Ezra Klein

Here Votes Everybody

Ezra Klein says the health care public plan is very popular in polling, so Senate opposition to it means "the Senate hates democracy" and "is resolutely, aggressively, anti-democratic."

Paul Krugman says poll results show that a majority of Americans prefer deficit reduction to higher government spending, but Krugman says "most people don’t know much about macroeconomics" so "the moral for Obama is, of course, to ignore this poll".


NOTE: Aside from the fact that people tend to accept or dismiss polls results based almost entirely on what they already wanted, I think there are two problems with the idea that popular support equals legitimacy, propriety or even democracy.

  1. Stated preference (poll) and revealed preference (how people actually behave when making a choice) differ widely.
  2. With no real price mechanism through which people can evaluate the costs and benefits of policy, we end up with simultaneous public support for massive spending and minimal taxation.  Well, who doesn't want something for nothing?

#1 is a political problem that can't really be changed - thus, we have a representative democracy, rather than direct democracy.

#2 is a policy problem that both Republicans and Democrats should be doing more to fix - e.g., indexing tax rates to spending, pigovian taxes, federalism, etc.

Offering Democrats a Deal on Card Check

Recently, Soren Dayton said we should be very wried about Democratic attempts to tilt the playing field to benefit Unions - e.g., the Card Check (Employee Free Choice Act) legislation. that would give Unions more (coercive) power to lock in workers and much more political power, as a result.  Ezra Klein, on the other hand, thinks Dayton's is "the best argument you'll ever read for Card Check" and adds "If I were the union movement, I would be sending this blog post to every Democrat in the country."

In light of the Democrat's obvious commitment to "Employee Free Choice", I'd like to make an offer in two parts:

  1. Bring back Card Check legislation, which allows a Union to be created immediately when a majority of employees submit signed cards in support of unionization.
  2. But make it real employee free choice by allowing a Union to be decertified immediately when a majority of employees submit signed cards opposing an existing Union.
  3. For bonus points, let's also stipulate that an Employee Free Choice Act should give each employee a free choice about membership in a Union, and no employee can be forced to join (or leave) a Union against his will.

It's a good deal.  It's a fair deal.  It's the workplace democracy that Democrats tell us they really want.  What's not to like about it?   I think we can come to a deal.**

What say you, Democrats?

**...unless, of course, Democrats decide that reciprocity isn't they had in mind, and the Employee Free Choice Act suddenly includes a bit too much employee freedom.

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