Open thread


Why does our favorite free-market extremist have to tie his arguments to a presumption that progressives must be too uninformed to already understand them?  Truly tiresome.


How egotistical.

So what do leftist critics and the incoming Obama administration think about these three critical mistakes?

They don’t seem to have a coherent position on monetary policy.

Because only Republicans can understand Money.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

It's the old Red Herring ploy

Create the illusion of a strawman, pour arrogance all over it, then try to light a match. 

Man I wish I were as smart as the Stagemanager.  To be able to know what "leftist critics" think is truly a remarkable accomplishment.  I don't think what Hood says I think.  Does that mean I'm not a leftist critic?

Ever feel like you've stumbled through the free-market looking glass and landed on the backside of Adam Smith's magic hand?

Why doesn't Hood love mark-to-market?

Since James linked to the whole pile of words, I'll just quote one of my favorite ironies.

Hood writes:

  • "Tell that to the many businesses saddled with massive costs from the Sarbanes-Oxley disaster, which most recently forced banks and other financial services firms into a tailspin of devaluation by mandating unrealistic accounting rules that made their assets look artificially deflated."

Free market advocates should be falling all over themselves in love with Sarbanes-Oxley mark-to-market rules.  However, they twirl against their proclaimed beliefs like a whirly-gig on a windy day in Wilmington when mark-to-market is mentioned.

These accounting rules simply require that an item is booked (valued) at what it is worth at the current time. 

Why in the world would a free-marketeer be opposed to valuing something at what the market dictates? 

Hoods jumps headfirst into this hypocrisy and much more.

Damn the rich and their depreciating assets!  We may actually have to address societies ills and needs if we can't overinflate the value of equities.

Where art thou, true free-marketeers?


"Artificially deflated"?

John. You're killing me. Leave Darren in charge for a few days and take some vacation. Go to the Suk in Tunis and do some haggling. Tell 'em I sent you. On second thought, don't tell them that, or you'll end up spending three times as much as you would have...

Never cease to amaze

The hypocricy of some of these people never ceases to amaze me.  Right now the Senate is voting on an amendment which, if passed, would make every state a "right-to-work" state.  Apparently that whole federalism thing is not a part of conservativsm, but destroying the rights of workers is.

I would say that Isakson should be embarassed, but there is strength in numbers and I am confident in saying that the vast majority of the Republican caucus should hang their head in shame.

"Keep the Faith"

What is the rift here on "Right to Work"?

Here's a "copy and paste" from a website on what the definition is of a Right To Work State:

"law secures the right of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union. However, employees who work in the railway or airline industries are not protected by a Right to Work law, and employees who work on a federal enclave may not be".

I'm confused how this is somehow not something the VAST majority of Americans would support.

What am I missing here?

The best thinking is independent thinking.

Well, when you phrase it that way

it sounds great.  In actual practice, it substantially weakens the ability of unions to negotiate for their members.  Solidarity is what makes unions work, and so-called "right to work" laws - often referred to as "right to work for less" laws - act to divide the membership.


In a right to work state the laws governing unions make it extremely difficult to form a union.  I understand why most people would not support a closed shop system, where people are required to join a union to get a job in places, but the actual on the ground result of right to work laws make it almost impossible for unions to be formed.
The reason is that under a right to work law there is very little actual power behind any contract signed, because a company has the ability to flood the workplace with non-union hires or to fire many of the union members and to do so with a much lower fear of legal action.
Said another way, a right to work state gives employees the right to join a union, so long as they don't expect that union to have any actual power.

"Keep the Faith"

Must not be relating to NC, Blue South

What you've said doesn't apply to North Carolina.

If some other state has that as their provisions...I agree, that's ludicrous and I disagree with it.


The best thinking is independent thinking.

What do you mean?

What part doesn't apply to NC?  Im confused.

"Keep the Faith"

Okay, here's my take

I haven't seen NC as a state where it's "extremely difficult to form a union" because it's a right to work state.

I haven't seen right to work law in NC as giving "very little actual power behind any contract signed.

I haven't seen union shops in NC as giving the companies an "ability to flood the workplace with non-union hires" without explicit sanctions by the union itself.

Now, I do have experience with union representation in NC, as you well know.  I just haven't seen what you're saying.  Maybe there are unions that "allow" that...not sure and I can't speak to other unions...but the things I've seen don't jive with what you're saying.

What is your experience with that?  Have you been involved in unions that actually allow these things?

With a union/company contract....there are contractural agreements here.

The best thinking is independent thinking.

Its not up to the union

The union has no ability to restrict new hires in a state like North Carolina.  And remember that North Carolina has the lowest rate of unionization of any state in the country, so obviously there is something going on.

"Keep the Faith"

Yeah..I understand about unions in NC

Yeah...I know that NC has low labor union representation.  In this light, the state does make it easy for companies to campaign against them and, I've been personally involved in having employees attend mandatory video films specifically produced to put unions in a bad light (I didn't produce them, y'all, so don't go there).  I also know that people that are hired in companies that are represented by a union aren't "required" to join the union once they're hired.  Now, to me, that's a freedom of choice kinda thing.  I'm dead against FORCED unionization.  But, that's just me.  Do you see "card check" as improving union representation in NC?  


