6/30/11

Unionism Is Antiquated, Outdated

Ramesh Ponnuru takes on the decline of Organized Labor
The shift toward a more competitive economy has not hurt workers in general: Total employee compensation as a share of the economy held fairly steady during the second half of the last century even as unions were shrinking. (It’s true that wages as a share of the economy fell, but that was a result of the increased cost of benefits.) The shift has, however, increased inequality among workers, with more rewards going to those with higher skills.

If we want to reverse the unions’ decline, the kind of labor-law changes that the Obama administration’s appointees to the NLRB have in mind -- such as speeding up elections -- are unlikely to do the trick. We would have to reduce competition among companies, too, domestically and internationally. The economy would have to be far more regulated than anyone in the mainstream of American politics has advocated. And we would almost certainly have to be willing to be a poorer country. We shouldn’t want any of that.

Our country has plenty of economic problems. But we also have blessings, and the continued decline of labor unions is one of them.
(from bloomberg.com)

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