Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Specter mans up 

Well, praise be to God, Senator from Pennsylvania Arlen Specter has decided that now would be a bad time to drive a lot of American business offshore. He has committed to vote with his own party to prevent passage of the Orwellian (yes, I always use that term in this context) Employee "Free Choice" Act. Lots of bloggy reactions here.

There is much to celebrate and argue over here, but there are two points that you may not read elsewhere.

First, Pat Toomey, president of the Club For Growth, gets a lot of the credit for this by pressuring Specter from the right. Toomey, who is probably going to run against Specter for the Republican nomination in 2010 (as he did in 2004), has increasingly loud footsteps sounding in Specter's right ear. (As an aside, one of the TH uncles talked me up about the Club for Growth last summer and suggested I contribute. I just did.)

Second, you will continue to see this poorly wrought argument from the left:

Earlier this month, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) noted, “In 1935, we passed the Wagner Act that promoted unionization and allowed unions to flourish, and at the time we were at around 20 percent unemployment. So tell me again why we can’t do this in a recession? … This is exactly the time we should be insisting on a fairer playing field for people to organize themselves.” As David Sirota commented, “Put another way, we don’t have the leeway to pass EFCA despite the bad economy, we have the imperative to pass EFCA because of the bad economy.”

This is foolishness on several levels. Yes, it was possible to pass the Wagner Act with high unemployment, but it was also a mistake. GDP fell sharply in 1937 and 1938 because of the Wagner Act and other anti-business regulation, and only recovered because of the big ramp in defense spending in anticipation of war. The most important difference, though, was that American business had no where else to go in the 1930s. It was a lot harder to move manufacturing overseas then, and to the extent it was possible the risks were far greater. Not only were the great colonies of the European empires destabilizing, but Japan and Germany were challenging Anglo-American control of the seas. American employers had no choice, which greatly improved the leverage of workers. If liberals want to strengthen the hand of American workers, they should work to abolish the United States Navy, the indispensable institution in the service of global free trade.

And, of course, there is the point that unionized private sector businesses -- car manufacturing, big steel, and the big airlines, to name three -- are notoriously unprofitable in good times and bad. Do we really want to turn our best companies into General Motors, Chrysler, United Airlines, or U.S. Steel?


By Blogger davod, at Wed Mar 25, 08:38:00 AM:


I am sorry but this is of topic.

The Global War on Terror is now the Overseas Contingency Operation.

The Liberal commentator on Fox said the change was a good business decison. He also said we were not at war.

This actually can tie in with the change from Islamic Terrorism to Man Made Disaster:

The Overseas Contingency Operation to alleviate Made Disasters. Tame enough for even the most radical opponents of the Great Satan.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 25, 09:22:00 AM:

I thought I would pass along this quote from Pat Toomey

‘When Senator Specter does a flip flop, it’s worth checking the fine print. On the senate floor today he said: “I would be willing to reconsider Employees’ Free Choice legislation when the economy returns to normalcy.” In other words, if he thinks his political fortunes have improved, he will deny workers a secret ballot after all’  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 25, 10:07:00 AM:

I would not trust Arlen Specter in a shuck pin with a muzzel on.
This man is apparently totally void of any real character.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 25, 10:09:00 AM:

It has nothing to do with workers. The core object of Obama and his democrat party is to destroy the middle class in America.
The main weapon of a union is extortion; meet our demands or we will destroy your business. Unionization of half the small businesses in America will destroy millions of jobs. Union representatives oppose the management/ownership of a small company. Once the union makes the existence of a business so painful or costly, an owner/operator can simply liquidate and, if he can't liquidate, then declare bankruptcy.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 25, 11:23:00 AM:

"Do we really want to turn our best companies into General Motors, Chrysler, United Airlines, or U.S. Steel?"

In my own humble opinion we should have considered this before the November election. For the first time I'm giving to political candidates as if my economic life (not to mention my personal liberty) depends upon it. I just hope the GOP can live up to the faith I'm being forced to have in it.  

By Blogger Elise, at Wed Mar 25, 01:50:00 PM:

If liberals want to strengthen the hand of American workers, they should work to abolish the United States Navy, the indispensable institution in the service of global free trade.

Hmm. Doesn't Obama's budget cut military spending? (Just kidding. I hope.)

More seriously, this does seem like an interesting conundrum for progressives. If they believe they must support protectionism to help US workers, can they also be in favor of ceding more US self-determination to multinational organizations like the UN? If so, how?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 25, 04:02:00 PM:

Specter is in a dilemma. He obviously has no true principles regarding card check.

His choices are trying to stay alive between the horns, or stepping far to one side (or the other).

In the GOP Primary he hopes to collect some union money and support. But he must avoid losing too many GOP votes while doing so.

In the general election he will not have union support. Period. It will not matter what promises have been secretly made.

After some wavering he is making the better choice. Retain as much as possible of his GOP base by opposing card check.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 25, 10:11:00 PM:

Isn’t it interesting that the people who staunchly defend Pro-Choice when it comes to aborting unborn babies, would fight just as staunchly to limit the American worker’s choice on unionization.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 25, 10:24:00 PM:

As a resident of Iowa City, I would like to recommend that Tom Harkin be tarred and feathered, if not voted out of office.


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