The Socialist in the White House: Richard Nixon

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Wednesday, 05 September 2012 04:42

Eduardo Porter has an interesting piece pointing out that in many respects Richard Nixon's economic policy was well to the left of Barack Obama's (no doubt attributable to his Kenyan socialist background). Clearly the center of economic debate has moved well to the right.

Porter attributes much of this shift to the rise of global competition. Increased international competition can help to explain the desire to push down wages of ordinary workers, but it doesn't explain why corporations have not felt the need to push down the wages of their lawyers, the doctors they indirectly pay through employer provided health insurance, or their CEOs. The pay for these groups are hugely out of line with international standards even though there is zero reason to believe that the professionals who fill these jobs in the United States perform their work any better than their peers elsewhere.

The explanation would seem to be that these professionals have been able to secure protection for themselves in ways that autoworkers and textile workers have not. In the case of CEOs, they essentially pay off board members to turn the other way as they pilfer the corporations they run. In short, the end of decent paying jobs for ordinary workers is not due to globalization, it is due to the fact that certain powerful interest groups have been able to use the forces of globalization to their advantage.