly.) Not to mention they didn’t measure right and the door had to be cut. And the cut is not even. And the molding around the door is fucked up (and they already replaced it one time when I complained it was so bad. See attached photo).I am good with workman as I typically engage them and I am truly curious about how they go about doing their jobs so I think they do like working for me generally. Because there is the added benefit of having someone take genuine interest in what you do. I can tell that they typically get ignored. But still the paradox of the public school teacher that I have heard goes like this:”My school is shitty. The students are shitty. But if I move to a ‘good school’ I will have demanding parents and I will have a much harder job. So I stay at the shitty school that I am at because I can phone it in and coast and call the shots instead of the parents..”I’ve heard versions from a few different sources teaching in different states.Check out the attached pix of a molding. They actually needed to have this pointed out to them, unbelievable. I made them replace all of the moldings and start from scratch. They have already fired 2 guys that were working on my job….

          10. JLM

            .In construction, you do NOT get what you expect; you get what you INSPECT.I used to hire my own inspector when building high rises. He saved our asses so many times, I have a warehouse full of asses.Important lesson.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          11. LE

            I managed to convince my office condo board members to hire an engineer who would make sure when the lot was resurfaced it was done correctly. The day of the job some kid shows up who was no match for the guys (if you get my drift) that were actually doing the job. Well known commercial paving company.This is what is interesting about life. It does take time and experience in order to even know the types of things you need to do to avoid trouble.

          12. Vasudev Ram

            >In construction, you do NOT get what you expect; you get what you INSPECT.Yes sir! Have had occassion to tell this to people, many times. And it applies to any area of work.

          13. JLM

            .To this day, you work offshore in the Gulf — 7 days @ 12 hours/day and then a week off in New Orleans drinking, whoring, studying the Bible.Guys who want to save their money work two straight weeks and take only 2-3 days off.You can still make a lot of money in the Oil Patch particularly offshore.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          14. PhilipSugar

            Same in Edmunton, AL except you of all people forgot gambling.

          15. JLM

            .Haha, good one.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    4. Twain Twain

      Thanks, added “novitiates” to list of words I’ve now learnt!

      1. JLM

        .Annunciate, novitiate, postulant, temporary vows, nun.They make nuns just like they make apprentices, journeymen, craftsmen, master craftsmen.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    5. LE

      Very romantic writing however…It was a damn good system.Actually some of it sounds like a typical union shakedown.Like “Then, there was the freakin’ OVERTIME!”.You also forgot how with unions like the one you are describing everyone has a specific job and a guy who does one task typically is not even allowed to do another task. I remember in road building “one guy uses a shovel, the other guy drives the compactor (or whatever it’s called), another guy sprays the water” and so on. All driven by abusive union rules unions with strangleholds over construction.In the 70’s my dad was shaken down by the unions operating at the New York Coliseum (trade shows went there prior to Javits). You couldn’t even bring in your own labor (as is the case in some places today) it was all union labor and extremely high priced. You needed to hire a union electrician just to plug in outlet extensions for example. You needed a carpenter to build your display cases. You couldn’t hire people if they weren’t union members and not your existing employees. It was cheaper for my dad to put an employee up at a hotel [1] and pay for meals to do the assembly instead of paying the labor at the convention center. (The employee stayed at the flophouse Henry Hudson which is now an upscale boutique hotel..)I used to work until 1-3 am and sometimes I slept at the jobovernight. But, damn did I make some great money — basic wage,overtime, machine premium and lots of hours.In the summer I would make $4-5,000 while a full grown man was making $8K.Exactly my point. You made that and this was what the late 60’s or early 70’s? You really think it should have cost $5000 [2] in labor for a college kid to be paid to do that job?How much union labor was a part of the building that you built in Austin? If there were unions did you find it an enjoyable experience?[1] I think that he also had to bribe the union boss to get away with this actually.[2] $5000 in 70’s labor is $30,000 in todays dollars.

      1. PhilipSugar

        I think your comment is exactly what JLM meant by and then we fucked it up.I have no problem paying high rates for hard smart work. I have no problem saying you need to be trained in how to do something.If you are doing hard work until 3am or on the weekend, you deserve overtime.But I too have been shaken down in convention centers in New York, Philly, and Chicago. I too have my ways around it go in a side door (setup at lunch)Agreed the problem I have is when the union rule is meant to get out of work not get it done.…”Why it took six laborers and two plumbers twice the time to assemble courts last year as it had taken eight of the teenage players in other cities.He’s also ill at ease explaining why it cost $135,000 to set up and take down 30 courts. That’s $4,500 a court – or nine times what the director paid union labor at Baltimore’s convention center to erect and dismantle 54 courts.”(the plumbers were needed to fill the base of the nets because that is water)

        1. LE

          I think your comment is exactly what JLM meant by and then we fucked it up.Yeah but the meat of JLM’s comment was all waxing about how great it all was back in the day for him and that was actually at a time when Unions had plenty of power. [1]Point being the “then we fucked it up” was fucked up already. Not just in his view in his little corner of the world where he earned, by my calculations, $30k as a kid for the summer. Sure that’s fair pay, right? My daughter interned in NYC this summer and got about $5000 in today’s dollars.To the excellent story that you quoted from I say “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered..”[1] I know that. I watch “Hoffa”!!! (Actually took labor courses in college for management track..)

