The wave of social unrest is spreading. A new round of protests has hit Spain with a public sector strike set for June 8. In Slovenia, students are protesting new rules that limit their work hours and pay.
"Luka Gubo" an economist from Slovenia writes:
First I must say that I love your blog. Great job!
I just wanted you to know that Slovenian students are protesting too.
The main reason for organizing protests is changes in law regarding student jobs. Current tax law makes average workers uncompetitive because businesses pay about 15% income tax for students and more then 35% income tax for average worker (average net income is 930€).
Bear in mind that the average time for a student to complete his higher education here is 6 years and that more then 20% of "students" do not to school at all. Instead, they just enjoy student benefits like lower income taxes, food stamps, etc.
I think that everyone would agree a new law is needed in Slovenia. However, the new will limit the maximum hours worked by students to one third of full work time, and put a limit on maximum hourly wage at 8€ per hour.
That one *ing great free-market solution, wouldn't you agree?
Here is the Slovenian parliament building after 2 hours:
The protests went smooth for a while, but it did not last long. You can find a series of 39 images at http://www.finance.si/galerije/2139/3/
Greece, Spain hit by strikes over cuts
CNN Reports Greece, Spain hit by strikes over cuts
Public sector union ADEDY and private sector union GSEE called the strikes against the government's austerity measures, in particular the pension reforms announced last week. The reforms include raising the retirement age, which varies in different professions.
It is the first major strike since May 5, when violent protests against the austerity measures resulted in the deaths of three people in the capital, Athens.
Spanish government workers were set to protest at 6 p.m. (noon ET) outside the Ministry of the Treasury in Madrid and outside the central government offices in their respective towns. Spanish government workers were set to protest at 6 p.m. (noon ET) outside the Ministry of the Treasury in Madrid and outside the central government offices in their respective towns.
US Not Immune to Public Worker Protests
Although protests in the US have not been violent yet, with the operative word being yet, we have not been immune to huge protests.
.....Click here for a series of 15 Tribune Images of the Pro-Tax Rally.
SEUI Union Thugs
Note the following video was removed by the "user" in this case the SEIU when they realized it was causing a backlash against their thug tactics.
Unions Getting More Aggressive and Obnoxious
To appreciate just how obnoxious union thugs are in Illinois, please play the above video. I had to play it a few times to make out the key chant from a woman on a megaphone. Here it is.
What do we want?
What do we want?
We want more money.
When do we want it?
When do we want it?
The Ace of Spades blog commented on the rally in "Raise My Taxes! Raise My Taxes! Raise My Taxes!"
So chanted thousands of bused-in ACFSME union "grassroots" agitators to Illinois state congressmen, urging them to "raise [our] taxes!" so that their salaries and benefits wouldn't be cut.
The rest of the public is finally starting to notice that, and that the public -- 20% of whom are out of a job or working part-time when they want a full-time job -- is basically paying their employees more than they themselves receive in salary, and with far better benefits and job-security, too.
People are finally starting to understand that they are, ultimately, the boss, and all these 4%-per-year raises and ridiculously huge pension plans are coming out of their own hide.
I don't think the unions understand this. They are getting more aggressive and obnoxious about their undeservedly high salaries and pension plans rather than being conciliatory about it. They are continuing to demand salaries and benefits that most of the rest of the country could only dram of without even offering even the slightest apologies to the strapped taxpayers whose incomes they are reducing in order to increase their own.
I don't think that's going to play well in 2012. I don't think these guys are understanding that things have changed, and that the public is no longer willing to uncritically bless 4%-a-year-regular-as-clockwork raises when their salaries have been more or less flat for a good long time.
Huge Anti-Union Backlash Starting
If unions think these outrageous tactics are going to bring them sympathy from the public, they are sadly mistaken.
Thus, as disgusting as those rallies are, I am grateful for them. Anyone in the private sector out of a job, or with a 401-K chopped to bits, or anyone who has had to take a huge cut in pay is going to be disturbed and angered by those union images and videos.
The Ace of Spades said "I don't think that's going to play well in 2012".
Forget about 2012, I don't think it will play now. In fact, I know it does not play now.
Chicago Teachers Chant "Give Up The Bucks"
This is what the welfare state looks like. The formerly great state of Illinois, having thoroughly run its budget into the ground, is considering digging an even deeper hole by raising taxes. Exactly the shot in the arm the economy needs!
Of course, public sector unions are in full-throttle support of the tax grab. (No recession for those that live off taxpayers.) On Wednesday, a phalanx of public sector employees, including SEIU, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, AFSCME, and AFL-CIO, rallied in support of the tax hike in the capital, Springfield.
Yes, this woman is responsible for educating some number of your children. Her chant goes to the heart of what's wrong with our public school system...it is designed for the adults in the system, i.e. teachers and not the children.
The task at hand is even bigger than we feared.
Your tax dollars are supporting these marches to hike your taxes more.
It is your civic duty to stop this madness.
Buzzword of the Day is Austerity
Yesterday I noted an increasing use of the the word "Austerity".
Social unrest continues to brew in Europe. This time in Romania and Greece. France is on deck as French President Nicolas Sarkozy battles unions who refuse any cuts in pension benefits. French unions have called for a general strike starting May 27.
Let's kick of the discussion with a look at Romania. The BBC reports Thousands protest over Romania austerity measures. ....
Spain unions to battle pay cuts for civil servants
Here is one more image for the road. Please consider Spain unions to battle pay cuts for civil servants.
Spanish unions on Thursday promised to fight austerity moves in the courts after the Socialist government said it would introduce a cut in public sector wages through a royal decree, bypassing parliament.
These protests around the globe have one thing in common: They are all against austerity. Everyone want austerity of course, jut not for them or their group.
As social unrest spreads from country to country, I am wondering "Is there a huge pocket of happiness anywhere?"
Social unrest and union protests have now hit the United States, Greece, France, Spain, Romania, Slovenia, and as soon as China slows (which should not be too far away now), expect China to get hit as well.
Yet somehow we are all told every day, that the economy is getting better. As the lies get thicker and more blatantly obvious, expect social unrest to not only spread, but for it to become increasingly violent.