Byron York Archives - Shopfloor

Why the Labor-Backed ‘One Nation’ Rally Failed to Measure Up

By | Labor Unions | No Comments

Byron York of The Examiner answers the question of why the “One Nation” rally organized by Big Labor last Saturday failed to match the earlier Glenn Beck Rally.

Because the labor movement is shrinking, aging and divided. Because the best program its leaders (and co-sponsors at the NAACP) could put together was one featuring Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Richard Trumka, Van Jones and Harry Belafonte. And because George W. Bush is no longer in the White House. Put those factors together, and Big Labor’s big march fell flat

York notes several points we cited prior to the march: The public sector unions are growing, the private sector ones shrinking.

In broad terms, the public-sector unions lean farther left, while the private-sector unions still count among their number old-fashioned blue-collar moderates who don’t necessarily want to pay higher taxes to hire more public-sector employees. “The differences between them aren’t violent, angry, screaming differences,” says Fred Siegel, a scholar in residence at New York’s St. Francis College and a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, “but they’re important differences.”

What does a tired and aging movement do? It puts on a program with tired and aging leaders. Sharpton has long ago worn out his welcome among anyone beyond the hard-core Democratic base; the same is true for [Jesse] Jackson. The 83-year-old Belafonte’s appearance at the rally was impressive, but mostly as a vision from an earlier era. Trumka’s appeal does not go beyond the labor movement, and the young gun in the group, Van Jones, left the White House last year amid scandal. It wasn’t exactly an all-star lineup.

Is “impressive” the right term for Belafonte’s remarks? He railed against President Obama and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you were a union member who believes those military efforts are justified, you were out of place at the One Nation rally. If you were a union member who did not support the hard-left “progressive” agenda at the rally, well, why were you there?

Let’s Transition to this Examiner Column about Green Jobs

By | Energy, Global Warming | No Comments

From President Obama’s remarks last night:

The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time, but over the last year and a half, we’ve already taken unprecedented* action to jumpstart the clean energy industry.  As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels.  Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient.  Scientists and researchers are discovering clean energy technologies that someday will lead to entire new industries. 

Good things, conceptually, but do the data match the exhortations? Byron York, Washington Examiner, “Billions for ‘green jobs,’ whatever they are.”

In a June 2 letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, [Sen. Charles] Grassley noted that there was an enormous amount of money in the $862 billion stimulus bill for those still-undefined green jobs.

“According to the administration, the Recovery Act contains more than $80 billion in clean energy funding to promote economic recovery and develop clean energy jobs,” Grassley wrote. “However, it has come to my attention that the [Labor Department] is just now attempting to define what a ‘green job’ is. Interestingly, this comes more than a year after the Recovery Act was signed into law and after millions of dollars in funding have already been distributed for green jobs.”

Since the Labor Department is looking for a definition after spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on green jobs, Grassley asked, then what definition of green jobs did it use when it spent the money? The question applies beyond the Labor Department. What about all the other government agencies that are spending zillions on green jobs? They don’t have a widely accepted definition either.

Looks like the California Manufacturers and Technology Association may provide us more detail about greenery today at a news conference:

Manufacturers and Cal Lutheran University’s Bill Watkins to release green jobs report
Study finds that California’s economy would weaken
if state sacrifices existing job base to reach green job goals

Sacramento, CA — On Wednesday, June 16, at 10:00 a.m. the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA) will hold a statewide media teleconference to release and discuss a green jobs study — The Truth About Green Jobs and California — recently completed by Bill Watkins, Ph.D. of Cal Lutheran University.

The report provides context to recent green job studies and claims, analyzes what has occurred in countries with “green job” mandates, and takes a look at the real costs of green job policies that ignore markets and the need for overall economic growth.

The report will be available online at www.cmta.net/greenjobs.php at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

* Unprecedented! We’re up to 472 uses of the word at www.whitehouse.gov. It’s an unprecedented use of unprecedented.

A Few Press Moves to Know About

By | Media Relations | No Comments

Quin Hillyer has moved from the editorial pages of the Washington Examiner to the Washington Times as a senior editorial writer and columnist. (MediaBistro) At the Examiner, Quin often reported on the role that the trial lawyer industry has in shaping the U.S. economy and political system to the detriment of the consumer, business and economic growth. It’s reporting experience that will be put to good use at the Times, too.

John Hinderaker of the Power Line blog sang The Examiner’s praises last week, “A New Power on the Center Right,” noting its hiring of Michael Barone and Byron York. And it gives column space to Bret Jacobson, too, who is excellent on the topic of labor unions and the damn-its-eyes Employee Free Choice Act. Today, for example, Bret has a column up on the Department of Labor’s gutting of union transparency rules.

Also from MediaBistro, “Reuters has hired James Pethokoukis as the Washington columnist and blogger for Reuters’ new Commentary Service covering the economy and Washington policy.” Pethokoukis has demonstrated a keen understanding of business realities and political cant at his Capital Commerce blog at US News, and we trust the Reuters’ reach will make him even better known.