July 28, 2008


Commendable service (Paul Weyrich, July 28, 2008, Washington Times)

The administration of President George W. Bush is drawing to a close after nearly eight years in office. Therefore, it is time to assess who best fulfilled the promises made during the 2000 presidential campaign. In my opinion, that prize goes to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, the only Cabinet official to see the Bush administration through from the beginning. [...]

The card-check program, which passed the House in this Congress but failed in the Senate, would do away with the secret ballot. Instead, union organizers would be able to put pressure upon workers to sign up. If a worker refused to vote for a union to organize his plant he could be put under all sorts of pressure to conform. Mrs. Chao clearly is concerned that this program will be enacted in the next Congress.

She told the Wall Street Journal, "The right to a private ballot election is a fundamental right in our American democracy and it should not be legislated away at the behest of special-interest groups." Mrs. Chao also is worried that a new union-friendly Congress will expand the Family Medical Leave Act, which guarantees that employees can take unpaid leave to care for an ill child or for other reasons, and they cannot be replaced while on leave. She also worries that Congress will extend from 60 to 90 days the time which employers must notify employees that they will be laid off. Nor does she like a comparable worth measure pushed by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat. It would force employers to pay the same wages for different occupations. She says the world envies the dynamism of the American economy and points to the flexibility we have in our economy. If all of these measures pass, she fears that flexibility would disappear, and with it would go the dynamic American economy.

If Mrs. Chao has her way, the 110th Congress, in its waning days, will combine and streamline some of the many training programs that overlap and duplicate one another. It is unlikely that effort will succeed in the short time remaining in this Congress. She says the Labor Department has $50 billion in different training programs, most of which never reaches workers. She would like to see that money converted into vouchers to permit workers to help them acquire job-training skills. Congress does not like vouchers for elementary and secondary education, so it is highly probable organized labor's senators would filibuster any such move.

Elaine Chao has achieved as much as she has as a workhorse rather than a show horse. Not that she is incapable of explaining in vibrant terms what she has accomplished. But mainly she has worked hard, making progress in inches rather than in long passes. The president certainly made the right choice in selecting Mrs. Chao. Future secretaries ought to emulate her example.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 28, 2008 12:38 PM

Yet another missed opportunity for McCain. He should be hammering Obama on his support for card check.

Posted by: PapayaSF at July 28, 2008 5:13 PM
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