The same old mistakes

by Russ Roberts on March 6, 2009

in Work

One of the depressing parts of the New Deal was its willingness to help big labor and big business, a classic case of the seen and the unseen. You see the wages and profits go up for some. It's harder to see the losses paid by consumers and non-union workers.

Labor unions today are getting more power. Part of it is the dominance of the Democrats. Part of it is a misunderstanding that labor and unions are not the same thing.

We have some economists, world-class economists, arguing for making it easier for workers to unionize by banning the secret ballot.

We have the House passing a bill that will make it easier to unionize Fedex.

And we have the Teamsters keeping out Mexican trucks.

All of these things lower the productivity of our economy and make a small group rich at the expense of others. They make the labor market less dynamic. You don't want to do that in the middle of a recession. But we appear to be intent on doing it anyway.


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