Morning Ed: Labor {2016.11.21.M}

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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66 Responses

  1. Chip Daniels says:

    Meanwhile, the Laffer Curve in Kansas continues to plunge downward.

    Brownback now sounds like one of those late state Marxists in the Brezhnev era, insisting that the miracle will occur any day now, any…day…now.Report

    • Meanwhile, next door in Colorado, the legislature will be making modest cuts in spending for FY 2017-18 because we are on pace to collect too much revenue in 2016-17. Probably reducing general fund transfers to the transportation fund, and in some of the K-12 programs.Report

      • PD Shaw in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Meanwhile, in Illinois another year without a budget is coming to a close. We need more frequent elections, perhaps called immediately after each budget impasse.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to PD Shaw says:

          Isn’t the term for that “The parliamentary system”?

          (Seriously, though, I’d love a state to give the parliamentary system a try.)Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman says:

            I think that’s the most disappointing feature in American federalism, that state governments are actually very conservative with how they are structured. Most just mirror the federal form of government to one extent or another. Some governors might be stronger than others and some state legislatures might meet for shorter sessions than others but you still have the three fold division of separately elected executives, legislatures, and an elected, appointed, or combination of the two judiciary.

            I’d like some experimentation on how they are governed to. Besides trying out a parliamentary system, I’d also like to see states experiment with greater centralization like an actual state wide education system and curriculum or land use policy determined at the state level rather than the local level.Report

  2. Chip Daniels says:

    Oh, yeah, and the links between Trump’s fan base and Russia’s dictator continue to grow and deepen.

    The party of Reagan, now in thrall to Moscow.

    We are living in interesting times.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    In this blurb I am thinking that I think that this has some good advice about writing.

    It’s not advice on how to become a better writer, but how to make writing more accessible to more people. How to make writing more persuasive.

    We are all Trump’s Tweets now.


    • Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

      I don’t understand the hatred of qualifying words and phrases. Sometimes “I think” is right, because I’m writing about something I think. Am I not supposed to? Should I only write about agreed-upon facts?

      If I think you missed my point, that’s what I’m going to say. If I’m right, you may reconsider my point. If I’m wrong, then you’ll likely make your case, and we might both learn something. But if I say “you missed my point”, I’m declaring myself your enemy. I’m talking about the quality of your thought processes, which I have no right to do.

      As for the “shrink your opening sentence” idea, it’s only partially true. Some people write awkward thesis sentences that stick out like a sore thumb. That’s bad. But the example in this article was: “This is a post that’s going to help you become a better writer.” becomes “I can help you.” I probably wouldn’t read an article that began that way, especially once I realized it was an article about improving your writing.

      Oh – and the word “underwhelm” always looks like a typo, because everyone uses “underwhelming”.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Pinky says:

        And those of us that are merely whelmed are always at a loss for words.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Kolohe says:

          Interesting word. Whelm means “to submerge or topple”. Overwhelmed means to be whelmed over, the same as we’d say overturned or turned over. The term “underwhelmed” started as a play on words in the 1950’s.Report

      • veronica d in reply to Pinky says:

        An analogy: often boxing coaches will do weird things, such as have a student hold a tennis ball under their chin while training. This is silly. You would never hold a tennis ball under your chin in a real match. Likewise, the “always keep your chin down” rule is one skilled boxers can violate from time to time, when the time is right.

        However, it feels natural to rise your chin and drop your hands. When you are learning to box, you’ll do that constantly. Your coach is trying to ingrain new habits, which will serve as a sound base as your gain skills.

        So it goes for writing. Clearly there are times to include “I think,” but for many amateur writers, they do it too often. The same applies to “-ing” verbs. People use them a lot. Writing often becomes more crisp when they are eliminated.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Pinky says:

        “I don’t understand the hatred of qualifying words and phrases.”

        Because they’re usually used to make a statement about the speaker, rather than the object. This gives moral authority to the speaker, as any rebuttal is now an attack on the speaker and can be responded to as such.

        “You are a racist!” That’s a statement about someone; it has to be supported by facts and reasoning, and those facts and reasoning can be challenged or rebutted.

        I think you are a racist!” That’s a statement about me. That it happens to include you is happenstance; I’m describing myself and my worldview. If you say “no I’m not”, now you’re saying that I’m deranged, that I don’t know my own mind. Why would you say these things? Why are you so angry at me? What is it about my thoughts that makes you want to attack me?Report

        • Pinky in reply to DensityDuck says:

          I disagree with nearly everything you just said.

          Saying “I think” makes the statement about the speaker, not the object. We agree on that. But it doesn’t grant the speaker moral authority. It simply presents a possibility, a subject for discussion.

