Robert Reich is Right About This
Go read his editorial, The Union Way Up. Fifty years ago, the nation still thought Unions (or organized labor) were good for the economy, good for the nation, good for the middle class, good for the working man and his family.
Excerpt from Reich:
The way to get the economy back on track is to boost the purchasing power of the middle class. One major way to do this is to expand the percentage of working Americans in unions.
Tax rebates won't work because they don't permanently raise wages. Most families used the rebate last year to pay off debt -- not a bad thing, but it doesn't keep the virtuous circle running.
Bank bailouts won't work either. Businesses won't borrow to expand without consumers to buy their goods and services. And Americans themselves can't borrow when they're losing their jobs and their incomes are dropping.
Tax cuts for working families, as President Obama intends, can do more to help because they extend over time. But only higher wages and benefits for the middle class will have a lasting effect.
Unions matter in this equation. According to the Department of Labor, workers in unions earn 30% higher wages -- taking home $863 a week, compared with $663 for the typical nonunion worker -- and are 59% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance than their nonunion counterparts.
It would be a little longer before the Reagan Revolution struck all those notions down, fallaciously. Fifty years ago would've been almost a year before I was born. Census figures are available here. Some interesting information about figuring a "corruption index" using data on productivity and GDP is here.