Friday, June 07, 2013

You Don't Write Me Anymore

If you're reading this (thank you) you can take a look over at the right side and see that I actually do write these days -- just at 140 characters at a time. As most of you know, I'm a slow learner. If finally dawned on me that some smart feller had probably figured out how to get Twitter on Blogger. There are even people that will use pictures so the slow learners can do it.

I'm not sure I want to embrace Twitter but in my other job, I feel like I need to reach out to the young people. So there I am. There aren't enough Democrats in my county to keep my skills current so I appealed to my regular readers here and they have patiently educated me on Twitter. I am grateful.

So, there you have it. Between politics, Twitter and pictures, my dance card stays pretty full. But I don't want to say goodbye and I don't want to quit writing. So, if you are willing to put up with the irregular writing, drop in every once in a while. I'll be here.

Currently, I'm thinking about Krugman. (Things haven't changed much.) I'm not sure Japan is executing his plan as he wishes but it is an experiment in progress -- just as the United Kingdom's move to austerity was. Here's the Wikipedia entry on Abenomics in case you aren't up to speed.

I'm having a hard time staying current on Krugman but my expectations of the future (as opposed to his) are that the sequestration is going to drag the economy down. I don't know if it will result in a recession but I feel comfortable in saying it won't allow a boom.

My Twitter follows probably saw my frustration with the subject this morning:

"May 2013 -- 175,000 jobs added. January 2009 – 818,000 jobs lost. #knowledge #perspective"

The hash tags (it's a Twitter thing) indicated my frustration that everyone on Twitter was providing information on today's unemployment numbers but no one was providing any knowledge and perspective. Creating 175,000 jobs sounds great when you're ignorant of the fact that we need to create about 125,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth -- just to tread water. Getting 50,000 people back to work is better than nothing -- but not by much. It would take 16 months just to create the number of jobs we lost in one month -- January of 2009.

Think about it old-timers; I know how the dates just slip by on you. It's 2013. We started losing jobs almost 5 years ago -- 400,000+ in September 2008 -- and we didn't stop losing them until October of 2010. We didn't create as many jobs in all of 2011 (1.8 million) as we lost in just the last four months of 2008 (2.3 million). There are a lot of people that have been unemployed for a long time. And we won't even talk about the underemployed.

Perhaps that will let you know how frustrated I was when NATCA helped get controllers excluded from the sequestration. Yeah, I know this is a hard sell to controllers. Yes, I know that it would have been very, very difficult for NATCA to exert any influence from such a difficult position. But when controllers were furloughed, the Public was paying attention. Specifically the segment of the public the country needs to pay attention, was paying attention.

It's an easy "target demographic" to define. People that fly don't have to worry too much about paying rent, stretching the Social Security check and the price of potatoes. There aren't too many of the unemployed hanging around the airport lounge waiting on the next flight. But there are planeloads of people that know how to pressure their Congressman into addressing their needs. It would have been nice to see NATCA exert its influence on behalf of those that don't have enough -- influence or jobs.

But all is not lost. There was a valuable lesson learned. Those that can exert control over the air transportation system have a great power. They can get Congress to act and to act quickly. Now all that is needed is the discipline to wield that power effectively and the wisdom to know when to use it and when not to use it.

As always, the best interest of a public servant is in serving the Public's best interest. The ones that can scream the loudest do not a Public make. They don't even pay the freight. If rich people paid most of the taxes then the States and Uncle Sam wouldn't have such budget shortfalls now would they? Rich people aren't standing in the unemployment line. They're still paying their taxes (after loop holes of course.) Yet, we have continuing budget shortfalls across the country. It's the people that work for a living that pay the taxes that make our government go. Union members should know this. And act accordingly.

Don Brown
June 7, 2013


Anonymous said...

As a PATCO ex-controller I enjoy your blog, I visit almost everyday.
I was very disappointed in President Obama for signing the controller bill. Amazing how Congress passed it in record time. He should have vetoed the bill until they addressed the whole sequestration problem. I fear they are not going to do anything unless we elect a Democratic house. Obama had the power but he elected not to use it. Very frustrating!! BTW I work for the TSA now, we just got a union. Ironic the TSA has some of the same problems the FAA had in 1981. Keep up the good work. Rick Letterman

Vannevar said...

Similarly, I don't understand why Team-O caved on FAA Sequestration. They had the perfect vehicle to say, You think sequestration is stupid and blunt? So do we. Make it go away. Or bring a book to the airport. But they gave it up without any apparent strategic benefit. (written on a non-secure line)

Anonymous said...

Don, Doesn't the union have a legal requirement to act in the best interest of the members and only the members?

Don Brown said...

Dear Anon,

I don't know about legal but I'm skeptical about "only the members". Regardless, FAA controllers are public servants and citizens. They have several reasons to act in the Public's interest.