Creative Destruction

November 15, 2006

What single piece of legislation would you most like to see enacted?

Filed under: Politics — Ampersand @ 4:25 pm

Ezra Klein asks, “What single piece of legislation would you most like to see enacted?”

Ezra’s answer:

I’ll go with Employee Free Choice Act, a bill restoring the right to organize, which is current de facto absent from the polity. It institutes card check, provides new avenues for mediation, and heavily stiffens penalties for illegal unionbusting. As I think all progressive legislation flows from a vibrant union movement, such a bill looks like the first step towards a restoration of progressive governance from which my other policy priorities could be achieved.

Bradford Plumer agrees with Ezra, and expands the argument a bit.

I’m tempted to agree with Brad and Ezra, because Ezra’s right — without a vital union movement, it’s hard to see how any progressive movement can be sustained in the US. I’d also be tempted to advocate a complete overhaul of the US’s electoral system — starting with the elimination of first-past-the-post elections, but also campaign finance — but I’m not sure that can properly be called a “single piece of legislation,” because it would probably require at least two Constitutional amendments.

However, if I had to choose one and only one, I think that I’d instead endorse directing billions of dollars a year towards non-carbon-based energy – meaning wind power, solar power, and nuclear power. It is plausible that we’re very near a point of no return on global warming – we may have only fifteen years to reverse course. There is no single issue that’s more urgent. And I’m not sure that unions — which, understandably, might not be interested in stopping global warming if it means the loss of some current manufacturing jobs ((I think that in the long run, investments in sustainable technology will create jobs. But unions are more concerned with existing jobs than with potential future jobs.)) — are always going to be in the right place on this issue.

So that’s me. You?


1 Comment »

  1. It is not clear to me that the demise of the union movement in the private sector U.S. is primarily legislative in origins. It could be, but fundamental economic factors, like a shift away from manufacturing industries, also seem to play a key role.

    Comment by ohwilleke — November 16, 2006 @ 7:30 pm | Reply

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