Howard Dean, Up Close and Personal

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Go here for a transcript of Howard Dean's Monday night appearance on Chris Matthews' Hardball. It's an interesting back-and-forth, and one that challenges Dean supporters to maintain their enthusiasm for the guy. He comes across as pretty funny and clever in some places, but also relentlessly self-serving.

As Mother Jones has noted, Dean channels the ghost of Gerry Ford by insisting the best way to force regime change in Iran is by using the "Soviet Union." The colloquy on his draft deferment is intense and interesting, especially now that there's a war going on. His comments about gay marriage are cagey and evasive, as are his thoughts on campaign finance reform.

Whole thing here.

A snippet:

DEAN: I am absolutely a capitalist. Capitalism is the greatest system that people have ever invented, because it takes advantage of bad traits, as well as our good traits, and turns them into productivity.
But the essence of capitalism, which the right-wing never understands
? it always baffles me-is, you got to have some rules. Imagine a hockey game with no rules.


MATTHEWS: Do you think a person has a right to work somewhere if they don?t want to join a union?
DEAN: I do.
No, wait a minute. I don?t.
(LAUGHTER)
MATTHEWS: Why not? What?s wrong with an open shop where you can…

DEAN: I hate right-to-work laws.
And let me tell you why it?s OK to be forced to join a union. The union is out there negotiating for your wage increases. Why should you get a free ride? Why should you should be able to go to work for that company, get the same benefits as everybody else who paid their union dues and you paid nothing? That?s why I?m against right-to-work laws.

NEXT: Saving Private Enterprise

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  1. Kevin, I agree that in prinicple employers should be able to sign union shop contracts, but in practice they function like contractor businesses and (I believe) should be subjected to the same rules, regulations and taxation as any other business company.

    What does that mean??

    right to work is a shitty solution, but at least restores a bit of the individual right to contract.

    Huh?? Not it doesn’t, it has nothing whatsoever to do with an individual’s ability to negotiate his own deal with an employer. An individual in a right to work state has no greater ability to “go it alone” than anyone else, anywhere else.

    It strikes me that many simply don’t understand what “right to work” is all about. If they did, they’d understand there are no liberty issues involved at all.

  2. From http://www.nrtwc.org:
    ———————————-
    State Right to Work laws protect workers from paying the forced union dues authorized by federal law.

    Currently 22 states have Right to Work laws and the National Right to Work Committee is working to enact Right to Work laws in every state in the union.

    But monopoly bargaining provisions of federal labor law force even workers in Right to Work states to accept union “representation” they may not want.

    The only permanent solution is to remove from federal labor law those provisions that grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges in the first place.

    That’s why the National Right to Work Committee supports enactment of a Voluntary Bargaining Bill. Voluntary bargaining legislation would reestablish the right to either bargain for yourself or bargain collectively.

    The Voluntary Bargaining Act would not stop anyone from joining a union — but it would protect every American from forced union membership, forced union dues or forced-union representation.
    —————————–
    VBA sounds damn reasonable to me.

  3. From http://www.nrtwc.org:

    Wow, the Right to Work Committee! A really unbiased news source! Go read their publications: they read like Pravda.

    Truth is, the real libertarian position is one opposed to these laws.

  4. Howard Dean’s general about nearly everything should make him unattractive to all voters

  5. ^ Do you mean “[That] Howard Dean [is] general about nearly everything should make him unattractive to all voters”? Or “Howard Dean’s [responses] about nearly everything should make him unattractive to all voters”? Or that Howard Dean has appointed a General “About Nearly Everything” and you think this General is unattractive to voters?

  6. Two small defenses of Dean on a very narrow point, before I concede that overall Dean is very un-libertarian:

    My understanding was that a large portion of the 176% expansion of state spending in VT happened after the state Supreme Court ruled (however wrongly) that education funding must come from the state rather than the local governments. So at least some of that increase came from an action that left aggregate public spending unchanged, but shifted the spending from local bodies to another. Not to defend the action, just to point out that it didn’t necessarily increase aggregate public spending in VT.

    I also recall that Dean was able to cut taxes overall in VT at the same time, even though some taxes shifted from local coffers to state coffers.

