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    FDR and the Lessons of the Depression
    Higher taxes on capital and increased union power led to the 1937 economic slide.

    Meanwhile, after the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, union membership rose to about 25% in 1938 from about 12% in 1934. The increase in unionization was fostered by the sit-down strike.

    In late 1936 and early 1937, for example, members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) occupied a General Motors auto body plant in Flint, Mich. Without auto bodies, production plummeted, and the company was forced to settle the strike and recognize the union.

    The GM strike effectively unionized the auto industry, as UAW membership rose more than 15-fold the following year to about 500,000 members. Just the threat of a sit-down strike by steelworkers led to a unionized U.S. Steel in 1937. An unprecedented increase in union power increased manufacturing wages by nearly 10% between 1936 and 1938, which increased costs and reduced employment.

    There are important parallels between the tax and labor policies of FDR and those of President Obama. As in the 1930s, tax rates on capital income will be rising sharply with the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. Beginning in 2011, dividends will be taxed as ordinary income with rates increasing up to 39.6% for many taxpayers, more than double the current 15% rate. The capital gains tax rate will rise to 20% from 15%.

    And like FDR, Mr. Obama has advanced unionization through his recess appointments to the NLRB and his support for “card check,” a provision in the controversial Employee Free Choice Act that would allow unions to organize without holding a secret ballot vote.

    Comment by dscott — December 11, 2012 @ 9:11 am

  2. [...] At the WSJ on Right to Work: Great Editorial with a Perfect Headline [...]

    Pingback by At the WSJ on Right to Work: Great Editorial with a Perfect Headline | PERSUASION IN INK — December 11, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

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