Martin Armstrong Warns Out Of Control Unions Are The Real Poison Pill Of Western Society

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Martin Armstrong via Armstrong Economics blog,


Unions have been the real plague of society. There is not much they have not really destroyed. They wiped out New York City as a port. No ships dock in New York City any more. They serious reduced the American auto industry reducing quality that opened the door for foreign cars. The big three US auto manufactures are General Motors (NYSE:GM), with 17.9 percent market share, Ford (NYSE:F), with 15.9 percent market share, and Chrysler, with 11.5 percent market share. That is just 45.3% with the rest going to foreign. Toyota (NYSE:TM) alone has 14.3 percent market share.

The unions are probably worse in Philadelphia than anywhere. They are driving the city’s Convention Center into the brink of bankruptcy because of their arrogant demands. We had to cancel our conference there because we were not allowed to hire a video company that was not local Philadelphia Union. The German film crew that has been making this move would not be allowed to have their own people. We had to cancel and move. When we called the Marriott with just 1 week to the event, they asked why were we cancelling? The unions?

The Construction Unions are basically criminal organizations. They threaten people who do not use union labor and now a bunch of people are getting indicted for such violent activity. These unions have been destroying equipment of competing firms that are not union. They have goon squads that intimidate people.

The days when unions were necessary to ensure working conditions are long gone. There are all sorts of laws in place that unions are no longer necessary. Nevertheless, we are looking at a major rise in civil unrest coming primarily from state unions. These are teachers ro bureaucrats all demanding more and refusing to reduce their demands. This system is just unsustainable. They have attack advertisements in Pennsylvania blaming school violent on cutting teachers. Governor Christie cannot fund the pensions of state workers. When he said the unions have to give back, they said no – they want more.


The problem is that the only way to pay these unions is to raise taxes. That reduces the disposable income and robs the citizen of their future to fund state workers. It was the unfunded pensions that caused the collapse of the Roman Empire and it wiped out the city of Detroit. More than 50% of tax revenue went to pensions and that means you cannot fund government without it shrinking.

This is the poison pill that will destroy Western Society. This hunt for taxes will destroy the economy and will not save the day in the end game. Just do the math.


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de3de8's picture

No, they are necessary to build quality GM vehicles

NotApplicable's picture

Unions are no different than any other gang.

Uchtdorf's picture

The bankster gang has done far more damage to society than labor unions.

James_Cole's picture


The days when unions were necessary to ensure working conditions are long gone. There are all sorts of laws in place that unions are no longer necessary.

Gee wiz, wonder who got those laws passed?


profchaos's picture

Union membership and effective tax rates are both at their lowest levels in several generations, so I recommend the OP choose different bogeymen.

SRSrocco's picture

Martin Armstrong normall has a lot of smart things to say, however this is not one of them.  While the Unions are sucking from the Great Govt Teat, so are the wealthy.

Unfortunately, this is only a mere SYMPTOM of the disease.  The real posion pill for the United States is PEAK OIL, FALLING EROI and the DECLINE OF NET OIL EXPORTS.

Martin seems obilvious to the notion that the FALLING EROI destroyed Rome as it will the United States.  Martin never mentions PEAK OIL.  Everything to Armstrong is the Govt, Unions and corruption.

Thiis is the problem with most analysts.  They fail to understand that ENERGY is the key factor to our problems.

synergize's picture

Agreed - can name 10 other more detrimental things to society than labor unions in no particular order (other than the Fed):

Federal Reserve, bankers, fiat money system, corporate controlled media, insurance companies, republicans, democrats, military industrial complex, CNBC... 

Horrible article

john39's picture

crappy article... more divide and conquer propaganda.  sure unions suck these days, but no where close to core problem... central banking/fiat money. 

0b1knob's picture

The Roman army was unionized?  Who knew?

And unions are responsible for all economic problems?  Not bankers, militarists, clueless politicians and global warming idiots?

McMolotov's picture

I have a bit of a problem taking him seriously since he apparently can't differentiate between public sector unions and private sector unions. Even FDR warned against having unionized government employees.

Private sector unions are a whole other thing. And while it's obvious they have their own faults, in a true free market, they act as a counterbalancing force and are nowhere near as dangerous as government itself (which, unfortunately, has destroyed the free market).

jbvtme's picture

public employee unions...cops, teachers, bureaucrats. nasty

taketheredpill's picture



Unions were necessary once upon a time to get certain worker rights like 5 day work weeks, 8 hour days, safe working conditions, no child labor etc.  People died for that.


Now we imports goods from India and China and we export middle-class jobs and sweat shops.


Maybe if we cut corporate taxes some more, and keep bailing out the banks for a little longer, things will eventually get better.


And last I checked, Union membership has dropped from over 30% to closer to 10%, and yet things aren't improving.



