The WSJ published an article today that is truly horrifying. To see the whole article you may need to highlight the headline, right click, and make the obvious choice. Key points:
The Belgian dredging group DEME says it has offered the U.S. specialized vessels and technology that can help clean up the spill in three to four months compared to the estimated nine months that the U.S. will need. There are only a handful of these vessels in the world, and most of them belong to Dutch and Belgian companies. So why aren’t we calling on them?
Blame it on the protectionist Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also called the Jones Act, that requires ships working in U.S. waters to be built, operated and owned by Americans. Building specialized clean-up vessels in the U.S. is too expensive because of high union labor costs, and unions don’t want ships built with foreign labor to be used in U.S. waters. To circumvent the Jones Act, clean-up crews have had to outfit American ships with skimming technology airlifted from the Netherlands. This has resulted in serious delays and greater harm to the Gulf.
Presidents can suspend the Jones Act in emergencies, as George W. Bush did after Hurricane Katrina. But the Obama Administration continues to maintain that this isn’t necessary and that there are “no pending requests” for waivers.
Obama could have suspended the Jones Act and allowed specialized foreign craft into the gulf to clean up the spill, but chose not to, because the Jones Act protects American maritime unions from foreign competition. He sacrificed the gulf for his union buddies. What a hero!
This fits a pattern that is defining President Obama’s domestic priorities. Who was the most frequent White House Visitor? Andy Stern, most recently head of SIEU, and likely destined for greater things within the Obama administration. So what has the Obama/Stern partnership delivered for organized labor? Unbelievable power. Let us count some of the pay-offs.
The $800 billion stimulus package did nothing for private sector employment; it mostly paid off the states to retain and expand their public sector employees. The Washington Examiner is good on this:
So why the $100 billion lagniappe for government workers? In the last two election cycles, the nation’s three largest public employee unions — the National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) — have contributed more than $12 million to political campaigns, $11,625,835 of which went to Democrats.
It’s not just that Washington’s ruling party is paying them back. They are also counting on this bailout to keep the public sector unions flush with cash so that they can prop up the Democrats through what promises to be a brutal 2010 election.
In other words, our dear leader is giving our money to public sector unions so they can afford to contribute to the reelection of our dear leader. That’s the Chicago way of doing business, which seems to be the only business Obama understands.
Obama’s bail-out of GM and Chrysler had only one purpose: to save the UAW and their members’ gold-plated pensions and healthcare benefits at our expense. Screw the bondholders. Screw all the other car manufacturers building cars in America. Even better, go after the biggest competitor on bogus “unintended acceleration” charges.
Obama also signed an executive order to stop non-union shops bidding on Federal contracts. From the Washington Times:
Mr. Obama issued an executive order in the first weeks of his presidency that would make the requirement, known as a “project labor agreement” or PLA, the norm for all government contracts on large-scale construction jobs. The order is under review and a final rule is not expected for months, but that did not stop the Labor Department from rushing to use a PLA to build its new Job Corps Center in Manchester, N.H.
The PLA executive order replaced a Bush administration order that discouraged the use of such agreements.
It was one in a series of early policy moves by Mr. Obama that has dramatically improved the unions’ fortunes, though the president has not delivered on labor’s top legislative priority, the so-called “card-check” bill that would make it easier to organize workplaces.
But Obama’s biggest accomplishment for the union movement is Obamacare. By design, it will destroy employer provided health insurance ($8k – $12k per employee vs $2k fine -easy business decision) . It will mandate pricing and coverage that will destroy private insurers, as is already happening under Romneycare in Massachusetts. It will create an immense bureaucracy that will dwarf Britain’s National Health Service, which is the third largest employer in the world. The Teachers’ unions are the bulwarks of the Democratic party. A unionized health bureaucracy controlling one sixth of the economy would dwarf the Teacher’s unions. It would also have a more powerful voice. Teachers say, “we strike, your kids don’t go to school”. Health care unions say “we strike, you die”. Obama cares as much about our health as he cares about the gulf. He doesn’t care about either.
He wants to make the Democratic party as powerful as the Communist Party in Cuba. That’s the prize Obama is after.
The American people are slowly realizing that Obama is the biggest threat to America since the Revolution. Let’s hope enough of us aware of the threat to retake both houses in the 2010 mid-terms. In every district, in every state, we need to maximize the American vote to overcome the corrupt Obama votes.
Michael Barone covers much the same territory. I think he is becoming much more critical of the Obama administration. Bloggers can go hard from day one and take their licks. Professional journalists and columnists need to treat their subjects more delicately.