Obama’s union error
The great Ed Yardeni thinks the POTUS is repeating FDR’s mistakes:
In 2016, I expect that Mr. Geithner will make the following speech: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong … somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job … We have never made good on our promises … I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started … and an enormous debt to boot.”
Those words were actually spoken by FDR’s Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau before his fellow Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee. Revisionist conservative-leaning historians are increasingly blaming FDR’s policies for prolonging and deepening the Great Depression. A recent addition to this perspective is “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression” (2007) by Amity Shlaes. She followed it up with an interesting article in the WSJ on Feb. 1 this year, “How to Make a Weak Economy Worse.” She observed that FDR’s anti-business policies were bad for business. She notes, “The 1935 Wagner Act was a tiger that makes today’s union law look like a pussycat. It favored unions over companies in nearly every way, including institutionalizing the closed shop. And after Roosevelt’s landslide victory in 1936, the closed shop and the sit-down strike stole thousands of productive workdays from companies, punishing earnings and limiting ability to hire.”
In yesterday’s WSJ, we learned that the Obama administration is considering union-backed proposals to make it easier for government agencies to bypass low bidders and award contracts to higher bidders that pay more wages and benefits. The AFL-CIO labor federation is pushing for a jobs program called “Jobs Now Make Wall Street Pay.” They want a transaction tax on securities trading to pay for yet another infrastructure spending program.