Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Labor Day

Labor Day featured a couple of events involving labor. The first was President Obama's appearance before a union convention in Detroit. It was billed as a preview of the speech he will give to Congress on Thursday. If was actually a campaign speech complete with chants of "four more years". Many have focused on the call to arms issued by Jimmy Hoffa, jr. More important is Obama's message to Congress - if you don't vote for my jobs program then you are un-American. Most presidents would think twice before delivering such a message to a joint session of Congress but Obama has a history of verbal bullying. I would not put it past him to lecture Congress on their responsibilities while advancing an ineffective jobs program.

During his speech on Labor Day, Obama also gave his support for organized labor and collective bargaining.

In the meantime, news broke that the Post Office is broke and about to default on more than a half-billion in payments. Their biggest problem is that the volume of mail has dropped 20% over the last few years. They need to shed 220,000 jobs but their union contract prevents layoffs. This is just the latest in a series of problems involving public service unions. Not surprisingly, the head of the union representing the postal workers is unwilling to cooperate with the layoffs.

In private business the choice is usually simple when asking unions for concessions - give us something or we will go out of business. The government cannot go out of business. Instead we have a series of bailouts.

Considering that one function of public service unions seems to be to funnel tax money into the Democratic campaign chests, we can assume that the Democrats will resist any postal layoffs. That means more taxpayer bailouts.

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