          1. PhilipSugar

            We disagree on JLM’s work. During the eighties when I went to Penn I interned for Otis Elevator reporting to the new CIO. Since I was in the middle of nowhere where I didn’t know anybody in Farmington and I was smart and talented with my hands and back, I did work in the Otis Elevator test tower in Bristol. I made $23/hr and only did work when they needed at time and a half or double time. (how is that for making money)Do you begrudge a pressman on a Heidelman press making good money especially when he is running a job in the middle of the night so it gets done for the rush charge that you charged?????Even on unskilled, when my wife hires somebody to help her move stuff we pay $15 an hour.I don’t want to live in a society like I see when I travel to China, India, and places much worse.

          2. LE

            (It’s Heidelberg btw.)Well if you want to know how I paid one of my pressman, a guy that I hired in 1981 when I opened, right after graduating from college, is still working at the company (which I sold roughly 9 years after opening). He has lasted that long (at least last I checked 1 year ago. There is no question that running a small operation I paid more to get good people. Didn’t have the luxury of driving down pay especially for something that related to quality (which almost everything did actually..).Even on unskilled, when my wife hires somebody to help her move stuff we pay $15 an hour.People have me all wrong on this blog. If I find good people I am more than happy to pay them well and even tip them. Guys who came and assembled the exercised bikes tipped each $20 per (that’s plus cost of assembly). Guy who does handyman work? Gave him extra money (and you know exactly why that is, right?). My dad used to tip the snow kid big so he would show up first at this house after a storm. The girl who gives me rental leads for properties? It’s her job but I gave her $100 at Christmas. Ditto for the mailman ($30) UPS guy ($30) and some others. Other owners in my complex their attitudes “It’s their job I am not giving them any money”.However one thing I have found is this. More often than not despite all of this hard working romantic rhetoric that people on this blog espouse I have found that it’s hard often to get many working class people to do extra work for money.Had two guys from the local office furniture company haul away some cabinets (sold to the office furn company). I said “I have an old stairmaster at the house I will pay you to haul that away”. (They said they did work on the side). They quoted me $100 to haul it away. Of course I could never get them to show up. To lazy I gave up leaving them messages. Did I mention I tipped them both? Iirc $20 each which they were very happy with. They were interested in the work but I guess not that interested. Of course I’ve gotten (as you have) plenty of people who do go for the $$.For the removal my next shot was the guys doing demo at my house Said I would pay them. Never happened they weren’t even motivated enough to remember that I needed that. I got the next set of guys to remove it as part of the actual work they brought it to the curb for bulk trash pickup.

          3. PhilipSugar

            There are two sides to this coin and I wish people would say it. Not everybody wants to get out of their situation.And we should not make it easy for them.Some really do and we should try and make it easier for them.Sadly in my actual experience and that is not the helicopter in and here the feel good bullshit speech to try and get you to get rid of your guilt with a small amount of money, the vast majority are in the former case not the latter.You tell me what kid gets into all of the Ivy’s???? I guarantee you it is not a privileged kid:…So don’t tell me there is no opportunity.

          4. LE

            Agree 100%. Its a Hollywood depiction of the hard working person wanting to pull themselves out of their station in life. As in “if they were just given a chance..”Nobody wants to acknowledge that there are differences in people with what they need, what they have, and their motivations. And that is just to start.

    6. William Mougayar

      Why did we screw it up? I’m with you on that, and see my comment above on the same vein.

  12. laurie kalmanson

    this didn’t end by itself

  13. Salt Shaker

    The economic impact from the enormous migration taking place in Europe is gonna be staggering and will undoubtedly impact our economy too. The labor pool in many European countries today is still under serious duress (e.g., Spain, Italy, Greece) and the opportunities for these poor displaced souls migrating from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc., is virtually nil. Most associate ISIS w/ terrorism, but the economic impact and vacuum they’ve created is far broader and potentially catastrophic.That said, although there’s unquestionably an economic imbalance here in the U.S., it’s hard not to appreciate what we have when you look at what’s happening in the rest of the world. Yes, capitalism is imperfect, but it does deliver.

  14. William Mougayar

    I found myself nodding throughout this post, so there’s isn’t a lot I can add except to have the same wish as Fred.Nick’s vision of Union 2.0 is a good one, but these kinds of services are very fragmented today, and I don’t see adoption happening for that reason. The “gig workers” will need some kind of over-arching platform of sorts, or guiding posts to help them get into these new services that are supposed to help them.…True that the initial union values and benefits have totally overstayed their course. Today, union in the corporate context means lazyness, laxyness, overhead costs, rigidity, non-competitiveness, etc. not a lot of good stuff.I don’t have to go far to get reminded of that every day. Contrasting the workers at grocery giant Loblaws (unionized) and those at a nimble mid-size grocery store next to it. At Loblaws, you’d be lucky to get good service with good attitude and knowledge (is that too much to ask?). At the neighboring grocery store that’s half its size, but carries the same variety of produce (and better, more local), every one that works there feels happy, energized, helpful, never make mistakes at the cash, and their business is thriving.Same contrast at the LCBO stores (unionized workers within a government liquor monopoly), where their employees feel miserable, unhappy, most ignorant about their products, giving bad service like they are doing you a favor, etc. Then I go into a private liquor store in NY, California or even British Columbia where the employees or owners are most helpful, knowledgeable, happy to serve or service, and interested in you as a client where they want to earn your loyalty.So, unions have managed to screw-up a lot of businesses. You’re saying Union 2.0? I’m for it.

