Open thread October 19, 2020 Dan Crawford | October 20, 2020 6:23 am Tags: open thread Comments (5) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
Suppose we had card check back in the 50s – would that have reversed US labor union history – would we likely have fully representative union density today, instead of 6.2% in the private (non gov) economy?
Starting out with 35% membership in the mid 50, card check wouldn’t have led to a lot more unions – simply because we could organize pretty successfully without card check back then. Came the years of (illegal) escalating anti-union blowback, card check could not have helped holding on to unions we already had.
Came the years of fierce (illegal) management opposition, card check wouldn’t have been any more of a magic organizing bullet than it would be now. Easier to form a union in the 50s without card check, than to organize now with card check; impossible in most cases.
At the very most: if we had card check starting in the 50s, union density might level off at a somewhat higher level these days (starting out with a few more unions) – assuming density ever stops going down. Might card check today send density climbing way back to 50s levels or anything like it? Good luck.
Only one way back: https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/
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EITC transfers 2% of income while 40% of our workforce earns less that what we think the minimum wage should be ($70 billion out of $13 trillion of income — wages are 2/3 of GDP).
We cannot set a minimum wage any higher than the wage that the unionized workers with the weakest bargaining position could negotiate for themselves ($15?). (The current $7.25 federal minimum wage is at the 1956 level, inflation adjusted.)
Perhaps, once we contemplate every other avenue to rehabilitating the US labor market to likely be unfruitful, Andrew Strom’s proposal of regularly scheduled cert/recert/decert elections at every private (non gov) workplace may finally seem as inevitable as in due course it must be.
My brother Kevin’s contribution towards political-climate change:
THE REPUBLICAN ANTHEM
How Failures of the Obama-Era Stimulus Could Guide a Biden Administration
NY Times – Neil Irwin – October 19
The person taking the oath of office on Jan. 20 will face an economic mess.
That will be true whether it’s Joe Biden or Donald J. Trump, and true whether or not the off-and-on negotiations over a new round of pandemic relief yield anything.
Given mass failures of small businesses and continuing astronomical numbers of people filing for jobless benefits, the president will face a situation uncannily similar to the crisis Mr. Biden and President Obama faced a dozen years earlier. If it is Mr. Biden who comes to power, along with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, he will have something rare: the chance to look at the lessons of recent history and have a do-over.
Mr. Obama’s first legislative priority, the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, shows what can go wrong when the government spends money on a mass scale to fix an economic crisis. Mainstream economists judge that the legislation helped stabilize financial markets and start an economic expansion that would last a decade. But it also proved underpowered and politically toxic, with lasting consequences for Mr. Obama’s presidency.
It offered fuel for the president’s enemies to portray him as a profligate deficit spender. Yet it was also insufficient to generate a robust recovery; the unemployment rate the month of the 2010 midterm elections was 9.8 percent, nearly as high as it had been a year earlier. That combination of a weak recovery with the perception of wasteful spending helped Republicans retake the House of Representatives.
Most voters never agreed with the view of economists that the recession would have been worse if not for the stimulus bill. In 2010, for example, only 35 percent of Americans in a Pew survey believed that the legislation had helped keep unemployment from getting worse. By contrast, 80 percent of economists surveyed in 2012 said the legislation had resulted in a lower jobless rate that year.
The lesson: If you are going to shoot your shot at fixing the economy, you had best go big enough to not merely stop it from collapsing, but also to get a boom underway. Failure will doom an administration to unpopularity and stymie a broader agenda. …
Why Biden Will Need to Spend Big
NY Times – Paul Krugman – October 19
What should Joe Biden’s economic policy be if he wins (and Democrats take the Senate, so that he can actually pass legislation)? I’m pretty sure I know what his economists think he should do, but I’m not equally sure that everyone on his political team fully gets it, and I’m worried that the news media will experience sticker shock — that is, they may not be ready for the price tag on what he should and probably will propose.
So here’s what everyone should understand: Given the current and likely future state of the U.S. economy, it’s time to (a) spend a lot of money on the future and (b) not worry about where the money is coming from. For now, and for at least the next few years, large-scale deficit spending isn’t just OK, it’s the only responsible thing to do. …
First things first: If Biden is inaugurated in January, he will inherit a nation still devastated by the coronavirus. Trump keeps saying that we’re “rounding the corner,” but the reality is that cases and hospitalizations are surging (and anyone expecting a lame-duck Trump administration to take effective action against the surge is living in a dream world.) And we won’t be able to have a full economic recovery as long as the pandemic is still raging.
What this means is that it will be crucial to provide another round of large-scale fiscal relief, especially aid to the unemployed and to cash-strapped state and local governments. The main purpose of this relief will be humanitarian — helping families pay the rent and keep food on the table, helping cities and towns avoid devastating cuts in essential services. But it will also help avoid a downward economic spiral, by heading off a potential collapse in consumer and local government spending.
The need for big spending will not, however, end with the pandemic. We also need to invest in our future. After years of public underspending, America desperately needs to upgrade its infrastructure. In particular, we should be investing heavily in the transition to an environmentally sustainable economy. And we should also do much more to help children grow up to be healthy, productive adults; America spends shamefully little on aid to families compared with other wealthy countries.
But how can we pay for all this investment? Bad question.
You sometimes hear people saying that the government should be run like a business. That’s a poor analogy in many ways. But for what it’s worth, think of what smart businesses do when they face great investment opportunities and have access to cheap capital: they raise a lot of money.
We’ve just seen that the U.S. government needs to invest large sums in the future. What about access to capital? The answer is that there’s a global savings glut — the sums individuals want to save persistently exceed the sums businesses are willing to invest. And this situation — private savings all dressed up with nowhere to go — translates into extremely low government borrowing costs. In February, before the coronavirus sent us into recession, the average interest rate on long-term inflation-protected U.S. bonds was minus 0.12 percent. Yes, it was less than zero.
Under these conditions it would actually be irresponsible for the federal government not to engage in large-scale borrowing to invest in the future.
But shouldn’t we be worrying about running up more government debt? No.
It amaze me that there are still some people that think the ARRA and the slow recovery was the main factor in GOP gains in Congress in the years following it. Had almost no effect, the deficit howling was just that, screaming at the moon.
The largest factor was that the election of a black man as President shocked half of the country. That was led to the GOP congress, and also led us to Trump. Trump’s racist “not an American” claims propelled him to the WH, just as it was the reason for the GOP’s takeover of Congress.