Harold Meyerson: Non-Union Workers are Akin to Slaves?

That’s the faulty logic proffered by Harold Meyerson in his Washington Post column today:

If Abraham Lincoln were still among the living as he prepared to turn 200 six weeks from now, he might detect in the congressional war over the automaker bailouts a strong echo of the war that defined his presidency. Now as then, the conflict centered on the rival labor systems of North and South. Now as then, the Southerners championed a low-wage, low-benefits system while the North favored a more generous one. And now as then, what sparked the conflict was the North’s fear of the Southern system becoming the national norm. Or, as Lincoln put it, a house divided against itself cannot stand [Emph. Added].

I drove around my hometown of Waterbury Connecticut today, since we are visiting family over the holidays. Virtually every single factory and machine shop on the city’s South Main street is shuttered or abandoned. My parents bought my grandparent’s home over thirty years ago, and their property taxes are close to what their original mortgage payments were three decades past.

So forgive me if I choose not to delve into the North versus South Civil War tripe today. If there is some principle that must be abandoned so that a corporation like Toyota or Honda will come up to Waterbury (or anywhere in Connecticut, or even in the state of Michigan, for that matter) and open a plant that will employ hundreds or thousands of workers, I hope that we manage to do so quickly.

And an American with a job is employed, Harold, not enslaved, even in the South.

Post Script: I will post some photos today of the “Northern Economic System” in (non) operation on South Main Street, Waterbury, Connecticut, that Mr.Meyerson believes President Lincoln would have seen as analogous to his fight to save the Union during the Civil War.

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