    And of course, correct me if I have a misunderstanding of the actual facts.

    On divided government: Dean facing a Republican legislature in VT is not necessarily a very ggood indication of how he’d fare against a GOP Congress, just as Bush facing a Dem legislature in TX is not necessarily a good indication of how he’ll fare against a Democratic Congress. Congressional Republicans are more diverse (and probably more conservative overall) than the old-school liberal New England Republicans. Congressional Democrats are more diverse (and more liberal overall) than old-school conservative southern Democrats.

    But of course, I hasten to add that Dean is by no means a libertarian sympathizer. His only possible virtue is if he can deliver all the benefits of divided government. And if Bush instills too many more bad habits in the Congressional Republicans then they might roll over and grant a President Dean any big spending he wants.

  7. “right to work is a shitty solution, but at least restores a bit of the individual right to contract.”

    So you’re supporting increased statism of some kinds to “balance” a problem created by existing statism. That sounds suspiciously close in principle to some of the libertarian defenses of Dean’s reregulation proposals.

  8. Actually, Dean is saying basically that some things are complicted so it is left to democratic debate. He himself would sign a repeal but he wants it widely accepted first. This is simply good management. It isn’t libertarianism for sure, but it is sort of a muddled approach that has worked after a fashion in liberal democracies. Hayek said that democracy’s use is in forcing people with good ideas to convince everyone else and force them to be open to debate. Hayek was of course an Old Whig rather than a libertarian. I am too. The difference is that libertarians believe in all freedom other than initiation of force and defrauding another individual, while Old Whigs take the dictionary meaning of coercion (including “moral force” whatever that may mean) and say the job of democracy is to define this broad and unclear meaning of coercion, while laws are created to ban all types of coercion and fraud (including the corporate malfeasance Dean referred to). Such a ban on coercion and fraud is the “rule” that Dean speaks about. It is as simple as the libertarian rule, but coercion is defined broadly. For instance a poll might tell you most people feel that nudity is application of an unwanted moral force. This may change over time.

    Over time the accepted meaning of “coercion” will evolve in the best path and perhaps end up in going back to the meaning of initiation of force. It is simply silly to reduce all social issues to a simple rule with very tight definitions. It would be possible if man is purey a rational animal, but apart from our rationality, we have to account for our fallibility, as well as for the existential obviousnes that we have other qualities too, such as emotions and empathy. I believe that we have yet to invent private institutions that could take over immediately from government. We have to work to create them and evolve to a society with more liberty and safeguards against the fallibility of constructivistic rationalism.

    On offshoring jobs, which Dean mentioned as a reason he distrusts us businessmen, I have given my experience on my blog — there is little laying off if you retrain properly. My non-profit for making retraining more effective is also linked in the article.

    Regards,

    Karun.

    http://karunphilip.blogspot.com

  9. Kevin, what I am saying is in this case a state-law restores (somewhat) the right of the individual to make a contract, a right that is unjustly usurped by the Federal governemnt and its enforcement of labor monopolies.

    That is far cry from Dean’s “reregulation” at the Federal level or saying its “OK to be *forced* to join a union.” (emphasis mine)

  10. I don’t know how right to work laws are designed, but current ‘fair’ labor laws are half way around the world from freedom of contract. You can’t make it okay for unions to negotiate certain kinds of contracts without allowing everyone else to do the same. Defending fair labor and unionizing practices on freedom of contract grounds is just a wee bit deceptive, in my book.

  11. So, is there something about Dean that distinguishes him from the other Dem candidates, and earns him the support of a minority of libertarians, or is he just the presumptive nominee and recipient of the anti-Bush vote? If Kerry or Graham looked like the winner, would they be getting this support?

  12. Karun:

    Methinks you give Dean too much credit by far. There is nothing Old Whig or libertarian about him. He is a populist who is running on a platform of re-regulating the economy. He is not talking about rules of non coercion, he is talking about the good old days of government owned airlines. If he meant fraud protection, he would have said, “I will pursue fraud, which is already a crime.”

  13. “or is he just the presumptive nominee and recipient of the anti-Bush vote?”

