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Christmas Hiring Freeze

© Tom Toles

The other side of this catch 22 is that corporations are using their cash reserves to buy other companies, which further reduces the number of employed workers. Or they hire overseas workers. And then they wonder why the economy is doing so bad.



  1. Mad Hatter wrote:

    Great….this cartoon summarizes my (fairly simple-minded) view of the supply-side vs demand-side debate. If we keep letting our politicians create policies favoring the supply-side this is where we, as a nation, wind up and it won’t be a pretty sight. It seems so simple to me that pure supply-side will just have no reason to create jobs except taking care of the rich. Demand-side can’t help but create jobs for all of us. Why is there even a debate and why are they winning???

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 9:01 am | Permalink
  2. patriotsgt wrote:

    Unfortunately a side effect of the recession is that many Corps, companies and government (local, state, fed) have learned to improve efficiency on less dollars. On one hand it makes its good for govt and corps, but the jobs people once had there are likely gone forever. Improvement in the jobs market IMO will come from completely new sources of jobs and entrepreneurs. Now keeping the manufacturing jobs in America and hiring Americans is another matter all together.
    We need to incentivize business to stay here and hire, and de-incentivize going overseas. We need to stop sucking up to countries that are not playing by the same rules. By that I mean decent wages (for the area), healthcare, benefits and environmentally friendly. We need to rethink business as usual. For instance, even Al Gore has recently come out against Ethanol (, yet congress just stuffed more subsidies in the Tax bill to support a dead industry. There’s got to be other similar waste. Another example of the wisdom of our elected officials: In 2007 congress passed legislation outlawing the incandescent bulb by 2014. Pelosi etal, trumpeted it as a way to create more American jobs and do something great for the environment. Problem is none of them are made here. (
    Another long range (health/environmental) problem with CFLs is they contain mercury, which if not handled right could become problematic. In just 2 of the plants in China where they make CFLs 121 of 123 workers have lead poisoning and in another 68 of 72. ( As late as Sep 2010 a Chinese company wanted to open a factory here in the US to produce CFLs. They asked for 12.5 mill (not bill) in startup money, congress ignored them and they went back to china. (under “cost” at

    Yet CFLs were invented, created and developed here, in the good ole USA. Now we must by law, buy them from China. What are they thinking inside the beltway?.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    “Why is there even a debate and why are they winning???”

    Because they have all the money and own the media.

    PatriotSgt, you hit the nail on the head. Jobs come from creating new jobs, not from “saving” old, stupid jobs. A recession does tend to clean out the stupid jobs, so you have to create new jobs to replace them. Unfortunately (and I say this as someone who spends a lot of time creating new jobs) the unholy alliance between large corporations and our government is making it harder and harder for small companies to compete. How can a small store survive against Walmart when Walmart is receiving tons of tax breaks (on top of their economies of scale and marketing muscle, for which I do not begrudge them)?

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 10:15 am | Permalink
  4. Mad Hatter wrote:

    Has anybody read this?

    If Democrats can’t effectively communicate this (and I don’t think they can) and the truth does not prevail (Fox News will assure this) then what are our options?

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    It is one of my pet peeves that people blame the Democrats for “not effectively communicating” things. So, when all of the major media is owned by large corporate interests (not just Fox News) is it any wonder that we never hear the news that corporate power is destroying our country?

    Looks like our only option is to watch this country go into the toilet, like so many powerful countries before it. I can only hope that we are able to maintain as much dignity as the UK did (by converting their imperialist power into a commonwealth), but the way we are going (for example in the Middle East), it doesn’t look likely.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Permalink
  6. patriotsgt wrote:

    I read the article and agree with only about half of what Reich said. It’s obviously a total left view of economics, but some of his suggestions make sense.

    “Exempt the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes”
    “apply payroll taxes to incomes over $106,800 ”
    “Extend Medicare to all” (as a replacement to HCR?)
    “Repair and rebuild our infrastructure” (wasn’t this the purpose of the 1st stimulus?)

