Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Post Office Pays Workers to do Nothing, Cheney Book Has Nothing right, IMF Head Fears Policy Makers Do Nothing, . . .

And Other News That Needs Comments

The U. S. Postal Service is in deep financial trouble.   It is losing billions each year and will have to be radically restructured.  One of the things the USPS has is something called “standby time”.  When there is nothing to do, employees show up and get paid to do nothing.

Long-standing labor agreements with two major postal unions prohibit the Postal Service from laying off or reassigning workers because of broken equipment or periods of low mail volume. Instead, idled employees show up for work, sit in a break room or cafeteria and do nothing

The good news,

it’s paying tens of millions of dollars less for “standby time” than it did just two years ago, 

Let’s reiterate a point here.  This is not the fault of the unions, whose job it is to bargain for everything they can get. (Conservatives make the same point about corporations when they pursue profit over public good, the Corporation’s mission is to maximize return for shareholders, not to act in a benign way for society.)

This abuse is the fault of management, who has not stood firm for managerial prerogatives and who has allowed this abuse to be written into contracts.  Of course, that fact will not prevent the unions from shouldering much of the blame.

Vice President Dick Cheney has a new book out, and in some places the reviews are not very good.

A new book by former vice president Dick Cheney levels “cheap shots” at colleagues and mischaracterizes events, former secretary of state Colin L. Powell said Sunday.

Let’s see, who to go with here.  One of the most intelligent and distinguished leaders of our time or Darth Vader?  

Talking about the dismal western world economy the new head of the IMF said

The world is endangered by “a growing sense that policymakers do not have the conviction, or simply are not willing, to take the decisions that are needed.”

leaving everyone to wonder what and who she was talking about.

Writing an opinion column in The New York Times Ross Douthat tries to defuse the concept that some Republican candidates are interested in a theocracy.  He says we don’t have to worry, that these candidates are not dangerous because they do not follow up on their beliefs, and illustrates that point with this sentence on Gov. Perry of Texas.

Perry knows how to stroke the egos of Texas preachers, but he was listening to pharmaceutical lobbyists, not religious conservatives, when he signed an executive order mandating S.T.D. vaccinations for Texas teenagers.

Thus tarnishing one of the few admirable accomplishments of Mr. Perry’s ten year’s in office while at the same time not defusing the issue at all.

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