Government-Defined Patriotism

By February 12, 2008Taxation, Trade

An interview in The Nation’s blog with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH):

I’ve talked to Barack a lot about his Patriot Corporation Act, which is not trade per se, but it’s certainly part of the economic package around globalization. The Patriot Corporation Act has not gotten the attention that I would hope it would. But, basically it says that if you play by the rules, if you pay decent wages, health benefits, pension; do your production here; don’t resist unionization on neutral card check, then you will be designated a “Patriot Corporation” and you will get tax advantages and some [preference] on government contracts.

There is so much here that’s profoundly objectionable. On card check, it’s “patriotic” to support the elimination of the secret ballot in the workplace? It’s “patriotic” to pay an employee $14 an hour, but not $13.83? Play by the rules? What does that mean?

The most striking offense here is the idea that the federal government would be defining patriotism, company by company. And if the federal government defines a company as a patriot, than it will be defining — if only by omission — the companies that are not patriots.

A terrible, terrible idea.

UPDATE (1:50 p.m.): Welcome, Instapundit and Jonah Goldberg readers, and thanks to them both. The bill Sen. Brown is talking about is S. 1945, introduced last August by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), with Brown and Obama as cosponsors. Sen. Durbin’s office issued a news release at the time.

BTW, Sen. Brown is the keynote speaker tomorrow at a manufacturing-oriented event sponsored by the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute, “An Agenda for Shared Prosperity” forum. Does shared prosperity demand shared patriotism?

Join the discussion 22 Comments

  • DirtCrashr says:

    Yes indeed, and it was considered an enlightened and “Progressive” means of Government that restore Social Equality, would lift-up everybody, protect everybody, guarantee everybody all the same things in the name of Fairness. Funny I never read about “fairness” in the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

    Usually during implementation there’s a funny catch though, and a couple million wind up incarcerated or dead – or both.

  • Aaron says:

    What’s worse, is that this could set up a blackmail situation where politicians can essentially demand donations or “revoke” a company’s “patriot” status.

  • Claire says:

    Yes, it does- and would that name be fascism?

  • DirtCrashr says:

    A very similar (almost exactly similar) program of government rewards and regulatory interactions with companies and corporations was implemented in “post-Weimar” Germany in the 30’s – this behavior has a specific name.

  • Don Winans says:

    To M. Simon: It ends with “Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuehrer”

  • This story was the lead at a daily news blog under the headline: “Obama: Patriotism means union-only.”

    Readers of this blog will really enjoy The Union News:


  • Your Majesty says:

    Sen. Brown is right about one thing: this legislation has not received enough publicity.

  • Rich says:

    It sounds better in the original German…

  • M. Simon says:

    Well we have already have Ein Volk. The Unity Candidate will bring us together.

    If this is any indication Ein Reich is well on the way.

    Any body know how that slogan ends?

  • Valjean says:

    Ah, the endgame of regulation: “if you play by the rules …” You know: OUR rules.

    Philosophically, this has absolutely nothing to do with patriotism. Merely a mask for “let’s strong-arm corporations into giving goodies to our major constituencies.”

    Pragmatically, Japan tried this govt/corporate paddycake about 20 years ago. Growth went into the toilet for about a decade.

  • lcp says:

    Card check is effectively the elimination of the secret ballot for union voting. A union member(or prospective member) is ostensibly given the “right” to complete his ballot in his own home, rather than at the factory. The difference is that once the worker completes the “card” at home, he is forced to give it to the union rep (or some nominally independent auditor (called “neutral” card check)) who then matches a name with a ballot and – applying ZERO peer pressure – verifies in front of a crowd of that workers’ peers, whether he “really” wants to reject the union. Because, you never know those propsective union guys and how they vote…you need to “check” to make sure they’ve voted the “right” way. How else can you make certain you get the result the union wants?

    All you really need to know is that democrat politicians and union leaders know full well that when given a secret ballot, workers overwhelmingly reject unions. So, rather than accept the will of the vast majority of modern workers, the democrats have spent the last 25+ years looking for ways to eliminate the secret ballot without actually coming out against the secret ballot. Which is why they use terms like “card check” and “neutral card check” and describe their ideas in politico-speak, rather than just using plain english to say “we’re eliminating the secret ballot, because we’re sick of losing when the voting is fair-and-square.”

  • Carter says:

    Card check refers to the signing of affiliation or signature cards as a means of joining a union.

    Under current law, if a union wants to organize a business, they collect enough signatures to require a secret-ballot election of the workers.

    Under the Employee Free Choice Act, that election would be replaced by “card check” — if the unions collected enough signature cards (50 percent plus one), the union would be recognized. No election, no secret ballots.

    The card check process invites strong-arming and abuse.

    You can read more about the process by searching for “Employee Free Choice Act” in the NAM blog.

  • MarkJ says:

    I suppose Prince Precious hasn’t yet figured out that many “brilliant ideas,” such as his, have developed bad cases of “mission creep.”

    RICO, anybody?

  • TomB says:

    Can someone please explain what “card check” actually means? I tried to look it up, but the definition is so couched in politico-speak that I can’t make heads or tails out of it.

  • David says:

    I’m sure the Feds have some old blue NRA “We Do Our Part” eagles they can start mailing out to corporations who comply.

  • ic says:

    The conservatives would rather vote for a Democrat than McCain!

  • Korla Pundit says:

    Isn’t it Democrats who constantly whine “How dare you question my patriotism”?

  • MagicalPat says:

    Isn’t the Patriot Corporation Act just another version of corporate welfare that we are told the Dems are soooo against?

  • Brian says:

    Even for Sen. Empty Suit, this is stunningly dumb legislation.

  • Bruno says:

    This is merely another example of the creeping unification of interests between Big Union, Big Business, and Big Government.

    Some one has to awaken the American electorate to this trend, regardless of ideological stripe.

    Such ideas are antithetical to a free society, and it won’t be as if every craven corporate pig won’t cave in exchange for “favorable treatment.”

  • Real American says:

    Why stop at corporations? Why not cities or states or individuals? If cities enforce immigration laws, they are not patriotic. If politicians don’t bend over for unions, they are not patriotic. If states vote for a Republicans, they are not patriotic.

  • Bill Clinton says:

    [T]here is nothing patriotic about hating your country, or pretending that you can love your country but despise your government.

Leave a Reply