    Bingo. How else to explain the persistence of Dean after he extols the virtues of a re regulated economy? How about libertarians for Mao, for chrissake?

  14. NRADL,

    But those same laws compel a union to represent everyone in a bargaining unit, whether they pay dues to support its expenses or not.

  15. Actually the federal governmeent compel employers to recognize a chosen union as a monopolized bargaining unit, destroying a workers right to individually contract with an employer.

    In NON right-to-work (RTW) states, the Feds also compel employees to pay dues to the union regardless if they want to join it, destroying a workers right to individually contract with the union.

    RTW states at least prevent the latter. Also because of the potential for loss of Fed-enforeced dues, RTW also discourages unionization (and US unions are really a tax-exempt corporations with Gov-enforeced monopoly bargaining privileges).

    RTW IS a shitty solution, but better than nothing. I personally agree with what was written above: “The only permanent solution is to remove from federal labor law those provisions that grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges in the first place.”

  16. In NON right-to-work (RTW) states, the Feds also compel employees to pay dues to the union regardless if they want to join it, destroying a workers right to individually contract with the union.

    That’s not true. There is no federal law — anywhere — that compels any worker, anywhere, to join a union. There just isn’t. If you believe there is such a law, please show it to me.

    In “non-right to work” states, employers will sometimes contract with a union for a provision requiring employees to pay union dues. “Right to work” laws merely provide that such contract provisions are unenforceable.

  17. How about libertarians for Mao, for chrissake?

    Stephen Halbrook, where art thou…?

  18. John Q: There might not be a law (yet it isn’t crystal clear), but in practice that is what happens:

    http://www.libertyhaven.com/politicsandcurrentevents/unionsandotherorganizations/mythcompul.html

  19. John Q: There might not be a law (yet it isn’t crystal clear), but in practice that is what happens:

    NRADL, respectfully, either there is a law or there isn’t one. If there isn’t one (and I’m not aware of one) then there is no such thing as government-compelled union membership. Indeed, the article you linked to explicitly agrees with me. The only state interference with the market comes from “right to work” laws. That is why the Libertarian Party favors the repeal of all “right to work” laws.

  20. I assume that Dean’s comments here about how he favored the steel tariffs and would want them to last for longer won’t faze the Libertarians for Dean, either.

  21. John Q: Read the article again. The law is far from explicit, hence all the lawsuits and shady intepretations by the Labor Dept.

    And I disagree with your statement that the *only* state interference with the market comes from RTW laws, when it is clear than unions are propped up monoplies created by the NLRB that destroy individual rights of free contract.

  22. How else to explain the persistence of Dean after he extols the virtues of a re regulated economy?

    Re-regulated? When was it de-regulated?

    How about libertarians for Mao, for chrissake?

    Yep. When logic fails, just pull out the ole Hiter/Stalin/Mao/Satan comparison. That proves the point every time.

    Personally, I think Bush is more of a danger to freedom (both economic and personal) than Dean any day. Why? Because Dean, at least, is up front about those areas (mostly economic) where he has statist leanings. And even in those areas, he doesn’t sound like a zealot to me (the way, say, Ralph Nader does). Bush, on the other hand, just repeats the slogans but doesn’t seem to *mean* any of it. And I find that hypocrisy appalling and scary, because I don’t feel I can put faith in any thing he says or any position he advocates.

  23. John Q: Read the article again. The law is far from explicit, hence all the lawsuits and shady intepretations by the Labor Dept.

    NRADL, I don’t know what to tell you. I’m a labor lawyer and I have absolutely no idea what you mean by “shady interpretations by the Labor Dept.” The Labor Department has nothing to do with any of this, and interprets no law even tanegentially related to this. Please explain what on Earth you’re talking about.

    Further, the law is explicit: there is no such federal law. I’m sorry that’s not the answer that you want to hear, but it’s the truth. If you believe I’m wrong, please show me the law you’re talking about. Believe me, it would come in very handy.

  24. Answer this:

    From a libertarian perspective, how is a law, requiring an employer corporation to recognize as a legal, contracting entity the union voted for by a majority of its employees, worse than a law, requiring courts (and all contractors, consumers and employees who come before it in a dispute with said corporate employer) to recognize as a legal, contracting entity, that very same corporate employer, which obtained said status merely by filing paperwork and a fee with the Corporation Division of one state’s Secretary of State?

