Friday, December 14, 2012

What Really Killed the Closed Shop?

As usual, PJBuchanan presents a provocative populist case.  What killed the closed shop was not just Union intransigence.  Not by a long shot.

Too bad that Buchanan didn't go far enough in his analysis--but it's worth looking at.

...Who are the collective killers? Like the murder on the Orient Express, just about everyone on the train.

First came automation.

... A second blow came with the postwar rise of Germany and Japan. Their plants and equipment were all newer than ours. Their wages were far lower, as they did not carry the burden of defending the Free World. Under our defense umbrella, they began to invade and capture our markets.

And Uncle Sam let them do it.

... A third blow to Big Labor, concentrated in the Frost Belt, came from the Sun Belt.

... But the mortal blow to American unions came from globalization.

If they could move factories out of the U.S.A., they would be free of union demands, wage-and-hour laws, occupational health and safety laws, environmental laws and civil rights law. By outsourcing, they could produce for a fraction of the cost of doing so in the U.S.A.

Buchanan doesn't even mention the tax rate differentials, which are very significant.  And he doesn't mention that post-George Meany, much of the regulatory burden was imposed with Union encouragement (or at their demand.)

 ...The corporate establishment and political establishment shook hands, the deed was done, and the fate of U.S. industrial unions sealed. So came NAFTA, GATT, the World Trade Organization, MFN for China, free trade with all.

And with globalization came trade deficits unlike any the world had ever seen, a loss of one-third of U.S. manufacturing jobs in the last decade, a U.S. dependence on foreign-made goods almost as great as in colonial days, the enrichment of our corporate and financial elites beyond the dreams of avarice, and the decline and fall of the house of labor.

Unions are dying because, in America, economic patriotism is dead

What is Buchanan missing?

Pat could have mentioned that the Greed Factor--or Materialism--was shared by all the parties, unions, management, and Governments.  The national interest is rarely best-served by spending-and-debt, as we are learning.  Even Keynes knew that.

But we resist the wisdom of Ben Franklin's "penny" quote, and will resist it until we become Greece.

Then what?


Anonymous said...

It was the globalization of capitalism, not globalization itself, that has served to the detriment of the American worker, union or non-union. Get it straight!

Dad29 said...