Becker: Save Unions by “Restraining Freedom of Capital”

posted at 11:20 am on May 6, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

The NLRB has been taking a lot of heat lately, including right here, and has been ever since President Obama began stocking up the membership with folks who, shall we say, might not have had the most unbiased opinions regarding labor unions and employers. Among them, few have raised more eyebrows than Craig Becker. Those with good memories will recall that Becker’s nomination was rejected in the Senate, with the president subsequently putting him in place via a recess appointment.

The Daily Caller has been doing a bit more digging and come up with some of Becker’s early writing during his days with the Harvard Law Review. I’m sure this is going to make the make the man more popular than ever in some circles.

Old law review articles obtained by The Daily Caller that were authored by Becker further inflame the already heated debate. “The right to engage in concerted activity that is enshrined in the Wagner Act – even when construed in strictly contractual terms – implicitly entails legal restraint of the freedom of capital,” he wrote in the January 1987 edition of the Harvard Law Review. “What threatens to eviscerate labor’s collective legal rights, therefore, is less the common law principle of individual liberty than the mobility of capital, which courts have held immune from popular control.”

Workforce Fairness Institute spokesman Fred Wszolek said Becker’s old law school article is worrisome, given the degree of influence Becker has on the economy and on future labor policy.

“To learn that a member of President Obama’s labor board believes that the United States should somehow control or restrain the freedom of capital, or that the mobility of capital not being under ‘popular control’ is somehow a threat to Big Labor is simply not consistent with core American values,” Wszolek said in an email to TheDC. “The fact that Craig Becker will be one of the board members deciding whether the complaint against Boeing has any merit is something that should alarm every taxpayer and business in this nation concerned with jobs and the economy.”

I’m not sure if that quote was lifted line for line straight out of Marx, but I’ll confess there’s a definite similarity in style. So it’s not hard to see why some of the NLRB’s critics are looking to hang this particular piece of dirty laundry out on the line just as the fight over Boeing’s expansion in South Carolina is heating up.

But the analysis from Bill Wilson contained in the article is worth a look. What Becker seems to be arguing in his early works is essentially an admission that unions might not be able to survive in a modern capitalist society on their own merit, and therefore need the direct and forceful intervention of the federal government to provide an assured outcome, rather than a true “collective bargaining” environment between equal parties. And, perhaps even more obviously, arguing against the “free flow of capital” in an open, capitalist society is somewhat troubling, no?

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Is it time for new McCarthy hearings yet?

tim c on May 6, 2011 at 11:27 AM

What is most amusing is that Marx knew his theory was created as a joke – a thin veneer to cover the true goal of dictatorship.

One must read carefully – ‘Dictatorship of the proletariat’ is not the same thing as dictatorship by the proletariat.

Vashta.Nerada on May 6, 2011 at 11:28 AM

hang this particular piece of dirty laundry out on the line

Can’t say it any better than that. Him and Solomon both.

Hey, hey!
Ho, ho!
Craig Becker’s
Got to go!

petefrt on May 6, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Didn’t these goofballs basically make unions obsolete with their own expansion of government. Since we have organizations like OSHA, NLRB, Department of Labor, etc., unions aren’t necessary. I’m having a lot of trouble working up any sympathy for any other than the unemployed.

Cindy Munford on May 6, 2011 at 11:30 AM

rather than a true “collective bargaining” environment between equal parties.

To be equal, the company should be allowed to immediately hire new workers to replace those that resigned in mass.

WashJeff on May 6, 2011 at 11:31 AM

One must read carefully – ‘Dictatorship of the proletariat’ is not the same thing as dictatorship by the proletariat.

Vashta.Nerada on May 6, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Dictatorship for the proletariat?

petefrt on May 6, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Kind-of explains the fuel prices — keep the people under control …

wheels on May 6, 2011 at 11:31 AM

These people are truly sick.

txhsmom on May 6, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Point Two. All industrial, commercial, manufacturing and business establishments of any nature whatsoever shall henceforth remain in operation, and the owners of such establishments shall not quit nor leave nor retire, nor close, sell or transfer their business, under penalty of the nationalization of their establishment and of any and all of their property.

lorien1973 on May 6, 2011 at 11:33 AM

These people are truly sick.

txhsmom on May 6, 2011 at 11:31 AM

They’re communists, so yeah … you’re right.

darwin on May 6, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Why do you think bho gave him the recess appointment? They both have the same mind set for our Republic. It has been from day one of bho’s election.
L

letget on May 6, 2011 at 11:34 AM

It sounds like Mr. Becker is of the opinion that collective bargaining has to extend to, or expand to collective income. This would be the equivalent to rationing capitalism.

fourdeucer on May 6, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Obama sure went out of his way to get this guy appointed.