          I say “A”. You reply “not A”. This is a confrontation. It may be good for us to seek out the answer about whether A is true or not, but your reply does put things in a confrontational posture.

          Instead, I say “A” and you reply “I think not A”. OK, why do you think that? We can start to build a common understanding in order to resolve the matter.

          Now, clearly what I’m describing is a process where both people want to resolve the question. If A stands for “you’re a racist”, there’s malice from the get-go. It doesn’t much matter if we start with “I think you’re a racist” or “you’re a racist”, because this isn’t a discussion with two equals; it’s a trial.

          One other thing. I don’t write articles; I comment. That may be influencing my approach. If I’m writing an article, I should state my position clearly. If I’m replying to an article, I’m in a position of conversation, not declaration. I notice that in my examples, I have the first person stating “A”, and the replier saying “not A” or “I think not A”. I guess I’m making the assumption that the first speaker should make clear statements, but commenters should take more of a conversational tone.Report

      • Will H. in reply to Pinky says:

        Noting tendencies, appearances, and how things seem are all acceptable forms of tentative qualifiers.
        Thinkings, believings, and feelings are bs.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    Historians have been spelling ink about why the United States never developed a Labor or Social Democratic Party like other Western democracies for over a century. There isn’t any obvious answer but a myriad of small answers. The structure of American politics doesn’t bode well for any third party. The Radical Right used to hate the Democratic Party and the Republican Party during the New Deal Era and World War II but eventually decided that the only way to achieve political power is through one of the parties. They picked the more congenial Republican Party and began the take over and reshaping of American politics.

    The American Further Left, those that would be Laborites or Social Democratic party members in a European country or even farther to the Left, had no stomach to work through the Democratic Party or through the structure of American politics. They would rather be pure and engage in theatrical protest politics than the dirty world of electoral politics. A week or two before the election, the New York Times had an article from a man whose parents were active in the Socialist Workers Party. He wrote that his parents were so against American culture that he wasn’t allowed to watch football on tv or celebrate birthdays as a kid. Its a extreme scenario but would be American Socialists always had some element of this hatred to them. You have to play by the rules of the system your in, not the rules of the system you want to get somewhere politically.

    There are also severe cultural reasons for the lack of a Labor Party in the United States. A significant number of Americans always perceived Leftist ideas of even the most mildest sorts with deep and hostile suspicion. When German immigrants began organizing labor unions and demonstrations during the 1850s, the Know Nothings accused them of introducing anti-American ideas into the body politic. Outside of mine workers, Anglo-Protestant Americans tended to stay away from anything remotely smacking of Leftist politics and unions. Most of the union drive came from immigrants or their American born children. You aren’t going to develop a Labor Party in a country where many people see such beliefs as deeply un-American. The Radical Right thought that the comparatively mild New Deal marked the end of American capitalist and Protestant civilization. Why would anything more radical succeed?

    You also have the issue of race and religion to complicate things. Outside of the Russian Empire, Labor or Social Democratic parties thrived in homogeneous societies without much in the way of ethnic or religious division but much in the way of class hierarchy like the United Kingdom or Imperial Germany. In late 19th and early 20th century America with its divides between Whites and African-Americans, native born and immigrants, Protestant and Catholic/Jews/Eastern Orthodox you weren’t going to get a Labor Party.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to LeeEsq says:

      The Democratic Party was the US Labor Party until the 1970s.

      You can have a Labor Party, or you can have a Progressive Party. The problem with being the former is that you’re gonna have a dude like the one who pantsed you in middle school (or like the one you dated in high school and he kissed you and you kinda didn’t want him to but you went along because you didn’t want to be A Stuck-Up Bitch) use both the N-word and the C-word, and you’re gonna need to not flip out when that happens.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to DensityDuck says:

        Of course, you’re ignoring the fact that a working class worker is 2016 is far more likely to be a Latina cleaning woman, African American service worker, or Filipina nurse than a racist white guy working in a factory.

        Also, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          “Vote Democrat! We’re the party of (some of) the working class!”Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to DensityDuck says:

            We’re the party of the working class and will help you, as long as you’re OK with people you don’t know getting abortions, people you don’t know getting gay married, and people you don’t know being given citizenship.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Huh. Seems like the working class cares more about the culture war than they cared about the economic thing (and they care about the economic thing a lot).

              Which made it particularly timing for this to be the year for bad decisions when it comes to targeting and staffing and talking more about the culture war stuff than about the economic stuff.Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              At LGM we get into perennial debates on whether or not politicians need to really believe in liberal or leftist politics in their heart of hearts or whether merely supporting liberal policies is enough even if its partly for self-serving reasons. I’m in the latter camp, actions count more than reasons.

