Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Economist: War on Workers hurting economy

Economist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich today writes that the attack on unions is bad for the economy.

Writing in his own blog, Reich explains that the war on workers' rights is an assault on the middle class (we knew that),

...and it is undermining the American economy.

The American economy can’t get out of neutral until American workers have more money in their pockets to buy what they produce. And unions are the best way to give them the bargaining power to get better pay.
For three decades after World War II – I call it the “Great Prosperity” – wages rose in tandem with productivity. Americans shared the gains of growth, and had enough money to buy what they produced.
That’s largely due to the role of labor unions. In 1955, over a third of American workers in the private sector were unionized. Today, fewer than 7 percent are.
With the decline of unions came the stagnation of American wages. More and more of the total income and wealth of America has gone to the very top. Middle-class purchasing power depended on mothers going into paid work, everyone working longer hours, and, finally, the middle class going deep into debt, using their homes as collateral.
Read the whole thing here. (He's a little confused about Minnesota and New Hampshire, but we'll let him slide this time.)