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Robert Reich is Right About This

Sarah's picture
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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.

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Submitted by Randall Kohn on

I actually think it's the only way, The question arises, how does a society configured like ours, with all the money and power freakishly concentrating into the top echelons, get there from here?

It's a frightening question, because the answer might be, there is no way, or perhaps none that can be openly discussed.

I notice three posts you've written today (forgive me if there's more) all along the very same lines; and that's good because resurrecting organized labor is the most important issue we have. The long planned decline of unions is what enables all the other reversals we've seen and experienced over the last few decades.

I note also that no one has commented in any of these posts (until now). I don't think that's due to lack of interest, but lack of hope. That may be first thing we need to change.

Submitted by lambert on

Connections we're not making. Or, rather, that Sarah is proffering and we're not integrating.

It would be nice if we could track union issues with the same intensity as single payer....

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Submitted by Sarah on

because we've had since 1980 to keep trying stuff that doesn't.

So. Yeah. Union labels. Organized labor. The thing is -- we may not have the bucks the corporations have, but we have the power and the voices, IF we organize and use them.
Obama saw, and did that, in the primaries and campaign -- to an extent that scared some Dems. "Community organizing." Uhm, guys? Key word is ORGANIZE there. Like, say, the Unions.

Capische?

And yes, Randall. I'm big on trying to get labor(ers) the good(s) due to them.
It's crossed my feeble mind a time or three that money has had its day, wealth has had its say, and where it's led us we don't need to stay.

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Submitted by pie on

because we've had since 1980 to keep trying stuff that doesn't.

You talk about organizing? How about the internet?

This is a tool that can be used with great effect. Please don't pretend that organizing would have been as possible before now.

Obama and his team aren't geniuses. They're just making use of the tools that have been made available.

Hopefully, they'll figure out how to win some battles, but that remains to be seen.

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Submitted by Sarah on

yeah, we've seen the 'Net used -- remember Dean For America?
Some of the Lubbock County Dems' buttons at the convention this year still said that, not Democracy or Democrats for America, but DFA: Dean for America (not that I have too much of a hard time with that either).
So Obama's people are (like my kids are) more savvy with Teh Social Networking As Communications -- hey, I learned to set the timer on my VCR. I can learn to organize over the Internets (wtf is corrente, if not a community, by the way?) -- and so can you.

Now, I may not choose to do it with Facebook or MySpace (yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm so much cooler on line) -- but that doesn't mean I won't do it. I suspect I'll be less apt to end up in jail or banned from SNS's for doing it via blogs, too.

Plus there's still email and viral video and oh, um, yeah, telephones. You remember calling trees? How about real mail? (slow as next January, I know, but still ... damn stuff has a couple advantages: the NSA can't spy on it and, supposedly anyway, the Feds are PROTECTING its privacy.)

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Submitted by pie on

yeah, we've seen the 'Net used -- remember Dean For America?

Dean couldn't get his own party behind him. The celestial choirs weren't singing, I guess. And he wasn't clean, bright and articulate enough.

Funny that the guy who said that is now the VP. *rolls eyes*

What a freaking country...

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Submitted by Sarah on

online but I never gave up on Dean and my bet is the Doc's not done.

[ahem. Jason Alexander has absolutely NOTHING to fear from me in the cool / kewl department. Those magazine-cover-shot abs on Paisley are, though, photoshopped ;) -- and no, I don't drive an old Hyundai.]

My old Dodge may not be a '71 Hemi Charger like Gibbs' dad put together for him,

but my eyes aren't as bad as Gibbs', either.

I don't know, maybe I"m just sentimental. I think those old cars, built in Detroit and LA and Arlington, by UAW workers, are worth hanging onto. I notice that you don't see a lot of 1960s and 1970s Toyotas or Hondas or Datsuns at Barrett-Jackson, so ... quien sabe?

Submitted by lambert on

1. Internet as an organizing tool has many strengths but it can exclude as well as include. Notice that Hillary's campaign technology of throwaway cell phones was mocked by the "creative class," who live on the Internet, but she did win a majority of Democratic votes with it -- because that's how the 18 million thrown under the bus tend to communicate (maybe because phones are easier to multitask with). Now, a movement that could unify those two technologies....

2. I think it's amazing that not only was Dean replaced by a part-timer, he's now out of politics altogether. I wonder if he thinks he has his party back?

3. I think Newberry is right in looking at the Obama web presence as a pyramid. Really, it's rather like a multilevel marketing scheme. Look at all the effect putting marijuana legalization #1 had -- and an entirely reasonable proposition too, akin to FDR toning down Prohibition.