Thursday, August 25, 2011

Big Labor Is Losing The Voters?

It is a cliché that politics makes strange bedfellows, but more often than not one finds the usual homogeneous intimates wallowing in a bed of cash.  I wrote yesterday how the trial lawyers are coalescing (call it Big Law) around Obama to fend off the success that Rick Perry has had in tort reform in Texas, lest a potential President Perry duplicate the same success of pro-jobs, anti-lawyer tort reform on a national level, cutting into Big Law’s copious coffers.

On a more permanent basis, there is Big Labor, which (among many other things) has had Obama stack the deck of the National Labor Relations Board with recess appointments of labor attorneys.  The result can most obviously be seen in the NLRB complaint declaring that Boeing should shut down a plant in right-to-work South Carolina in order to focus on the Boeing home base in forced-union Washington.  Obama is also in favour of the card-check rule (disallowing secret ballots in votes for unionising businesses) as well as compelled arbitration by the NLRB if a proffered union contract is not accepted by management.  We also saw how Obama and the Democrats in general supported the public sector (or government) employee siege of Madison, Wisconsin just a few months ago.

I posit that the voting public is starting to understand that unionism, particularly involving the unions that cover government employees as opposed to manufacturing, is stifling job growth in these times of stagnation.  It is to the point that manufacturing or private-sector unions are starting to break ranks with the government or public-sector unions, because they realize that spectacles like the circus of intimidation in Madison shows that the public sector is demanding considerations on the backs of the private sector:

In private industries, union workers are subject to the vagaries of the marketplace and economic growth.  Thus in 2009 10.1% of private union jobs were eliminated, which was more than twice the 4.4% rate of overall private job losses.  On the other hand, government unions offer what is close to lifetime job security and benefits, subject only to gross dereliction of duty.  Once a city or state's workers are organized by a union, the jobs almost never go away.
Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post writes on how Big Labor, like Big Law, is forming super PACs that “can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and individuals.”  However, that may come at a Pyrrhic price:
Nevertheless, Democrats should re-examine the degree to which they are dependent on organized labor.  It forces Democrats to align themselves with unpopular positions (e.g. card check, support of public-employee unions over taxpayers), further alienating the great majority of voters who are not union members.
She goes on to quote a left-wing columnist for the New York Times (yes, a bit redundant) who takes the administration to task in the NLRB case against Boeing, including:
Seriously, when has a government agency ever tried to dictate where a company makes its products?  I can’t ever remember it happening.  Neither can Boeing, which is fighting the complaint.  J. Michael Luttig, Boeing’s general counsel, has described the action as “unprecedented.”  He has also said that it was a disservice to a country that is “in desperate need of economic growth and the concomitant job creation.”  He’s right.
Rubin continues, with the point that the voters can see that the term ‘special interest group’ is not restricted to what the Democrats say it means, but includes that most special of interest groups with the labor movement:

This is but one example in which the Obama administration’s favoritism toward Big Labor works against the interests of ordinary workers. . . . One can’t imagine that Democrats would continue to take these positions if not for its excessive dependence on organized labor’s largess.  It is a legitimate issue for Republicans to raise in the upcoming election: Whose side are the Democrats on, their Big Labor patrons or ordinary Americans who are unemployed and underemployed in record numbers?
But Obama has said (repeatedly) that he is focused on job creation, and after months of apparently pondering this weighty topic will now return to Washington from his campaign listening swing through the whitest Mid-west and his vacation on Mount Sinai Martha’s Vineyard to deliver his solution.  This must include the fact that he has hired Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, as his jobs and competitiveness czar, and here T J O’Hara of the Washington Times gives a lengthy analysis of Immelt’s effectiveness (though he buries the lead):
Last year, GE reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion. Clearly, Mr. Immelt knows how to create jobs and compete!

But wait! Only $5.1 billion of the total came from GE’s U.S. operations. How can that be?

It’s because GE has been “exporting” jobs in recent years. It has reduced its U.S. base of business by approximately 21,000 employees and now employs about 53% of its workforce overseas.
 After you arrive at this point in the article, Mr O’Hara takes off with more details that can do nothing other than make a person of reasonable caution query the sense of what Big Labor really wants.  O’Hara sums up at one point:

Are you connecting the dots yet?  We’re denying jobs in South Carolina while creating them in China.  We’re generating revenue in China and for GE, but not taxing GE on those profits in the United States.  We’re making China more competitive in the long-term and exposing Boeing’s U.S.-based manufacturing to more competition in the future.
Yet Big Labor is all in for Obama.  If you were to think that Labor cares about creating more jobs in America (even if only union dues-paying jobs), you would have to question their sanity or their sincerity.  And I do.

Rudyard Kipling wrote of the British soldier (the source of the nickname Tommy) and how he sees through the patronising, hypocritical statements of the British public about how they care about his soul, though they feel he’s a brute.  “And Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – You bet that Tommy sees!”

The American voter is starting to see through the curtain of money covering the Obama machine.  It’s a big curtain though, made even thicker by the pelf of the Democrats’ special interests.

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