It’s odd that the president, who is totally not a socialist, would do that in order to put a commie in a position of power.

forest on May 6, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Send in SEAL Team Six.

a capella on May 6, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Didn’t these goofballs basically make unions obsolete with their own expansion of government. Since we have organizations like OSHA, NLRB, Department of Labor, etc., unions aren’t necessary. I’m having a lot of trouble working up any sympathy for any other than the unemployed.

Cindy Munford on May 6, 2011 at 11:30 AM

You’re absolutely right. Unions no longer exist to fight for safe working conditions and fair wages and treatment … they exist to accumulate wealth and power for the union, whether that harms unions members or not.

There’s a reason union membership is low, all the jobs have gone elsewhere. Sent by the outrageous demands of union heads.

darwin on May 6, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Be nice if the House Labor and/or Commerce committees would invite Becker up to the Hill for a little chat about both his past views in print, and his current views about Boeing relocating some operations to South Carolina.

jon1979 on May 6, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Isn’t this one of the guys that Glen Beck warned us about? Ya know, the sort of thing that makes the left claim Beck is a nut job?

humdinger on May 6, 2011 at 11:38 AM

It sounds like Mr. Becker is of the opinion that collective bargaining has to extend to, or expand to collective income. This would be the equivalent to rationing capitalism.

fourdeucer on May 6, 2011 at 11:35 AM

The other term for it is communism.

ProfessorMiao on May 6, 2011 at 11:40 AM

humdinger on May 6, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Yes, and yes.

petefrt on May 6, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Red Dawn is past tense.

OldEnglish on May 6, 2011 at 11:42 AM

“The right to engage in concerted activity that is enshrined in the Wagner Act – even when construed in strictly contractual terms – implicitly entails legal restraint of the freedom of capital,”

But don’t you dare call them “corporatist” or Socialist.

irishspy on May 6, 2011 at 11:44 AM

OT/ Obama is going to hold a town hall meeting next Wednesday on the economy. That should really clear the air about how wonderful these new numbers are. It of course will be totally unscripted with Bob Schiffer emceeing it…. I don’t need a sarc tag do I?

sandee on May 6, 2011 at 11:44 AM

I can see the USSR from my living room.

Knucklehead on May 6, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Anytime one of your lib friends goes into the “Obama is moderate!” routine, just break out a list of hard-Left radical appointees:

Van Jones
Carol Browner
Craig Becker
Donald Berwick
Harold Koh
Eric Holder
Cass Sunstein
Ezekiel Emmanuel
Anita Dunn

These are just a few off the top of my head. There’s a lot more, sadly.

visions on May 6, 2011 at 11:46 AM

I used to restarian myself calling certain Libs the “M” word… but when you analyze their theories and thoughts you realize that they are Marxists and should be called out… and when they try to deny it explain to them that their theories and thoughts are indeed MARXIST…

mjbrooks3 on May 6, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Is it time for new McCarthy hearings yet?

tim c on May 6, 2011 at 11:27 AM

What for? It’s not like these people have any shame about it. They’re telling us exactly who they are and what they stand for.

CurtZHP on May 6, 2011 at 11:49 AM

“The right to engage in concerted activity that is enshrined in the Wagner Act – even when construed in strictly contractual terms – implicitly entails legal restraint of the freedom of capital,”

In other words, labor “rights” trump all rights, including the rights of the owners of capital to decide how and where to deploy that capital. This really is Marxism. Goodbye, private property; hello, dictatorship of the proletariat.

rockmom on May 6, 2011 at 11:52 AM

But, again, there is no surprise here: Obama intends to destroy our American economy and our freedoms.

GaltBlvnAtty on May 6, 2011 at 11:54 AM

If anyone still had any doubts that Obama is a communist, doubt no more. You don’t instill people like Becker, and obvious marxist, and not be one yourself.

No doubt his followers who often visit here, are of like minds with Obama. Which in turn, makes them marxists. Whether they realize that, or know that….whatever. It is, what it is.

capejasmine on May 6, 2011 at 11:55 AM

What is really sickening is to watch the bootlicking media proclaim Obama’s clever tack to the center, all the while has has put Marxists like Becker and Solomon and Lisa Jackson in positions to use regulatory and litigation power to break U.S. business.

rockmom on May 6, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Liberals don’t really care about property rights (capital, money etc). In fact if you do care about such things then they label you as greedy and a hater of the poor and children etc (whatever group they feel government is keeping from falling into the abyss). Some liberals are blinded by their ideology and naivety from seeing that if the government can ignore your property rights then you don’t have any rights at all. And some liberals know this which is why push this kind of crap – if they can control your property they can control you.

gwelf on May 6, 2011 at 11:59 AM

What is really sickening is to watch the bootlicking media proclaim Obama’s clever tack to the center, all the while has has put Marxists like Becker and Solomon and Lisa Jackson in positions to use regulatory and litigation power to break U.S. business.

rockmom on May 6, 2011 at 11:56 AM

“What Liberal media?” – Lib

visions on May 6, 2011 at 12:00 PM

…simply not consistent with core American values.