  15. conorop

    Anachronistic – sums up my opinions on unions exactly.I’m all for a fair living wage, safe working environments, and what not. In my mind, these are all basic human needs. If your employer doesn’t offer this, by all means, demand it.My biggest criticism of unions is the unwillingness to proactively correct (or part with) bad employees. My wife is a manager within state government (non-union), but most of her team is unionized.An average employee with one “needs improvement” review turns into a union meeting with finger pointing. A bad employee get accolades for showing up, and the only course of action is to try and transfer him/her.There are some comments below that reference training and development. Let’s bring that back. We all benefit.

  16. markslater

    This is what i imagine Union 2.0 will organize around…”we will collectively begin to understand that once a society achieves a certain level of wealth, community becomes much more important than industry.” @rezendi

  17. William Minshew

    Just my personal opinion but what’s missing is a basic minimum income. This would provide a balance of universal power between workers and owners which still allows the market place to best dictate efficient allocation.The analogy I use in my head is our political system: the house is pure capitalism, and the senate provides balance re: sanctity of state. Where is the senate equivalent in our economy today? Unions were just a band-aid to a deeper imbalance.

  18. pointsnfigures

    On the other hand, many of those workers were happy to even have a job. They were happy to get a wage.On ethical or fair, that’s my point. What’s fair? As soon as you make a value judgement, you are imposing your will upon someone else. Is a $15 minimum wage fair? Or should it be $100? Why not? If 15 is good, 100 has to be better? Unfortunately, every time you raise minimum wage you create unemployment.I understand that my opinion and judgement is not going to be particularly popular in the comment section of Fred’s blog, but I think it pays to draw attention to the idea of “fairness”.

  19. Matt A. Myers

    An honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work is a moot statement or goal if not anchored into fixed costs of reality, otherwise all other prices go up.

  20. laurie kalmanson

    Yes, exactlyJust because you can be a multi billion dollar corporation running a business paying people poverty wages supplemented by public aid doesn’t mean you should

  21. Jamie Friedrech

    A few terms I’m unsure on the definition of are ‘honest work’, ‘honest pay’, ‘poverty wage’ and ‘living wage’, could you define them please?

  22. laurie kalmanson

    when i take my tweenager to shopping, she knows, because i have told her, that the $200 we just spent is what the cashier earns for a week. she understands that is not right.

  23. LE

    instead of simply requiring companies to pay an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. To me that pay is more than a living wage (the “scraping by” wage).What does that even mean “an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work”? Is there an algorithm that will determine that?–improved family leave lawsYou are not claiming that a typical small business is in a position either functionally or financially to offer family leave are you? When you hire an electrical contractor to work on the factory you are building are you interested in hearing that the job will be delayed because a few of his key people are out on family leave?–less worship of capitalism as the only thing of value in our society. How in the world would you ever achieve that goal? What are you suggesting some state run propaganda or controls on the media? I am in line first with this concept anyway. I want laws to be passed to get rid of US News and World report and the entire college ranking industrial complex that has no doubt led to the increase in the cost of college as people go for the brass ring of a “sure bet” college degree.–employee ownership of at least 20% (an arbitrary but meaningful amount) so we share wealth with those who work to create itWhat exactly may I ask does the “ownership of at least 20%” get someone in a typical business exactly? 20% of the profits? Equity? When and how can they cash out that equity? How does that equity accrue over how much time? Is this actually bad similar to teacher tenure in that it creates golden handcuffs to a particular workplace?

  24. PhilipSugar

    We agree, the tough ones are the unskilled labor. Actually if you get a skill you are pretty well off, but no skill???? You are screwed, and it doesn’t have to be that way, because as you say its like squeezing a ballon, it goes somewhere.

  25. laurie kalmanson

    Thank u

  26. Cam MacRae

    He’s gonna struggle for a citation as consensus for the past 20 years has been that the effect is negligible. Shit, even >80% of researchers at Chicago Booth repudiate the idea.

  27. laurie kalmanson

    Capital can take more from labor than labor needs to sustain itself — that doesn’t make it right

  28. LE

    Where, may I ask, is all of this money going to come from exactly?

  29. JLM

    .Charlie (I am still pissed off at you for your earlier comment, you know the one) –I am not taking sides in this argument but I do have to object to your characterization of “profits on the backs of workers.”That is simply not true.Walmart hung out a “HIRING” sign and people signed up to work under the advertised conditions. They accepted the terms of the employment voluntarily.Walmart did not trick them.I agree fully that Walmart should be mindful of its wages and should be thoughtful. Their decision to increase wages is ample evidence of that thought.The implications of the raised wages is perfectly predictable. This is part and parcel of the issue of employment in America. If you want higher wages, then you risk employers mining the efficiencies of their labor model to streamline their work processes.It is an action and reaction process.I like that fact that Walmart is listening but when they listen you have to accept the good with the less good and understand they are going to manage their work processes to a targeted bottom line.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  30. laurie kalmanson

    and then there’s costco…Despite the sagging economy and challenges to the industry, Costco pays its hourly workers an average of $20.89 an hour, not including overtime (vs. the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour). By comparison, Walmart said its average wage for full-time employees in the U.S. is $12.67 an hour, according to a letter it sent in April to activist Ralph Nader. Eighty-eight percent of Costco employees have company-sponsored health insurance; Walmart says that “more than half” of its do. Costco workers with coverage pay premiums that amount to less than 10 percent of the overall cost of their plans. It treats its employees well in the belief that a happier work environment will result in a more profitable company. “I just think people need to make a living wage with health benefits,” says Jelinek. “It also puts more money back into the economy and creates a healthier country. It’s really that simple.”

