Friday, March 13, 2009
Pssst, C.A.P.! Your star blogger, Matt Yglesias, is giving his best stuff to Twitter! Maybe it's just a way to avoid the Palmieri police ... P.S.: It's still not as good as Ezra Klein's best stuff . ... 6:34 P.M.
Single-issue labor: The AFL-CIO attempts to make Senator Specter an offer he can't refuse : Vote for "card check" and we will support you in 2010 . Is this a sign of desperation? Not necessarily--what could a future Democratic senator from PA give labor that would be more important than "card check"? ... But what about all those other GOP senators labor was supposedly lining up ? ... P.S.: Kos suggests this makes it much more likely that Specter will switch parties and run as a Democrat (in the process giving Dems their 60 vote Senate majority). Doesn't a Liebermanesque run as an independent seem more in keeping with Specter's self-image? ... 7:32 P.M.
Does free trader Jagdish Bhagwati really think increased unionization will solve the problem of "stagnation of workers' wages," or does he just like the way the "union decline" explanation takes the heat off the competing explanation that would blame free trade? It's hard to read his recent TNR piece without tending toward the latter conclusion. ...
P.S.: It's entirely possible, of course, that wage stagnation would take place even without trade--thanks to "domestic" factors Bhagwati cites (like "labor-saving technical changes" that reduce the market for unskilled work)-- without the decline of unions being a major cause. And Bhagwati doesn't say it is a major cause, only that Andy Stern, the SEIU, and "many labor economists" think it is. .. Note also that Bhagwati, like so many "card check" defenders , doesn't actually approve of the "card check" part of the card check bill:
And it is, indeed,hard to defend the denial of an automatic secret ballot.
Does Bhagwati, as an ardent market-oriented free trader, find it easier to defend the mandatory government arbitration provisions of the "card check bill? If not, what's left? ... [ via Yglesias ]
P.P.S.: And if Lawrence Summers' tepid and abstract remarks on unions at the Brookings Institution this week were, as Sam Stein claims, "stronger than anything that has come from the White House since [the card check bill] was introduced," that's mainly a reflection of how watery the White House's support has been, something Stein (unlike Marc Ambinder ) recognizes. ... Summers doesn't so much as mention fostering greater unionization in the text of his speech--not even in the parts about ensuring that growth is widely shared. He answers a press question on the subject by endorsing "some adjustment in an environment that has proven so problematic for labor union organizing." But he doesn't endorse the specific "adjustment" in the card check bill, and indeed warns that "we need to be mindful as we redress a pendulum that has swung of the risks of swinging pendulums too far." ... 2:39 A.M.