              I think the same applies to voters. If a liberal or center-left party only went for voters who had the purest motives and agreed 100% with each other than your going to keep losing elections. Not everybody is going to be on board with everything all the time.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              “We’re the party of the working class and will help you, as long as you’re OK with people you don’t know getting abortions, etc.”

              aka “here’s your file, get to work on those corners ya square. Maybe when you’re done we’ll have a round hole for you.”Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to DensityDuck says:

                As opposed to “thanks for your vote. What? No, of course we’re not going to put up those tariffs you asked for. Also let’s privatize Medicare and social security. You guys want that, right?”Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              We’re the party of the working class and will help you…

              Except your jobs will be sacrificed to the “green”.

              You can’t be trusted to choose your own school because you might choose the one which doesn’t have the union, their jobs are more important than your kid’s education.

              And gov employees will get gold plated pensions far greater than yours, however you get to pay for them.

              Greens and the Government come before the working class.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to DensityDuck says:

        Like Jesse said, your definition of working class seems way too limited. Just because a person doesn’t work in a factory, field, or mine does not mean that they aren’t working class. Busboys, servers in restaurants, cleaning people, and company are also working class. It is true that there has always been at least some tension between the more culturally conservative working class members of Labor/Social Democratic parties and the more cosmopolitan and liberal educated middle class members but this conflict has been going on for centuries.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to LeeEsq says:

          “Just because a person doesn’t work in a factory, field, or mine does not mean that they aren’t working class. ”

          I didn’t say anything about factories, fields, or mines.

          But if you want to pretend like the “working class” is majority nonwhite and won’t ever have Uncomfortable Attitudes about things, then, well, you’re thinking like Clinton in 2016, and you see where that gets you.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to DensityDuck says:

        Calling the Democratic Party, the American Labor Party until the 1970s is also ahistorical. Its true that factory workers and miners were a very important part of the Democratic Party until recently but they were never the only part. You also had many Democratic politicians who were very conservative and anti-Labor, mainly in the South, at this time. Labor unions never had the power in the Democratic Party that they did in the United Kingdom’s Labor Party or other Social Democratic Party. The Democratic Party was never has radical in what they advocated as other Labor parties.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to LeeEsq says:

          “Pro-Union” and “Pro-Labor” are not the same. Don’t make the mistake of looking at other countries’ names for political organisations and applying them in American society (or the reverse.)Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to DensityDuck says:

            In most of the world, pro-Labor means being favor in the ability of workers to organize into unions, bargain collective, strike, workplace safety, decent wages for a decent day’s work, and take time off without repercussions from the boss. You can’t really be pro-Labor without being pro-Union to a certain extent.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to LeeEsq says:

              me: “Don’t make the mistake of looking at other countries’ names for political organisations and applying them in American society[.]”

              LeeEsq: “In most of the world…”

              me: so you just…did the thing that I said to…not do…?Report

    • Will H. in reply to LeeEsq says:

      There seem to be several inaccuracies in here.
      The Knights of Labor were organized by Freemasons.
      Debs was a socialist, Gompers a communist. Gompers garnered his support in the AFL-CIO, and on to the Democratic Party. Debs went on to form the Wobblies.
      The populist wave of the late 19th century was a labor movement.
      FDR bought off labor with the NLRB; in specific, in providing John L. Lewis a seat on the board, which Lewis then used to swiftly crush his competition, the PMWA.

      When labor came together with the Democrats, it was for graft, and remains largely so.

      For about 90 years* and counting, the leadership of the labor movement has been quite out of step with the rank-and-file, in roughly half of all such labor movements.

      * The rank-and-file’s opposition to policies of the leadership was what led to the breakaway PMWA in the first place, from 1927.
      Yes, it’s been that long.Report

  5. Kolohe says:

    McD’s plays around with the ordering ‘experience’ frequently. Some work well (like doubling the speaker boxes in the drive thru lane), and some do not (like routing the ‘can I take your order’ to a remote centralized call center.

    Some of what is proposed will work, some will not. Their innovations, as it were, have very little to do with wage levels though. (they keep the wages low through high turnover and significantly underpaying their front line managers)Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Kolohe says:

      (they keep the wages low through high turnover

      Other way around, isn’t it? Low wages lead to high turnover. There’s no law that says you have to raise somebody’s wages x% every year, so you don’t need high turnover to pay low wages—it’s just an unwanted (but maybe acceptable, depending on your business model) side effect.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to Kolohe says:

      Something that I see surprisingly rarely in drive thru lines: A menu in the car space *before* the order box. You’d think that would be an obvious one to companies that are spending so much R&D time on making the process more efficient, but it’s not. I’d estimate that the majority of them do the equivalent of a waiter asking you what you want while handing you a menu at a sit-down restaurant.

