8:00 AM, May 3, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
The Washington Examiner is up with a five part special report on "the rise and current decline of organized labor in America: How unions lost touch with the workplace and their own members." It's authored by Sean Higgins, one of the best reporters on the labor beat. Union politics can be complicated, and the introductory piece on "Big Labor's identity crisis" is an excellent place to start:
For decades, “union man” meant hard hats, lunch pails and blue-collar jobs for millions of American autoworkers, machinists and coal miners.
A union job meant good pay and benefits, but it also promised lots of hard work and, in many cases, a real possibility of being injured.
Back in the 1950s, when U.S. manufacturing dominated the world, one of every three American workers carried a union card.
Unions were taken for granted as a part of American life. Their leaders could even be bipartisan when the occasion required working with political leaders on both sides of the aisle.
Not today. Big Labor represents far fewer workers, and its leaders are closely tied to the Democratic Party. Half of the nation's unionists are white-collar government employees, not private sector workers.
Union membership has been sliding for years, with only 14.5 million people now in a union, or about 11.3 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
You can read the rest of the series here.
9:00 AM, Dec 15, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
The Washington Examiner comes out today and, in a bit of a surprise, endorses Mitt Romney for president:
The District of Columbia continues to lose money on the Nats.1:45 PM, Jun 2, 2010 • By MICHAEL WARREN
At the Washington Examiner today, David Freddoso explains the faulty logic in the D.C. Council's justification for the heavily-subsidized Nationals Park:
Why all eyes are on the lefty Firedoglake.5:38 PM, Mar 17, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
I have no idea what Firedoglake means, but I do know it's an influential left-wing website that hosts one of the better health care reform whip counts. As Byron York reports:
Republicans feel it is accurate, particularly in this sense: They believe that no Democratic lawmaker who is definitely planning to vote yes on the bill would want the activists on the left, in this case exemplified by Firedoglake, to believe he or she is still undecided. Why take a beating for nothing?
The current count at FDL is 205 Yes, 209 No, including leaners. That jibes with other whip counts showing health care reform's future up for grabs.
A major factor in the upcoming vote is the CBO score of the reconciliation bill. The number isn't out yet, not because math is hard but because Democrats are manipulating the numbers to get a good result. Yet word is spreading that health care reform's price-tag is still tremendously expensive. As the saying goes: Know hope.
10:42 AM, Mar 5, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Mark Hemingway reports:
At least 27 Democratic members of the House of Representatives have sent to charities $378,000 in campaign donations from scandal-plagued Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., since Feb. 28.
Congress disputes the White House's sunny rhetoric.9:05 AM, Feb 3, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Commentators who are convinced the Obama health bill still stands a chance of becoming law won't like Susan Ferrechio's Washington Examiner report on yesterday's Senate Democratic caucus meeting. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan said health care didn't even come up; "There was a lot of discussion obviously on jobs and what's happening with that."
The only hope for supporters of the bill is that the House will somehow miraculously pass the Senate legislation, leaving the Senate to pass "fixes" through the reconciliation process, which requires only a majority vote. But House passage requires 218 votes -- votes Nancy Pelosi does not have. And is it really likely she'll get them as the midterm election approaches?
John Kerry has the answer: "I don't know if that is achievable," he said yesterday. "I guess I feel the imperatives of doing nothing are very powerful and therefore I'm hopeful that in the end, common sense is going to win out. But I don't want to put odds on it. This is Washington."
He does not sound like a confident man.
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Speaker Pelosi.5:13 PM, Jan 29, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
President Obama supports a three-year freeze on non-defense discretionary spending. The plan is likely to pass despite liberal opposition. The Speaker of the House of Representatives -- remember: she is second-in-line to assume the presidency -- says she would only back the freeze if it applied to defense spending, as well. You don't need me to say this is a ridiculous idea. Here's Sen. Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan: "That's kind of hard to do in the middle of a war." Not to mention incredibly unwise.
What makes Levin's utterance the Quote of the Day (So Far!)? It's not only that he slapped down Pelosi's foolishness. It's the way he did it--usually liberals reserve such condescension for conservatives alone!
Susan Ferrechio's piece in the Washington Examiner is worth reading in full, because it shows the widespread divisions emerging in the Democratic party: between leadership and rank-and-file, between House and Senate, between liberals and moderates and conservatives. Such arguments are unlikely to disappear as long as unemployment persists, the public remains divided on the president's performance, and Democrats are unable to pass legislation that (a) the public actually wants and (b) delivers tangible public goods.
"Democracy in a nation of 300 million people can be noisy and messy and complicated," President Obama said in his State of the Union Address this week. Did he not realize that until now? At least the lesson is beginning to sink in. Because things are about to get noisier, messier, and a lot more complicated.
Bernanke's not the only member of the Obama economic team in trouble.2:54 PM, Jan 27, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner was president of the New York Federal Reserve when the government nationalized insurance giant AIG and paid counter-parties to the company's credit default swaps 100 cents on the dollar. That was in 2008. In January 2010, taxpayers have poured $180 billion into AIG (so far!) and Congress has uncovered evidence that the Fed did not disclose the full details of its interactions with AIG counter-parties such as Goldman Sachs. Here's GOP congressman Darrell Issa of California in the Washington Examiner:
Many financial experts expected AIG to negotiate with the counterparties for a discounted rate, thus achieving the best possible deal for U.S. taxpayers. Instead, the New York Fed arranged to pay full price in what amounted to a backdoor bailout of large financial companies. Aware that the bailout details would anger taxpayers, the Fed applied pressure on AIG to keep the details quiet and out of all SEC filings
Evidence obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee now demonstrates that officials at the New York Fed ordered AIG officials not to disclose details about the decision to pay the counterparties the full price.
To facilitate the cover up, the Fed instructed the Special Investigator General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), Neil Barofsky, not to release documents to the Committee that would aid an ongoing investigation.
Geithner went to the Hill this morning to answer questions about AIG. Needless to say, the meeting wasn't amicable. Geithner is a lot more comfortable around rich bankers than he is around the people's representatives.
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