Open thread June 17, 2014 Dan Crawford | June 17, 2014 6:28 am Tags: open thread Comments (6) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
The late David Broder, dean of the Washington press corps, told a young reporter that the biggest difference between today and when he arrived in D.C. 50 years ago was that all the lobbyists were union back then.
Without unions supplying the advocacy people power — the gross numbers of employee reps minding the legislative store(s) — every form of chicanery breaks loose just for lack of anyone to specifically oppose every specific con job — it’s the missing numbers (stupid :-]).
In a recent week I gathered news stories of unchecked scams — I say unchecked because there are not enough good bodies to keep up with the bad bodies, there are almost NO good bodies — for just one week, just at random. Noting the kinds of rip offs like some management group last year or before temporarily taking control of Burger King, milking it for half a billion dollars, then departing the scene. The following were of just one random week, by one not overly observant observer.
Accidental Tax Break Saves Wealthiest Americans $100 Billion — BLOOMBERG
Absurdities of Copyright Protection — CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST
Still Don’t Care About Net Neutrality? Give the Internet Slow Lane a Try — SLATE
Why Did AIDS Ravage the U.S. More Than Any Other Developed Country? Solving an epidemiological mystery — NEW REPUBLIC
In North Dakota, there will be blood
The state has highest rate of worker deaths in country, thanks to lax regulations and the favor of the oil industry
Enron-style price gouging is making a comeback
Wall Street makes naked attempt to jack up electricity prices in New England
ALJAZEERA, DAVID CAY JOHNSTON
No unions; nobody minding the store(s); the whole economy is like one big game show where they give you a shopping cart and set you loose with X amount of time to grab all you can.
PS. Louise Marie Rantzau, a 21-year-old McDonald’s worker in Denmark … said she earns about $21 an hour because of the collective agreement. [plus benefits, vacation, etc., I presume]
Krugman: Mr. Obama is Looking Like a Very Consequential President Indeed
Even if Obama had succeeded over the top with (1) single-payer health care, (2) climate control to end all global warming, (3) full financial re-regulation of Wall Street …
… the country would still be going down the drain as more and more of us are worked harder and harder for less and less pay — and as the country is wide open to endless variety of high-end looting …
… because of massive deunionization …
… which, Paul, Obama (and almost nobody else) is doing anything at all about. So, go celebrate Obama scoring well in a couple of rounds in a fight that win or lose will leave most of us suffering in 19th century hell.
Dennis Drew: If I may, WORKERS CREATE and are the strength of unions, not presidents.
Mike: if I may 🙂 — workers haven’t created many unions lately — something Obama could reverse with new organizing legislation over night. 50% of workers say they want to be in a union now and it is not even a hot topic on everyone’s lips at the moment.
Obama could do himself a huge political favor even if he didn’t get the legislation. With overwhelming support guaranteed — not just because we think it’s a good idea but realistically — he could hardly not get it.
People are so discourage by union busting tactics I don’t see anything really working but centralized bargaining. Card check is penny ante.
It’s like with the minimum wage. A $15 minimum wage would be a lot easier to sell than $10 — simply because it would do a lot more good ($15 is about the 45 percentile wage!). Again, Obama would benefit hugely politically even if he did not get it through. And the culture would change because everyone would realize what EVERYONE wanted.
Obama, the Clintons, JFK — these people are just high end managers with no gut interest in anything — except maybe getting elected to be the manager.
I should add: people don’t exactly sit around in restaurants discussing what the national debt might be in 2040 — Pete Peterson stuff. The only reason the Republican party can keep this kind of numb-brain topic on front burners (and keep holding on to half the votes) is that the Democrats aren’t offering anything exciting (to anyone) to take up the public attention.
Obamacare was great (I know individuals where were desperate for it) but most people were covered otherwise and all were scared of what it might bring. Climate and Wall Street re-regulation will not exactly capture the talk of the town in Kansas City.
Legally mandated, centralized bargaining (Teamster style) promises to be the magic bullet for just about everything. For good reason; complete restructures the power balances in the economic and political forums — in the most democratic (small “d”) possible way. In place over half a century, done all over the world (including French Canada) — well worked out as a way of life can be. (Did I mention initiated by continental European industrialists, post-WWII, not by the red flag crowd?)
A $15 an hour minimum wage would end most poverty overnight (if we don’t phase it in for 5 years in Seattle and San Francisco and then everybody else can think about phasing it in). 45% of the workforce gets a raise to $30,000 a year for a mere 3.5% increase in prices.*
Hot, super-hot attractive issues — ignored while Pete Peterson takes center stage.
* 45% of the workforce at $15 an hour — or less — now. 5% at minimum wage now (getting two half raises). That works out to 50% getting an average $8,000 annual raise. 50% of workforce is 70 million.
$8,000 X 70 million = $560 billion = 3.5% of our $16 trillion economy.
Dennis Drew: Until WORKERS get involved in unionizing nothing will happen.
REMEMBER THE MOLLY MCGUIRES??? Many of them were hanged by sheriffs for creating coal miners’ unions. ANY government entity will fight against unionizing( to the death of the workers if need be) as THE RICH OWN those government entities, ever the Prez.