The other night, having cut the cable cord, I was watching Slapshot on my Apple TV box via Netflix ($7.99 a month); and a line in the movie hit me particularly hard.
To set the scene, Slapshot is a 1977 Paul Newman film about a minor league hockey team, the mythical Charlestown Chiefs in the mythical town of Charlestown, somewhere in the not so mythical rust belt.
Paul Newman is the player-coach of the Chiefs, and he is walking up the hill past a steel mill with his college educated scoring ace played by Michael Ontkean, telling Ontkean that he doesn’t believe that the rumored mill closing will happen because the company was just “jacking up the workers to make them happy they have a job.”
Ontkean tells Newman that, in fact, the closing had been announced that morning.
“10,000 mill workers placed on waivers.”
For those of you who don’t remember 1977, Jimmy Carter was more or less the President, and the economy was not totally dissimilar to today.
And the point was made that when 10,000 mill workers don’t have jobs, they don’t have the money to buy tickets to follow minor league hockey teams—especially teams with a losing record.
Now back in those days, we were losing our domestic steel industry to the Japanese and the United Steel Workers.
These days, we have lost much of the manufacturing sector to countries where the workers are not unionized and much less expensive than those here in the good old U S of A.
Yet who even Democrats will privately admit only has a passing relationship with intelligence, Harry Reid, is worried about “income inequality” as opposed to just putting people to work.
His solution? Raise the minimum wage to $10.15 an hour.
Reid (D-Ritz Carleton, Washington DC) genuinely appears to think that you solve income inequality by, in the words of Michael Ontkean, placing them on waivers.
Because that’s exactly what is going to happen if Reid somehow manages to shove this through Congress the way he shoved Obamacare through. (And how’s that working out for him?)
This is from the Department of Labor’s website history of the Carter Administration:
In 1978 Congress passed and the President signed the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act, better known as the Humphrey-Hawkins Act. Drafted with assistance from the Department, this law did not create any specific programs. Rather, it called for government-wide planning and action to achieve reduced unemployment and, eventually, zero inflation. This Act found strong expression in many aspects of the Department’s employment and training program, including: targeting assistance to reduce long-term unemployment; improving coordination with private business; reducing youth unemployment, and; assisting adult workers dislocated because of foreign competition. Occupational safety and health programs were significantly redirected during this period. … Enforcement became much stricter as inspectors cited more and more employers for “serious” and “willful” violations of standards and assessed heavier fines against them.
Just what they needed to fix the economy, right?
For the record, that crap was a complete and utter failure despite what some public school teachers tell their students. It took President Ronald Reagan’s administration about three years to undo the damage that Carter did and put the economy back on an even keel, mostly by lowering taxes and reducing regulations.
So here we are in 2014. About 90,000,000 people have been “placed on waivers”. Many for so long that they have said “the hell with it” and just stopped looking (or, as it might be put in the movies, become free agents.)
And Harry Dimbulb (twisted fluorescent) thinks this can be fixed by the government.
Ronald Reagan has already given us the template. There is no such thing as “trickle up” economics. You don’t create jobs by breaking investors and discouraging employment.
Neutering Harry, however, would be a good start.