That, in a few words, sums up the Obama Administration.

Socratease on May 6, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Another marxist roaming around the Obama administration.

Freddy on May 6, 2011 at 12:04 PM

I haven’t read Beckers piece in it’s entirety, but the quote Jazz uses to frame his point is very interesting. In it, Becker seems to be musing as to the relative demerits of freedom of capital and individual liberty. He ties them together as bad things and as challenges to “collective legal rights”, whatever the hell that means, and decides freedom of capital (like to build a plant in South Carolina instead of in a workers paradise someplace) is the more problematic.

I’m looking forward to hearing Obama’s defense of Beckers views in the coming campaign. Is Obama critical of individual liberty? Does he think freedom of capital is a bad thing? Enquiring minds want to know.

MTF on May 6, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Becker’s recess appointment was I believe March of 2010, and recess appointments are only supposed to last one year. Why is he still on the job? Any Republicans on this?

slickwillie2001 on May 6, 2011 at 12:07 PM

and when they try to deny it explain to them that their theories and thoughts are indeed MARXIST…

mjbrooks3 on May 6, 2011 at 11:47 AM

So what? That’s like me saying, “well, you’re a conservative…you must be some monarchist Burkean…”

ernesto on May 6, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Where is crr6? You would think she would come to the defense of her beloved NRLB. Will she defend Marxist members? She defends their actions might as well defend Marxism.

IowaWoman on May 6, 2011 at 12:10 PM

We need to attack his assertion that unions are worth saving, because they are not. Unions have seen their day. Labor laws now in place, mostly pushed by the same cabal that gave us the unions have made unions no longer useful.

slickwillie2001 on May 6, 2011 at 12:10 PM

These are just a few off the top of my head. There’s a lot more, sadly.

visions on May 6, 2011 at 11:46 AM

I said this in the Holder thread. Swing voters seem reluctant to let go of Obama. I think the GOP nominee needs to run against Obama and ALL of his appointees, including the crackpots in the Cabinet.

BuckeyeSam on May 6, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Directive 10-289?

LooseCannon on May 6, 2011 at 12:13 PM

My friend and I were discussing this last night. We both said let’s cut to the chase — we have communists in our government right now in numbers and ways that even Joe McCarthy didn’t fantasize about.

rrpjr on May 6, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Where is crr6? You would think she would come to the defense of her beloved NRLB. Will she defend Marxist members? She defends their actions might as well defend Marxism.

IowaWoman on May 6, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Earnee is here to do it.

VegasRick on May 6, 2011 at 12:14 PM

I’m sure that Becker would encourage the “free flow of capital” ……… in the form of union dues right into the coffers of leftest politicians.

GarandFan on May 6, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Becker’s recess appointment was I believe March of 2010, and recess appointments are only supposed to last one year. Why is he still on the job? Any Republicans on this?

slickwillie2001 on May 6, 2011 at 12:07 PM

The appointment lasts until the end of the next session of Congress.

rockmom on May 6, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Becker’s recess appointment was I believe March of 2010, and recess appointments are only supposed to last one year. Why is he still on the job? Any Republicans on this?

slickwillie2001 on May 6, 2011 at 12:07 PM

What he wrote about at Harvard Law was pure Marxist labor theory. It isn’t really about enriching the unions. It is about radically reorienting business and employment in America so that everyone has a “right” to a job, and the employer cannot eliminate it or move it once it is created. Unions exist primarily to secure these rights, first through organizing and collective bargaining, and only secondly through political action if necessary.

The Boeing complaint is an attempt to shoehorn this theory into existing law, through a trumped-up charge of “retaliation” against the machinist’s union. What it is really after is establishing a legal precedent that will allow Becker and his NLRB gang of Marxists to start ordering companies to hire people, and forcing them to seek prior approval from the government for everything.

rockmom on May 6, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Sorry I included the wrong quote in the above post. I was responsing to GarandFan’s post above that.

rockmom on May 6, 2011 at 12:36 PM

So what? That’s like me saying, “well, you’re a conservative…you must be some monarchist Burkean…”

ernesto on May 6, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Tu quoque is your default position, isn’t it?

lorien1973 on May 6, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Liberal Lexicon:

Labor = Synonym for communism

“National Labor Relations Board” = “National Communist Relations Board.”

“Labor Union” = “Communist Union”

BobMbx on May 6, 2011 at 12:42 PM

It’s not as though the president has any experience with the Harvard Law Review and would have known any of this fellow’s controversial positions though, right?