    I think it is no worse. I think it is justifiable in the context of corporate law. I think corporate law is essential to a modern working capitalist economy. And I think the Libertarian Party’s opposition to so-called right-to-work laws is correct.

    Wouldn’t a “voluntary bargaining act” prevent employers from entering contracts with unions if the contract requires the employer to fire employees who do not join the union? I think that could not be justified except to the extent it protects workers with pre-existing contractual rights. But to that extent, the voluntary bargaining act would be unnecessary, because the pre-existing rights would, by definition, be enforcible with or without the legislation.

  25. Challenging indeed. I hope this sends the Libertarians for Dean back to the drawing board, or at the least makes them think twice about their support.

  26. Not to worry, Dave. Its not so much Libertarians for Dean, as it is Libertarians for Anyone They Think Can Beat BUSHITLER!!! WHO LIED!!! AND PEOPLE DIED!!!! (pause to wipe spittle from computer screen)

  27. R.C.:

    Pretty much.

    Oh, plus maybe forcing Republicans in Congress to remember that they don’t like profligate spending.

    And yes, over at Libertarians for Dean they are indeed questioning things.

    But then, that’s been going around.

  28. Hey R.C.,

    It’s not so much Libertarians Who Exaggerate About Bush as much as it is reason to abandon Howard Dean as a viable Democratic Party alternative to Bush. Of the Nine Dwarfs, Dean is obviously Dopey.

  29. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe a “right-to-work” law makes it illegal for employers whose work force have unionized to hire people who don’t want to join said union. Obviously such laws are just as wrong (and unlibertarian) as those that make it illegal for an employer to fire someone for joining a union. So Dean is right on this particular issue, albeit for the wrong reasons. (Not that I’m supporting Dean, just making an observation on the content of what was said.)

  30. Not to worry, Dave. Its not so much Libertarians for Dean, as it is Libertarians for Anyone They Think Can Beat BUSHITLER!!! WHO LIED!!! AND PEOPLE DIED!!!! (pause to wipe spittle from computer screen)

    No RC, it?s because Howard Dean is a fiscal conservative who grew State spending by 176% and taxes grew even faster. Bush has grown spending considerably less while cutting taxes to deter future spending, so naturally we should vote for the guy who wants to raise taxes so he can increase spending even more.

    It?s because he?s a free trader who wants to impose new regulations on any trade agreements. Bush supported steel tariffs that are now being repealed, so naturally we should vote for the more protectionist candidate.

    It?s because he?s opposed to Social Security reform, wanted a bigger prescription drug benefit and is making socialized medicine the heart of his campaign. Bush supports letting workers invest 2-6 points of their FICA dollars and got some medical savings accounts passed but because he supported a smaller prescription drug benefit than the Democrats wanted, we should vote for the candidates who want more socialized medicine.

    It?s because his ?qualified federalism? on gun issues includes renewing the assault weapons ban and pushing for new regulations on gun shows.

    It?s because he?s anti-choice in education and Vermont even lags behind the nation in charter schools. Bush after all only supports vouchers.

    You see, RC we have to vote for Howard Dean because ?divided government? is the key to restraining government. Oh wait, while Dean was governor of Vermont and increased State spending by 176%, he had a Republican legislature. So much for that theory.

  31. Interesting, how in excerpting Dean’s views on right-to-work laws, Nick left out this part: “I very much believe that states ought to have the right to recognize ? to organize their own laws. So I?m not likely as president to — even though I don?t like right-to-work laws, I?m unlikely to order states to change them.”

    And: “Because I do believe states have to have make their own judgments of that.”

    And: “But I do believe it?s important for states to be able to make their own laws.”

    And, while discussing the civil union bill he signed in Vermont: “As president-first of all, marriage none of the federal government?s business. Marriage is a state issue.”

    Yeah, this guy is *so* much scarier than Bush. Gimme a break.

