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Economics lesson: supply and demand for firefighters in Miami

A story at the Fox News 7 Web site caught my eye this morning. Almost 1,000 applicants lined up for 35 available firefighter positions that will be available in the City of Miami.

Three of those who were waiting in line were interviewed, the first was a former Marine who was unemployed and the other two had waited days in line for a chance to apply for one of the positions.

Looking for work is not fun, It is – quite honestly – a full time job. For these three guys looking for work in south Florida with unemployment hovering around 7 percent, a Miami firefighter position would be good work.

My question is this. Why is there a line 1,000 people long for 35 firefighter positions? Could it be that the pay and benefits are really good? Too good?

If the supply of available candidates is so high, it’s time for the City of Miami to take a look at their union contracts to see if the pay and benefits are too high. I know, it’s a harsh statement. Of course, being a firefighter is a position that is important to the community, and in a city the size of Miami even more so.

But if you were running a business that needed to stay in the black to keep things going, what would you do if you had three positions open and 100 people lined up at the door overnight – in the rain – looking to apply?

If you’re one that says you would not lower pay or cut benefits, I can assure you competition will open their doors across the street and provide a lower pay and benefit package to employees. This will allow them to lower costs to consumers and offer the same level of quality and service.

Where would you shop?

How to lower oil prices right now – Yes. We. Can.

Barack Obama does not have any answers. All that he and his Democrat followers can do is blame the increase in gas prices on Big Oil, the war in Iraq, and Republicans that refuse to “invest” in new technology so we can “get off” our addiction to oil.

Of course, it doesn’t help that Dick Cheney used to be the CEO of Halliburton and George W. Bush has all of those buddies that are in the oil industry; but why mix fiction with fiction.

So what can be done today so we start seeing a reduction in fuel prices tomorrow? Read more

What Happens When Less Seats are Available?

I fondly remember struggling through my first economics class in 1987 or 88. At the time, economics was a pretty difficult concept for me to grasp even though my dad was an economics major in college. The subject was not in the genes. But over time, I have been able to figure out some of the basics that most Americans – and government officials – can’t seem to handle.

Two of the more simple concepts are the law of supply and the law of demand. When you artifically mess with the laws, you need to expect an artificial change that will be bad for consumers.

Today, the transportation secretary announced that after months of discussions with airlines that service the New York City area, the airlines agreed (were forced) to reduce the number of flights flying in and out of the three major airports surrounding the city.

With less seats available during the peak travel times, what do you think is going to happen to the price of an airline seat out of New York? It’s going up. Let’s see what happens in the future, will my prediction come true?

By limiting the number of airline seats available, the government – as usual – is not dealing with the problem. All they are doing is interrupting the supply and demand curves artificially.