Krugman Does Not Share Labor's Share
Edward Lambert, 11/19/13, on Angry Bear
I wondered about that labor market blindness myself. Right now the economy seems like a carburetor that is flooded with gas -- to much fuel for the amount of air available to burn it -- the end result of giving too much money to who the Republicans call the "job creators"; to people who (WONT) invest in new factories and new stores while old ones lay idle -- the fuel and the air both being made of the same things in economics (dollars).
Lately it has occurred to me that Democratic politicians could RAISE enormous POLITICAL CAPITAL by loudly hawking the $15 an hour minimum wage and re-unionizing America (via legally mandated, sector-wide labor agreements; start with supermarket and airline workers who would kill for that) even if they failed in to get the whole thing at once (initially).
But, the big barrier for our would be progressives (pols and profs) seems to be their failure to notice us poor working folks in the first place -- as you note!
This is especially wasteful because labor market reform today -- unlike civil rights in the 60s -- would have no down political side for progressive politicians. I was just reading how JFK lost the needed votes of all the Southern Democrats on all his other progressive issues (Medicare, minimum wage) when he took on civil rights.
No disincentive of that kind exists here. Most of the country will dive head first into doubling the minimum wage and legally establishing centralized collective bargaining (as it is called in Europe). Even if the public cannot see going the whole way (at first) it will make them see Democratic politicians as their heroes (for the first time in a very long time).
What we are talking here is a CULTURAL CHANGE in EXPECTATIONS of how society is supposed to perform -- something that is impossible for many good guys like JFK and the CLINTONS and Obama to achieve while holding high political office. All these "good guys" seem to be skilled at is re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic -- not so true of some other good guys like TR, FDR and Truman; some got it, some don't.
CULTURAL CHANGE often must be brought by non-politician Martin Luther King types who are not frozen in the old culture by fear of political tradeoffs somewhere else.
But reforming the American labor market today (by leaps and bounds and not deck chair arranging) would uniquely have no political trade off somewhere else (which today paralyzes the re-arranging set) but would be a CULTURAL CHANGE that practical politicians are actually in the best position to lead -- because it helps most people and would be popular even if most people did not buy into the whole package right away (though they well might!).
But first there is the Krugman, Obama core problem that you point out: they don't know -- notice that -- we exist.