05-15-2011, 10:06 AM
Senate GOP Embarrasses Dems Over Boeing
@ congress critters
| Senate GOP Embarrasses Dems Over Boeing |
Senator Mike Enzi and Boeing lawyer Michael Luttig show up the Dems at their own hearing.
At a hearing held this past week by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, it was amusing to watch the Democratic majority be thoroughly outmatched by the minority Republicans on the committee. The minority managed to divert the subject of the hearing to the National Labor Relations Board and its ridiculous job-killing complaint against Boeing.
The chairman of the committee, Tom Harkin (D-IA), called the hearing to discuss “The Endangered Middle Class: Is the American Dream Slipping Out of Reach for American Families?” Harkin called perfectly predictable witnesses who stuck to the party line, like former Clinton administration official Robert Reich. Reich couldn’t understand why we didn’t raise “taxes on the rich” so all citizens could share in the gains of our economy. We are in the terrible position we are today, according to Reich, because we “deregulated and privatized” and “slashed public goods and investment.” With record debt, Reich believes the government is still not spending enough! Forgive him: his economics are stuck in 1937, looking up at the Commanding Heights.
Another witness, Heather Boushey, is a forgettable economist from the Center for American Progress who claimed the supposed “decline in our standard of living” is due to “the decline in union membership across our nation.” Her economics were stuck in 1956 — she spent most of her time attacking our “Wal-Mart” economy. Apparently having one of the most successful retailers in the world hurts the economy in her view. (Her testimony is hardly surprising, given her father is a retired Boeing union machinist in Washington state.)
A final witness was a union automaton from the AFL-CIO. Naturally this third witness agreed with the previous Wal-Mart antagonist: middle class problems are caused by the decline in union membership resulting from the “intense and protracted anti-union campaigns” of employers. She was stuck in 1917.
Harkin obviously wanted the hearing to be a forum for bloviating in favor of labor unions, the largest campaign contributors to Democrats. Additionally, no Senate hearing would be complete without the usual tactic of blaming George Bush and evil corporate America for a variety of economic ills, and this hearing didn’t disappoint.
Al Franken made a late appearance and demonstrated, once again, why Saturday Night Live suits him better than the United States Senate. Franken got angry and said it is untrue that anyone is ever forced to join a union. He obviously never worked in the produce section at Shop ‘n Save in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In a closed-shop state like Pennsylvania, the laws require employees to be members of a union if the employer is unionized. Enzi quipped, in response to Franken’s error, that you wouldn’t have to join a union unless “you wanted a job.” |
While labor bosses like what the NLRB is doing, Democrats are starting to realize that this attack on Boeing and the thousands of high-paying jobs it is creating is a political handicap that may dog them all the way to November 2012. Most Americans view the opening of additional assembly lines as a good thing in this economy. As Jennifer Rubin has blogged at the Washington Post, the NLRB has handed the Republicans a potent issue. If the NLRB persists with this attack on one of the nation’s major employers, the costs will not just be economic, but political as well.
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