My personal favorite most annoying meme is that the Republican Party is the party of ideas. Mike’s reference to Wal-Mart shows just how silly that is.
The nation’s largest private employer has a new labor policy, which involves, says the WSJ, “revamp[ing] the way it schedules its work force, in a move that could shake up many employees’ lives”:
Early this year, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., using a new computerized scheduling system, will start moving many of its 1.3 million workers from predictable shifts to a system based on the number of customers in stores at any given time. The move promises greater productivity and customer satisfaction for the huge retailer but could be a major headache for employees.
….experts say [the program] can saddle workers with unpredictable schedules. In some cases, they may be asked to be “on call” to meet customer surges, or sent home because of a lull, resulting in less pay. The new systems also alert managers when a worker is approaching full-time status or overtime, which would require higher wages and benefits, so they can scale back that person’s schedule…That means workers may not know when or if they will need a babysitter or whether they will work enough hours to pay that month’s bills. Rather than work three eight-hour days, someone might now be plugged into six four-hour days, mornings one week and evenings the next.
Ezra is dead right on this: this could be a disaster for workers. As they say, read the whole thing.
But take a look over at the Corner. Jonah Goldberg notes the development, and then says something even more extraordinary:
Whether it’s good or bad, remains to be seen. And, even if it’s bad, whether the government has any business doing anything about it, is also a debate for another day.
That’s true: it is a debate for another day. And that day occurred about 70 years ago, during the Great Depression, when it was determined that the federal government did have an interest in labor regulation. We could even go farther and say that it dates from the Progressive Era, when states started regulating labor conditions. Labor and employment law is even older than environmental or consumer regulation.
I imagine that Goldberg just used the phrase as a way of deflecting calls for him to write about the substance. Fair enough. But this is another one of those instances that shows in graphic and scary detail what passes for respectable conversation on the right. Mark has it right: the Republican Party is a coalition between those want to repeal the New Deal and those who want to repeal the Enlightenment.