  31. JLM

    .Your teenager should get a job as a cashier and learn at the end of her fingertips, no?My oldest — boy — one summer worked for a company that I controlled. I stood him up in front of his crew chief and said, “This kid gets the hardest jobs. The toughest assignments and makes the lowest wages on the team.”Everybody laughed but that is what happened.At 29, he is an uber successful investment banker and two days ago he told me that he learned how to work that summer putting up and taking down tents in a Texas summer.Our kids are greater than we can ever imagine if we will let them learn how to work. Work hard.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  32. LE

    No reason to make her feel bad. Without the $200 you spent the cashier wouldn’t have a job.People with money spending money is good. Not bad.

  33. JLM

    .You lose the argument as to Walmart and its voluntary offers of employment.The issue of allowing companies like Walmart to bring in enormous volumes of foreign made crap?I would tariff the Hell out of this stuff.You want to make stuff overseas with cheap foreign labor (environmental problems, cheap labor, prison labor, child labor)?I would disallow a lot of it and I would punish them like a rented mule.I would publicize their conduct and I would equalize the costs in such a manner that it cost as much at the cash register as if it were made in Lancaster, PA (heard it is a nice town BTW).We — the US Congress — did this.I would be leading the rebellion if I were not so addicted to Disqus.BTW, I am not really pissed off with you — bit of Drama Queen. Plus the people I enjoy the most are the ones who piss me off.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  34. laurie kalmanson

    yes; just 13 now. in time.i worked those jobs; also — galley mate on a charter fishing boat out of sheepshead bay, starting the potatoes for home fries for breakfast while the boat was still at anchor, and making breakfast and lunch while underway between the grounds and at anchordoing paste-up — laying down the waxed sheets — at the school paper was way better than working in the kitchenthe job that taught me that there is no dignity in labor when management is brutal was doing inventory counting for crews that were denied bathroom or drink breaks, and when i, “college girl,” suggested that was illegal, i was deemed to be illiterate in the culture of the workers, which had long since given up on fair negotiation and operated by stealth.

  35. LE

    In college one of my professors was the former head of the NLRB (eastern region iirc). When I told him I worked in my Dad’s warehouse he went on about how I shouldn’t feel as if I had “the experience” because a) it was short term and b) I had a safety net and c) (a bunch of other stuff where he essentially shot down anything that I had said which meant “I understand the plight of the working class and blue collar folks”.Luckily it didn’t matter to me what he thought. Shit everyone is always raining on your fucking parade. This was well before the era of “everyone gets a trophy”. Same story today would probably have gotten at least a framed certificate.

  36. PhilipSugar

    One of my best employees was a riveter at a tractor trailer plant in for Schneider one summer.His freshman and sophomore GPA was pretty low but junior and senior were just great. I asked him the reason. That was the answer.

  37. Twain Twain

    Note to self: found a building company and instil appreciation of hard work into son by making him lay bricks at less pay than other builders.I started earning my first wage when I was 15. My friends were busy hanging out and shopping and obsessing about the “boiiis”. I was in school 6 days a week (English & Chinese), plus extra-curricular activities like Computer Club, plus a paying job.Aged 17, I joined a big chemco where I worked with a guy in his 50s who’d left school at 16 and apprenticed himself up to run the lab. The other people had PhDs.I learnt a lot from him about how if you put in the work, you get better at producing work that lasts.

  38. JLM


  39. laurie kalmanson

    inevitable without change

  40. Pete Griffiths

    “As soon as you make a value judgement, you are imposing your will upon someone else.”So what?The irony of your position is that: whilst it attempts to eliminate the impact of value judgements on economic realities all it does is result in the passive acceptance of realities that benefit of one group over another and this is of course itself a normative value laden state of affairs.There is no escaping value judgements. There is no escaping normative judgements. There is no escaping having to think seriously about notions such as ‘fairness’ rather than just dismissing them because they are hard.

  41. JLM

    .Actually there is a solution to this — TRUMP?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  42. LE

    When I was a kid I learned the “paradox of the overpaid worker” from my Dad. He said “the guy that makes the most working for me really has to make his keep. The guy on the bottom end I can always find work for and keep around if things get slow”. It is not always good to push the envelope on pay in tough economic times.

  43. laurie kalmanson

    my goal wasn’t to make her feel bad. my goal was to teach her that it’s wrong for someone to work for a week to buy what we put in our cart when what we bought is just everyday things.

  44. LE

    Labor is an important component of the end pricing of products. The end products also involves competition. If a particular business pays it’s employees “more than they have to” (by supply and demand of labor) in theory and in practice they will need to increase the cost of the products that they sell or cut other costs or cut quality etc.. Then people will seek out a lower cost (and better quality) alternative (at another store) where the employees are not paid as well. Then the store will (once again in theory) close because the won’t have the required critical mass of customers and profit to operate.Of course we could have government controls (like Airlines prior to de-reg) and everybody wins! No more shitty bus like service!Anyway, the idea that the store can simply raise wages and pay more and wouldn’t have to increase the cost of the products and that you would then buy the same products and pay $230 is not by actual practice (forget economic theory) how things actually work. I know that (troll alert) Charlie thinks that this is all possible of course and that it’s that easy.

