Political Seduction, In Two Hemispheres

by Don Boudreaux on June 23, 2008

in Current Affairs, Politics

One of my favorite columnists is the Wall Street Journal‘s Mary Anastasia O’Grady.  Today she points to disquieting similarities between the policy agenda endorsed by Barack Obama and that of Argentinian strongmen and strongwomen.  After reminding readers of Argentina’s (true) liberalism of the late 19th and very early 20th century, Mary reports that this liberty and free enterprise were too-short lived.

An early example of this assault on liberty was when Congress imposed a rent freeze to deal with a housing shortage after World War I. This only exacerbated the problem, and in 1922 a politicized Supreme Court widened state powers to allow the regulation of rents. That decision put property-rights protection on a slippery slope. A decade later the Court gave the legislature the power to regulate interest rates.

The interventions didn’t end there, and as state control of the economy expanded and the nation grew poorer, the country could not recover its footing. Economic populism and labor militancy took hold; protectionism blossomed and Argentina became a welfare state. Meanwhile, the informal economy swelled under the high cost of legality.

Fiscal crises have been recurring. According to a paper recently released by researchers at the Buenos Aires business school Eseade, external debt as a percentage of GDP has now climbed to 56% compared to 54% in 2001. If you include the unpaid debt to bondholders, the number is 67%. More than a few analysts are worried that should the economy slow, the government may tap Central Bank reserves, sparking a run against the peso or, fearing that, choose
default, for the second time in a decade, as its escape hatch.

Will that mean an end to ballooning entitlements, class warfare, hostility toward producers, capital and private
property, protectionism and subsidized central-planning? Unlikely.

Americans reading that laundry list may note that it sounds a lot like the mindset of the left wing that will dominate the Democratic Party’s convention and choose Barack Obama as its candidate in August. From nationalized health care and government-owned refineries to punishing taxes on the rich, Argentina has been there, done that. There are good reasons to find the resemblance disturbing.

Disturbing indeed — although I’m perhaps a tad less worried about the U.S. than is Mary, if only because I sense that enough Americans today would resist the heavy-handed assaults on liberty and private property that have marked Argentina for much of the past hundred years.  Many Americans who are charmed by Sen. Obama’s charisma and soaring rhetoric are, I believe (hope?), unwilling to go along with the concrete realities of many of the actual policies that are cloaked behind Sen. Obama’s vacuous, if pretty, public persona.

Think of seduction.  The charming, worldly, handsome, silver-tongued gentleman assures the fetching babe of his sincerity and devotion to her — and, of course, of the fact that he’s not at all like the other boys and men who’ve come before him.  He represents real change; he won’t deceive her, cheat on her, break her heart; he — and he alone — will sacrifice himself in long devotion to securing her happiness, for that really is all that he, enlightened by her majesty, truly desires.  In return for the selfless devotion of this break-the-mold man, he asks only for access to her most select favors.  He will love her in the morning, and always.

I suspect (although I’m hardly sure) that even if most Americans succumb to this deceiver’s charms and grant him access to the sanctum that is the White House, enough of these Americans — even many who are today swooning over his promises — will quickly enough start to see the real agenda (lust, for power) behind his fine words and reassuring promises.  Skepticism and caution will come to replace infatuation — and hopefully soon enough so that we Americans don’t discover ourselves carrying an unwanted burden that will impoverish us.  (The analogy ends here: this unwanted burden, should it come to life, will be a burden only.  Unlike a child, it will be decidedly unlovely and a source of pride only to the most deluded amongst us.)

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LowcountryJoe June 23, 2008 at 9:48 am

Perhaps you should be a tad more worried, Don. Isn't the entitlement program known as Social Security — and the people's seeming indiffernce toward it — should be enough to give you pause for reflection.

LowcountyJoe June 23, 2008 at 9:53 am

Scratch the words "should be". My post is poorly worded and so is the spelling.

john June 23, 2008 at 11:59 am

Good analogy, Don. As a native of Louisiana, don't you see in Obama (or in Argentina's Peron for that matter) a populist strategy similar to Huey Long's? It was good for Peron, and Long almost became president, and their success was predicated on a lack of economic understanding by the electorate. The political returns can be considerable. That's why pols continue to tap into the populist vein.

The thing is, Argentina suffers today, as does Louisiana, because of the long-term consequences of their regimes, particularly their effects on property rights. I hope the American public at large is smarter than that, relative to Argentina. But I'm not sure.

