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Did Harold Meyerson Really Just Compare Toyota to a Slave Owner?

Posted By Conn Carroll On December 31, 2008 @ 10:18 am In Economics | Comments Disabled

Judge for yourself. Meyerson writes [1] today:

If Abraham Lincoln were still among the living as he prepared to turn 200 six weeks from now, he might detect in the congressional war over the automaker bailouts a strong echo of the war that defined his presidency. Now as then, the conflict centered on the rival labor systems of North and South. Now as then, the Southerners championed a low-wage, low-benefits system while the North favored a more generous one. And now as then, what sparked the conflict was the North’s fear of the Southern system becoming the national norm. Or, as Lincoln put it, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

But, just as Lincoln predicted, the United States was bound to have one labor system prevail, and the debate over the General Motors and Chrysler bailout was really a debate over which system — the United Auto Workers’ or the foreign transplant factories’ — that would be. Where the parallel between periods breaks down, of course, is in partisan alignment. Today’s congressional Republicans are hardly Lincoln’s heirs. If anything, they are descendants of Jefferson Davis’s Confederates.

No one is forcing auto workers in Kentucky and Alabama to do anything they do not want to do. To compare their current gainful employment to slavery just shows how completely intellectually bankrupt organized labor’s defenders are.

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[1] writes: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/30/AR2008123002397.html

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