  45. laurie kalmanson

    my belief is that it is not only morally wrong to pay people less than it costs for them to sustain themselves with food, clothing, shelter and some hope for the future and savings, it is also economically unsustainablemultibillion dollar companies can drive wages below anything that people can live on — that they can doesn’t mean they shouldwe disagree on this. for the record, it is also my belief that classical economics is as functionally bankrupt as it is morally bereft — UChicago grad here; it is a perfectly functional closed system, but it has little to do with life on earth, starting with treating breathable air and drinkable water as “externalities”

  46. laurie kalmanson

    missing: higher wages, less churn, less theft, loyal and motivated staff; ***more*** profits than the race to the bottom.

  47. JLM

    .There are three kinds of people in the world –Those who can start a fire;Those who can maintain a fire; and,Those who spend all their time pissing on your fire.In life, avoid the fire pissers.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  48. LE

    For the record although I took economics in college (a long long time ago) much of what I say comes from actual practical experience and observation not some economic theory. Although apparently it does parallel econ theory.If I decide to hire a contractor to do construction or a repair, I, like most people, don’t delve into what they are paying their labor in terms of wages, benefits, family leave and so on. (Or even how they pay their taxes). Quite frankly I don’t care actually. [1]All I (and anyone else I would say) cares about is, no random order:a) Quality of workb) Price of workc) Time to completionThere is no “d” “how you treat your workers”. [1]My point being that while you think it is “morally wrong” (your first paragraph) when was the last time you even thought about any of the places that you patronized and made buying decisions based on what the labor “under the hood” was getting paid? Practically nobody does this. Most likely even (troll alert) Charlie doesn’t do this.[1] So here is an idea that I just cooked up, right here, in this comment on this blog. You know how NYC restaurants have “A” “B” food ratings posted in the windows? How about a similar rating system for Employee Wages posted right in the windows of stores. Then people can’t look the other way. I think this is a great idea if I may say so myself.

  49. JLM

    .Don’t even go there. I’m a practicing heterosexual. Not getting as much practice as I did once upon a time. But I am not getting into xenophobia. Not this boy.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  50. LE

    If I am an executive then (shit god forbid) I will just go work for your competitor who doesn’t do that to my pay. You know that would happen, right? My wife has a job working for someone and gets paid well. If they decide to pay her less she will then find another job.

  51. LE

    In life, avoid the fire pissers.I was raised (no surprise here) in a family of fire pissers.My cousins:”Sure anyone who pays the money can get into that private school you are going to””Sure you only got into Wharton because you went to that private school”.All of this “if” “then” type rationalizations they had.My uncle even said “I’m smarter than your Dad” and would tell me why he was great and my Dad wasn’t. (They were business partners by the way). Of course my uncle couldn’t even write a check and had broken english when he died at 90. My Dad knew enough english to translate for and hunt down Nazis with the OSS after liberation in Germany and went to night school when he came to this country. )Another uncle never even set foot in my first business even though he walked by it every single day with his buddy on the way to lunch. My aunt visited and had a look on her face of “not my kid I don’t give a shit” when she visited that same business. Of course they both ponied up birthday checks and we had holidays together.So while it bothers me it probably doesn’t bother me as much as others I am guessing.

  52. fredwilson

    My daughter is a working artist. She apprentices for two successful artists and they are showing her the ropes. I think apprenticeship is alive and well if you look for it

  53. Pete Griffiths

    If you want to understand the success of Germany as an industrial power you might do worse than look at the way their education system takes vocational training seriously and the respect for the apprenticeship system in ‘the trades.’

  54. JLM

    .The US GIVES access to our markets as if it were the floor sweepings after an orgy. We don’t charge anything to enter.The last decent trade deal we made was when we required 40% of Japanese (imported) cars to be built in the US which has resulted in numerous foreign car plants being built in the US and employing Americans.Now, we let Ford build a parts plant in Mexico.We are truly our own worst enemy.How do we not charge admission to the biggest and best marketplace in the world?While simultaneously letting all foreign markets bitch smack us in plain daylight. To this day, American companies are forced to beg to get into Japan.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  55. laurie kalmanson

    that’s an awesome idea; make a certification and sell it …

  56. laurie kalmanson

    speaking of thinking about what happens to workers, did you see the nytimes series about nail salons? women working in indentured servitude are how those discount mani-pedis happen. the workers are powerless.

  57. Erin

    Get off disqus and go DO this thing you speak of! And come report back to us.

  58. PhilipSugar

    Here is my thing I have been pushing since the 90’s Ask Joe Biden who I know well enough to be able to get into his compound.Tax the hell out of imports. Credit the hell out of living wages paid to employees.Mandate living wages if you want that tax credit or you pay what the importers do.Frankly when you go into a Walmart and you see an employee you should realize they are making a poor economic decision because they have the pride to want to work.They should not work and go on the dole. That is what too many people do.We need to change that.And put restraints on Wall Street and define rich as making more than $1mm a year and amassing more than $20mm anything other than that is just working hard.

  59. Cam MacRae

    Alexander Hamilton agrees with you more than you agree with yourself.

  60. LE

    Well if either of us can find someone to actually do this then it has a perfect backstory as having it’s roots in a comment that you made one day which I then replied to. (Totally serious about the PR angle..)

  61. LE

    Hmm. Maybe more analog like Zagat stickers (numbers) as A B C D E F rankings are actually to digital.With A B C D (forgetting nobody is posting D’s voluntarily) not enough critical mass. If you could give Zagat scales then more people could be “winners of a trophy” and therefore you’d have more critical mass and adoption. [1][1] This is what US News does with college rankings actually more categories to win in means more publicity for US News..

