America's union bashing backlash

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Another brilliant observation from the foreign press.

Across the US, politicians are railing against the terrible abuses of powerful union bosses, especially in state government. Many of those politicians are Republicans. But far from all of them. In New York, the freshly minted Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, has joined the backlash, asking for a wage freeze for all public workers. In many states, new laws are being considered that will trim union rights, such as the ability to get fees from their members or the right to negotiate a union contract or even form a union at all. In Ohio, a new Republican governor wants to ban strikes by public school teachers. In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie's attacks on unions have become a YouTube sensation.

What is perverse about this trend is just how vastly it misunderstands what went wrong with the American economy. No one is denying that this is a time for belt-tightening. Or that some unions have problems. Or that some union contracts look over-generous in austerity America. But the fundamental truth remains: powerful and reckless unions did not cause the Great Recession by rampant speculation. Nor did an out-of-control labour movement cause or burst the housing bubble. It was not union bosses who packaged up complex derivatives to sell in their millions and thus wrecked the economy and put millions out of work. Nor was it union bosses who awarded (and continue to award) themselves salaries worth hundreds of millions of dollars for doing nothing of social value. Neither was it the union movement that was bailed out by the taxpayer and then refused to change its habits.

All that was the work of the finance industry

meljomur's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm


So, I would imagine state and federal workers amount in the hundreds of thousands or millions - how do you think the economy will react to lower pay and benefits for all of those workers?

The PROBLEM is priorities - a prevalent frame of mind that accepts tremendous inequality, accepts outsourcing, thinks there is a free lunch and believes everyone, including the wealthy, should be taxed at a very low rate.

The ONLY way to fix this whole mess is to shake the few money trees and make sure a lot more money is moving around in a lot more hands. Dispersed money into more hands creates more tax payers and brings in more revenue to the government. It funds government, shrinks state government's deficits and creates a WHOLE lot more happy, employed people.

And it conveniently solves the problem of the incorrect perception that most government workers are paid too much. Government is is funded and there are less bitter, unemployed, envious people. win / win.

Maybe some day we'll get it - you know - like that famous quote about how Americans can be counted upon to do the right thing after they have exhausted all other options.

How many lives will have to be destroyed; how many lies will the evil bastards get away with before more people catch on and demand the proper fix? We are STUBBORN people as a whole - we have ALWAYS improved as a nation when we listened to the ideas on the left - but we always resist, kick and scream on our way there.

TimothyD11's picture
Nov. 13, 2010 2:46 pm

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