The unifying bad idea that undermines all the good aspects of the Democrats' election year platform is their assumption that just because something would be nice to have, government should be who provides it.
In a speech to the Communications Workers of America on Tuesday, Pelosi mentioned Democrats' opposition to outsourcing. She said Democrats will end tax subsidies for companies that send jobs overseas.
Tax subsidies are bad in general, regardless of their effect on outsourcing. Our government should be neutral to such business practices.
To protect workers who want to join unions, Pelosi said Democrats are "fighting" to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, sponsored by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) in the House and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) in the Senate. "The bill will guarantee that when a majority of workers in a company want a union, they will get a union," Pelosi said.
But that's not how liberty works. A "free choice" work environment would be one in which any employees who want to form a union are free to do so, and any employees who don't want to join are free not to. No employee should be forced into a union just because a majority of his peers want one. Furthermore, employers should have the "free choice" to hire union workers or not, depending on market conditions. This is an area the government needs to meddle in less, not more.
Democrats also support an increase in the minimum wage. Pelosi, describing the income of corporate American CEOs as "immoral," used Wal-Mart to make her point:
"I was told that an entry level person at Wal-Mart, who works his or her entire career at Wal-Mart, would make as much as the CEO makes in two weeks. A lifetime of work versus two weeks in the executive suite -- this is not America, this is not fairness, this is not the basis of a strong middle class that is essential for our democracy. We must change that in our country," she said.
It's true that corporate executives are probably paid far more than they're worth, but the people being hurt are the shareholders, not the lower-level employees. Shareholders need to be organized enough to hold their management accountable, and the role for government in this is to ensure that companies are run transparently enough that shareholders can understand and influence what is going on.
America lags behind other countries that have universal broadband deployment, Pelosi said; but the Democrats' agenda "guarantees" that every American will have affordable access to broadband within five years.
"We also believe that the nationwide deployment of high speed, always-on broadband and Internet and mobile communications will fuel the development of millions of new jobs in the United States," Pelosi said.
There's no doubt that widespread access to broadband connectivity would be beneficial to our economy, but why should the federal government provide it? Corporations and local municipalities are already moving in this direction, and with far more efficiency than the federal government could ever dream of. The surest way to stifle this innovation is to put Congress in charge!
Democrats support "energy independence" within ten years; health care for all American within five years; and "dignified retirement" (no privatization of Social Security) through an "AmeriSave" plan.
"Energy independence" without drilling for more oil, building more refineries, or building new nuclear plants? Impossible. Universal health care? Look at Canada or the UK, where the waiting lists for treatments are longer than the life expectancies of the waiters. Most (not all, such as children) uninsured people can afford health insurance but simply choose to spend their money elsewhere, like name-brand clothes and other luxuries. "Dignified retirement" would be a system in which each person provides for their own retirement by saving their own money; there's nothing "dignified" about having the government take care of you.
There isn't much likelihood of the Democrats taking over either branch of Congress this year. This is somewhat unfortunate because the Republicans haven't been any more restrained. I wouldn't mind a Democratic takeover of the House.