  62. laurie kalmanson

    value work and workers will do good jobs: art or cars…The BMW Group is – almost – everywhere. Whether you live in Northern or Southern Germany, in Berlin or near Landshut: you will find a suitable location for your vocational training.The BMW Group offers apprenticeships in a variety of fields at 26 locations in Germany, one in Austria and three locations in the UK. Why not take a little look at the world of BMW vocational training opportunities?

  63. LE

    I don’t know what your daughter is doing art wise but I do know that marketing and publicity is almost certainly more important than the actual art that one creates. As such getting some marketing or PR apprentice work would be an additional and important angle for her to explore.My sister was an artist and actually studied in Rome for 2 years of college. Her art is pretty good I think (but what do I know?). But she is a true introverted artist and never was able to promote or sell herself or her art. So she ended up having to go into something more marketable. (She sells some of what she does now on Etsy by the way..)I did photography in college and had no problem finding work and getting jobs. My photography was pretty good but I am no artist I am 85% as good as a professional. But I knew how to find work and to price jobs which I learned on the fly. I didn’t go into it as a career after graduating college (for business obviously) because I felt it would be to easy for me to do. But the skills Iearned helped me in the first business I started.

  64. Paul Sanwald

    Apprenticeships are also very common in music. Get a job with a bandleader, get some good press, strike out on your own. This was the model for jazz until 10 years ago: John Coltrane initially became famous as holding down the saxophone chair in the Miles Davis Quintet, he got some good press, some bad press, but got noticed, and was able to start his own group afterwards.The university model today has shifted things away from apprenticeships, and I don’t think that’s a positive thing.great blog post by ethan iverson on this here:

  65. creative group

    One important reason that an artist can be an artist and follow this passion is to be born in a wealthy family, have a wealthy benefactor. or be extremely talented. My sister who is the first college graduate in our immediate family graduated with an art degree with honors and has worked for the State of Georgia for twenty five years. How a helping hand can help generations fulfill their dreams.

  66. Oplerno

    You don’t learn a subject by studying alone, you also need to be taught how to apply it. Being a higher education organisation some are surprised that we have apprentices working at Oplerno. Also one of our co-founders takes apprenticeships with external companies who are specialised in certain fields, specially in fields such as gamification where just the application of theory is not enough to be able to apply it.

  67. LE

    I scanned some rebuttals to that story as being not that accurate actually. If I can find I will post. Could be true or could be a case of media (NYT does this) finding some facts which fit the narrative. (Not saying it’s not true, just that this happens). Or the rebuttal. Who knows, right?Whenever my wife and I watch the Nightly News after a big story about some social thing (or really even medical issues) I always say the same thing to her “They haven’t defined the problem in numbers and we don’t know the scope and true extent of the problem at all”.So the media is always having their angle “and there is increasing concern” or “rising at alarming rates” or “a 20 increase over last year” but never gives you all of the numbers or the scope just something to get you all riled up. Remember Ebola? Or avian bird blue (or was it asian?)For example what good is “20% increase” if you don’t know anything other than the past year? What good is “this year 30 kids will die from XYZ” if you don’t know how many kids didn’t die from XYZ.

  68. laurie kalmanson


  69. laurie kalmanson

    this is awesome; modern update of “the union label”…

  70. laurie kalmanson

    i know! i know! plug-in for yelp

  71. LE

    Oh sure I definitely remember that commercial.One thing marketing wise it lacks though is what the benefit is for the person “buying the Union label”. It doesn’t say why the product is better and what that means for the person making the purchase. It just says “It’s better for me the worker and that’s why you should care”. It needs to say more. At the very least imply the quality is better when you buy American (hah polyester?).

  72. laurie kalmanson

    agreed; there was info addressing those points in the intro, but not in the jingle — jobs, jobs, jobs, with decent wages

  73. laurie kalmanson

    i dislike the industry and i don’t patronize the bargain / trafficking shops

  74. laurie kalmanson

    the genius part of zagat is the ratings are user generated content

  75. LE

    higher wages, less churn, less theft, loyal and motivated staff; ***more*** profits than the race to the bottom.Maybe. But maybe not.Here is why. My theory on this born from experience and observation is that once you pay someone a higher wage in many cases they don’t feel lucky or thankful they begin to think of themselves as “a $ man or woman”. No more than if you have 3 months of nice weather in a row you don’t wake up every morning with all of your problems going away. Doesn’t happen. Your reaction becomes normalized I can call it. People have short memories. In business it’s known as “you are only as good as your last [fill in the blank]”.So for example if you take someone who is typically making $20,000 per year in a particular job and you hike their pay to $28,000 per year you get short term gratitude but then they think “I am worth $28k that’s why” and they are no more loyal or hard working than they were at 20k. And if they look for another job they set their sight at a higher level to begin with. They won’t even accept lower paid work they think the higher pay is their new station in life. So as far as hard working I am also not sure that makes a difference. I work hard and do a good job and have had employees that do a good jobs and it doesn’t relate to how much you pay them I have found. Quality work is quality work. When you are into quality and doing a good job you don’t stop doing good work because you are getting paid less that has been my experience. You just work hard, without an attitude and do good work. If you are, for lack of a better way to put it, and in the spirit of Donald Trump, “a loser”, then you just have often a warped way of looking at the world that involves always getting the short end of the stick which maybe you are getting (maybe =! always) because of your fucking shitty attitude and work ethics.My guess is that with art that you do if I paid you $10,000 or $20,000 you would put practically exactly the same effort and do a phenomenal job. At least that is they way that I operate and what I have seen from people that I have been around that are winners and have good attitudes. I am sure when JLM built his quality building he was glad to make bank but the quality and hard work stood on it’s own as a reward.So yes it would be nice if you paid people more it translated into better quality from the same people. Not doubting that paying more gets you better people of course. Just paying the riff raff more does not turn them into achievers.

