I’m in Paris, attending (and writing about) a conference in honor of Tony Judt, sponsored by The New York Review of Books. I am without wireless, and so am literally posting this from my Blackberry.
I must, therefore, be brief.
My new "Think Again" column takes up some of the holes of Jon Stewart’s critique of Fox News, as well as the overall lameness of Chris Wallace’s response, and can be found here.
One more thing. Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact. But sometimes we can recall, and appreciate, all that we miss. Here are three places to enjoy, and appreciate the magic and the majesty of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, featuring the big man on sax, here, here and here.
Now here’s Reed:
Take Down the Union, Jack
I’m not sure what persuaded the New York Times to run this thinly veiled hit piece on public union pensions this past Wednesday, but if you read this lengthy story by Charles Duhigg you’ll come across more than a few right-wing talking points, glaring omissions, and misleading financial numbers. What’s even more surprising is that its author, Duhigg, was among a team of Times reporters that produced “The Reckoning,” a 2008 Pulitzer Prize-finalist series on the roots of the recent financial meltdown, yet Wall Street’s gross incompetence gets no mention as the proximate cause of much of the ongoing public pension shortfalls.
Instead, right upfront, we get the not-so-subtle framing that public unions essentially enjoy an inherent conflict of interest when dealing with their management counterparts:
But public workers have a unique relationship with elected officials, because government employees are effectively negotiating with bosses whom they can campaign to vote out of office if they don’t get what they want. Private unions, in contrast, don’t usually have the power to fire their members’ employers.
This “unique relationship” framing has become a fundamental plank in conservative opposition to public sector unions. So much so, that David Brooks might suggest to Duhigg that the latter buy the next round at the bar for so closely appropriating the language of an anti-union Brooks column from this past February:
Private sector unions confront managers who have an incentive to push back against their demands. Public sector unions face managers who have an incentive to give into them for the sake of their own survival. Most important, public sector unions help choose those they negotiate with. Through gigantic campaign contributions and overall clout, they have enormous influence over who gets elected to bargain with them, especially in state and local races.