Category Archives: Random Stuff

America’s Third Labor Regime – What Now?

Robert Samuelson adds to the conversation on the changing nature of the American workforce. In his latest, the Nobel-prize winning economist and conservative columnist notes that the forces that created post-war economic security for working and middle class families is fast eroding. We are entering, he writes, the “third labor regime” of American history.

The first labor regime was in the early 20th century, before labor laws, when turnover was high, labor was cheap, and “less than a third of manufacturing workers in 1913 had been at their current job for more than five years.” The second labor regime began after World War II, and legislative successes of the labor movement. Samuelson notes that “to avoid unionization and retain skilled workers, large non-union companies” beefed up on health insurance, pensions, and job protections. “If you went to work for IBM at 25,” Samuelson writes, “you could expect to retire from IBM at 65 … Corporate America, unionized or not, created a private welfare state to protect millions from job loss and income loss.”

The third labor regime is settling in now – and it’s a mix of the first two. “The private safety net is shredding,” Samuelson writes, “though the public safety net (unemployment insurance, Social Security, anti-poverty programs, anti-discrimination laws) remains.” Samuelson doesn’t write about it in this article, but that “public safety net” is too expensive to maintain.

The question now is, what happens next? Neither party is doing very well at speaking directly to this problem. My own party seems all too often to simply be ignoring it – to our own future electoral peril. We understand the finances of Roosevelt and LBJ don’t work, but we’re not always great at speaking to American optimism or offering a replacement. And the Democratic solution seems to be focused only on the expansion of the already broken public safety net – which isn’t a solution at all, but instead a recipe for national fiscal catastrophe.

To go back to Peggy Noonan from Friday:

One of the things missing in the current political scene is zest—a feeling that can radiate from the political sphere that everything is possible, the market is wide open.

In the midst of the economic malaise of the 1970s the TV anchormen spoke in sonorous tones about the dreadful economic indicators—inflation, high interest rates, “the misery index.” But Steve Jobs, in his parents’ garage, was quietly working on circuit boards. And strange young Bill Gates was creating a company called Microsoft. All that work burst forth under the favorable economic conditions and policies in the 1980s and ’90s.

What is needed now is a political leader on fire about all the possibilities, not one who tries to sound optimistic because polls show optimism is popular but someone with real passion about the idea of new businesses, new inventions, growth, productivity, breakthroughs and jobs, jobs, jobs. Someone in love with the romance of the marketplace. We’ve lost that feeling among our political leaders, who mostly walk around looking like they have headaches. But American genius is still there, in our garages. It’s been there since before Ben Franklin and the key and the kite and the bolt of lightning.

Western States Want to Steal Our Water

File in this in the dumb idea of the week category. The New York Times reports the federal Bureau of Reclamation has suggested building a pipeline 600 miles across Kansas to pump water from the Missouri River into reservoirs in the Denver area. 

This report comes just two weeks after fears that barge traffic on the Mississippi River below St. Louis would have to be suspended because of low river levels as a result of already low releases from upstream on the Missouri. 

It’s not Missourians fault that people chose to develop an area that’s water-poor. I’ve got a better idea – instead of stealing our water, don’t over-develop places that can’t support it. 

Pro-Life, Pro-Jobs, Pro-Freedom – Mailer

The following mailer went out today:

I’m a pro-life, free market Republican who believes the best days are still ahead for both our community and nation. I’ve worked as your state representative the past two years to protect taxpayers and ensure a balanced state budget. Unlike my opponent, I think your taxes are too high already, and want to find ways to encourage innovation to grow our economy and build a better future. I’ve earned a reputation as a straight-talking hard worker who is unafraid to take principled stands. I ask you to stand with me on November 6.

Vote Jay Barnes

The Governor’s Mansion on C-SPAN

C-SPAN tours the Governor’s Mansion:

Lewis & Clark Monument

C-SPAN’s look at our monument to America’s greatest explorers.

JCCC on C-SPAN

C-SPAN’s short look at the history of JCCC. 

The Founding of Lincoln University – C-SPAN

C-SPAN came to town a few months back to film a number of different segments about the history of our river city. Here’s a segment on the inspirational story behind the founding of Lincoln University:

Death Penalty for Penn State

Count me in the crowd who believes Penn State’s football program should be disbanded for a while. Give all the kids a chance to transfer without having to sit out any time. And shut it down. 

Here’s a blog on how the federal government could do it for the university’s failure to report crimes on campus. I don’t think the feds should do it – because that’s not the proper role of the federal government. The NCAA, however, is a different story. If the organization is willing to suspend players and reprimand coaches for twiddly-wink stuff – this is off their charts. 

Pics from a Great Thursday Night Live

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There was a great crowd last night at Thursday night live. In addition to good music and food, we had Leonard Steinman acting as security for the band and a firefighter repelling from the roof of Central Bank

Kevin Garnett Channels Teddy Roosevelt

The NBA playoffs are heating up and suddenly its obvious that, in many ways, Kevin Garnett represents the essence of American sports. He’s a champion who plays his heart out every night – leaving it all on the court. After lost night’s epic win and his great performance, he was asked what continues to motivate him after 17 seasons in the league, an NBA title, and hundreds of millions already earned: 

“The competition, the naysayers, the owners who talk too much. The people who don’t think a 36-year-old can do what I do. I take a lot of pride in my craft, I work really hard at my craft everyday, and I’m a true professional.” – Kevin Garnett, identifying what motivates him after taking a Game 5 win over Miami.

Reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt: 

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

Kevin Garnett should remind Americans why we love sports – and people who “actually strive to do the deeds” even after they’ve made it big. It’s a big part of what makes America great.