  76. LE

    Well unfortunately the SCOTUS porn shit doesn’t scale. Remember your comment was “requiring companies to pay”. You can’t have “you know it when you see it” or “reasonable man” standards. You need a definition and a rule that companies can follow. You can’t claim that you want society to do better then say “they should just know it when they see it”.My “certification” idea (my other comment) actually solves much of this problem and you are exactly the guy to run with it! Some third party that rates working places according to actual standards just like Zagat rates restaurants with crowd sourcing.

  77. laurie kalmanson

    stable wages, stable workforce, stable families, better future

  78. Twain Twain

    You’re missing one of your callings in life, you know, haha.You definitely need to be one of the speakers at a female entrepreneurs’ festival where you say, “Listen, I got a lot of naysayers and fire pissers too. Here’s how to win over that…”

  79. LE

    Tax the hell out of imports.My theory follows.Do you know why we weren’t able to outlaw cigarettes when we knew full well they were bad? Because of the economic engine around the entire tobacco industry. I am not talking about lobbyists or tobacco states. I am talking about all of the people (ad agencies, printing plants, office supply dealers, the guy who cleans some office) that make money as a result of tobacco industry (not to mention Wawa using cigarettes it as a loss leader to get people to buy hoagies).Consequently you can’t just “tax the hell out of imports” without considering what happens to the union guys at the ports or the guy selling cars to the union guy at the ports and all of that. Makes sense, right?I made a boatload of money selling to the Chinese this past year. All of that came as a result of the new wealth that they have which came from us. Ditto for NYC real estate price increases at least at the high end. All asian money is the word on the street.

  80. JLM

    .Trump won’t take my money!JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  81. LE

    Trumps real advantage, and I can’t stress this enough, is that he has been famous for such a long time, and has had smoke blown up his ass for such a long time, that unlike a typical politicians he will also be impervious to the rush that corrupts.You know most of the guys out there, when given power, are like a girl who is going through puberty and budding who gets a chance to “get it on” with the high school quarterback. (You could say this more poetically than I just did by the way..)Wow. I like that, and I just made it up”Trump! Impervious to the rush that corrupts”. Lest anyone think the problem is just money and paybacks.

  82. Erin

    Hmm, I didn’t know he was fighting the wal-mart battle. Well we don’t need him anyway.

  83. JLM

    .As The Donald would say: “Walmart loves me. They think I’m terrific. A great American success story, almost as big as me, The Donald. Did I mention I’m rich?”Please do not destroy my fun with The Donald. I am enjoying the Hell out of him.Do not be the Party Pooper. Please pass the tequila.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  84. Erin

    Have you seen this? It makes for an interesting drinking game.

  85. JLM

    .Love it. Love The Donald. Love CHINA.Is this a great country or what?China!JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  86. LE

    Instead of selling sugar water to children [1] you can take take the same group and do this idea instead. Think of the impact that it would have for the dollars spent.[1] Via your proposed Lancaster Mafia investment in McDonalds.

  87. LE

    People now see what someone who understands strategy and negotiation can do. Look at all of the play he got out with getting Ren P. to visit him at Trump tower all along having a “prop” (some fake document he created that even had the wrong date) that would then be featured in all major news stories. Not cooked up in a war room either. His brain did that entire a-z start to finish from the original idea to the press conference.That is classic Trump. What creativity. He even said (prior to cutting the deal) “why would I give up leverage”. And everyone (all the talking heads) were aghast because they are fucking journalists or pundits who probably can’t even buy a car without using a price buying service or checking Haha on them.Do you doubt he would be able to cut deals and get things done with other politicians? I don’t.We can assume he also deals fairly. Other than the Trump University fiasco I haven’t heard of any skeletons coming forward from past business deals saying they were screwed. So far anyway.

  88. Erin

    LIke I’ve said before, he’s got a beautiful gut intelligence. If he can get his head and heart working in cooperation with that animal, he’ll accomplish something truly poetic and wise.

  89. JLM

    .Not a single fly on any of the shit you’re selling.I suspect that Trump would actually cut deals that would be good for us. I also suspect he would be shameless in making a deal.Might take out the Iranian airports and make a deal the next day.I am starting to think The Donald may have a real chance. It is difficult to see who beats him now.The Republican establishment is firing blanks.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  90. JLM

    .You are being generous. The Donald will never be poetic. He may possess true animal cunning but not wisdom. Animal cunning is enough when dealing with Iran and Putin.The times have made him and they may yet unmake him.There are no perfect men and there are absolutely none in politics. Ordinary men rise to the occasion and become extraordinary for a time — Winston Churchill was turned out of office right after World War II.The times may be screaming for The Donald — flaws and all.America is tired of being told “we are the problem” and it IS an exceptional country. All The Donald is doing is picking the right waves to ride.He is not making the waves; he is riding them because he recognizes them. It may be the time for a “goofy footer.”He will have, if he gets the nomination, the luxury of running against the third Obama term.If he is still crushing it after the next debate, it is his to lose.I understand he is rich and went to Wharton. I could be wrong.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  91. LE