  32. This would be the same Howard Dean who wants to have international labor and environmental standards as part of any trade agreement. So we?re supposed to believe that he?s against national sovereignty to determine labor laws but in favor of it at the State level.

    Okay everybody who believes that union-endorsed Howard Dean who wants to use the ?regulation of interstate commerce? clause to re-regulate media, transportation, energy, and every company that does profit sharing is going to say ?I draw the line at going after right to work? laws, please show your hands.

    Afterall, we know how much he favors a free market approach to health care reform and international trade.

  33. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m less than thrilled about this situation. Thanks, Sandy, for pointing out that we are questioning things.

  34. John Q: You can read the article and google all the citations. The rest your post is simply “agrument from authority” which is a classic fallacy. Maybe as a lawyer you can explain to me how the National Labor Relations Act falicitates free contracts between employees and employers, a key plank of libertarianism.

    Peter: It is worse simply because unionization under Federal labor law is not a voluntary relationship. A corporation is a voluntary organizaion of customers, vendors, owners and employees – nobody is forced by the Federal government to do busines with it. (yes there are exceptions – which operate immorally IMHO – but for 99% of incorporated companies this is true).

    A union is a Government-enforced monopoly (and a tax-free corporate entity) that has unjust power over a given set of employees and their relationship to their employer. Regardless if 50% or 90% of the wokers agree to become a “bargaining unit”, it is still a violation of the other individuals’ right to create his/her own contract. In short, a union’s contract (as they exist today) is not binding since , as it could not exist without Federal violation of individual right to free contract.

    Maybe some libertarians mean “collective bargaining” as a group of people adopting a name (“brotherhood of toilet boil cleaners”) and volunatarily negoatiating a contract. I have no problem with that, no more than I would with a VFW bingo hall or an Elks Club. But these libertarians are wrong if they are describing this relationship as the same thing as what actually exists today under Federal labor statutes.

  35. Can we focus on what Dean actually said was his reason for opposing right to work laws?

    “And let me tell you why it?s OK to be forced to join a union. The union is out there negotiating for your wage increases. Why should you get a free ride?”

    It is not based on support of the employer’s freedom to contract with a particular body representing employees. Dean believes that an individual employee simply has no right to refuse to submit to a monopoly employment collective. Superficially, Dean may agree with a LP platform plank, but he’s coming to it from the opposite direction. I seriously doubt Dean would be enthused by this part of the LP plank:

    “An employer should have the right to recognize, or refuse to recognize, a union as the collective bargaining agent of some, or all, of its employees.”

    Does anyone truly think that Dean would support an employer’s right to refuse to deal with a union?

  36. joe:

    The question in these parts isn’t whether Dean is a better choice for an ideological liberal, but whether he is a better choice when viewed through the libertarian lens.

    A 176% expansion of state spending can’t be spun as a good thing to me, because I ideologically oppose the growth of the state.

  37. fyodor-

    You invited us to correct you if you’re wrong, so I will. You are wrong, but only slightly. A “right to work” law does not make it illegal for an employer to hire an anti-union employee just because the other employees in similar positions are organized in a union.

    What these laws do is deny the employer the right and obligation of honoring its contract with the union, to the extent that contract obligates the employer not to employee non-union personnel in positions covered by the contract.

    A right to work law violates freedom of contract, just as a minimum wage law does, and just as much as a law requiring recognition of the union does.

  38. Unless I’m mistaken, the Libertarian Party favors the repeal of all so-called “right to work” laws. Just take a look.

    That’s right, Dean is taking the libertarian position and you’re not. OK, all you anti-union types, put that piece of libertarianism in your pipe and smoke it.

  39. and let’s not forget the union/employee contract is purely free market. no state intervention there.

    if the government says a union represents all workers at a shop (though only a percentage voted for it) and shits on the right of dirty scabs (individuals) to make their own contracts, that is a valid, free market contract.

  40. The question in these parts isn’t whether Dean is a better choice for an ideological liberal, but whether he is a better choice when viewed through the libertarian lens.
    A 176% expansion of state spending can’t be spun as a good thing to me, because I ideologically oppose the growth of the state.

