George McGovern: Unions Need to Settle for Less
Nixon goes to China, McGovern goes to slap unions in the face. From an op-ed by the legendarily failed presidential candidate in today's L.A. Times:
I have been reminded of legendary union leader John L. Lewis, who was once asked what his miners were after. His answer? "More."
It was a funny answer, and perhaps it was honest too. But these days, it's not a very effective strategy…..
"More" has, unfortunately, become "too much" in a global and far more competitive economy.
Many of my friends will consider this view heretical. But it is based on stark reality.
It can be galling to hear companies argue that they have to cut wages and benefits for hourly workers–even as they reward top executives with millions of dollars in stock options. The chief executive of Wal-Mart earns $27 million a year, while the company's average worker takes home only about $10 an hour. But let's assume that the chief executive got 27 cents instead of $27 million, and that Wal-Mart distributed the savings to its hourly workers. They would each receive a bonus of less than $20. It's not executive pay that has created this new world.
……many large corporations operate with razor-thin profit margins as competitors, both foreign and domestic, strive to attract consumers by offering lower prices.
The current frenzy over Wal-Mart is instructive. Its size is unprecedented. Yet for all its billions in profit, it still amounts to less than four cents on the dollar. Raise the cost of employing people, and the company will eliminate jobs. Its business model only works on low prices, which require low labor costs. Whether that is fair or not is a debate for another time. It is instructive, however, that consumers continue to enjoy these low prices and that thousands of applicants continue to apply for those jobs.
Our own Nick Gillespie wrote on the War on Wal-Mart presciently back in 1995.