    The above recommendations seem to be sensible and advantageous to our economy. Below are ones I disagree with:

    “Make higher education free to families that now can’t afford it” (Not sustainable and won’t work – There are already ways to get a free education and many just don’t use it)
    “Promote unions for low-wage workers.” (we’ll see, if the economy doesn’t rebound, unions will cause municipalities, states and the fed to go bankrupt or massive protests as Washington and states try to cut their entitlements like retirement to balance budgets. See what happened in Europe for a preview)
    He also talks about big Corp giving money to Reps, but not big corps giving to Dems. for example, look at Reid trying to pass legislation to legalize internet gambling, and give a monopoly to the huge casinos. This was in repayment for the large contributions they gave him and insisting their employees vote for him.
    You all know, I like to see both sides of an argument so we can all make more informed decisions.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  7. Mad Hatter wrote:

    Sarge – what do you think about increasing the marginal tax rate on the wealthy which I think is a key part of his arguement? Also, in general, do you agree with him that, in whatever way, increasing the buying power (demand-side economics) of the middle class is what will be needed to create and sustain jobs?

    I think that for the last 30 years there has been a concerted effort to undermine and starve the bulwarks of the middle class (education, unions, progressive tax policies, etc.). If we let this and the wealth gap continue, what kind of future are we going to have?

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink
  8. ebdoug wrote:

    “Make higher education free to families that now can’t afford it” (Not sustainable and won’t work – There are already ways to get a free education and many just don’t use it)
    from ebdoug=as I have said before, I saw the free higher education work so well in California in the 1960s before they elected an actor as President. The genius from a disadvantaged family should not be saddled with debt for college, not her fault she was born in such a family. She should be getting a good job and paying taxes to help the other disadvantage. Never a genius, there was no way I could have finished college had I had to work also.
    “Promote unions for low-wage workers.” (we’ll see, if the economy doesn’t rebound, unions will cause municipalities, states and the fed to go bankrupt or massive protests as Washington and states try to cut their entitlements like retirement to balance budgets. See what happened in Europe for a preview)
    ebdoug-the Unions will fight to the end to keep health care in the workplace which raises the cost of goods in this country. Allow the 2014 plan to be implemented. Now start up companies that don’t offer health care plans. Those will be competitive with companies that do.
    Anyone know if tariffs would work? I know there are things I’d like to buy but anything from China is a total waste of money. Using up the world’s resources for a piece of junk. I’d like to buy things of good quality, but they are no longer available.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Permalink
  9. patriotsgt wrote:

    Ebdoug – I agree with you about China. We need some kind of equalizing tariff to level the playing field. Interestingly, our local power company here, which is non-union, held a vote as they do every 5 years or so and the workers overwhelmingly rejected joining the union again. (I also live in a very very blue state).
    On the education – I see what is happening in the UK when they raised tuition, thats not civil discourse, or how I would expect those intelligent and interested in higher education to respond. In the USA there are many ways to get college paid for. I chose to join the military and they paid for 95% of my college costs. For really smart people there are scholarships and grants galore. You have to workk for them by reseraching, applying for and following up on, but they are out there. Third, not everyone is qualified or wants to attend college. Some things are better if you earn them vs being given them.

    MadHatter – I agree with a sliding scale (progressive) tax rate that places a greater burden on the wealthy. I also believe evertone should contribute at least $10 for fed tax. Additionally, I want to see congress cut some spending before any taxes are raised. They are great about spending every dollar they get and alot more, but terrible about spending them with care. In other words, if congress balanced the budget, I’d vote for tax increases. If they are unwilling to reduce spending they should’nt get more money.
    On the demand side I understand the simple definition of that to be: Government spending more money and manipulating the money supply to induce buying in the marketplace. This being contrary to supply side which is reducing taxes and costs hoping to stimulate economic growth.
    Herein lies a philisophical difference between keynesian economics and say the Monetarist, New classical macroeconomics and Austrian School. All (as I simply understand) advocate a blend of policy into the keynesian model. Which, I think, is about what we have here in the USA. Keynesian theory as I understand got its believers during and following WWII and was the economic model for most western style countries. So how much Gov’t intervention and how much easing of gov pressure is necessary, I don’t know, it beats the heck out of me.
    Heres how I see it. When Obama came into office he addressed the American people and said don’t worry about the deficit (pure keynesian)it’s more important to stimulate the economy. He had also promised to reduce/eliminate earmarks, but when that first stimulus bill came up it was stuffed with pork. Many people like myself looked closely, it was for me a test if this president would really usher in change as promised. He signed the bill, with all the pork, and lost my confidence. This admin was going to be like all the others, all talk no backbone. For me, If he’d a vetoed that 1st bill and said to congress, I came into office saying I would change business as usual, I want a clean bill without any pork. I’d a voted for him for life. But it’s just been one massive spending bill after another since.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 8:30 am | Permalink
  10. starluna wrote:

    PatriotSgt – I completely disagree that there many ways to get a free college education. That is patently untrue. There are many ways to get support for higher education, but as someone in this field and tries to help low income, first in family students get into college, I can tell you that for most students it is truly impossible.

