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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Norquist's Big Union Big Lie

Via Salon:
On Saturday, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist moderated a panel titled, “After Wisconsin and beyond right-to-work laws, what’s possible now to free workers and students from unionism?” While acknowledging that union membership has fallen to a historic low, Norquist opened the discussion by claiming that unions are the greatest political force in America at the moment. “They’re not dead yet -- they’re in decline,” Norquist said. “They raise maybe $7 billion a year in dues. Imagine how much they spend of that on politics. [You don't have to "imagine" it, you can observe it -- as we will in a moment -- but notice that Norquist prefers "imagination" over facts here precisely because this is about mobilizing fear in order to get majorities to vote against their own best interests so that the richest can get richer, the same old GOP song and dance as always. --d] They are the largest political player in American politics and will be for some time. What can we do about it?”
Unions are not in decline -- unions are being dismantled by Republicans, and have been for generations. And as union memberships have declined so too have the job conditions and job security and purchasing power of the majority of people in this country who work for a living also declined. It isn't an accident that wealth concentration has skyrocketed as unions have dwindled, nor that as the wealthiest have grown more wealthy they have spent more and more of their wealth to capture the regulatory agencies that would oversee them and the election processes that might provide a countervailing power to theirs for majorities. But setting all those deceptions aside, what about Norquist's conjuration of the specter of Big Bad Unions looming over the political landscape to scare plutocrats with and give working people someplace to pin their desperate hopes? Yeah, it's a lie:

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