Perhaps the greatest of all Python sketches is the Four Yorkshiremen (video link), where four tycoons compete in fantastic tales about how poor they were and how lucky people are today.
It’s supposed to be a parody. But if you listen to Republican whining about the supposed inflated labor costs at the Big Three, you might be forgiven for wondering whether it was just prescient.
From Bernard Simon in today’s Financial Times (well known front group for worldwide socialism):
The UAW made significant sacrifices in contracts signed last year, but many of the savings have yet to be realised by the company.
The union agreed to a two-tier wage structure under which new assembly-line workers would be paid about $14.20 an hour, compared with $29 for existing workers.
Wha–$14.20 an hour?!! Why, that reaches almost $29,000 a year! Luxury. We used to dream about making wages that officially put a family of four into HUD’s definition of low-income.
And you tell that to the young people today–they never believe you.
(Yes, yes: I know. These were just for new workers, of which there are precious few. But maybe we’d believe the labor costs argument a little more if multimillionaires like Mitt Romney would stop lying about it.)
Author: Jonathan Zasloff
Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees.
Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses.
Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.
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