Jeff June 23, 2008 at 5:04 pm

I'm disappointed. Cafe Hayek's postings tend to be a little more high brow and thus worth reading and debating. This one is pathetic and pretty weak.

Why limit the comparison to Obama's plan? How are McCain's support of the Bush tax cuts and continued military engagement in Iraq (which involves ongoing high levels of spending) a recipe for fiscal rectitude? Regardless of whether you like the tax cuts or support the Iraq war and all the inane security spending that goes on (talk about the need for some cost-benefit rationalization), the combination of the two definitely won't help the fiscal outlook. Also, keep in mind that it was a Republican president and congress that greatly expanded the biggest of the entitlement programs — medicare. Finally, Bush and the GOP Congress squandered the fiscal surplus inherited from the Clinton Administration which could have been used to pay for the transition to a fully funded social security scheme.

Don — Stick to what you know – economics. Your political analogies (or support of other's analogies) leave a lot to be desired.

BoscoH June 23, 2008 at 5:34 pm

@Jeff, I think there is plenty of room in high brow thought for "we may not want *this*, but that doesn't mean we want *that*". Before handing the Presidency over to Obama because he is the *that* to McCain's *this*, we ought to examine what *that* is. No question they both suck and neither is going to get my vote, but Obama in so many ways just sucks worse. Given that he's more likely to win and will (like an politician) think his victory is an endorsement of his ideas, it's time to look at those ideas and prepare for a nasty battle in 2009.

Kevin June 23, 2008 at 5:40 pm

Jeff the article was about Obama not McCain, and Don elaborated. One reason to limit the comparison to Obama's plan is that the subject article did so and Don was not rewriting the article. Cafe Hayek has been consistently critical of collectivist policies championed by both major American political parties, and illuminating the dangers and shortcomings of such policies falls squarely in the category of what Don knows.

I'd bet that most of the readers of this blog are informed enough about the Cafe and think clearly enough about the content at hand not to allow themselves to be distracted by the fact that Don didn't go out of his way to ensure a per-post equality of criticism for both candidates.

Matt June 23, 2008 at 9:17 pm

I'm with Jeff. I'm normally a fan of Mary O'Grady, but I thought her parallel between Argentina and Obama was blindly partisan, even by her standard.

What ruined Argentina was an especially virulent form of the caudillismo that has caused so much harm to Latin America. Caudillismo is a form of national socialism, where a police state manipulates fears of subversion to limit civil liberties, replaces institutional governance with personal rule and buys off favored or potentially troublesome constituencies with massive transfers — all financed by a tide of red ink.

Does this sound familiar? If Kirchner had sent every taxpayer in Argentina a check for $1000 a few months before the election, Mary O'Grady would have bust a gut mocking him in the Journal. Where is the mockery of Bush's "rebate"?

jpm June 23, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Interesting, that Matt and Jeff scream "partisan" because the most flagrant and wild offender is singled out for his rampant socialism. Sure, a $600 rebate Bush is ludicrous but it is chump change by comparison.

It is far more laughable that "tax cuts" are equated with wealth redistribution though. I'm suprised that Jeff neglected the perfunctory mention of the Iraq war's lack of body armor and equipment in his auto-recitation of the official memo.

"We don't support the terrorists, but we support their mission"
Nancy Peloci

Floccina June 23, 2008 at 10:34 pm

IMHO FDR was almost the USA's Juan Peron. If not for a few supreme court rulings we could be like Argentina today.

Robert Seminara June 23, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Oh fellows you have no idea! This country, Argentina, is a living hell. Some sinister characters have taken over the control of the country the show themselves as left wing but they are not at all like that. They are filling their pockets while folling the people. Sen. Obama is not like that. Moreover, in your country the system works!!!
I would be proud to have at least a President like Sen. Obama.
That ´s all…
Pardon me, my english is rusty.

jpm June 23, 2008 at 10:53 pm

It is interesting that we get "sinister" as opposed to "leftest". Our country should be "glad" to have get a "leftest"!

No "leftest" is never a "system that works" Robert.

shecky June 24, 2008 at 1:22 am

Peron, nothing! Try Castro! Or Stalin! Or even Hitler. Then O'Grady would be getting close.