McMolotov's picture

From the BLS: In 2013, "Public-sector workers had a union membership rate (35.3 percent) more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.7 percent)."

It's quite possible we'd be better off if those rates were reversed.

Stackers's picture

The one and only thing I agree with Franklin Roosevelt on is the abomination known as Public Sector Unions.


FDR - Aug 16, 1937

...... meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government. All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.


Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.

Keyser's picture

Armstrong deserves the Captain Obvious moniker by telling us something we have already known for 60 years... The most abject example of what unions leave behind is Detroit, once the wealthiest city in the US, now a blight on the landscape... 


fx's picture

Last time I checked, countries with high unionization rates (Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland...) were doing pretty fine. That being said, contrary to Mr Armstrong's claims, the power of unions has been on a retreat in the face of globalization.

Keyser's picture

Perhaps European unions are not as greedy as their US counterparts because unions have been the death of US manufacturing for half a century in the US... 


Ghordius's picture

correct, unions in continental europe are more or less sensible. though, re your comment: do unions decide on where to shift or offshore labour? or is it a management decision?

Xibalba's picture

I mean...those nasty SAG-AFTRA members are destroying civilization!!!

chinoslims's picture

Those fuckers are the ones that put out this movie, Elysium, which is an advocate of universal healthcare and class warfare.  This marxist piece of shit movie had one of its characters resembling Che Guevara.

The propaganda arm of the left, Hollywood and MSM.

JuliaS's picture

Public sector union votes itself wages out of other people's pockets and sells votes in exchange for political favors.

Private sector unions haggle back in forth, with greed typically resulting in either company bankruptcy or relocation. Private sector unions drive jobs away, but only their own. Public sector stays where it is until every other form of business is drained of capital and there's nothing left but unions and politicians.

Stuck on Zero's picture

It's not just unions.  The Government has evolved from a friendly state that respected individual rights into a monster that only recognizes group rights.

If you don't belong to the right group you have no rights.


JuliaS's picture

Unions and governments pull eachother strings. Votes in exchange for money. They're extensions of eachother.

As for having no rights outside of group, that's what a democracy is. Even without labor unions and liberal lobbyists it's a pretty shitty system.

Lux Fiat's picture

The Government has evolved from a friendly state that respected individual rights into a monster that only recognizes group rights.

Hmmm... your view of history and mine, US included, are quite different.  The signers of the Constitution understood the inherent threat to individual rights that government, ispo facto, poses, and did their best to place gov't in perpetual shackles.  That experiment, from where I sit, has failed.


PT's picture

McM:  Perhaps the public sector unions kept up with inflation while the private sector unions didn't.

In the time it took me to increase my value in the workforce by 40% (through gaining extra skills - no union involved), the price of real estate went up by 400%.  In the first year in which I made average yearly earnings, the price of the average house went up by average yearly earnings.   How is this even possible?  (Don't answer, I know the answer now.)  All gains, whether made through unions or self-sacrifice have been totally obliterated by slack lending practices and bankster bailouts.  Hard work or no hard work, union or no union, you can't compete against a mob of idiots and the friendly banksters that lend to them. You identify what you can afford, the idiots bid higher and outbid you.  You wait for an idiot to go bankrupt, he gets replaced by another idiot.  You wait for a bank to go bankrupt, it gets bailed out.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

There's only 1 kind of global-warming idiot: the kind who says there isn't any while burning all the fuel that causes all the warming.
Yes, we can and do measure the warming every day on this planet & the CO2 &  methane pollution causing it.
It's proven, it's measurable.
To deny it is  the height of stupidity, like saying inflation is 0.1 % or saying that Treasuries have value because they have the full backing of the USA unlike "gold, which is backed by nothing".
You're the "gold is backed by nothing" girl when you say there's no global warming.

PT's picture

Plus the fact that the fuel is getting burnt, that sorta adds heat to the equation too.  Plus the fact that every human being on the planet generates heat so that we don't die from being too cold.  I've always wondered what we replaced.  Is the warmth generated greater than what we replaced?

Yes, I know, these two effects are insignificant in comparison to the ones you mentioned.  (Are they?  I ran the numbers once but I can't remember the answer.  Might be time to do it again.  Yes, I do do that kind of stuff for fun, yes the calculations are only rough, no, other people get drunk instead.  They are the boring ones  Drunkenness just makes evil and mundane-ness look interesting.)

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

provided we can find enough endothermic reactions to go with the heat maybe there is no problem but for climate change itself it's so massive, everywhere, you'll end up with massive storm systems, changes of where rain goes or won't fall again for decades, and while that may leave a net energy balance it still fucks us pretty bad considering the work we put into farms. If humans were more migratory as in our deeper past perhaps we truly wouldn't care.

Sean7k's picture

I think it is important to separate the scam (governmental abuse and tyranny, carbon credits, etc) from the reality. Is the climate changing? Yes. Causes? Multiple. Your ability to effect the outcome: negligible.

