The Democrats and Labor

George Liebmann

The Democrats and Labor

by George Liebmann

It is time to consider the non-existent Labor Agenda of the anti_Trump Party. Doing so will convince the impartial that while the Republicans are vexed and encumbered by one man, the Democrats have almost entirely succumbed to an ideological epidemic

When there was widespread unemployment and impoverishment in the 1930s FDR observed:”he had launched a relief and recovery program and sincethen there has been no real problem of social disorder in the United States.” There is today “a real problem of social disorder”ranging from Black slums to the motorcycle gangs of Waco, the drug gangs of Los Angeles and the drug-dependent youth of A ppalachia, the Rust Belt and rural New England.

The recovery program carried out through the PWA, WPA, CCC and NYA had been a work program, not a dole, founded on Roosevelt’s declared premise that “continued dependence upon relief induces a spititual and moral disintegration destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the national spirit.”

The recent Obama administration, by contrast engaged in a sub rosa expansion of cash relief, through extended unemployment compensation, food stamps, and lax administration of the Social Security Disability program to the point where nearly 15% of the adult population of Baltimore City was receiving disability benefits.

Nor has there been any propsal to relieve workers under age 25 from employment taxes. This has been done straightforwardly in Poland and Croatia and more subtly in Germany and The Netherlands. In the last two countries, the youth unemployment rate has been below the adult rate.

Instead, large portions of a generation have been thrown on the scrap heap. To borrow a metaphor from Speaker Paul Ryan at the 2012 Republican convention, they are lying on sofas in their parents’ basements, looking at fading Obama posters.

There is also Democratic indifference to the welfare of the military, in which Blacks and Southern whites are disproportionately represented. The Army is too small for the missions unwisely assigned to it, resulting in multiple rotations into combat zones and a resulting 8,000 suicides a year.

The private sector labor force has effectively been abandoned by the Democratic Party. During the Clinton administration, a Commission was appointed by his labor and commerce secretaries, under the chairmanship of the respected labor arbitrator John T. Dunlop. The Commission recommended relaxation of the ban on company unions so as to allow local employee participation committees meeting on company premises to negotiate local productivity deals, including wage increases.

Legislation, the so-called TEAM Act, implementing this recommendation was then vetoed by President Clinton at the behest of the most cosseted of unions, the United Auto Workers. Since the veto, the number of unionized workers in manufacturing industry has dropped by two-thirds. The upshot is that tens of millions of private sector workers, including those at Wal Mart (on whose Board Hillary Rodham Clinton sat without protest for ten years) have no representation at all even with respect to employee grievances and bathroom breaks. Private sector workers have thus become completely proletarianized. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich makes no mention of this episode in his memoir Locked in the Cabinet, preferring to remain a Clintonista in good standing. The UAW, alone among unions in manufacturing industries, has been well treated by the Democrats, first by a massive subsidy to its pension funds at the start of the Obama admministration and then by Biden’s massive subsidy of expensive electric cars, which may yet prove to be the worst federal scandal since Teapot Dome. The upper-income beneficiaries of the car credits are indeed far removed from the teenagers simultaneously being denied an opportunity to enroll in a revived CCC.

The Democrats’ immigration policy was defined by Clinton’s action in heaving into the wastebasket the thoughtful report of a Commission headed by the late Congresswoman Barbara
Jordan, which to aid less skilled American workers, recommended a skills-based immigration system of the Canadian type, curtailment of family-unification and ‘diversity’ visa, and a revived program for temporary agricultural workers. This was opposed by important campaign contributors with ‘family unificatiuon’ ambitions

Their education policy, dictated by teachers’ unions, guararantees deficient high school science teaching by enforcing a uniform salary schedule and excluding from the teaching force persons who have not wasted a year of their lives on largely worthless education methods courses. The upshot is the off-shoring of scientific and technical jobs.As for higher education, the emphasis has been on debasing the major universities in the name of racial equality, while failing to nurture new vocational institutions to serve high school dropouts, mature female undergraduates, military, law enforcement and other career changers, and persons doing well in community colleges and in the workforce.

Their social policies, devoted to the protection and celebration of ‘free love’ and its consequences, have produced a spiraling rate of single parenthood the consequences of which cannot be offset by improved social benefits.

Those left behind by these syndromes are the fatherless youth, without vocational skills, many of whom are ignorant of the country and have never been more than a few blocks from the places they were born. They do not vote, and the electric car purchasers do nothing for them.

The writer, President of the Library Company of the Baltimore Bar, is the author of works on law and history, most recently The Tafts (Twelve Tables Press, 2023)

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