Gil June 24, 2008 at 2:17 am

Yeah well I read an Libertarian article where the author complained about this and that and basically how the world still isn't Libertarian, especially with the elections to determine who the new U.S. President will be and how Republicans and Democrats are all the same. And what is this guy's magical solution to it all? Don't vote!!! LOLROFLMFAO!!!

"The world sucks! What are we going to do about? Nothing!! The world will self-correct."

Surrrrrre!! ;)

brotio June 24, 2008 at 2:23 am

Here's what I came up with on the first page just by typing in "economic stimulus check" into the archive browser of Cafe Hayek.


brotio June 24, 2008 at 2:24 am

Oh yeah,

To get the entire link, press the 'Shift' plus the 'End' keys and then copy and paste the link. (HT Sam Grove)

Per Kurowski June 24, 2008 at 9:48 am

I also often like Mary Anastasia O'Grady´s articles but really not this interview since it is pure politicians blasting. If Obama wins and turns out Argentinean then it is because the American people is turning Argentinean and that in all truth is something much more important to debate than whether Obama also has Argentinean genes in him.

The question for any responsible citizen to ask, in case he is allergic to Argentinean policies, as so many are, is how to take away from the attractiveness of so many of Argentinean type promises, by doing things better.

It is as if to say that chávez happened autonomously to Venezuela… chávez was only the result of very bad policies and of very irresponsible elite in Venezuela.

Even today, the elite, professors, entrepreneurs, writers, bankers and all the “outstanding citizens” of Venezuela tank their cars at ten cents per gallon, and with that de-facto rob those who do not have cars with about 10 to 15% of GDP … and still think this is all a perfectly natural thing to do and that they are in their given rights. ¿In such scenario would anyone wonder if chávez also turned up to be Evita´s long gone nephew?

We have in Venezuela professors blaming politicians instead of themselves, so pray you get professors in your country willing to live up to their responsibilities to see that society delivers to most in such a way as to make certain that Argentinean type of politics are rejected.

Methinks June 24, 2008 at 10:53 am

Be worried, Don. A recent poll of the too young to remember the 1970's and the cold war but old enough to vote crowd yielded disturbing results. The majority (don't remember the percentage but do remember being disturbed by the high number) believe oil should be nationalized. Many, having never been to Europe, believe Europeans are wealthier. I'm expecting the worst (from both Obama and McPain) but hoping for a massive Reagan-era type backlash to follow.

gappy June 24, 2008 at 11:29 am

I have several comments. I apologize if they look like a laundry list.

1. Many of Obama's economic policy stances are disagreeable, wrong, or both. Some are ok (on gas taxes, or being pro-growth). I find it very difficult to read what a candidate really wants, especially given that both Obama and McCain have no executive experience. For sure, a lot of Obama's proposals are standard, old-style liberal boilerplate. So were Bill Clinton's, who turned out to be an economically moderate president. For sure, I cannot recall a president in my lifetime who had any economic education and knowledge. For Clinton, thank Rubin, Greenspan and the republican Congress. For Obama or McCain, wait and see. Neither candidate has bad economic advisers.

2. O'Grady's point about Argentina is well taken. A natural comparison is with Chile, which like Argentina has a strong agricultural foundation but has diversified its economy thanks to self-organization. However, the comparison between argentinian populism and Obama's "populism" is incredibly superficial. It ignores the cultural and economic differences between US and Argentina, the influence of Mussolini's communication techniques on Peron, the dictatorship of Alfonsin… I would not know where to start. And the basis for this comparison? That Obama's policies are overall liberal in a vague sense (see point 1).

3. I believe that, at their best, blogs will have great influence in this election cycle. For economy-obsessed readers, they will filter and amplify relevant information, advertise thoughtful analysis, and eventually steer public opinion. When it comes to evaluating and posting tidbits of useful information on McCain and Obama, I find Mankiw's blog to have been excellent. As a fan of Hayek and Econtalk, I enjoy Cafe Hayek, but for the time being the only thing that has perspired regarding the presidential campaign is Boudreaux's visceral dislike for Obama. Ok Don, we get it. Can we talk business now?

Sorry for the long post.

Fabio Franco June 24, 2008 at 11:50 am

A loose translation of an article by Brazilian political analyst Olavo de Carvalho (see his english site: http://www.olavodecarvalho.org/english/):

"Advancing towards ruin
…What differentiates Barack Obama, what turns him unique in America and the world, is not the color of his skin, but the level of crude, vulgar, almost infantile mendacity. …. his candidacy is the evident sympton of the deterioration of American democracy.

