Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Passing an economic stimulus package, EFCA and the business community

Jay Newton-Small writes in Time Magazine today about the looming battle over the Employee Free Choice Act. Newton-Small seems to believe that the business community has some sort of leverage over Obama because the President-elect will "need" their support to pass an economic stimulus package,

The problem, from labor's point of view, is that Obama needs the business community's support to pass his first priority: a massive economic recovery package, as much as $850 billion in infrastructure projects and middle class tax cuts. And if there's one item atop the business community's agenda this year, it is to defeat EFCA — also known as card check, since it would replace secret ballots with cards. "The Obama administration wants to pass the stimulus and they need the business community to do that," says Randy Johnson, vice president for labor issues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents three million U.S. businesses. "Trying to pass card check would be like declaring a nuclear war with the business community. It'd be Armageddon."

What leverage does the Chamber of Commerce actually have? In what way does Obama "need" their support to pass an economic recovery package? Unfortunately Newton-Small never bothers to provide an answer to these rather obvious follow-up questions.

Barack Obama is enormously popular. He is working with large majorities in the House and Senate. The public broadly supports an economic recovery package. There is little debate amongst economists about the need for such a package The business community needs economic stimulus.

Where exactly is the Chamber of Commerce expecting to apply pressure? Would they really attempt to block passage of a massively popular economic package in order to extract concessions over EFCA? Assuming that they, and the GOP members of Congress, are willing to play chicken with the economy and further alienate the public how exactly would they go about doing it? They have zero instiutional power and are badly outnumbered in the House and Senate. A fillibuster is a posssibility but I can't imagine the Democrats having much trouble getting a handful of GOP Senators to cross over and vote for rescuing the economy.

It would be incredibly stupid for Obama and Democrats to pass EFCA first thing out of the box First things first should be passage and signing of the economic recovery package. That makes for good policy and good politics. Democrats though should not be afraid of idle threats from the Chamber of Commerce, they're bluffing. They've got nothing.

1 comment:

Vernon Malcolm said...

Now that the anti-science, superstition-based initiative presidency ends, we need several public works science Manhattan projects to make us great again and boost us out of this Grotesque Depression. First we must provide free advertising-based wireless internet to everyone to end land line monopolies. Then we must criscross the land with high speed rail. Because bovine flatulence is the major source of greenhouse gases, we must develop home growable microbes to provide all of our protein. Then we must create microbes which turn our sewage and waste into fuel right at home. This will end energy monopoly by putting fuel in our hands. We must address that most illness starts from behavior, especially from parents. Since paranoid schizophrenia is the cause of racism, bigotry, homelessness, terrorism, ignorance, exploitation and criminality, we must provide put the appropriate medications, like lithium, in the water supply and require dangerous wingnuts who refuse free mental health care to be implanted with drug release devices. CHurches should be licensed to reduce supersition and all clergy dealing with small children should be psychiatrically monitored to prevent molesting. Osama bin Laden and Timothy McVeigh were the ultimate superstition based initiatives. Widen navigation straits (Gibraltar, Suez, Malacca, Danube, Panama and Hellspont) with deep nukes to prevent war. In order to fund this we must nationalize the entire financial, electrical and transportation system and extinguish the silly feudal notion that each industry should be regulated by its peers. Technology mandates a transformation of tax subsidies from feudal forecloseable debt to risk sharing equity. Real estate and insurance, the engines of feudalism, must be brought under the Federal Reserve so we may replace all buildings with hazardous materials to provide public works. Insects, flooding and fire spread asbestos, lead and mold which prematurely disables the disadvantaged. Disposable manufactured housing assures children are not prematurely disabled and disadvantaged. Because feudalism is the threat to progress everywhere, we must abolish large land holdings by farmers, foresters or religions and instead make all such large landholding part of the forest service so our trees may diminish greenhouse gases. We must abolish executive pay and make sure all employees in a company are all paid equally. We must abolish this exploitative idea of trade and monopoly and make every manufactured disposable cottage self sufficient through the microbes we invent.