George Reisman on the economic ignoramus in the White House:
A recent article in The New York Times quotes President Obama as saying, "I don't buy the argument that providing workers with collective-bargaining rights somehow weakens the economy or worsens the business environment. If you've got workers who have decent pay and benefits, they're also customers for business." (March 2, 2009, p. B3.)
The President's statement reveals a great deal about his understanding or, more correctly, lack of understanding of economics.
Collective bargaining is the joining together, typically through the instrumentality of a labor union, of all workers in a given occupation or industry for the purpose of acting as a single unit in seeking pay and benefits. It is an attempt to compel employers to deal with just one party — i.e., the labor union — and to come to terms agreeable to that party or to be unable to obtain labor.
The imposition and maintenance of collective bargaining necessarily depends on compulsion and coercion, i.e., on the use of physical force against both employers and unemployed workers. This coercion is necessitated, in substantial measure, precisely by the seeming success that collective bargaining can achieve.
That success is measured in terms of the rise in wage rates that it achieves. That rise in wage rates is all that labor union leaders and their ignorant supporters are aware of.
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