Just this week two more eloquent pieces of evidence appeared that the Democratic candidate falsifies his biography with the malicious ingenuity of a small con artist. First, he as not turned in his birth certificate to the secretariat of the Democratic Party…. and now the person who repudiates Obama, afirming that in his childhood he was Muslim and not Christian as he afirms, is not a schoolmate — it is his own brother.

All politicians lie, but they do this with some class, avoiding foolish small lies easily contested. Obama doesn't have this refinement. … Obama, if elected, can cause serious damage to American democracy: that such an obviously unqualified type may be accepted as candidate to the presidency is already a monstrous and irreversible loss not only to the leading nation of the world, but to all of humanity. This candidacy is an advance, yes, but in the direction of the final ruin of the Western world, foreboding the 'one thousand years of darkness' which Ronald Reagan spoke of."

Matt C June 24, 2008 at 12:03 pm

I favor Obama. Not because I like his policies, but because the alternative is McCain, heir to the Bush administration. As loathsome as I find Hillary Clinton, I would have favored her too.

The Bush administration, in my opinion, would genuinely like to turn America into a police state. They openly ridicule any notion that there should be any restraints on their power whatsoever. Their economic and fiscal policies are terrible. Their grand vision is America at eternal war with one country after another in the Mideast (Saudi Arabia excepted).

Democracy is supposed to allow the people to get rid of really bad rulers. If the Bush administration doesn't qualify, what does?

I think it is a bit unfair to talk about the foolishness of Americans in supporting Obama without mentioning what their alternative is.

Methinks June 24, 2008 at 1:12 pm

I think it is a bit unfair to talk about the foolishness of Americans in supporting Obama without mentioning what their alternative is.

True. The alternative this time around even less palatable than usual.

the alternative is McCain, heir to the Bush administration….If the Bush administration doesn't qualify [as really bad ruler], what does?

I can't say I prefer Bush either. But Obama is heir not to the Clinton administration (constrained by a Republican congress) but to the socialism of the Carter administration (unconstrained by a democrat congress). As someone who lived through that once, I don't wish to do so again. Personally, I don't love McCain either but splitting the legislative and executive branch between the two parties seems to yield the best results. For these reasons, I prefer McCain.

Matt C June 24, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Methinks: All other things equal, I'd like divided govt too. In this election, I feel a strong repudiation of the last eight years is even more important. I could be wrong.

It was before my time, but how much should Carter be blamed for the economic problems under his administration? My sense is that a lot of the damage was actually caused by Nixon and Burns, and Carter got stuck with cleaning up their mess.

Methinks June 24, 2008 at 2:37 pm

Matt, I understand your feelings about repudiating the last eight years. However, repudiating them by turning to something worse isn't going to make things better.

Please don't even get me started on Nixon (price caps) and Burns (cheap money! Come and get it!)! Carter came up with some "brilliance" of his own – the gas lines of the 70's were pure Jimmy Carter price controls, for example. Let's not forget his windfall profits tax which led to more dependence on foreign oil either. Not to mention, we have Jimmy to thank for the current state of Iran. Iran and the Shah of Iran were American allies. The Shah's regime was dictatorial and unpalatable, no question. But Jimmy couldn't differentiate between a bad dictator and an even worse one. So, now we have Iranians living in a situation worse than they were in under the Shah and the world is worse off too. I could go on, but you get my point.

All presidents inherit the good and bad policies of the preceding administrations. Thus, it would be a mistake to credit the peace dividend and a strong economy solely (or even mostly) to Clinton. Just as it would be a mistake to blame Bush (although it pains me not to blame him entirely) entirely for poor intelligence and things coming to a head in 9/11 and the frenzied response. After the cold war, Clinton decided that the world will live magically in peace for eternity and proceeded to hack and slash military and intelligence spending to the point that there were virtually no speakers of Arabic in the intelligence department. He also completely ignored the Osama bin Laden issue. Certainly, Jimmy inherited the same good and bad as other presidents. But, if you're not willing to cut Bush any slack, why would you cut Jimmy any?

Jimmy and Barack have the same socialist ideals and the same economic policy ideas to deal with oil companies and the evil rich and turn the same blind eye to threats to American security. I know you don't want to be in perpetual war (who does?), but ignoring someone who is coming after you is not really the best solution. That's usually the thing that leads to all out war.