      My only guess is that the bottleneck is elsewhere in the pipeline, so they don’t need to worry about a slow, awkward exchange as a person looks at the menu for the first time as they order.Report

  6. Mo says:

    The amount of ink spilled on the right about the meeting with Indian real estate investors seems to show how much they really care about “pay to play” and using the Executive Branch for self-enrichment.Report

  7. DensityDuck says:

    LinkedIn CEO: Haw. he can get all the coders he needs through H1B, but you still need good installers to make sure the HVAC ductwork in the server rooms is done right, to make sure that all the fiber runs go where they’re supposed to go, oh yeah and to find out what’s the deal with the toilet in the bathroom that never quite flushes right.Report

  8. Oscar Gordon says:

    Workplace repression: Using an app to prove a trouble maker is actually a trouble maker doesn’t strike me as repression, nor does using it to look for union organisation on company time, unless that is specifically protected by law.

    Now if the app was spying on their smartphone emails and texts when installed on their personal phones, then I can see repression.

    ETA: Proving trouble makers can be a difficult thing. My wife had a small clique of workers that felt like complaining about the work & the company more than doing actual work, and it took months of documenting and employee counseling and escalating bad behavior before they finally got enough to just break the group up and move them into different jobs (no one was fired or laid off). The whole time this was going on, group morale was dropping.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      “Using an app to prove a trouble maker is actually a trouble maker ”

      The problem is that what it’s going to find is “typical workplace behavior” which legal requirements surrounding government contracting will be forced to consider malfeasance.

      Like, the team spent fifteen minutes yakking in the break room when they said they were on shift; that’s a Labor Mischarging Violation and the contractor who hired them is fined two hundred thousand dollars. The guys have never *not* spent that time yakking, and they’ve always gotten everything done with no problems and exactly on schedule, but now that there’s data about their movements their employer is not permitted to decide break-room yakking is OK.Report

  9. Dan d says:

    Here’s a map of Ross Perot’s vote total in 1992

    Here are the area where Trump Trump outperformed Romney:

    There seems to be significant correlation. Since Perot’s platform was similar too Trump’s while lacking Trumps racism it tells us what motivated the voters.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Dan d says:

      Well, du-uh! Perot was against NAFTA. NAFTA was meant to improve the lives of Mexicans. Therefore, PEROT WAS RACIST. (Just ask Bill Richardson.)Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Dan d says:

      I don’t see much correlation. Support for Perot was strongest in the West, whereas Trump outperformed Romney in a band that snaked around the Canadian border and Great Lakes from Maine to the Dakotas. What’s really interesting, given all the claims about how Trump won due to racism, is that he didn’t really outperform Romney in the deep South, the states typically thought of as most racist.Report

  10. veronica d says:

    So I’ve been posting a lot about fake news. This came out today:

    People will believe anything. This is scary and depressing.Report

    • Mo in reply to veronica d says:

      I don’t think it’s that people will believe anything, it’s that people want to read things that they believe. Someone made the point that you don’t see fake news being the same problem in sports news or business news because (a) the audiences actually care about accuracy and (b) the results are pretty easy to see on the field or at earnings*. Political news is like celebrity for nerds. It’s much more about how you feel and things that validate those feelings than anything real.

      * Interestingly enough, the biggest area of business news that is full of fakes is tech news, which has a much larger group of people that want to believe X and where there are far fewer public companies with actual earnings to disprove X than the general population.Report

      • veronica d in reply to Mo says:

        Yeah tech news is hilarious. Like when I learn what my employer is up to, but they actually aren’t.Report

        • Damon in reply to veronica d says:

          What they are approved to tell you by their CIA handlers and what is really going on do not necessarily equal. 🙂Report

        • Mo in reply to veronica d says:

          The one area you do see this in general business new is in M&A news. That’s mostly because there are a lot of people with agendas leaking and those people have varying levels of knowledge of the situation and there’s no easy way to validate the finding. I remember when I worked on a deal, the WSJ was dead on on everything, to the extent where we could identify the leaker within ~20 people on either side of the deal, the NYTimes was getting a lot of details wrong (meaning their source was further away from the teams) and the NY Post seemed to be making things up (meaning they had a source at one of the companies, but the person was not working on the deal, but still feeding info to the paper).Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to veronica d says:

      It’s Way Too Easy to Dupe the Right on the Internet.

      I can attest, based on my Facebook feed (where the hell is this Facebook bubble I keep hearing about?), that this not a problem exclusive to the right.Report

  11. Jaybird says:

    So, DJT had a bunch of Media hotshots over to his apartment today for an off-the-record meeting.

    Reports say that he spent the meeting berating them and calling them liars.

    He has decided to go to war with people who buy ink by the barrel.Report