The productivity of U.S. companies in the second quarter posted the biggest gain in more than a year as businesses produced more with fewer workers. New claims for unemployment benefits climbed last week to the highest level since the middle of July.
I know this will never happen, but I'd like to see American workers go on a productivity strike. Not a traditional strike -- we'd all go to work, we just wouldn't do overtime or stay late or take work home or go in on the weekend or do whatever it is we might have started to do whenever it was that the boss said we'd "all have to work a little bit harder" to get through some temporary tough spot that seems to have become permanent. We'd do this, in my fantasy, until unfilled positions were filled and workloads became a bit more reasonable.
The bosses would piss and moan, and the conservative pundits would say we were radicals who were going to drive the country into a depression. But the new workers would take their new paychecks and buy stuff. The economy would improve. It would be win-win.
I admit I can't really imagine this happening.
Before it could happen, we'd need to get over our national Stockholm syndrome -- we'd need to worry a little less about whether there are barriers to getting rich and a little more about whether there are barriers to getting a job.