Gruesome new poll numbers on public support for unions-- the percent who say they "mostly hurt"the U.S. economy jumps from 39% in 2006 to 51% last month, for example. .... Tom Edsall calls them "horror show numbers" and wants an explanation! Hmmm. I wish I could say "card check"--the labor plan to avoid secret ballots when organizing--but that isn't the most visible of the roles unions have played recently. The most visible would be 1) the auto industry, where the UAW helped bankrupt two of the Big Three and stuck taxpayers with the bill without even taking a cut in hourly pay , and 2) the public schools, which the teachers' unions have helped to degrade in a way that adversely impacts the lives of even affluent Dem yuppies (at least those with kids). ...It will be hard for me to avoid the Howell Raines Fallacy on this one: Once again the great and good American people have it right. ... P.S.: Polls like this aren't going to make it easy for the Senate to pass even a watered-down labor law "reform." Did the UAW kill "card check"? ... 8:56 P.M.
Pull the Triggers: If you want to compromise on the public option, isn't the federalism route better than the currently much-discussed "trigger" approach? Triggers are complicated and subject to gaming. It's hard to see how they can even be drawn up fairly if nobody knows what to expect in a reformed health insurance market. But it's easy to say that 10 states can apply for federal funds to launch a public option. Or 20 states. Or 30. Even the most inept negotiators should be able to arrive at some number between 0 and 50. And then in a few years we'll have a better idea what the private insurers can accomplish on their own and what a public option adds. (The intra-state comparisons would also provide an incentive for the private insurers to behave.) ... Buried Lede: Rep. James Clyburn is talking about a federalist compromise. He's not Senator Snowe, but he's in the Dem House leadership. ... 9:30 P.M.