Friday, March 09, 2007

Can One be Anti Union and Egalitarian

Mickey Kaus is neither and Matthew Yglesias says that he is, at least, coherant. I respond

I don't have any idea why Kaus insists on calling himself a liberal (if indeed he still does I haven't kept up with his development over the past decade or so). However, I think it is easy to be anti-union and egalitarian. Even if one rejects unions, there is another path to increased equality -- increased progressivity of taxes. What is wrong with that approach ? Hmm is it politically impossible ? Doesn't seem so, so long as the middle class gets tax cuts, increased progressivity is about as popular a policy as there is (recall 60% wanted to eliminate the FICA ceiling and that is a pure tax increase). I think any politician who stakes out a clear class war soak the rich position will win the White House. Odd that none do.

Would an increase in taxes on the rich have huge economic costs ? Sure doesn't look that way from the cases of the Clinton tax increase, the Bush tax cuts, the relative performance of the economy under Reagan and under Eisenhower and, I could go on, but you (Matt) have done so at some length here already.

So what's the problem ? I think unions are important because they help workers and managers interact as more nearly equals in power. They do promote equality, however, there are feasible highly popular policies which can do much more to reduce inequality.

I don't know why there is not a movement for increased progressivity. I suspect it is because Fred Hiatt would disapprove.


Anonymous said...

June 11, 1975

'Love and Death' Is Grand Woody Allen

Boris Grushenko (Woody Allen), the most reluctant Russian patriot ever to take up an arm against Napoleon, sits in his prison cell awaiting execution. At the instigation of his wife, Sonja (Diane Keaton), the sort of young woman who likes to debate moral imperatives, Boris had plotted the assassination of the French general and gotten caught.

Boris, like Sonja, is of philosophical bent. As death approaches, as it has been doing throughout his life, Boris muses: "Every man has to go sometime . . . but I'm different. I have to go at 6 A.M. It was 5 A.M., but I have a good lawyer."

"Love and Death," which opened yesterday at the Sutton and Paramount Theaters, is Woody Allen's grandest work. It's the film (as he said somewhere) that God tried to stop, a sweeping, side-splitting spectacle of Europe at war, of clashing armies and of Boris's puny attempts to remain neutral, if not to evade the draft. At the height of one battle, Boris hid in the muzzle of a cannon.

"Love and Death" is Woody's "War and Peace," written in English by Woody Allen, which may or may not be a nom de plume for the late Constance Garnett, and filmed on locations where it all did not happen, in Hungary and France. It's Woody's homage to Tolstoy, Kierkegaard, Eisenstein, Groucho Marx, Bob Hope and maybe even Robert Z. Leonard. It looks terrific. You might say that it looks like a million, except that is probably a million or so less than it cost.

Besides being one of Woody's most consistently witty films, "Love and Death" marks a couple of other advances for Mr. Allen as a film maker and for Miss Keaton as a wickedly funny comedienne. Miss Keaton here plays a warped kind of Natasha. At first she is married to a rich, elderly, odiferous herring merchant while happily carrying on with most of St. Petersburg's available males, and then, after a brief widowhood, she becomes Boris's wife, who loves him as if he were a brother.

"Sex without love is an empty experience," she solemnly tells Boris when he first makes advances. Boris ponders that a moment and suggests, "But as empty experiences go, it's one of the best." ...


Anonymous said...

Also, I will read Mark Kleinman for a while since you praise him, but I do not find him poleasing so far.