As long as climate change is used to manipulate the population into a set of behaviors which benefit the Elites, it is merely another tool of tyranny.

My solution is simple: I bought a large farm, with plenty of fresh water and 50" of rain a year. I farm organically and live in a manner that minimizes my effects on planet earth. I am a "positive" addition to the stability of planet earth. I brought back the natural flora and fauna and protect them. I'm bio-dynamic. 

Now, what have YOU done? (not just you MDB) 

Talk is cheap.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Our methane & co2 industrial output far surpasses that of nature & when we add in the arctic thawing it's beyond possible for us to survive it.
We have had 30 years to fully control this and only denial has stopped us. I think it's already too late but potentially there's still some control possible.
Fuel burning needs to stop. There are other ways to use the energy in fuel & there's lots of ways to live without using so much fuel at all.
What I've done is garden (helping others, haven't had land to do my own) and cut fuel use by having no car & traveling less. And by "less" I mean I don't ever travel for "vacation" (I can't afford vacations), just less for work.

caShOnlY's picture

 more divide and conquer propaganda

awesome statement! and corps have done an awesome job of gutting the smaller unions and shops by selling us the mantra "it's too expensive" to make here. OH REALLY? how did only Dad have to work back in the 50's 60's and some of the 70's while supporting mom, 2 kids, a car and a home while still going on vacation living a fun life?

Wait, don't look at the FED debasing the dollar to blame, nope must be them dam unions (same ones that were there in the 50's, 60's and 70's)!! 

Bay of Pigs's picture

Fuck you Marty, you fucking sellout. Rolled over to get out of prison, and then bashed gold for a living and now blames unions too.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Is it just me, or did he write better stuff on a typewriter in prison?

caShOnlY's picture

Is it just me, or did he write better stuff on a typewriter in prison?

without taking it up the shoot daily Marty has no way to clear his "writer's block".   I almost get the feeling Marty has flipped to the dark side, maybe they cut a deal with him for early release?

Cliff Claven Cheers's picture

Maybe Marty is the new Harry Wanger just trying to stir shit up.

bbq on whitehouse lawn's picture

If you grab a copperhead by the tail do you expect to get bit?
Same with the artical. Still it has value as philosophy. What should
be the limits of the mob, or group discounts.
Whos story is best served. That of the working father or that of the
working child.
There are many stories in this world, and all are worthy.

ebear's picture

Pander Bear.  A legend in his own mind.

ZerOhead's picture

Cheap and abundant ENERGY (plus an opposable thumb digit and slightly better than chimpanzee intelligence) is what has given us the high standards of living of modern civilization.

One day people will figure that out. Probably after it's gone...

0b1knob's picture

You can have my thumbs when you pry them out of my cold dead hands.

ZerOhead's picture

Happiness is a warm thumb...

stant's picture

If my lab had thumbs he'd be running the fed instead of ole yellen

machineh's picture

And then he'd be luckier than a two-dicked dog.

NidStyles's picture

Thumbs and an allergic reaction to inflation would both be great evolutionary measure for whichever species takes our place as we slide backwards on the evolutionary ladder once again.

Anusocracy's picture

Hopefully it will be the machines.

They won't have millions of years genetic savagery built into their operating systems.

Maxter's picture

You got it. Energy is what matter. I am hoping for the day where we all have infinite non centralized cheap energy. I am not holding my breath, but this is what will save our modern society. With enough energy you can pretty much do everything. For exemple, no more fresh water problem.

James_Cole's picture

I am hoping for the day where we all have infinite non centralized cheap energy. I am not holding my breath, but this is what will save our modern society.

Conservation (dirty word) is the only current semi-realistic option. 

TheAnswerIs42's picture

You're right, but let's add population control to the mix and see what happens...

(both ain't gonna happen - we are doomed).



Quus Ant's picture

 Bacterial growth follows four phases. When a population of bacteria first enter a high-nutrient environment that allows growth, the cells need to adapt to their new environment. The first phase of growth is the lag phase , a period of slow growth when the cells are adapting to the high-nutrient environment and preparing for fast growth. The lag phase has high biosynthesis rates, as proteins necessary for rapid growth are produced.The second phase of growth is the log phase, also known as the logarithmic or exponential phase. The log phase is marked by rapid exponential growth. The rate at which cells grow during this phase is known as the growth rate, and the time it takes the cells to double is known as the generation time. During log phase, nutrients are metabolised at maximum speed until one of the nutrients is depleted and starts limiting growth. The third phase of growth is the stationary phase and is caused by depleted nutrients. The cells reduce their metabolic activity and consume non-essential cellular proteins. The stationary phase is a transition from rapid growth to a stress response state and there is increased expression of genes involved in DNA repair, antioxidant metabolism and nutrient transport.The final phase is where the bacteria runs out of nutrients and dies.