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A good day for labor unions

I've noted in recent weeks that labor unions haven't been having such a good time of it in the Obama era. It's been better than the Bush era, of course, but the White House hasn't been as staunch an ally as some unions had hoped.

But the movement got good news this week when Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) was named chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. The Ways and Means Committee is essentially the Finance Committee of the House, with jurisdiction over most money issues (though Energy and Commerce share some of those powers). And Levin is one of labor's most committed allies, particularly on the trade and tax issues where Democratic administrations are often skeptical of Labor's agenda. And given that all those questions ultimately run through Congress, having a friend chairing Ways and Means gives labor a lot more leverage with the White House.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 5, 2010; 10:37 AM ET
 
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Comments

Obama has been carrying out the Union model of success into the American political system.

He is creating generous entitlement programs to meet the demands of his constituents regardless of what is does to the long-term fiscal sustainability of the nation as a whole.

Union leaders should be proud of Obama! He will fundamentally transform the USA in the same way that UAW fundamentally transformed GM!


A great day for Unions indeed.

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | March 5, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, I see you have a dinner invitation from the lovely Hannah of ACORN fame. Come on! Take her up on it and throw a bone to us old fantasy lovers by telling us how it goes.

Posted by: bobsteph1234 | March 5, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, I don't think it's accurate to say that Ways and Means has jurisdiction over most money issues. Its jurisdiction is over all revenue issues, and I don't believe it shares any of that jurisdiction with Energy and Commerce. The two committees do share jurisdiction over health care, with Ways and Means covering Medicare and Commerce and Energy handling programs supported from general revenues. The Appropriations Committee obviously has jurisdiction over spending.

Posted by: thehersch | March 5, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

A good day for labor unions...is a bad day for just about everyone else. Why is it permissible for a union to serve as a monopoly provider of labor to a company?

Posted by: staticvars | March 5, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

What staticvars said

"And Levin is one of labor's most committed allies, particularly on trade"

Ugh. Trade is one of many issues where labor is just completely off-base, at the expense of the rest of us and our economy

Posted by: ab13 | March 5, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

This guy is from Michigan and he actually likes unions? What?

Posted by: justin84 | March 5, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

FastEddieO007: "[Obama] is creating generous entitlement programs to meet the demands of his constituents regardless of what is does to the long-term fiscal sustainability of the nation as a whole."

I completely agree with you about his bankster bailouts - he's continuing the Bush policies.

Labor unions? Why bother talking about such small potatoes.

Posted by: alex50 | March 5, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

ab13: "Trade is one of many issues where labor is just completely off-base, at the expense of the rest of us and our economy."

Yes, it's beneficial to run enormous trade deficits and tolerate China's currency manipulation, tariffs and other import barriers. How narrowly self-interested for labor to think otherwise.

Posted by: alex50 | March 5, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

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