Big Labor Wall Crumbling in California?

Big Labor Wall Crumbling in California?

California is a long ways off from becoming a Right to Work state as the union bosses hold incredible sway over elected officials throughout the state. But Forbes' Joel Kotkin argues a new reform wind is blowing that threatens the old way of doing business: As with the old party bosses in Russia, [Jerry] Brown’s distinct lack of courage has only worsened California’s lurch toward fiscal and economic disaster. Yet as the budget woes worsen, other Californians, including some Democrats, are beginning to recognize the need for perestroika in the Golden State. This was most evident in the overwhelming vote last week in two key cities, San Diego and San Jose, to reform public employee pensions, a huge reversal after decades of ever more expansive public union power in the state. California’s “progressive” approach has been enshrined in what is essentially a one-party state that is almost Soviet in its rigidity and inability to adapt to changing conditions. With conservatives, most businesses and taxpayer advocates marginalized, California politics has become the plaything of three powerful interest groups: public-sector unions, the Bay Area/Silicon Valley elite and the greens. Their agendas, largely unrestrained by serious opposition, have brought this great state to its knees. California’s ruling troika has been melded by a combination of self-interest and a common ideology. Their ruling tenets center on support for an ever more intrusive, and expensive, state apparatus; the need to turn California into an Ecotopian green state; and a shared belief that the “genius” of Silicon Valley can pay for all of this. Now this world view is foundering on the rocks of economic reality. Californians suffer from a combination of high taxes and intrusive regulation coupled with a miserable education system — the state’s students now rank 47th in science achievement — and a rapidly deteriorating infrastructure.

Obama Bailout Saved Union Power Not Union Jobs

Paul Roderick, writing in Forbes, takes a fascinating look at the Obama bailout of the auto companies concluding that the bailout was needed, not to protect jobs but to protect the union and their power structure: Contrary to popular belief, bankruptcy does not mean companies close their doors and send employees home. This is the false message President Barack Obama tried to sell on his victory tour of Detroit. If General Motors had gone through a normal bankruptcy without taxpayer bailouts, there would still be GM jobs--maybe even more than there are now. We do not know because that was the road not taken. We do know, however, what happened to the airlines that went through bankruptcy. Their planes kept flying, and pilots, mechanics and flight attendants reported to work, even if there were fewer of them. Over the past decade, no industry has had worse breaks than the airlines. They took a huge hit from 9/11. They have been buffeted by fuel prices. The TSA's intrusive airport screening angered passengers. Furthermore, the airline industry is cyclical; it suffers disproportionately from economic downturns. Compared to the airlines, GM has had a cake walk. Indeed, four major airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after 9/11 (US Air and United in 2002; Northwest and Delta in 2005). Each company was restructured by a bankruptcy court according to the rule of law. In each case, creditors took haircuts and employees lost jobs and agreed to concessions in wages and work conditions. Each airline emerged from bankruptcy and continued to operate as a going concern.