Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An area in which I am admittedly conservative

Yglesias notes: "Or if you think about Germany, the restrictions on layoffs are probably a more noteworthy form of “big government” than the tax rate."

I personally know a lot of liberals who want America to copy Europe in all generalities and most of the specifics. But I think the restrictions Yglesias mentions, though understandable, aren't wise. Our economy is quite a bit different from Europe's, and it just seems like common sense that employment restrictions, price controls, and labor unions would be less prevalent than in countries where the market is generally more consolidated.

So I oppose layoff restrictions and price controls (except the minimum wage, if raised judiciously, which doesn't seem to have any negative effects on the economy), but I do think worker safety and just corporate oversight in general are important, and while one would expect unions to have somewhat less power in our country than elsewhere, they shouldn't be on the verge of collapsing. The conservative crusade against labor has never been about any allegedly held principle like small government, it was because the conservative movement was started by small business owners who hated unions because of their political power and because they just didn't want to deal with unions. I'm not saying that they were necessarily wrong on either count from their perspective, but it underscores the importance of eventually passing the Employee Free Choice Act, card check or no, because without labor there is no real political power to balance against big business, and that power is grossly necessary. As a matter of fact, my guess would be that more widespread unionism could decrease the size of government, and it's not like corporate executives these days are walking around with holes in their socks.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.