Monday, December 24, 2007


If you want to understand why stagnant wages, debt, bankruptcies, and economic insecurity dominate the concerns of America's middle class look no further than the tragic political marriage between conservatives and industry (Adam Smith's "invisible hand" is absent here). To help us understand these dynamics, Paul Krugman once again nails it ...

It’s often assumed that the U.S. labor movement died a natural death, that it was made obsolete by globalization and technological change. But what really happened is that beginning in the 1970s, corporate America, which had previously had a largely cooperative relationship with unions, in effect declared war on organized labor ...

... These hardball tactics have been enabled by a political environment that has been deeply hostile to organized labor, both because politicians favored employers’ interests and because conservatives sought to weaken the Democratic Party. “We’re going to crush labor as a political entity,” Grover Norquist, the anti-tax activist, once declared.
Two points. First, can you imagine the uproar if someone from organized labor said "We're going to crush industry and commerce as a political entity"? The fear mongering over intolerant "Lefties" would never end. Second, democracy is nothing if it's not about competing factions. Why does Norquist hate democracy?

On the positive side, the numbers above suggest individuals understand that unions help America's middle class. Conservative politicians and the corporate controlled media would have us think otherwise. Looks like we need a champion to start framing the political debate differently ... is John Edwards our guy? He's definitely my candidate.

- Mark

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