Monday, February 21, 2011

"Cairo has moved to Madison"

Krugman's got a great op-ed piece today on the importance of unions.

On paper, we’re a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we’re more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.

Given this reality, it’s important to have institutions that can act as counterweights to the power of big money. And unions are among the most important of these institutions.

It's easy to forget why unions are relevant and necessary. But they are, and the efforts to render them powerless in Wisconsin are cynical and devious and would be a harsh blow to the working man.

You don’t have to love unions, you don’t have to believe that their policy positions are always right, to recognize that they’re among the few influential players in our political system representing the interests of middle- and working-class Americans, as opposed to the wealthy. Indeed, if America has become more oligarchic and less democratic over the last 30 years — which it has — that’s to an important extent due to the decline of private-sector unions.
Before the people of Wisconsin let their governor pull this off, they should know that it's not just about budget crunches and concessions for austerity. That's what it's not about.

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