FIGHTING THE FUTURE: With the new NLRB ruling, progressives have taken up William F. Buckley’s stance—”athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!’” It won’t work.
President Obama and the progressives in his Administration believe that by fighting this trend—and the NLRB ruling is intended to do exactly that—that by forcing corporations back into the old patriarchal model of a politically-defined and regulated patron-client/employer-employee relationship, they are fighting for the economic interests of poor people and the lower middle class most directly, but also indirectly and to a lesser extent for the rights of all workers. Union activists believe the same thing, passionately and sincerely.
What they don’t see is that the genie can’t be stuffed back in the bottle. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put blue Humpty Dumpty together again. Take the fast food industry, for example, an industry that virtually every economic and social policy of the contemporary progressive movement is trying to maim. From the $15-an-hour minimum wage in the industry demanded by New York to the fight against fast food on nutritional grounds by the Broccoli Police and the Nutrition Nannies, to this new NLRB ruling mandating that the employees of franchises be considered for certain regulatory purposes employees of the parent companies, the progressive movement is trying to do to McDonalds and related companies what Bill deBlasio and the taxi lobby want to do to Uber.
industryThe net effect of these changes will be to narrow the choices of food that poor people have, to raise the price of the food they have to buy, and to accelerate the automation of the restaurant industry, further reducing the already limited number of jobs open to people with few skills. Progressives will look on the consequences of this disaster and conclude that with urban unemployment higher and the cost of living for the poor rising, we obviously need more food stamps and rent subsidies—and so we must impose heavier taxes on the companies and industries that are still profitable in order to pay for these necessary benefits.
They’re not actually stupid. They’re pursuing a policy that produces more power for progressives, regardless of its effect on their alleged clients.