Rich Lowry

Unionization has declined along with the manufacturing sector, and stepped-up competition has made it harder for companies to bear the increased labor costs and workplace rigidities that come with unionization. Union organizers might as well show up at places of employment and say, "Hi, we're from the union, and we want to help make your company less agile and profitable."

Union advocates are missing the dynamic nature of the 21st-century American economy and misdiagnosing its ills. A new report from the centrist Democratic outfit Third Way punctures the myths of the left's economic "neopopulism." The middle class is not failing. It has grown wealthier (the median income of households with married couples in their working prime is more than $72,000). Americans aren't drowning in debt. They are taking on mortgages that represent investments in housing, and their assets are rising faster than their debts (real net worth for middle-income families has increased 35 percent over the past two decades).

And the American economy isn't in a globalization-induced eclipse. While imports have increased as a percentage of gross domestic product during the past 20 years, the jobless rate has fallen. The economy isn't suffering from a savings crisis. This supposed crisis is belied by "the fact that America boasts the largest investment community in the world, and that Americans plow billions of dollars into mutual funds and other investments every year."

So, American workers seem to be doing OK, except for the terrible stresses of elections, of course.

Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years .
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