    It has been well documented that a disproportionate share of subsidies for higher education go towards higher income families. I’m not talking about government grants and scholarships, which are pitifully small. I’m talking about the supposed merit based scholarships that disproportionately go to the in upper middle and lower higher income classes (and a surprising share going to the very wealthy). I’m also talking about sports scholarships for young people who play sports like lacrosse, field hockey, and crew, which, as you might imagine, are generally not taught in your average inner city or rural high school. And those lucky enough to get any sports scholarship, they hardly cover anywhere near the tuition and full ride scholarships of any type (and particularly in sports because of NCAA rules) are extremely rare.

    Moreover, legacy admission policies ensure that upper middle and higher income students will be admitted and often these families are savvy enough to negotiate the tuition and fees paid by their students. Lower income students very infrequently benefit from any legacy admission flexibility and even when admitted, often cannot piece together the scholarships and grants to go to school for free. Some can, but it is a small fraction of students.

    The military is one route to gaining a higher education, and one that I support. But even if we ignore the fact that so many of our young men and women in uniform are returning dead or so injured as to make performing well in the classroom almost impossible (and I speak from personal experience), the operations of the GI bill and military support program have created their own unique barriers to taking advantage of this benefit. Several of my students have had to start my classes without technically being enrolled because of the problems with processing the paperwork – not on the university side but on the military side according to my students. And despite the “renewed” GI bill that passed recently, there is a gap in benefits depending on when you served. My niece is caught in this trap. If she wants to take advantage of it, she would have to re-enlist, which, with two kids and an active duty husband, is not as realistic as many may think.

    And the fact is that the military is not for everyone. College is not for everyone either (which is something that deserves more attention). So we have to think about the many different ways in which we can create routes to college education for those that seek it and are capable of taking advantage of it. But the claim that you can earn a college or university education for little to no money in the US is simply not true. There was a time in which college education was more affordable, and therefore accessible, but that golden era ended in the early 1980s.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  11. patriotsgt wrote:

    Good points Starluna!
    As you can probably discern half of my friends are military. So my opinions may be somewhat centric to that grouping. I am aware of the post 911 GI bill initial difficulties in implementation. They did not properly anticipate the demand when it began. It’s working better now, but nothing in the military (VA, Retirement, GI bill) works smoothly for all. We are constantly helping Soldiers persevere through the process. Once it begins it is generally much less problematic. (a side note, the Post 911 GI bill is now transferable to spouse and children)
    As for non-military access to funding there are disparities. My experience with non-military is limited to 3 nephews. 1 was awarded a full scholarship, the othe chose a major (actuary science) that did not offer any financial aid and the third is using a combination of pell grant, small scholarship, and parent contributions. (My 2 sons are still in HS.)
    I think we need a broad discussion on education and higher education. I would like increased access for all, but believe if you earn something vs being given something you’ll try harder, appreciate the opportunity more, and utilize the aquired something much more.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink
  12. ebdoug wrote:

    I was certainly an underacheiving student. And underachieved through the free college education I received from my parents. I got my bachelor’s degree in nursing. BSN. Not great grades. At that point, we had to take nursing boards to get our R.N. That leveled the field. I scored highest in my class. I think because the field of nursing fascinated me and still does.
    I just want everyone to have the same opportunity that I did.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Permalink
  13. starluna wrote:

    I have not run the statistics (although it is an interesting exercise to consider) but my impression about my students is that motivation is not correlated with scholarship/grant status. The students who do not perform at their potential due to lack of motivation are generally those who are not sure what they want to do with their life or why they are here, are profoundly lazy, or are simply choosing to prioritize having a good time over doing well in their classes.

    In Spanish, we use the word “ganas” to refer to the a strong internal desire for something, a hunger for something, the proverbial fire in the belly. From what I’ve seen, the ganas is greater among my students who feel the privilege of getting a college education than among those who took the idea of getting a college education for granted. But the sense of privilege vs. entitlement is not necessarily related to how their education is being paid for. It seems to have more to do with the value system they have.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink
  14. Iron Knee wrote:

    While I believe Starluna has a very good point — that having to pay for your education is not the only motivating factor for students working hard — it is part of the larger point. Which is that if you have to work for something, you will value it more and work harder for it. It doesn’t matter if that work is paying for it yourself, or studying hard to pass difficult entrance requirements, or having a strong personal career goal.

