In a Sunday article for the New York Times, Sarah Leonard argues for socialism. Socialist leaders such as Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, Leonard says, are working with a coalition of young leftists to serve millennials.
An editor at The Nation, Leonard’s case fixes on three points. First, that millennials need stronger union power in order to attain better living standards. Second, that capitalism has failed. Third, that larger government is beneficial.
Leonard is wrong on each count.
She starts by lamenting that “…there is no left-wing party devoted to protecting the interests of the poor, the working class and the young.” Leonard blames declining union influence over political parties. Unions, she says, are the best way to empower the poor, the lower skilled, and the young.
I think not.
At a basic level, unions serve their members, not society. When, for example, a transport union shuts down commuter access to a city, it is not doing so to help commuters. It is doing so to extract wealth from those consumers, via the transport company, and redistribute that wealth to its members. Moreover, when unions demand absolute protections for older workers, they make it near-impossible for companies to hire younger workers. As I’ve explained, there is a damning correlation between greater union power and increased youth unemployment.
Voters seem to realize this problem. On Sunday, the newly elected president of France won a huge parliamentary majority. His key promise? Unshackling France’s labor market from union power.
Leonard does not accept this reality.
Instead, deriding “…precarious and non-unionized labor,” she lurches into an attack on the sharing-economy of Uber, AirBnb, and others.
Most millennials take the opposite view. An Airbnb study from last July showed overwhelming millennial support for the industry. Contrary to Leonard’s suggestion, conservatives actually have an opportunity to earn millennial support by defending these industries!