Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Monday, May 09, 2005

Kevin Drum Has a Great Article Today

He writes on how unions are the targets of the conservatives and losing the support of liberals. He includes a retorical question "ask yourself this: why are conservatives so hellbent on breaking them?"

And has a great conclusion:

"It's because unions are the only truly effective check on the sine qua non of modern conservatism: corporate power. For all their faults — and they have plenty, just as corporations do — unions are the only organizations that have the power to bargain effectively for the interests of the middle class. Union power in the private sector began to wane in the 1970s, and it's not a coincidence that this was exactly the same time that middle class wages began to stagnate, CEO pay began to skyrocket, and income inequality began increasing inexorably.

Many liberals seem to believe that these grim trends can be fought with tax and regulatory policy, but those are blunt instruments with plenty of drawbacks and unforeseen consequences. Collective bargaining, which is essentially a market based approach in which the government's job is simply to make sure that unions have enough authority to ensure serious bargaining and then get out of the way, is far more reliable, effective, and flexible. It actually works, which is why conservatives have always hated unions so bitterly.
Despite this, there are plenty of cocktail party "new" Democrats who blithely think of unions as just another dinosaur special interest unsuited to politics in the 21st century. They should think again. Republicans understand the stakes a lot better — and so should we."

I have many friends who are these "cocktail party new democrats" he describes. I hear them agreeing with GM blaming the union worker for their corporate financial troubles, disparaging union shops as troubled or over-paying their employees, worrying about how they will ever manage if the union successfully approaches their work units. I am the daughter of a union family (I often kid that I have the union bug tatooed on my butt) and I'm ashamed to say that I haven't spoken up enough. I've let those comments rest unchallenged.

I promise today to change my ways and challenge those who should know better. Thanks, Kevin Drum for giving me a wake up call


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