    And you?re quite correct about that. Politicians are in office while a lot of good and bad things happen over which they have little or no control, it does not follow though that they are the cause of these events which is why the whole ?presiding over economic growth? premise is a non-starter.

    Since Dean is clearly a far greater proponent of government spending than Bush turned out to be, it makes no sense for a libertarian who criticizes Bush for growing government to then turn around and vote for a candidate who wants to and has grown government more ? even with a Republican legislature.

  41. Unless I’m mistaken, the Libertarian Party favors the repeal of all so-called “right to work” laws. Just take a look.

    A) I?m not a member of the LP as I would wager many posters are not.

    B) I do not consider them to be the final arbiter of what is/not a ?libertarian? position even though I agree with them on ?right to work? statutes as being anti-freedom of contract.

    That’s right, Dean is taking the libertarian position and you’re not. OK, all you anti-union types, put that piece of libertarianism in your pipe and smoke it.

    Actually he?s not. If you go back and reread Dean?s comments, he says that does not favor using the power of the federal government to strike down State right-to-work statutes, which means that they would still be in place. His stated position on this one issue may be closer to federalism but not necessarily libertarian.

    It?s beside the point really, since Dean?s other pro-regulation and pro-centralization positions are not mitigated by his supposedly favoring letting States decide right-to-work laws. Moreover, given that he favors creating international labor standards, is beholden to unions, and has a track record of flip-flops to move further left ? I find it unlikely that he would adhere to this position if actually tested.

  42. The point that Dean faced a Republican legislature in Vermont is an interesting one, but it’s not necessarily fatal for the Libs4Dean. That would depend on the relative power of the executive and legislature in Vermont, and whether it’s comparable to the relative power of the executive and legislature in DC. It would also depend, I suppose, on whether the bulk of that spending was proposed by Dean or by the GOP legislators.

    I don’t know enough about Vermont to answer either question. (And, for the record, I’m not a Libertarian For Dean.) But maybe there’s someone else here who can fill in those important details?

  43. Mr. Winston:

    “even though I agree with them on ?right to work? statutes as being anti-freedom of contract.”

    True, but doesn’t the NLRB’s (and other government agencies) recognitions of the supremency of unions over individual contract create even more anti-freedom of contract?

    As for the rest of your excellent post:
    “And let me tell you why it?s OK to be FORCED to join a union….” sums up Dean’s libertarianism nicely.

  44. “Afterall, we know how much he (Dean) favors a free market approach to health care reform and international trade.”

    Right Thorley. Dean is very statist, (he wants the government to break up big media as well) but also, look at the Bush record. Health care: a huge expansion of the welfare state via a shameful plan for government financed prescription drugs that Bush did not even advocate being need based! On international trade, we have Bush’s steel tariffs (hopefully they will be terminated) and continued
    backing for the IMF and World Bank. (In spite of the fact that in one of his debates with Gore, Bush correctly called the IMF a “bail out for bankers”. Gore would have none of this talk in that debate, and apparently Bush has come to agree with him.)

    So what is a free enterprise lover to do in the election if confronted with a choice between the liberals, Dean and Bush? If you want to stick to your principals AND make progress; vote for the Libertarian candidate for president and work for the election of a more conservative congress as if liberty depended on it, because it does.

  45. Re: the growth in Vermont spending under Dean. I was under the impression that he maintained spending caps when he took office. Also, what was the money spent on? I would consider money spent on servicing debt and improving the state’s infrastructure to be a good thing, but then I’m not a libertarian. However, even libertarians must consider such spending to be the lesser of two evils, I should think.

  46. Dean Libertarian,

    So I take it you FAVOR laws prohibiting employers from signing union shop contracts?

  47. let’s put it this way…I don’t favor the government giving unions the power of monopoly over the labor pool of an employer.

    i could give a fuck if a certain group of workers call themselves “Brotherhood of Janitors” and negoitate a contract. but let’s drop the crap, that isn’t how unionization works (or even could work — the whole concept is based on monopolization! and how are monoplies always created, Kevin?)

    right to work is a shitty solution, but at least restores a bit of the individual right to contract.

