Updated: Oct 10, 2021
Diana Furchtgott-Roth is not my kind of gal. Probably not yours either. In fact, she's living proof you can be a moron and a compulsive liar and still go far in the literary world and in academia-- not to mention government. I only know about her because of her stale conservative-- and idiotic-- arguments against raising the minimum wage, the one they've been using, and proven wrong on, since at least 1909 in the U.K. and 1938 in the U.S. A right-wing nut, Furchtgott-Roth opposes government regulation of all kind but especially hates the minimum wage, which she has written would deprive teens and low-skilled workers of jobs. So tired...
In government, she worked as a staff economist for Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors in the 1980s and also worked for George H.W. and W. Bush on domestic policy, set lose to harm unions from inside the Department of Labor where she is still remembered as one of the worst things to ever happen to the American labor movement. Trump nominated her to be Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Research and Technology (and made-up position) but even some Republicans considered her too extreme and too insane and she was rejected. Currently she's an adjunct professor at George Washington University. Much of her work has been devoted to lower taxes on the rich.
No matter that she's a bit of a laughing stock and was even rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate, she's perfect as a Hill opinion contributor. This morning they published one of her typical anti-union screeds, complaining about the PRO-Act and raving about "union bosses." She wrote that "American workers are wise to turn down union membership. Union pension plans are in trouble [in part because of her work at the Department of Labor under Trump]. In 2020, the Labor Department listed 121 union plans in critical status, defined as less than 65 percent funded, and 61 in endangered status, with less than 80 percent funded. Unions desperately need new workers to join, because they pay contributions for many years without withdrawing money."
Currently, McConnell and other viciously anti-union Republicans are filibustering the PRO-Act and Bernie is working to include it in the reconciliation bill. Furchtgott-Roth has lost her mind over this. She's flipping out because union-busting activities by employers can be subject to $50,000 fines. "Such fines," she whines, "could put small firms out of business or discourage them from challenging union organizing." She's also furious that union dues would be tax deductible up to $250 annually. I never heard her complaining about what kinds of deductions the super rich get. $4,500 tax deductions for American-made cars by Ford, GM and Chrysler-- as opposed to anti-union shops (Tesla, Toyota and Honda)-- is something she may slit her wrists over, since she claims this amounts to Congress picking winners and losers (unlike when they subsidize Big Oil?). But what she hates most is that the PRO-Act would finally abolish right-to-work laws passed by right-wing legislatures.
Sergio Alcubilla is the newest Blue America candidate. He's running for a seat in Hawaii's first district, which is held by reactionary Blue Dog Ed Case. Case pretends to be vaguely pro-union, but he isn't. In fact, the biggest unions in Hawai‘i are pissed off at him right now because he's trying to amend/abolish the Jones Act, claiming, falsely, that it increases the cost of living. What it does is require goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on ships that are built, owned, crewed and operated by American citizens or permanent residents. Unions support it because it helps sustain 650,000 American jobs, resulting in $150 billion in economic benefits each year. Unlike Case and Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Sergio fully supports the Jones Act. This afternoon, he told me that "organized labor and the efforts of our unions have given workers better wages, safer working conditions, and greater job security. So much we take for granted today in the United States such, as protections against child labor, employee health benefits, and the 8 hour work day came on the backs of organized labor. I support the PRO Act (Protecting the Right to Organize) because it seeks to keep our unions strong and protect workers against the interests of large corporations and businesses whose sole motivation is to increase profits. In Hawai‘i, the Jones Act is critical to protecting our workers from corporations who seek to increase their profit margins. I will not support changes to the Jones Act that come at the expense of our workers and their families." If you'd like to support his campaign, please click on the Primary A Blue Dog thermometer above and give what you can.
Chris Deluzio isn't sure who he'll be running against next year. He's a progressive Democrat picking up after Conor Lamb abandoned his seat to pursue a futile run for Pennsylvania's open Senate seat. But Chris is very sure of one thing: his firm backing of labor and his support of the PRO-Act "The corporate lobby that bankrolls the right," he told me this evening, "has been waging war against workers and unions for decades. They know that union workers earn better pay and benefits, have more say over conditions on the job, and work in safer environments. That’s why they’re deathly afraid of the PRO Act, because they know it would give workers and unions a fighting chance to push back against the corporate power that dominates this country and our lives." You can contribute to his campaign here.