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Monday, September 3, 2012

Should Labor Day be renamed to "Small Business Day?"

       With the attacks on public labor unions by the Republicans recently and their infatuation with small business it doesn't seem relevant to celebrate a day honoring "laborers."  Where blue collar laborers were seen as what make this Country great they have now been replaced by the "job creators" and small business owners.  Union membership in the private sector has fallen to 7% the lowest percentage since 1932.  As a country the 11.4% US workers belonging to a union is far below the 19% in Germany, the 28% in Canada and 70% in Finland.  While critics of unions will point to the economic ills of Europe as the excesses of unions and socialistic programs each of the above countries have healthier economies than the US.  Just as lower taxes don't neatly equate to a healthy economy the presence of unionized workers doesn't point to economic decline.

     One effect of the decline of unions is the increasing income inequality in the United States. According to a report in CNN Money the United States ranks in the bottom third of 90 countries on income inequality.  Canada, Western Europe and Australia rank in the top third. As much of the political discourse has been about creating jobs and how that can be accomplished the fact remains that middle income purchasing power is still the main driver of the economy and not tax policy.  Middle income wages being in decline tell the story of our economic stagnation.

    While enjoying the Orioles dominating the American League East this year I can't help but hate the effect that batting gloves have had on the slowing down of the game.  Do all the players have to adjust the Velcro on their gloves after every pitch????  This must add 20 to 30 minutes to the game time.  This seems to be mostly an issue at the Major League level.  Having attended many Minor League games this doesn't seem to be the same problem there.  If I could make a rule change I would only let the batters leave the batters box once in each at bat.  Lets see the batters adjust their batting gloves when the pitchers can pitch the ball at them.

P.S. 1
   While I am onto criticizing Major League idiosyncrasies I think it is time that ballplayers stop being allowed to chew tobacco in the Major Leagues.  I can only imagine what the floors of the the dugouts look like.