Dismantling of America

Dismantling America

and other controversial essays by Thomas Sowell—Aug 10, 2010

Publisher Basic Books

 

These essays—on political, economic, cultural and legal issues—have as a recurring, underlying theme of  the decline of the values and institutions that have sustained and advanced American society for more than two centuries.  It has, been a deliberate dismantling of American values and institutions by people convinced that their superior wisdom and virtue must over-ride both the traditions of the country and the will of the people.

 

This question is whether the particular issues discussed reflect a degeneration or dismantling of the America that we once knew and expected to pass on to our children and grandchildren. There are people determined that this country's values, history, laws, traditions and role in the world are fundamentally wrong and must be changed. Such people will not stop dismantling America unless they get stopped—and the next election may be the last time to stop them, before they take the country beyond the point of no return.

An American Story: Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell was born in North Carolina and grew up in Harlem New York City. He left home early and did not finish high school. The next few years were difficult ones, but eventually he joined the Marine Corps and became a photographer in the Korean War. After leaving the service,  he went on to Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude. He received his master's in economics from Columbia University, and a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago. Sowell held jobs as an economist with the Department of Labor and AT&T. But his real interest was in teaching and scholarship. His many professorships have been at Douglass College,Cornell University, Rutgers University, Amherst University, Brandeis University and UCLA.

 

Sowell has published a large volume of writing. There are 28 books, as well as numerous articles written in the Wall St. Journal, Forbes Magazine and Fortune and he writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country. His Basic Economics has been translated into six languages. Today he is in residence at the Hoover Institution & Stanford University.

 

Article from Thomas Sowell on Unions

 

Union Myths -By Thomas Sowell   March 8, 2011

 

The biggest myth about labor unions is that unions are for the workers. Unions are for unions, just as corporations are for corporations and politicians are for politicians.  Nothing shows the utter cynicism of the unions and the politicians who do their bidding like the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" that the Obama administration tried to push through Congress. Employees' free choice as to whether or not to join a union is precisely what that legislation would destroy.

 

Workers already have a free choice in secret-ballot elections conducted under existing laws. As more and more workers in the private sector have voted to reject having a union represent them, the unions' answer has been to take away secret-ballot elections.

 

Under the "Employee Free Choice Act," unions would not have to win in secret-ballot elections in order to represent the workers. Instead, union representatives could simply collect signatures from the workers until they had a majority.  Why do we have secret ballots in the first place, whether in elections for unions or elections for government officials? To prevent intimidation and allow people to vote how they want to, without fear of retaliation.

 

This is a crucial right that unions want to take away from workers. The actions of union mobs in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere give us a free home demonstration of how little they respect the rights of those who disagree with them and how much they rely on harassment and threats to get what they want.

 

It takes world-class chutzpah to call circumventing secret ballots the "Employee Free Choice Act." To unions, workers are just the raw material used to create union power, just as iron ore is the raw material used by U.S. Steel and bauxite is the raw material used by the Aluminum Company of America.

 

The most fundamental fact about labor unions is that they do not create any wealth. They are one of a growing number of institutions which specialize in siphoning off wealth created by others, whether those others are businesses or the taxpayers.  There are limits to how long unions can siphon off money from businesses, without facing serious economic repercussions.

 

The most famous labor union leader, the legendary John L. Lewis, head of the United Mine Workers from 1920 to 1960, secured rising wages and job benefits for the coal miners, far beyond what they could have gotten out of a free market based on supply and demand.  But there is no free lunch.

 

An economist at the University of Chicago called John L. Lewis "the world's greatest oil salesman."  His strikes that interrupted the supply of coal, as well as the resulting wage increases that raised its price, caused many individuals and businesses to switch from using coal to using oil, leading to reduced employment of coal miners. The higher wage rates also led coal companies to replace many miners with machines.

 

The net result was a huge decline in employment in the coal mining industry, leaving many mining towns virtually ghost towns by the 1960s. There is no free lunch.  Similar things happened in the unionized steel industry and in the unionized automobile industry. At one time, U.S. Steel was the largest steel producer in the world and General Motors the largest automobile manufacturer. No more. Their unions were riding high in their heyday, but they too discovered that there is no free lunch, as their members lost jobs by the hundreds of thousands.

 

Workers have also learned that there is no free lunch, which is why they have, over the years, increasingly voted against being represented by unions in secret ballot elections.

 

One set of workers, however, remained largely immune to such repercussions. These are government workers represented by public sector unions.  While oil could replace coal, while U.S. Steel dropped from number one in the world to number ten, and Toyota could replace General Motors as the world's leading producer of cars, government is a monopoly. Nobody is likely to replace the federal or state bureaucracies, no matter how much money the unions drain from the taxpayers.

 

That is why government unions continue to thrive while private sector unions decline. Taxpayers provide their free lunch.

 

 

 

 
VOTE
Register and Register
Family & Friends
 
 
"If the people fail to vote, a government will be developed
which is not their government. The whole system of
American Government rests on the ballot box. Unless
citizens perform their duties there, such a system of
government is doomed to failure."
Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the USA.
 
 
 
County