This writer’s standard stump speech, on the conservative lecture circuit, used to begin “I love Barack Obama.” (Dramatic pause. Confusion mounts.) “Not since the days of the Soviet Union, which I enjoyed a minor but not quite trivial role in helping to bring down, have I had an adversary worthy of my powers.”
In the event, Mr. Obama turned into a disappointment. He combines a smug, supercilious hectoring with a record of accomplishment somewhere between pathetic and perverse. Not a worthy adversary after all.
Therefore, imagine the excitement of finding, published on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal, no less, Andy Stern extolling something very like … well, communism. Stern, together with its international Vice President Eliseo Medina, grew the SEIU into a behemoth of organized labor, even splitting the AFL-CIO, leaders of the historic stature of Reuther, Lewis and Meany. Finally, a worthy adversary!
Our fundamental economic beliefs, which we have elevated from a conviction based on observation to an unquestioned truism, is that the free market is the best of all economic systems – the freer the better. Our generation has seen the decisive victory of free-market principles over planned economies. So we stick with this belief largely oblivious to emerging evidence that while free markets beat planned economies, there may be room for a modification that is even better.
Referencing a recent trip to China, and extolling its rapid growth, Stern delivers his indictment:
The conservative-preferred, free-market fundamentalist, shareholder-only model-so successful in the 20th century-is being thrown onto the trash heap of history in the 21st century. In an era when countries need to become economic teams, Team USA’s results – a jobless decade, 30 years of flat median wages, a trade deficit, a shrinking middle class and phenomenal gains in wealth but only for the top 1% – are pathetic.