07 July 2012

Uncommon Commentary #276: What Our Economy Needs Is Economy

My dictionary's oldest non-archaic definition for "economy", you see, is "thrifty and efficient use of material resources : frugality in expenditures".)
Persons who have a psychological necessity to believe in "American exceptionalism" take some comfort from their perception that riots such as we have seen in Greece just don't happen here—What happened in Oakland this past year doesn't count? (Ironically, the ancient ancestors of today's Greeks have been deemed so exceptional, because of their cultural achievements, that they were formerly thought to have been a race apart from all other human beings.)  In Athens, however, the unrest has resulted from measures far more severe than any taken in our own land; the latest austerity plan in Hellas (= Greece), for instance, includes a 22% cut in the minimum wage, permanent cancellation of "holiday wage bonuses", elimination of 150,000 "public-sector" jobs, changes that make it easier to lay off employees, the giving to industry the ability to negotiate lower wages, cuts to state spending on health care, and 300 million "Euros" worth of reductions to pensions.  Rioting is never justifiable, and sacrifices must be made when one's country is in such a Hellas of a mess as is theirs or ours, but it is understandable that people are upset.  In Wisconsin, by contrast, there occurred near-riots and other disgraces (e.g., legislators fleeing to Illinois so as to deny the majority a quorum) because Governor Walker sought to take from State-employee labor unions their privilege (not "right") of bargaining collectively (which employees of the federal government have never had, and without which they have always, and especially now, prospered) and because the Governor's proposal meant that union dues (which Big Labor donates to Democratic campaigns for office) would henceforward be paid voluntarily rather than deducted automatically from State paychecks; what really motivated the mob in Madison, therefore, was not concern for the future of the Working Man but crude partisanship.  Can you imagine how the domestic Left will react if the USA ever gets serious about economizing?