Saturday, May 14, 2011

Obama's War On Free Enterprise

The administration's National Labor Relations Board is inadvertently giving us a revealing glimpse into the totalitarian predilections of the folks we elected to run the country in 2008.

Boeing Corporation, the airplane manufacturer based in Seattle, having grown weary of repetitious labor strife and strikes, has decided that a new plant they intend to build will be constructed in a Right to Work state (South Carolina). This means the workforce of the new facility will be non-union which fact the Obama administration finds completely unacceptable. The NLRB has sought to prevent Boeing from building the South Carolina plant on the grounds that it violates the rights of it's employees. Rich Lowery at NRO explains what passes for their reasoning on the matter:
The board accuses Boeing of “interfering with, restraining, and coercing” its union employees in the exercise of their rights by making a thoroughly understandable business decision.
Well, does it? Here's Lowery:
A writer at the liberal The New Republic says it “may be the most radical thing the Obama administration has done.” It’s an attempt to keep companies with the misfortune of operating in union-heavy states in perpetual thrall to organized labor.

The CEO of Boeing stands accused of saying the company could ill afford the “strikes happening every three to four years in Puget Sound.” In a memo, paraphrased in the NLRB complaint, Boeing management said it wanted “to reduce vulnerability to delivery disruptions caused by work stoppages.” What’s notable about these statements is that they are so obvious, they should go without saying.

As the NLRB itself notes, Boeing suffered strikes with some regularity, in 1977, 1989, 1995, 2005, and 2008. These job actions weren’t good for business, or the unions wouldn’t have undertaken them: Their express purpose is to inflict pain on the company. The logic of the NLRB’s position is that businesses shouldn’t notice strikes, and if they do, they should learn to like them and never factor their potential cost into investment decisions. At bottom, the executives of Boeing are guilty of a thought crime. leaving its Washington State facility intact. In fact, Boeing has expanded it, adding 2,000 jobs. When the Charleston facility is brought online, Boeing will build ten of its 787 Dreamliners a month — seven of them still in Washington State.
How this harms Boeing's workers is a mystery that the NLRB chooses not to clarify. Rather they prefer simply to employ a raw exercise of government coercion to prevent Boeing from building a facility where they and their workers can prosper without having to bear the financial burden of an insatiable union. To make it worse, the NLRB relies on shameless stupidity to justify their attempt to deprive Boeing of a fundamental freedom.

It reminds me of this Billy Madison clip. I think he was talking to representatives of the NLRB trying to explain why they oppose Boeing's move:

The progressive rule of thumb seems to be that when you don't have good reasons for limiting free enterprise, bad reasons will do, and if the bad reasons make you look like a moron, then at least be a resolute, unapologetic moron.

George Will has much more detail on this matter, none of it flattering to either the NLRB or the Obama administration.

Red-necked Phalarope

For those who get excited about such things our humble little county in Pennsylvania was visited by a lovely rarity yesterday (and today). The bird breeds in the arctic and winters out in the ocean so it's rarely seen inland. Nevertheless, one was discovered yesterday at a local lake (Lake Redman) and was still there as I write this on the morning of May 14th. The bird is a Red-Necked Phalarope (No, it doesn't display the Confederate flag and chew tobacco).

Here's a picture:

Female Red-necked Phalarope

One of the interesting things about phalaropes is that unlike just about every other species of bird, the phalarope females are the more brightly plumaged and the males care for the young. I leave it to you to prise out the social significance of that twist of nature. As for me, I wonder how such a phenomenon ever developed in the first place. How many genes must have been altered in order to produce this role reversal and how did those gene mutations occur?

It's an interesting question.