    I am actually surprised that you didn’t recognize the animal and the potential like I did early on. But then again I know him from his earliest days so I understand him.I also have spent a great deal of time around (as you have no doubt) people who are self employed and have fuck you money. They have no filter and they say what they want to say and it works for them. [1] [2] They often change their minds. They are not wed to a particular idea and don’t have to be consistent if they don’t want. They don’t need to suck up to anyone. They are outrageous. They are unfiltered. But that does not mean they are stupid. Trump can say anything he wants. And once he is surrounded by advisers he will get educated real quick and come to the right conclusions and be able to cut deals. The enemy miscalculated and was distracted. No way you didn’t learn that at VMI with some battle. What was the battle? There must have been one that taught this lesson.So what if he doesn’t quiz well. Who cares? He will learn when he has to.[1] A relative about my cross eyed cousin when she got married: “I think she got the better deal after all she’s cross eyed”. A relative about a heavy girl who finally got married “well so big deal he’s not jewish but at least she found someone”.[2] My uncle: “How much do you weigh”. Me: 135 lbs. My uncle “is that with or without the shit?”.

  92. LE

    My theory on the Wharton PR angle is that he wants to be perceived as smart not just lucky or rich. And while just about everyone understands “Harvard” not nearly as many people (“normals”) understand where Trump went to school. By the way it hasn’t been called “Wharton School of Finance” for a long long time. It’s just “Wharton” typically.Very little credit for Trump being Trump goes to Wharton. It’s his drive and his father’s influence and what he taught him that deserves the credit.

  93. Erin

    I don’t think I’m being generous. He’s an idiot, but I’m jealous of his ability to put his idiocy into action. I need me some of that.

  94. JLM

    .Whoa, I think you’re arguing things never put into evidence.The Donald is a player but it is a long, long time until the real game begins. So far, you have to like the way he practices but if I could have played the way I practiced, I’d have been in the freakin’ NBA.The election is several life times away. I predict there will be a huge international incident soon — Syria with the Russians moving in, Europe with Russia, Iran, Israel. The Donald will have to be nimble, agile, mobile, hostile. Which he can be and do.The Donald is off to a damn good start. Nothing more. Ask President Gingrich about that, no?The Donald is running a very lean operation and that is part of his genius. He knows the issues and his adviser, right now, is the media, the Sunday morning shows, the pundits.He knows everybody and there is likely not a person in America who does not take his call.The test for Trump will be can he birth a national organization? If he wins in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina — there will be an enormous number of dropouts and he will have the pick of the litter.Three of Jeb Bush’s money guys — top three — just left the campaign. One guess who they want to work for? Unfortunately, The Donald won’t raise any money during the primaries.The gen’l is another story as he can qualify for gov’t matching funds.If The D is riding high on the other side of the debates and Hillary is still trying to rehab her integrity, he is in a very strong position.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  95. Pete Griffiths

    Maybe she should cut her ear off? Worked for Van Gogh. Admittedly his success was posthumous but he didn’t have Twitter then to get the word out.

  96. JLM

    .Monkey see. Monkey do. Trump hairdo.Do it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  97. Erin

    I’ve been trying to write a blog post for the last 6 hours. It… will… happen.

  98. LE

    Oh I am not predicting whether he can win or not. To many factors involved if I could predict the future I would invest in stocks.I am just saying that everyone underestimated his appeal and didn’t understand him. They miscalculated they were laughing to hard. He spun gold out of that initial ambush question at the debate. He has made all of the other candidates appear boring by comparison. Seriously boring. Hard to even listen to Hillary and it’s not just the scandal and the polyester pant suits.Trump was laughed at (more so than people laughed at bitcoin) but is still in the ring. Whether he can finish or not? All of your points are valid.Great line by the way:Whoa, I think you’re arguing things never put into evidence.Now what we are finding in news stories is how Trump has this or that advantage over the other candidates. Just read a story about how great it is that he has his own fleet of airplanes and helis to fly him rather than flying coach with the crybabies.Lastly don’t forget “And Mexico will pay for that wall”.

  99. JLM

    .They paid for this one — Guatemala – Mexico wall — no?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  100. PhilipSugar

    I do business in China as well. Will be in Shanghai this month. Know what it takes to setup there???? Don’t tell me we can’t tax imports. Outlaw vices??? Forget it. I live where every week they catch a minivan full of cigarettes or booze going to NYC.

  101. JLM

    .I often wonder if I am not the reincarnated Alexander Hamilton.There is that.Alexander Hamilton is a much ignored gargantuan American historical figure.He was the numbers guy plus a great soldier.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  102. Cam MacRae

    Funny, I always had you pegged for a small ‘r’ republican, but then my powers of observation are past due for recalibration.You forgot principled gentleman; threw his shot despite having been mortally wounded.

  103. Vasudev Ram

    He he, good one. A friend and I both read Lust for Life at the same time and he told me he “went mad” reading that book. I nearly did too. Metaphorically speaking of course.

  104. Cam MacRae

    1) runs counter to consensus perhaps largely because it is based on > 20 yo work which itself is based on theory that simply has no aggregate implications. raises an excellent point re: poor families.all that aside, you win with this one.2) interesting simulation, but a forecast from untested government modeling is not evidence that “every time you raise minimum wage you create unemployment”. you could debate until the cows come whether their hypothesized effects are negligible — very hard to take that view if you just lost your unskilled job.3) be thankful I am not marking your work4) see 3.

  105. Pete Griffiths