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Getting More Done

This story really speaks for itself. Like my earlier post on ACORN, it’s hard to imagine that this isn’t a Saturday Night Live skit.  It’s actually from the Detroit News (HT: Rob Raffety).  The point isn’t the hypocrisy but the fundamental economic point that how much you do depends on what you have to pay to get it done:

Are unions crossing line with homeless pickets?

Stand-ins hired to make a ruckus outside nonunion sites lack rank-and-file benefits.

Lucia Graves / McClatchy Newspapers

— You’ve heard the panhandler’s common refrain, "Will work for food."

How about: "Will picket for food?"

Washington, Baltimore, Atlanta and elsewhere in the country, union
organizers are scouring shelters and recruiting homeless people to
staff their picket lines, paying just above minimum wage and failing to
provide health benefits.

The national carpenters’ union, which broke
from the AFL-CIO four years ago in a bitter dispute over organizing
strategies and other issues, is hiring homeless people to stage noisy
protests at nonunion construction sites.

"We’re giving jobs to
people who didn’t have jobs, people who in some cases couldn’t secure
work," said George Eisner, head of the union’s mid-Atlantic regional
council in Baltimore.

Ain’t it the truth?  The story continues by invoking the economic concept of opportunity cost—the true cost of something is what you give up by doing it:

The carpenters who belong to his union, Eisner
explained, are gainfully employed. With homes and offices being built
or renovated and real estate booming in many urban areas, he said, the
union carpenters are too busy to join the picket lines.

"Work is good, and our members are working," Eisner said. "This is just the best thing for us to do at this point.

I couldn’t make up the ending of the story:

The union organizers allow the hired protesters to take two-minute breaks, Howards said, but dock their pay for the time off.