Don’t it Turn My Red States, Blue?
Unions, the Middle Class, the American Economy and the American Dream were dealt a fatal blow under President Clinton. To be sure, the mortal wound was not immediately fatal, nor even noticed. We were too busy investigating cigars and stained dresses. It went through both houses of Congress with over a 90% vote, so a veto was out of the question. And besides, Clinton was balancing the budget and paying off the national debt.
But there it was, festering in the background, leading to factory closures and job losses that never made the national scene: NAFTA. North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement.
With a “Free Trade” Agreement, manufacturing moves to the least regulated environment, taking jobs with it. That is exactly what happened, and continues to happen. In a global economy without any protective tarrifs, American workers compete for wages against the labor pool of third world countries. They lose, and will continue to lose, until the standard of living, and wages, of workers in third world countries equals that of the American Worker. That means the American Worker’s standard of living must necessarily decline, while that of his or her third world counterpart increases.
The rich, on the other hand, increase their holdings no matter what.
The assault on the American Worker begain in earnest theses past few days, in Wisconsin. The only voices getting press time in the national media are those blaming unions for the decline of the middle class. They’re right, but for the wrong reason. Unions created the middle class. Their wage and hour demands didn’t break corporations, nor “force” corporations to ship jobs overseas.
No, it is the fault of Unions that they did not fight the fight they had to, years ago, to see to it that, while any Corporation may set up shop wherever it wants, Unions should have insisted that Corporations pay prevailing U.S. wages and abide by U.S. regulations regarding wages, hours, working conditions, benefits, and environmental protections, unless, of course, local regulations were more stringent.
By not fighting, to the point of national strikes, Unions have allowed their own downfall. The current protestations in Wisconsin notwithstanding, unless people go on a national strike, Unions and unionism will lose.
This is our daily open thread — as always, your thoughts on this, or any other subject, are welcome.