Tag Archives: economy

Millennials Don’t Want to Join Unions, Here’s Why

Unions are in trouble. Membership is declining, public pension plans are dangerously underfunded, and young workers are not interested in diverting a portion of their paychecks to dues that offer them few benefits in return. Half the states have passed “right to work” legislation that says that workers cannot be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. In the face of these challenges, the union membership rate has fallen to a 100-year low.

Membership rates continue to fall as traditionally unionized industries such as steel and textiles move offshore and younger workers choose the non-union sector. Only 4 percent of employed 16 to 24 year-olds are union members, and the membership rate for workers 25 to 34 years old is less than 10 percent. Union shops tend to value tenure over skill, and merit bonuses are nowhere to be found. Young workers are the first to be fired, even if they are more competent than experienced employees. Workers aged 45 to 64 have the highest union participation rate at 14 percent.

Given the costs of joining a union, it is unsurprising that unionization rates increase with age and few young people clamor to sign up. Younger workers already ask what that FICA tax is doing in their paycheck, and union dues add another 2 percent to 4 percent tax. United Food and Commercial Workers dues range from <href=”#dues”>$19 to $60 a month, according to the union’s website. Initiation fees can add another $50 to $100, the price of a year’s worth of Netflix.

Reasonable people would expect union bosses to reevaluate unpopular policies in an attempt to attract and retain new members. Reasonable people would be mistaken. Rather than competing in the labor market, union bosses favor influencing government policy by doubling down on political donations.

Unions are required to file annual financial and membership data with the Department of Labor, and recently-released LM-2 forms show that unions continue to struggle to gain new members.

United Food & Commercial Workers International Union membership has fallen 4 percent from its peak in 2009, to 1.3 million. Over this same time, employment has risen by 7 percent. Service Employees International Union membership has fallen 2 percent from its peak in 2011, to 1.9 million. AFL-CIO membership has fallen 7 percent from its peak in 2005 to 12.7 million, although membership has risen over the past few years.

Read the rest at Townhall…

Rand Paul Heads to the Races

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will announce the official launch of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in Louisville today. In a video released on Monday foreshadowing his announcement, Paul promised, “On April 7, a different kind of Republican will take on Washington.” But how different is Paul from the other likely Republican candidates? Is he really, as Time Magazine claimed, “The Most Interesting Man in Politics”?

While other more conservative candidates promise to return America to its past glory with tried-and-true policy proposals, Paul has staked positions on many issues that have the potential to remake the economy and Americans’ relationship with their government.

Economic opportunity—and what Paul sees as its catalyst, individual liberty—is a major theme that runs across Paul’s often unconventional positions.

Economic freedom zones are one of Paul’s favored tools to bring growth back to low-income communities. Following the lead of former Congressman Jack Kemp (R-NY), these zones have lower tax burdens, lighter regulation, and reduced union work requirements. To inject more human capital into these labor markets, parents are given greater choice over their children’s educations, and entrepreneurial immigrants are welcomed.

Paul is working with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to roll back some of the most destructive aspects of the failed war on drugs. According to Paul and Booker, reforming mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent crimes and expunging non-violent juvenile criminal records could lessen the long-lasting burdens felt by those entangled the American justice system. Current policy makes many people who do not pose threats to society unemployable—creating a cycle of economic immobility. As Paul arguedduring an address at Bowie State University, “If you smoked some pot or grew marijuana plants in college, I think you ought to get a second chance.”

Though Paul is not in favor of federal legalization of recreational marijuana, last month he co-sponsored a bipartisan bill to end the federal ban on medical marijuana, now legal in 23 states. This would allow patients, including veterans suffering from PTSD, to follow their doctors’ recommendations without fear of prosecution. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has already declared that he is running for president, also endorses a similar federalist approach to marijuana laws.

Paul’s battle against overcriminalization does not end with harsh drug sentences. He is a vocal opponent of civil asset forfeiture, which allows the government to take property from individuals without even accusing them of a crime. Paul is the sponsor of the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act, which would require law enforcement agencies to show “clear and convincing evidence” that property was connected to criminal action before it could be seized.

Read the rest at the Manhattan Institute’s E21…

Public Holidays: Why You Can’t Find Anywhere to Eat Brunch

Struggling to find somewhere to eat brunch this weekend? Looking for someone to blame? Look no further than the Victorian government.

The Andrews government has designated Easter Sunday and AFL grand final eve as the newest public holidays, increasing the total number in Victoria to 13 (the national average is 11).

An extra few days off work certainly sounds appealing, but the decision to make them mandatory will impose significant costs on Victoria’s already struggling business sector.

Read the rest at FreedomWatch…