Is this guy a Presidential candidate from a major party, or a fringe nut? He sounds like Rush Limbaugh. HuffPo: Mitt Romney: Obama ‘Takes Marching Orders From Union Bosses’,

Speaking to a crowd at a campaign stop in Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday, presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney took a swipe at both President Barack Obama and organized labor, saying the president “takes his marching orders” from unions that cost American jobs.

“Liberalism once taught that unions would ensure lasting prosperity for workers,” Romney said at Lansing Community College. “Instead, they too often contributed to disappearing companies, disappearing industries and disappearing jobs. But like many politicians of the past, President Obama takes his marching orders from union bosses, rails against right-to-work states, fights to win union elections by eliminating the vote by secret ballot, and even denies an American company the right to build a factory in the American state of its choice.”

When People Have A Say

People who follow Romney’s line of reasoning think that we need to be more “business friendly” with low wages, low benefits, low environmental protections and low taxes on the rich so we can compete with countries like China. Here’s the thing, in countries like China the people don’t have a say. When people have a say they say that they want higher wages, benefits, good schools, environmental protections and the rest of the prosperity that democracy brings to all the people, instead of huge amounts accumulating in the hands of just a few people.

Unions Drove Wages And Benefits Up

Romney’s argument that unions “contributed to disappearing companies, disappearing industries and disappearing jobs” is based on the idea that unions drove wages and benefits up. He believes that good wages and benefits — namely US — are a “cost” instead of the reason that We, the People decided to develop the body of laws that allow corporations to exist, to use our infrastructure and educated people and laws and courts and police and all the other “public structures” as a foundation for doing business. We, the People did that so that we — all of us — could benefit. All of us, not just a few of us.

In that respect Romney is correct, unions and democracy brought us higher pay, benefits, “the weekend,” vacations, 40-hour workweeks and things like that. Before unions came along to enforce the idea of democracy we didn’t, after unions we did. Before unions we had 12-hours a day workdays, seven days a week. Before unions we had low pay. Before unions we had no benefits. Before unions we didn’t get vacations. Before unions we could be fired for no reason. Unions are why we have had a middle class.

Unions enforce the concept of democracy. Yes, We, the People were supposed to be in charge. Yes, the economy was supposed to be for our benefit. Why else would We, the People allow corporations to exist in the first place? But it was unions that gave people the power to enforce that idea.

Laying People Off, Cutting Wages, Pocketing That Money For Himself

Romney made his fortune buying up companies (not, by the way, using his own money, but using the companies’ own assets as collateral for the loans to buy them with). Then Romney fired many of the workers, making the rest do the extra work. He cut wages and benefits for the rest and then pocketed that money for himself. This is the guy who says that good wages and benefits is what puts companies out of business. In other words, Romney is saying that the problem with our economy is that we have a middle class. Romney wants America to be more “business-friendly.”

Romney hates unions. They get in the way of doing business they way business was done “When Mitt Romney Came To Town:

According to the Christian Science Monitor, this is the story of what happened to the workers in one company when the Romney/Bain machine “came to town”:

The new owner, American Pad & Paper, owned in turn by [Mitt Romney's] Bain Capital, told all 258 union workers they were fired, in a cost-cutting move. Security guards hustled them out of the building. They would be able to reapply for their jobs, at lesser wages and benefits, but not all would be rehired.

Outsourcing jobs to places where people don’t have a say so they can’t demand good wages, firing people and making them reapply for their jobs but at half the pay, gutting people’s benefits, stripping companies, treating employees like throwaway Kleenex, closing factories, stealing pensions, borrowing and pocketing… Locust capitalism. Chop shops. That’s Mitt Romney’s view of how to make money. Unions are in the way.

What Is Business-Friendly?

Some quick thoughts about what “business-friendly” really means: (add your own thoughts in the comments)

Business-friendly =

Low wages
Longer hours
No health benefits
No pensions
No vacations
No sick pay
Low taxes on the wealthy and their corporations
“Smaller government,” — which means less “We, the People” in charge of things:

    No safety rules
    No privacy rules
    No food inspections
    No environmental protections
    No consumer protections
    No citizen access to courts
    Tort “reform” which means restricted access to courts

So what are your thoughts on this argument that we need to be more “business-friendly?” What does the phrase even mean? And what happens to the idea that We, the People have an economy for our own benefit?

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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About the Author

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson (Redwood City, CA) is a Fellow at Campaign for America's Future, writing about American manufacturing, trade and economic/industrial policy. He is also a Senior Fellow with Renew California. Dave has more than 20 years of technology industry experience including positions as CEO and VP of marketing. His earlier career included technical positions, including video game design at Atari and Imagic. And he was a pioneer in design and development of productivity and educational applications of personal computers. More recently he helped co-found a company developing desktop systems to validate carbon trading in the US.

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