You already said that ideally, you would split the branches between the parties. If that is ideal, why not vote that way? Is your repudiation of the Bush administration really worth doing something that you admit is suboptimal.

Sam Grove June 24, 2008 at 2:52 pm

After the cold war, Clinton decided that the world will live magically in peace for eternity and proceeded to hack and slash military and intelligence spending to the point that there were virtually no speakers of Arabic in the intelligence department.

I would be surprised if Clinton personally decided to cut Arab related intelligence, the only reason for such a move would be to create an opening for an attack or maybe racism (not to mention homophobia) within the intelligence community. (I had read that there were a number of translaters let go because they were homosexual.)

I suspect the big problem with our intelligence community is that they are huge government bureaucracies, jealous of each others, um, subsidy claims, and perhaps a little too independent.

I think all foreign intelligence should be folded into the military with perhaps an independent agency answerable to the White house for the sole purpose of verification/oversight.

Methinks June 24, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Hey, Sam! Nice to see you at the Cafe again. I don't think Clinton was cutting Arab related intelligence specifically. I think those departments just got hacked and slashed as a result of general cuts.

Last time I was at the Cafe, you were in the midst of "Meltdown". What did you think?

Sam Grove June 24, 2008 at 5:33 pm

I did finish it. It's horrendous to read how the black market was all that kept the Soviet economy going.

The saddest (or most disgusting) part was how Western "intellectuals" (Marxist morons) admired that system.

I've been around, just haven't had a lot to say.

Methinks June 24, 2008 at 6:09 pm

I haven't been around (work!) but I've had a patch of time lately.

Thanks for the feedback on the book. I was wondering if you found it funny. We read it aloud to each other around here. My husband's family is Egyptian and most of them still live there. As you may know, Egypt has a lot of the same economic problems as the Soviet Union because Nasser modeled the regime on the USSR. We were dying laughing reading the book to each other. I'm curious if you thought it was funny or if it's only funny to us because it hits so close to home.

It is sad how much is still unknown about that system – even though it's out in the open now. Sadder still is how much of what's being proposed today has already been tried and failed so miserably (which ties it right back to this thread). It seems that every new generation has to learn by making the same mistakes. The only difference is that they are no longer willing to call the ideas Socialist or Marxist. The idea is the same but the name has changed. A bit scary.

Pearl08 June 24, 2008 at 7:58 pm

I sent today's article re O'Grady to a friend in Toronto who replied:

Republicans must be comforted to know that freedom from regulations in the US allowed the independent Fed to reduce interest rates to the point where thousands of (temporarily) low-interest mortgages could be taken out by people who could never have afforded a mortgage at normal interest rates.

It must also be a comfort to know that, although America's external debt continues to rise, it is held very largely by a supportive, friendly and trustworthy country in Asia, rather than by those villainous Europeans.

It's of some concern, though, that there seems to be no hope that a change of government will put a stop to those currently ballooning entitlements, etc.

But it is nice to know that Senator McCain is quite devoid of any lust for power, even though some of his promisees are occasionally disturbing.

Methinks June 24, 2008 at 9:57 pm

…that freedom from regulations in the US allowed the independent Fed to reduce interest rates to the point where thousands of (temporarily) low-interest mortgages could be taken out by people who could never have afforded a mortgage at normal interest rates.

The Fed rate cuts were a very small portion of that. Also, when are we finally going to get past the fiction of an independent Fed? It's one thing for those in government to always say it, it's quite another for a thinking person to believe it.

friendly and trustworthy country in Asia, rather than by those villainous Europeans.

The Europeans aren't villains. They're freeloaders. There's a difference.

Thanks for playing!

sethstorm June 25, 2008 at 1:43 am

I'm expecting the worst (from both Obama and McPain) but hoping for a massive Reagan-era type backlash to follow

Not likely until at least 2030-2050. There are enough people who remember what damage he did. They aren't just those who were laid off. This set includes those who may not know the 70's, but they knew what happened in the 1980's – good and bad.

They knew about PATCO and the signal it sent to business. They may have known the incident of mistaken identity with Ebens and Nitz. They may know about the last decade of the Cold War. They now know that what killed Detroit would move on to more skilled workers.

They know the signs of Reaganism. Soon, they'll be able to preempt it. They remember what caused the misery, and know it was not just government.

andres n guzman June 25, 2008 at 3:18 am

I agree with don. One of the reasons I'm never going back to argentina is peron and his legacy.