  48. Thanks Peter. Boy, if only all my invitations worked so well! 🙂

    But of course, my essential point that right-to-work laws are coercive is upheld. Regarding (not really a) Dean Libertarian’s point that such laws amount to a second wrong making a right, I gotta wonder if such laws really exist in states where the state has created a monopoly? So the state passes a law creating a labor monopoly for unions and then passes another law making the monopoly contracts unenforceable? Well, I wouldn’t put it past the state to do such a thing instead of just repealing the original monopoly creating law, but I also wonder if right-to-work laws are always performing such a counter balancing function. Alas, I lack the knowledge of the facts to know for sure. Does someone else know?

  49. Kevin, I agree that in prinicple employers should be able to sign union shop contracts, but in practice they function like contractor businesses and (I believe) should be subjected to the same rules, regulations and taxation as any other business company.

    Ack, Dean said his favorite musician is Wyclef Jean! Yeah, I was a fan once too, until I saw him live. What a hack. I’d kick my own ass if that was the best thing I could think of.

  50. NRADL —

    By your definition of choice, as demonstrated in your analysis of whether an employee has a choice of whether to recognize an employer’s corporate status (quitting or accepting the status is still a choice, according to you), the consenting adults in your equation still have a choice about whether to do business with the union.

    Your second paragraph suggests strongly that you have no appreciable understanding of corporation law. The tort victim in the described circumstance is entitled to compensation from the corporation, but if the corporation is broke, he/she cannot get compensation from shareholders, no matter how well-off they are. He/she has no choice but to look solely to the corporation for vindication of his/her rights.

  51. They have a choice to do business with the union but are prevented by the Federal Government from making a deal with an employer. You can spin it all you want, but Federal labor law DOES violate individual right to contract.

    The rest is simply more anti-corp mythology, as what you describe almost never happens in practice.

  52. NRADL —

    The first paragraph of your last post means that you have come around to agreeing with what I said in post 12 above, last clause of third paragraph.

    The second paragraph means that you have completely misunderstood my position on corporations, or you completely misunderstand corporation law, or both. It is amazing that you can hold on to a belief, that people are left empty-handed when a corporation goes broke, in light of numerous examples throughout history. Ever hear of Johns-Manville? Enron? Not to mention innumerable corporations too small to have made headlines.

    Well, at least we have one more thing in common: Neither of us knows what the hell you’re talking about.

  53. anon:

    How else to explain the persistence of Dean after he extols the virtues of a re regulated economy?

    Re-regulated? When was it de-regulated?

    You remember air travel? How about Ma Bell? These are your boy’s words I am using, I didn’t make them up.

    How about libertarians for Mao, for chrissake?

    Yep. When logic fails, just pull out the ole Hiter/Stalin/Mao/Satan comparison. That proves the point every time.

    Agreed, that was a weak argument born of frustration. I just don’t understand one preference over than the other, though. The only thing you get with Dean is a liberal who is Not Bush, and will STILL have to pay for Iraq, and who explicitly wants to increase regulation of a huge swath of the economy (companies that offer stock options? HEllO?) It is a petty, shortsighted decision.

  54. Good point, MJ. I was not defending Dean, however. I was only defending the Libertarian Party’s stance opposing right-to-work laws.

    NRADL — You are correct that by law, once a particular threshhold of show of employee support for a union is met, the employer has no choice but to recognize it or go out of business; a dissenting employee has no choice but to join (or pay dues without joining) or quit.

    But no employee, union or not, has any option other than recognizing the new status of an employer which decides to incorporate, or quitting. The same is true of an innocent tort victim. Also, unions are not unique in being exempt from taxation: The same is true of C-corporations under the Internal Revenue Code. The shareholders are taxed as if they received the income directly, just as the members and official and employees of the union are taxed directly on their incomes.

  55. But quitting or recognizing a companies legal structure IS AN OPTION and is also a voluntary choice. Nobody is FORCED to do business with such an entity. Federal union law is about using FORCE to prevent invidual contracts between consenting adults.

    And incorporation has NOTHING to do with an innocent tort victim. By defintion the victim had no choice in the matter, hence tort law and the common law of restitution by company to the injured party.

  56. EMAIL: draime2000@yahoo.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
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    DATE: 01/26/2004 02:44:50
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