1994 All Over Again?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 12, 2010


Admittedly, labor unions are going to be prone to exaggerating the negative political effects of any exercise of Rubinomics by the Obama Administration. Still, this is very much of note:

The Democratic Party could see a repeat of its epic electoral defeat in 1994 unless it institutes dramatic changes in economic policy, the leader of the AFL-CIO said Monday.

In a speech at the National Press Club, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said to avoid losing control of the House, the majority party needs to end its coziness with the financial sector and step up and take action for workers.

“In 1992, workers voted for Democrats who promised action on jobs, who talked about reining in corporate greed and who promised healthcare reform. Instead, we got NAFTA, an emboldened Wall Street — and not much more,” Trumka said. NAFTA is a reference to the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.

Union leaders got behind Democrats in 1994 despite their disappointment, but were unable to motivate their members to get out the vote, according to Trumka.

Trumka is, of course, dead wrong on the effect that free trade has had in improving American lives. But the political threat that he has issued is a newsworthy one. It will, of course, stand a greater chance of coming to pass if the Obama Administration goes ahead with its decision to impose a tax on “Cadillac” health plans, which the unions oppose.

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