    I’ve taught both at the undergraduate level and (mostly) in graduate schools, and I far prefer teaching at the graduate level, because those students are there because they want to be there and really want to learn something. Too many undergraduates are there just to get a degree. I couldn’t deal with students asking me “what do I have to do to get a B” (or some other grade).

    And I worked my way through both undergrad and grad school. I had to take a semester off during my undergraduate education because I ran out of money, and I also had to work while taking classes. I couldn’t take some classes because they conflicted with work. I would have graduated sooner (and probably gotten better grades) if I didn’t have to do that. And that was before university costs started going through the roof. So I support subsidizing university costs, but I don’t think I’m for a free university education for anyone who wants it.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink
  15. starluna wrote:

    I actually do enjoy teaching undergrads. Watching them “get it” is kind of like watching a child learn to ride a bike. They are so excited when they finally understand some difficult concept or make improvements in their work. Grads are fun and easy to work with, but they don’t exhibit the same level of wonder or excitement at learning something new that undergrads do, at least not in the fields that I teach in. Grads definitely work harder, though.

    I do think some the problem with the increase in the number of undergrads only wanting to be in college to get a degree is because of the degree-creep that we see going on today. I remember when I was getting my health science degree watching the new standards for health educators being developed. I was astounded that the new standards included not only a college degree (which is totally unnecessary in my experience) but also additional certification by a third party organization. I see organizations wanting bachelor’s degrees for low level administrative positions and masters and even PhDs for people whose sole responsibility is grant writing. Its just crazy.

    This speaks to my pet peeve about pushing college on young people. College is not for everyone and we need to accept that. What is so wrong with being in a vocation or trade? I think we need to start valuing the trades more and accept that they are perfectly respectable choices for young people to make.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
  16. patriotsgt wrote:

    Excellent comments – IK and Starluna I agree with what you’ve said (much better than I could have). “Working” for an education can be looking for grant money, scholarships, applying to FAFSA, etc. and not just putting down the money.
    With the vocations and trades, they are alive and a viable choice for many. We as a Nation, and yes even our presidents, have disregarded and even looked down upon the trades by talking only of college. I would say, what happens when the car breaks down, or the pipe bursts, or an outlet sparks? Hopefully a college grad with a major in political science will not come to fix your problem (or your in real trouble cause it’ll take twice as long and cost 3x as much).

    As to the motivation vs grant status, I would say that if a student had to struggle to get in and secure financing and invested personal energy they would have more pride in their accomplishments, ie graduating and doing their best. Those who had college arranged for them would be less likely to fully appreciate, although there are bound to be exceptions.
    My story upon graduting HS, was being told by my father there was no money for to attend college. My older brother got help with undergrad and paid the full price for law school himself. My older sister had her college paid by dad as well and she paid for her masters. I was told to find my way (my father had been layed off during my HS years), which led me to the military and they paid my college. I was a much better college student (3.9), then HS student (2.75) having had to work for the honor to attend.

    And yes, it seems less emphasis is placed on actual experience and more on “certifications and level of college”. I know a few friends with MBAs who couldn’t manage a bake sale, but do have a wonderful shiny degree.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
  17. BTN wrote:

    I agree with many of the points here. I would like to add/reinforce a few poits:

    1) Student loans are not necessarily a bad thing. That is how I paid for college. If you don’t expect to be able to pay off the laons with you given major, perhaps college isn’t really worth it for you?

    2) We have to somehow get rid of the notion that “no college” = “not good enough for middle-class jobs” (this goes with point 1). Even many engineering and computer science jobs only require a degree for the stamp of approval, not for the type of workload experienced.

    3) As Starluna pointed out, get rid of legacy admissions. This is completely unfair and unjustified, especially for public institutions (although private institutions get so much gratn money, this should not be a factor in their admissions process, either).

    Also, I agree with PSGT that those with real-world expereicne do much better in college. A 23-year old in grad school is typically less mature than a 19-year old with a full time job. Those without experience work for the grade; those with go to school for the knowledge.

    Also to the original point: demand drives economies, supply just controls prices. Also, trickle-down economics doesn’t work.

    Friday, December 24, 2010 at 11:33 am | Permalink