Friday, November 14, 2008

Barry's Bonanza

IBD does a great job here of listing all the promises that Barry's website makes to the American electorate.

Whew, it's exhilarating! And I mean that in the most sarcastic way.

I like the one about doing my taxes in five minutes, tho, I'm sure that will not apply to the 60% or so of us who actually pay income taxes. After all, how long should it take for the 40% of you who pay no income tax to fill out an application to stake a claim on a portion of my earnings. Yes, yes, we're among that five percent (shame on us) who won't be getting a tax cut.

Another fave of mine "makes" employees provide seven paid sick days a year. Isn't that how the Big Three auto workers have gotten themselves into trouble--by paying people not to work?

He's also going to "finish the fight" against al-Qaida. Do you think al-Qaida will agree to that? Maybe they'll sign a peace treaty on a carrier parked in the Persian Gulf.

"Slash earmarks"!?!?! That makes me laugh out loud. Literally. There's not a snowball's chance in hell that a bill, any bill, will make it off Capitaol Hill without being laden with pork. Congress is incapable of that.

It's quite a bonanza, Barry.

Grab your wallets, folks.


  1. From this LA Times article:

    "As many as 43% of American workers in private industry don't have paid sick days, according to 2007 data from the federal government. If they call in sick, they lose their pay and, sometimes, their jobs."

    I think just dropping a line about the big three, which have had other massive problems with brand recognition and other economic forces does the issue of sick days an injustice.

  2. I'm with ojintoad. It's easy to blame unions, but as late as January of this year, when Toyota was busy making the Prius even more user-friendly, Ford got Toby Keith to stand in an auto show between a tough looking brick wall and a tougher looking gigantic pick up truck. Unfortunately for them (really, unfortunately for us), they counted on gas prices to stay low and on American men to stay insecure with their masculinity.

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  4. It's always a sad thing when someone loses a job. At the same time, it's not the role of government to tell businesses they have to provide sick days. What if the business can't afford to? Better to have sick days or no employer? Let the unions and the market figure it out. That's all I'm saying.

    OM, I couldn't agree with you more: top management and boards of the Big Three ought all to be shit-canned. They're as much to blame, if not more so, than the unions. That being said, auto bail out or no auto bail out, the Big Three will not stay in business paying $70/hour when Toyota and Honda are paying $48/hour. Eventually that will come to an end, one way or another.

  5. I think in cases of Small Business, the ultimatum of no employer vs. paid sick days is applicable; Small Business' budgets are tighter, and they are a core part of the economy. However, when it comes to larger corporations, I think there's less of an argument. I offer Merrill Lynch as an example.

    From the LA Times article: "The brokerage giant Merrill Lynch raised eyebrows last year when it sliced guaranteed sick days for employees from 40 to three." Granted, they still had PTO, but the article points out that's below the average of 10.

    Merrill Lynch subsequently had to be bought out by BOA as a result of the crunch. And as O'Reilly rightly points out in this case, their CEO was granted a disgustingly large $150 million golden parachute. Maybe the money spent on a CEO who runs a company into the ground could have been better spent on the many employees who need to take care of themselves when they have a serious illness. If they're not going to bother spending it on a CEO that can actually run a company well, that is.

    You say: "Let the unions and market figure it out." In many employee/employer relationships, there is no union, which means it is only the market figuring it out. The market is heartless. You can look to Nancy Folbre for those arguments. But answer this: If there is no union, and it is not the government's job to legislate on required sick leave, who represents the employees need for sick leave in the employee/employer relationship?

    Thanks for responding. I know I'm taking the discussion in a different direction, and I agree with your sentiments about the big three.

  6. Thanks for being interested enough to comment, Ojintoad.

    Re. executive pay, it's a complete mystery to me. On the one hand, I say let the market decide what those salaries should be. On the other, WTF?!? Why do these guys get paid even for doing a terrible job? It's like no-cut clauses in athletes' contracts. That's just plain irresponsibility by corporate boards.

    Re. sick days. The market is heartless, for sure. In cases where there's no union the markets still decide. If sick days are important to workers, the best workers will not work for companies that don't provide sick days and the companies that don't prvode them will suffer from having less talented employees.

    Workers who need sick days will, one way or another, move or be moved to companies that provide sick days. many a teacher that I used to work with was teaching in order to take advantage of the good benefits, liberal sick leave policies, and work schedules that corresponded with the school calendars of their children.

    Employers, I guarantee, will provide sick days if doing so adds to the bottom line--attracts the best employees and keeps them happy. This is why so many employers provide health care when there's no law requiring that they do so.

    Right now, seems that it's a hirer's job market rather than a hiree's job market.