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Reply #1: good analysis in that interview: [View All]

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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-07-11 11:06 AM
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1. good analysis in that interview:
It's cutting both ways here. Smart people are going to say that public sector workers are a model, a shining star, for the third-class private sector jobs to strive toward. That's how the public sector took off in the 60s and 70s. Ironically, they were trying to catch up with the unionized private sector. Now those situations are reversed. Unfortunately, there is another impulse in American political culture that seeks to tear down the other guy rather than try to raise everyone's standards.

Here's the problem: The Wisconsin teachers and public employees' rights should be defended in every way possible. But the long-term interest of social justice requires that we stop linking employment and social benefits. It hurts to say that. But the only hope is to move toward universal programs. Here I think Michael Lind got it right in Salon, (Liberalism and the post-union future). This system of employer-based benefits is the problem, not the solution. At the same time, however, we'll never get close to such social democratic dreams without a strong and flexible labor movement. It's a catch 22.

The flaw in the system goes all the way back to the 1940s when we accepted a privatized welfare state, connected directly to employment and unionization. As we've seen in recent decades, that means the system is vulnerable to piecemeal attack and long-term erosion until there is nothing left. We can turn the entire paradigm on its head: Do people with good benefits see that their future is tied to those who do not have, say, health insurance? Recall the "Cadillac" health care controversy , in which those with good policies, often achieved through collective bargaining, were hesitant to accept any constraints on their policies in order that others might get health care. We really need to shift the struggle toward universalism, which also might resonate with the American political tradition of pursuing the interests of "the people" rather than "the workers" as a class.
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