I knew they'd find a way to punish Ford: The new UAW contract with Ford apparently does not give America's surviving non-bankrupt automaker parity with GM and Chrysler, reports Bloomberg : "The plan doesn’t include cuts to retiree benefits, such as vision coverage, that were granted to GM and Chrysler." Rather, the pain seems even more concentrated on future hires (if there are any) than with the GM/Chrysler deals. ... TTAC wonders whether the UAW had an extra incentive to resist giving concessions that might make Ford more successful now that the union owns a large chunk of its main domestic competitors . ... P.S.: The argument that "the day the union owns the firm is the day workers will need another union" has always seemed a bogus argument against worker ownership. But in this case, where the union actually owns only competing firms, maybe it's not so bogus. Ford, GM and Chrysler workers used to have more or less equal status within the UAW. Now the union has a reason to give GM and Chrysler an edge wherever possible. ... 5:39 P.M.
One Too Many Cherubim: Blog commenter "Cherubim," who may or may not be Elizabeth Edwards, has resurfaced . She's still a big Michael Jackson fan. ... P.S.: I would say this cuts against the Daily News report that Cherubim = Elizabeth. But others disagree. ... P.P.S.: And yes, there is a Multiple Cherubim Theory. ... 4:52 P.M.
Unions Bend the Curve! 'Card check' may be stalled in Congress, but Fred Siegel and Dan DiSalvo report that public employee unions are still successfully bankrupting states and cities . Highlights:
-- Unionization has bent the cost curve of government health benefits--in the wrong direction:
Under the brilliant leadership of Dennis Rivera, 1199 built a top-notch political operation, and with the hospitals, which were barred from political activity, formed a partnership to maximize the flow of government revenue. The union-hospital alliance has been so successful in aligning itself with politicians, Democrat and Republican alike, that not only has 1199 been largely untouched by the downturn, but New York spends as much on Medicaid as California and Texas combined. [E.A.]
That last sentence is stunning. Coming soon to a "public option" near you? ...
-- ACORN, not a straw man! According to Siegel and DiSalvo, it's becoming a real power in New York City thanks to its affiliation with the Working Families Party (WFP):
[T]he WFP is thriving while New York's Democrats atrophy. In last week's New York City primaries, WFP candidates for city council won easily, as did the party's candidates for the city's second and third highest offices: comptroller and public advocate. Those are the best platforms from which to make a run for mayor of New York City when Bloomberg finally gives up his throne.
-- Even Barry Bluestone--the leftish economist who was one of the first to spot the rise in income inequality--worries about the vast gap in the benefits public employees win and the vastly less lucrative benefits ordinary private sector workers get. Thanks in large part to public employee unions, Siegel & DiSalvo note, the price of state and local services is growing rapidly--41% from 2000-2008, vs. 27 percent for private services. Ordinary workers have to pay for them.
The justification for public sector unionism is way weaker than that for private sector unionism. "[Government] workers are not extracting a share of the profits but rather a share of taxes," as former N.Y. Liberal Party leader Alex Rose puts it. And the right to strike, in the hands of key public unions, approaches a blackmail power. But the political strength of the unions is such that even most Republicans, at the state and local level, are scared to question them. They gelded Arnold Schwarzenegger . You want to be next? ... 4:39 P.M.
Q.: Who would have been a more disastrous nominee for the Democrats: John Edwards or Bill Richardson? A: Edwards, but Richardson is giving him a run for his money . ... 5:12 P.M.