/s

RachDubya on May 6, 2011 at 12:44 PM

And someone thought this appropriate for Law Review publication? As a former editor, this should have rejected as rank political conjecture.

pat on May 6, 2011 at 12:47 PM

“What threatens to eviscerate labor’s collective legal rights, therefore, is less the common law principle of individual liberty than the mobility of capital, which courts have held immune from popular control.”

Mind you, if individual liberty were a threat to labor rights, we’d be scratching about for reasons to curtail that too…

/Becker

DrSteve on May 6, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Just more proof that people who self-identify as liberal, usually don’t even understand that the word has been co-opted by Communists.

KMC1 on May 6, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Free flows of capital threaten labor rights, so…

… we restrict flows of capital. This leads to attempts at evasion of the rules, so…

… we further restrict flows of capital. This leads to reduced returns and investment incomes, and capitalizes into lower asset values, which leads to negative wealth effects leading to reduced consumption leading to disemployment effects, so…

… we mandate employment of uneconomic marginal hires. This leads to lowered productivity and business income and ultimately forces some employers into financial distress and out of business, so…

… we mandate quotas and other strategies to prop up those failing business, leading to further economic irrationalities, leading to further policy reactions, etc. etc. ad nauseam.

Such a strange game. The only way to win is not to play.

DrSteve on May 6, 2011 at 1:05 PM

This is not Marxism, it’s Fascism:

If the Progressive hierarchy can’t get Socialism, they’ll settle for Fascism.

So what’s Fascism? Here’s a start:

“As an economic system, fascism is SOCIALISM with a capitalist veneer. …”

“…Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. ENTREPRENEURSHIP was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions….”

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Fascism.html

rspock on May 6, 2011 at 1:07 PM

It bears repeating that this guy was too radical for a Senate teeming with Democrats. Elections have consequences, folks. That’s a cautionary tale for the “I’ll sit out the election if so-and-so is the nominee” crowd.

Kafir on May 6, 2011 at 1:15 PM

And liberals are upset when America regards them as communists???

Roy Rogers on May 6, 2011 at 1:50 PM

I am so damn tired of these far left radicals that obama has inflicted upon us. 2013 can no come soon enough.

karenhasfreedom on May 6, 2011 at 2:11 PM

This guy looks like some kind of Soviet Political Officer

kens on May 6, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Boeing’s problems are the obvious result of such thinking.

unclesmrgol on May 6, 2011 at 3:01 PM

I’ve noticed that everyone of Obama’s czars and cabinet members seem to have that creepy commie look about them!

MCGIRV on May 6, 2011 at 3:06 PM

I’ve noticed that everyone of Obama’s czars and cabinet members seem to have that creepy commie look about them!

MCGIRV on May 6, 2011 at 3:06 PM

And they all have been given the highest National Security clearances and access to all manner of personal data on U.S. citizens.

Think of what they’ve been doing with that since January 2009

Roy Rogers on May 6, 2011 at 3:22 PM

These are just a few off the top of my head. There’s a lot more, sadly.

visions on May 6, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Steven Ah Chu

Jaibones on May 6, 2011 at 3:26 PM

These are just a few off the top of my head. There’s a lot more, sadly.

visions on May 6, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Steven Ah Chu

Jaibones on May 6, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Also the monster John Holdren.

slickwillie2001 on May 6, 2011 at 4:30 PM

“Restraining Freedom of Capital”

So the money that you’ve earned, that the politicians have decided to let you keep, will still be your money, but the government will just tell you how to spend it.

We already have that with ObamaCare!

RJL on May 6, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Free flows of capital threaten labor rights, so…

… we restrict flows of capital. This leads to attempts at evasion of the rules, so…

… we further restrict flows of capital. This leads to reduced returns and investment incomes, and capitalizes into lower asset values, which leads to negative wealth effects leading to reduced consumption leading to disemployment effects, so…

… we mandate employment of uneconomic marginal hires. This leads to lowered productivity and business income and ultimately forces some employers into financial distress and out of business, so…

… we mandate quotas and other strategies to prop up those failing business, leading to further economic irrationalities, leading to further policy reactions, etc. etc. ad nauseam.

Such a strange game. The only way to win is not to play.

DrSteve on May 6, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Fascism. It doesn’t start out as repressive, which is why people reject the label for politicians like Obama. But it always ends up being repressive, because it’s the only way the government can try to control the economy.

And this is why AP was wrong when he objected to calling Obama a fascist because he wasn’t like Hitler or Mussolini. If he’s a fascist, he’ll end up being repressive. There’s no other way to be a fascist.

There Goes The Neighborhood on May 7, 2011 at 11:19 AM