The recent public-employee union controversy in Wisconsin is part of a global phenomenon, and every U.S. government unit will face the same crisis. Governor Walker stood up to the teachers' union in his state by saying that he wouldn't back automatic pay increases for teachers and other public workers that had increased state costs.
The Wisconsin controversy is only a taste of what is to come, especially if this nation continues to pile on debt and pay ever-more in interest on that debt.
Looking behind the numbers Thursday's ADP report reveals an economy that is flat-lined, heading into recession.
When June’s numbers are compared to January’s, ADP’s total nonfarm private jobs growth has increased from 110 million to 110.9 million, a gain of 77-100ths of one percent, or about 142,000 new jobs each month. A closer look reveals that most of those jobs were in the highly volatile service sector, in small businesses, usually fast-food or similar businesses, known for their high turnover. In fact, the goods-producing sector gained just one half of one percent employment since January, translating into less than 16,000 job gains each month. These numbers are hardly a “hopeful sign,” but more reflective of an economy that has flat lined.
The number of workers receiving federal disability insurance payments has spiked by more than 26,000 over the past month, bringing the total sum up to a record 8,733,461, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Astonishingly, that number surpasses the entire population of New York City by more than 500,000.
Right to Work — allowing every person to choose whether or not to join a union and pay dues — leads to greater personal wealth, freedom, and jobs for workers. Put simply, Right to Work works, while the union shop, which encourages productivity-killing work rules and a hate-the-boss work environment, leads to economic stagnation and financial misery.
On Tuesday the Treasury Department announced that in May the federal government received tax revenues of $180.7 billion, the second highest for the month of May in history. Unfortunately, the government spent $305.3 billion, leaving a deficit of $124.6 billion. So far this year, deficits are at $844.5 billion and are on track to exceed $1 trillion for the fiscal year, the fourth year in a row.
Doing the math, the national debt is growing at a rate of more than $3 billion per day, or about $565 per household every month. At that rate the national debt will hit the debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion just a few days after the November election.
The release last week of the Federal Reserve’s much-anticipated three-year study of America’s finances, its Survey of Consumer Finances, confirmed what many families already know: Between 2007 and 2010 the average family’s net worth declined by nearly 40 percent, mostly because of the decline in housing prices. The Fed study also confirmed that their incomes also fell significantly in real terms, by nearly eight percent.
President Obama’s assertion last Friday that “the private sector is doing fine” has drawn heated criticism from his opponents, as media outlets and the Romney campaign have pounced at the opportunity to exploit the President’s “out-of-touch” view toward the U.S. economy.
The “Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2012,” announced Wednesday by three Democratic lawmakers — Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), and Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) — would spike the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10 while mandating that future increases be tied to inflation.
But leaders in the business community say increases in the minimum wage only exacerbate unemployment, as companies must cut their payroll, especially when dealing with a stagnant economy.
As the Greek economy descends into political and economic chaos, it's only natural for Americans to wonder how the United States can avoid such a catastrophe. Greece is descending into a debt vortex from borrowing too much, and can no longer keep up with domestic demands for social welfare payments.
The debt abyss is an economic reality already known to millions of American families who made risky bets on the housing market just before the economic crash, or racked up massive credit card debt. Those families know that the solution to restoring a sustainable and prosperous future is not to keep on spending wantonly, but to make painful lifestyle adjustments that cut spending drastically and begin to pay off the debt. A nation, like a family, that lives above its means for a time must eventually live beneath its means to pay off the debts.
Last Friday the City Council of North Las Vegas, Nevada’s fourth largest city just north and east of Las Vegas, voted unanimously to suspend part of its union agreement in order to balance its budget. With property tax and general tax revenues down by more than 30 percent in just the last three years, North Las Vegas was facing a shortfall of $30 million in its $500 million budget.
Under state law it must submit a balanced budget by June 1. Negotiations with three public employee unions, the North Las Vegas Police Officers Association (POA), the North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association (PSA), and the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), began in January but the unions refused to make the concessions necessary to keep the city solvent.
The latest report from the nonpartisan Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College was brutal in its assessment of the status of state and local pension plans and their ability to keep their promises to their beneficiaries and retirees. With public pension funds underfunded by half, those states, cities and municipalities — and their taxpayers — would have to double their contributions to those plans just to have any chance of them avoiding default on their promises to those depending on them for their retirement.