Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wisconsin Whackiness

The media pundits say that that liberals are winning the battle on the Wisconsin issue because Governor Walker overreached and “people support public sector unions by 61% to 39% in the polls.” I’m not so sure. The longer this goes on, the more ridiculous liberals become. Unlike conservatives, liberals are not satisfied merely repeating the same old tropes again and again, so they have to keep coming up with new and creative defenses for unions, and they are increasingly just blathering.

Kevin Drum has a post at Mother Jones titled “What Wisconsin Is All About” which Attywood linked to citing “Why Unions Matter.” The lead of the leitmotif goes,

Rather, the bulk of our growing inequality has been a product of skyrocketing incomes among the richest 1 percent and—even more dramatically—among the top 0.1 percent. It has, in other words, been CEOs and Wall Street traders at the very tippy-top who are hoovering up vast sums of money from everyone, even those who by ordinary standards are pretty well off.

Somebody please tell me how that is even remotely related to labor unions.

I'm not sure what he was saying, as I quit reading his piece when I reached the point where Drum said that he had found the “key to understanding why the Obama era lasted less than two years,” but it certainly didn't seem to be about "why unions matter."

Apparently he didn’t see the news item where John Thune decided not to run for the Republican nomination in 2012, giving as a reason that “Obama will be too hard to beat.”

Chris Matthews had a “union guy” on to tout the labor side of the issue, and he cited for the guy a couple of places where workers who were not represented by unions were making good wages. The guy retorted that those workers “might have good wages or they might not” but that they “didn’t have any dignity” because “it’s the union that provides dignity in the workplace.” Is that in the contract, I wonder? Management is required to provide a certain quantity of dignity daily. Is it measured in pounds?

After the interview Chris raved about how wonderful the guy was, and how he just “looked so union.” Really? To me he was sort of insulting unions, because the guy was one step short of holding a pitchfork and telling us his phone number was BR-549.

Eugene Robinson rambled at length in the Washington Post on Tuesday and finally revealed that the real plot is that Republicans are trying to destroy the Democratic Party by eliminating the campaign contributions they get from labor unions. “So if Republicans wanted to weaken the Democratic Party by destroying its most important source of big-money support,” he says, “they would try to crush public-sector unions.”

Liberals are making a big deal out of the backing that Walker received from the Koch brothers, but they have nothing to say about the backing that unions provide for Democratic candidates. According to Robinson, public sector unions are the “most important source of big-money support” for the Democratic Party, in fact.

The battle looks a little less noble couched in those terms, doesn’t it? The political big money of the Koch brothers against the political big money of the labor unions.

1 comment:

bruce said...

Oh, sh*t where do I start with this one?

I read the articles and it appeared to be a lot about eroding power bases for the political parties - and diminished union memberships has resulted in diminished political bas (and power) for the Democratic party. As private unions shrink, public ones have grown. And there is always the liberal, socially progressive segments of society that typically support the Democrats.

The "Obama era" can be easily defined as his elected term in office (which I will define as 2008-2012) as a minimum, barring re-election. Whoever said otherwise is an idiot. He MAY have diminished clout or influence, but he is still the president and that means something.

Public opinion is nebulous and fleeting and short on memory. It's easy to bash someone or something that is percieved as unfair, like "Big Oil" or Wall Street bankers, etc. What will it be come 2012 ? what will be the demon then?

The idea that unions provide "dignity" to workers is a crock... That is not something that is measured or defined by the mere presence of a union or a collective bargaining unit. If a companies workers enjoy good wages, benefits and working conditions, I doubt those "just happened"... whether they have a union or not. I'ts just fine if they accomplish that without a union.

I think that the issue is financial reform on the surface (which is a legitimate issue) and political influence under the radar.

I am somewhat disturbed by the reasoning of getting rid of collective bargaining just to remove it's influence on pension/benefit reform. WHat about other financial issues? Is that the only one? Is ther a way to simply address that only without the collective bargaining issue?

Or is it the CB that defines the benefit, and without the CB, reform can take place? I don;t have a problem per se with the CB issue, but pension reform does need to take place. Many of the perks and benefits are out of line with sustainabality and commmon sense. Do they have to match the private sector? Not necessarily, but the beneficiaries should have some responsibility with it too.

disclosure: I am a public sector employee and am represented by a union, but not a full member.

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