The best thinking is independent thinking.

I actually agree

I think closed shops lead to complacency and corruption, neither of which are good for workers.

And, no I dont think the Employee Free Choice Act will be some sort of silver bullet leading to huge amounts of unionization.  I do think though that it will help to level the playing field a little bit, such that we would see an increase in unionization here.  But it would still require a lot of hard work by a lot of workers and union organizers, but its not work that scares me.

"Keep the Faith"

Seems to me that a Right to Work state

Is really just a right to fire for no particular reason state in my experience.

I'm not sure how it relates but during the late 80's something happenend in this state that made piece work by "contract" labor very popular. It translated to employers being able to hire people without giving them any benefits and not even having to pay half the SSI tax. I think hard working folks lost out on that deal because the company dictated all the rules. The ability to unionize is paramount to keeping the power play on an even field.

I've seen some of that as well

Look, before I start getting trashed for being "anti-union", I'm really not, guys.  I know there is value in unionization.  I have problems with some of what unions actually do once they've won representation...but in the long run, there's really many reasons, especially in NC, when the union is needed, especially in industry.

I don't know about what you're saying here.  I have always believed that the employee pays half their SSI contribution, the company pays the other half.  I have never heard that there could be a situation where this state requirement could be changed somehow through some kind of union/company agreement or any other kind of situation.  But, not to say I know everything about this.  Guess that could have been something to do with this "piece work" thingy you're talking about...haven't been involved in that in my won't argue it or question it.

You're right about firing for no specific reason.  That's true.  Of course, there is a right to file a suit for wrongful termination and such, but of course, it's difficult.  Even "Exempt" (management) personnel can be fired for no specific reason in NC.  Just "doesn't fit in" is reason enough.  In my view, hourly folks need better labor laws pertaining to their employment in NC....with or without union representation.  The state doesn't push that because it is a big reason many companies (not all, of course) come here.  If you've ever been in management, you know this makes it sooo much easier to "drive" the workforce. 

Not arguing that, LoftT. 

The best thinking is independent thinking.

Contract workers

Contract workers are effectively treated by the law as being independent business owners.  So if you work for someone they pay 7 1/2% and they take 7 1/2% out of your paycheck.  But if you are an independent worker then you have to pay the full 15%.  This isn't a big deal, and is the way it should work for actual independent contractors.  But it inadvertently creates a loophole used by some companies to avoid payroll taxes, and all sorts of liability issues.

There are all sorts of laws saying what qualifies someone as an independent contractor vs an employee, but I don't know how many violations are actually pursued through a lawyer (it could be a lot or a little, i have no idea)

"Keep the Faith"

Independent contractors

LoftT is talking about employers who treat workers as independent contractors, instead of employees.  I know it happens a lot in the construction industry, even though the workers are not truly "independent" - they are told when, where and how to do their job - by treating them as independent contractors for tax purposes, the "employer" does not have to pay payroll taxes, carry workers comp insurance, or withhold taxes from their pay.  They workers have to file their tax returns including their income as business income on schedule C, and they have to pay self-employment tax - 15.3% of their income, instead of the 7.65 they would pay as employees.

I think both of you are conflating "right to work" with "employment at will."  I believe employment at will is the law in every state.  Absent a written contract, an employee can quit or be fired at any time, for any reason or no reason, with the exception of certain protected categories.  Right to work is the law that disallows union shops.


I just came back to the "real world" following my trip to DC for the Inaugural activities and the DNC Winter meeting.

For one, I like the look of the new'll take me awhile to figure out all the bells and whistles. But, second of all, I hope to start a new website soon (I'm thinking of just doing an additional Facebook site) to post about my DNC activities so I can better communicate what the heck I'm doing as your national committeeman! I hope to do mostly video uploads, but despite being 28, I'm not sure I know how to You the Tube. But me and my trusty HP Pavilion laptop will figure it out somehow. Certainly have posted some DC pics on my personal Facebook site for anyone interested.

Suffice to say, re: Inauguration...great time. Re: DNC meeting, I'm hopeful about DNC Chair Gov. Kaine but looking forward to hearing the details of the new State Partnership Program aka 50-state strategy. Now I have to play law skool catch-up tonight and more details to come! I hope everyone plans to come to the Jan. 31 State Executive Committee (SEC) meeting in Raleigh!

Very cool

the site sounds awesome.  let us know when its live.

"Keep the Faith"


I love the new look guys.  It's amazing how far BlueNC has come in the 2 years since I started coming here.  I have one little suggestion - you should try to have the posts spaced out a little more.  They are too close together and it does not easily lend itself to quick reading.

Once again though, love the new site. 

I see a need for enforcing labor laws me I think that with all the labor laws in force, we need better enforcement and less catering to companies.  Like I said before...loose labor enforcement has become commonplace here because it is seen as something that brings in industry.  You appear to be someone that knows how it works, so to speak.  If you were a CEO and were looking for a location to expand your business/company/industry....wouldn't "loose" laws pertaining to hiring and firing be of interest to you?  I'm not promoting this...just presenting the "whys and wherefores". 

NC is such a place currently.

The best thinking is independent thinking.