It would be a sad day for all Americans if an organized labor group were pulling strings in Congress at the expense of fiscal stability. That is what Trumka's remarks imply. The CBO projected that Medicare and Medicaid will consume 13% of GDP by 2035, up from 5.7% in 2008. These programs are insatiable money-eating monsters. They have to be addressed in a major way before they eat the American economy alive.
Let's hope Trumka is good to his word and even convinces fellow organized labor groups to follow suit. The fewer politicians in a special interest group's back pocket, the better. In the case of organized labor, a lower profile in Washington would serve America particularly well because their entrenched interests are at odds with increasing revenue; the other half of the restoring fiscal stability problem.
Driving revenue means getting people back to work. This is a two-part problem: there are insufficient skills to fill jobs that are already available and there is a need for more jobs.
America's skills problem is an education problem. It's already known that there are poor performing teachers lingering in classrooms around the country. If there are fewer politicians in the back pocket of organized labor, the poor performers can be terminated just like they are in unorganized labor.
How many more times do we need to hear stories like this one from Washington State? Last week, a ninth grade teacher who had been caught with a mini-camera under a student's desk "settled for $16,000" and a commitment from the district not to challenge an application for unemployment benefits. This sounds like one of the Catholic Church's disastrous responses to pedophile priests.
The jobs problem? America could have access to millions of jobs if it gets involved in the global growth party happening in the developing world. To do that, there has to be fewer politicians who don't get that trade is a net jobs producer. This way the nation can get serious about negotiating free trade agreements with key economies, just like our neighbors to the north and south, the European Union to the east and our fiercest competitor, China. Guess what? The politicians who are disillusioned about free trade are the same ones Trumka has his sights on.