Final Word from Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Several TV and radio shows pit Czech politicians against each other or against an announcer, but rarely does a public figure have to face a trained economist with hard facts. Politicians usually get away with their typical "spin." Yesterday, though, Senator and labor leader Milan Štěch faced a tough opponent in analyst Markéta Šichtařová of Volksbank CZ. She argued on Czech Radio that if union leaders push for higher wages but not higher labor productivity, they should also state that they favor higher unemployment. Štěch countered that by pressing for higher wages, the unions are doing companies a favor by forcing them to increase productivity. He added that if any sector is guilty of wage inflation, it's banking. He was hinting that Ms. Šichtařová shouldn't make such impertinent remarks about the wage/productivity issue, because she herself is overpaid. ČMKOS


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