I have seen some gross mistakes in this coments section about argentina, for example that alfonsin was a dictator. He was a failure, but not a dictator.

If u wish to learn more about argentina's economy from the perspective of an austrian go to my blog argentineaneconomy.blogspot.com where I have lots of graphs and data.


brotio June 25, 2008 at 6:07 am

"They knew about PATCO and the signal it sent to business. They may have known the incident of mistaken identity with Ebens and Nitz. They may know about the last decade of the Cold War. They now know that what killed Detroit would move on to more skilled workers."

What the dominant liberal media (and Sethstorm) don't like to mention is that the PATCO strike was illegal and that Reagan told them that if the went on strike that they'd be fired. They didn't believe him.

I have no problem with private-sector unions going on strike, but I do want government to be neutral. If a businses whose labor went on strike wants to replace those workers, then it's up to labor to convince the customers of that business, and the labor that's willing to replace the strikers that their strike is justified. If there are enough people willing to take the job at the wages and benefits offered by the company, that would indicate to me that the union just priced itself out of business.

One other thing that Sethstorm and big labor never like to talk about are the fourteen-week paid vacations, and tonnage benefits paid on made steel rather than sellable steel, which resulted in tonnage bonuses being paid on steel that was sent right back into the mill to be melted down for a second (or third) try to get it right, all the while garnering one or two more tonnage bonuses before a product was even sold. I'm sure those kinds of contracts had nothing to do with the demise of Big Labor.

Methinks June 25, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Exactly, Brotio. I'm sure the freeloaders really despised Reagan and the democrat congress (lest you forget that bit). But the rest of us somehow suffered through the low tax rates, falling unemployment and rising prosperity. It was tough, but we somehow managed.

sethstorm June 25, 2008 at 7:27 pm

What the dominant liberal media (and Sethstorm) don't like to mention is that the PATCO strike was illegal and that Reagan told them that if the went on strike that they'd be fired. They didn't believe him.

My point did not rest purely on the legality, but on the effects. The point I have in mind is that it enabled the private sector to gut unions. I know that it was an illegal action – just that there were unintended consequences.

As for the contracts, I'll admit that they are not always good negotiators.

Depends on what part of the nation and who you ask. While there are many places that have prospered, they do not forget the cost.

For what that means today, I'm suspicious of both major candidates- even if one sounds like William Jennings Bryan.

Methinks June 25, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Seth, I agree with you about the candidates. Lame and lamer and dumb and dumber are not the choices I want.

I come from a country (the Soviet Union) where all workers were required to join unions. After immigrating, my father joined a company where all the labour was part of a union. He refused to join the union and has for over 30 years been the only non-union member (the circumstances allowed it). That's how much we hate unions.

Unions are nothing more than parasites which serve only the union bosses. They certainly hurt workers. They amount to a labour monopoly, keeping out non-members and contribute to general unemployment. They deny the individual employee the right to negotiate his own compensation and to compete with other workers. Because most labour unions negotiate compensation based on seniority rather than merit and for all workers as if all human beings are the same and interchangeable, workers are have incentive to do only the bare minimum. For this pleasure, the workers pay a substantial fee to their Union overlords. Like parasites, they suck the life out of companies and labour alike and when the company sputters under the weight of the union and becomes less competitive, the union members lose their jobs. If, as socialists (who now hate being called socialists but who are just the same) had their way, labour unions would represent all labour. So what of the workers who lost their jobs because of union enforced inefficiency? Why, they remain unemployed. It's not the union's problem. If they aren't employed, they aren't members of the union anymore and aren't the union's problem. If you don't believe me, take a look at Europe.

So, if you want to talk about unintended consequences, the unintended consequences of unions for labour are far worse than any real or imagined unintended consequences of busting the unions. If that were not true, then union membership wouldn't be in a persistent decline. Now, for the marginal worker with no motivation (what employers like myself call "dead weight" and fire), the demise of unions is a bad thing. But then, if you can't motivate yourself to actually perform the job for which you were hired, then you don't deserve to keep the job. There are other workers who are more willing, more competent and more deserving. Personally, I've worked in union shops before and I would rather eat my own head than join a union and everyone I have met in my lifetime who has been faced with that question has changed jobs, if necessary, rather than join. Few institutions are as dehumanizing, humiliating, self-serving and deserving of a gutting as unions.

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