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ALEC AND THE ECONOMY

December 11, 2019

ALEC AND THE ECONOMY

ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Committee, formed in 1973) has done a good job in writing up model legislation for Republican politicians who crow that it is their own while waving the flag and putting down labor and liberals as socialists in order to soften public opinion when the resulting bills are heading up for committee hearing, and there appear little countervailing models from underfunded labor unions and liberals to stanch such a well-funded torrent of money and propaganda designed to align public opinion with corporate bottom lines.

Its plan is working. Powell’s infamous memorandum to his friend (a vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) in 1971 opened the door for the formation of such a right wing lobbying group as ALEC a few years later which, when added to the subsequent election of union-hating Reagan in a perfect trifecta marked the end of the New Deal, an era when wage increases matched the Dow. Right to work laws then proliferated, and net corporate profits zoomed (along with the Dow) with ALEC tax shielding amendments to the internal revenue code while median wages for minimum wage earners (as adjusted for inflation) have actually gone down for the last forty years,  thus leading to a crippling externality to aggregate demand in which consumer demand represents 70 percent of the economy and is the arbiter of economic growth.

So what to do? Elect Democrats to state legislatures, repeal right to work laws, send ALEC’s efforts back to their writers, and in general create a legislative atmosphere more favorable to labor via a doubling of the minimum wage (a wage that hasn’t been increased for a full decade) etc. Can’t be done? That’s what Republicans said when FDR came up with the Wagner Act, the Social Security Act, an end to bank runs, etc. With a drastic change in legislative personnel in state houses around the country, we can match or exceed the success ALEC has enjoyed since 1973 by making this economy work for all of us, not just corporate shareholders and executives. So when do we make our move? Yesterday.        GERALD          E

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